Different Strokes

Standards of beauty differ across the world. One example is apparent in the eyebrow stencils from two different companies, one Korean and the other American.

IPKN NewYork Semi-Tattoo Eyebrow and Anastasia Beverly Hills Beauty Express for Brows and Eyes both contain stencils made from thin flexible plastic.

IPKN is a Korean company and the stencils come in the shapes soft angled, round, and flat. Anastasia, the American company, has 5 variations of an arch shape: slim high, medium, petite, full, and high.

Recently, a collage of images of Korean beauty pageant contestants–all looking beautiful yet eerily similar–went viral, purporting to show how out of hand and how common plastic surgery had become in Korea. Well it turned out to be presumptuous, and the most likely reason for the strong similarities was a combination of makeup style and Photoshop. What can be said is that there is a particular beauty ideal in terms of makeup that differs from the American ideal: lucid, bright, fair skin with straight brows was a common look. No bronzer, no strongly arched brows a la Kim Kardashian and Megan Fox.

In the IPKN stencils, the round and flat shapes jump out as the most dissimilar from the Anastasia stencils and I think they quite accurately reflect the dissimilar cultural ideals. The IPKN stencils are also notably shorter in length: does that reflect style preferences? Or physically smaller faces? I have a fairly small face and the only Anastasia stencil that fits me is the petite arch. The rest are way too wide.

Personally, I’ve been trying to grow out and drawn in my brows to achieve the thick flat Korean style. But it still has a bit of an arch, and holding up the flat IPKN stencil to my brow last night, I realized that I’d have to pluck out the outer halves of my brows to truly have flat brows. Um, no thanks.

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