brows3

 

Along with contouring, false lashes, BB, CC, DD (whatever) creams, eyebrows seem to be a great big hairy buzz in the beauty world right now, and of all these current trends, I think they are the most important.

I, for one, have had an obsession with well groomed brows since high school, and I have my Mum to blame/thank for that.  She’d drop me off at the bus stop, and before letting me get out of the car, would lick her fingers and push my eyebrows into shape…so embarrassing…but it instilled in me a preoccupation with well maintained eyebrows, for which I am now very grateful.  I had enviable brows by today’s standards – full, dark, and with a nice gentle arch, borderline, if not certifiably, ‘mono’ – the perfect base for getting a good shape.  Unfortunately 1994 marked my entry into the world of fashion, and the choker accessorised, thin curved brow, was featured heavily in every magazine.  Needless to say, I got plucking.  With the same haphazard approach that I used to attack my thick hair with thinning scissors, I went to town without a clue and ‘tidied’ my own eyebrows.  What a dick.  In the same way that waxing your legs thins the hair out over time, ripping your precious eyebrow hair out of your face makes for much less impressive frames later in life.  Add to that, the natural thinning of your brows, and you have yourself one great big beauty regret.  So, youngsters and first time pluckers, heed my advice and leave them well alone – or better yet, consult a professional.

Since the regretful Great Pluck-a-Thon of 94/95, I have actually taken good care of my brows, and with reasonable fullness and a naturally flattering shape, I can say that my brow game is pretty tight.  Unless I have a dramatic hair colour, I don’t need to do too much to them makeup-wise to keep them looking presentable, and with a quick tidy up at my local threading salon, the shape pretty much takes care of itself.  With such low maintenance brows, and having been out of the makeup game for a while, I felt it necessary to consult an expert to speak with a little more authority on all things eyebrow, so I called upon my lovely friend Marnie to give those of you with limited knowledge, a little lesson in framing your beautiful faces.  Marnie is an incredible makeup artist with a shit tonne of experience and sports a lovely set of brows herself.

So let’s start with her advice on shape…

Fuller brows are much more youthful than fine brows and, at the moment, strong brows are on trend.  Don’t over remove hair, keep them full and flattering.  The unfortunate truth is that your eyebrows get thinner and finer as we age.  Let’s face it though, if you don’t naturally have full eyebrows, keep it natural when applying your pencils.  Whilst we all lust after Cara Delevigne brows, if your brows don’t grow, like mine, you have to make the most of what you have.

Amen!  Don’t over draw your brows in if they were never that big to begin with.  The internet is full of some incredibly unfortunate images of women with the fattest and most fake looking brows I’ve ever seen.  It really is getting a little out of control.  Your brows need to look like they belong to you and although they are important for framing your face, they shouldn’t look like two furry pets having a nap on your forehead.

So how do we get a nice shape to begin with?

If you have never had your brows shaped, there are lots of salons offering  the options of waxing and threading.

Waxing removes skin and will make your foundation unable to stick to the skin, so make sure you have a few days before your next special event.  You will also have redness for a few hours after, so do it when you have some time to yourself.  Certain acne medications, chemical peels and products with high levels of retinol can cause your skin to be more susceptible to irritation, so check with your beauty specialist before you wax. 

My advice is to always leave your brows in the hands of a professional, but…

If you want shape your own brows and save a bit of cash too, here are a few hints to help you along the way…

First, fill your brow in the way you want it to look using either a powder or pencil. Then use a nude skin coloured pencil to colour in the hairs you want to remove, to check the shape first. Stand back from the mirror and check out how it makes your face look. Using slanted tweezers, remove the hair in the direction of the hair growth.  Wax if you prefer, but always follow the instructions on the packet. 

Good luck with that one you crazies.

Waxing and tweezing are the most common ways to shape your brows, but I prefer the lesser known, yet increasingly popular method of threading.  I had it done a few years ago and have never looked back.  It involves the use of masterfully twisted cotton thread, which grabs onto multiple hairs at a time and plucks them from the root with the utmost precision.  Unlike waxing, there is no damage done to the skin and you can successfully apply foundation to the area without it sliding off.  My favourite thing about threading is the way it tidies up the underside of your brow, the bit closest to your nose.  It creates a lifted effect that makes your eyes look wide awake and while I’m sure this can be done with waxing, threading leaves a much sharper line, and although you have removed more hair, your brows somehow look magically fuller.  The pain factor is on par with waxing, but you get used to it, and you know, anything for beauty right?

OK, so we have our shape, but we want more, more, more!  Here is Marnie’s lowdown on products…

Gels come in clear or a coloured gel that not only sets, but adds a little more fullness to the hairs.  (Check out More Brows by Model Co).

Brow pencils add thickness to brows that need extra shape or structure.  When using pencils, applying hair like strokes in the direction of the hair growth is a flattering way to fill them in. 

Brow powders fill in gaps between the hairs.  You can use a pencil, then add a powder over the top – it’s my personal favourite.  When using a brow powder, invest in a good angled brow brush, grab a little product and work in the direction of the growth of hair.

My current favourite eyebrow brush is by EcoTools.  It’s a synthetic bristled brush, so not only is it vegan friendly, but can also be used with liquid products to line the eyes.  I find that it doesn’t pick up too much of your brow powder, making it a great option for the heavy handed among us.   I use it with my Make Up Store Tri Brow, which is a great selection of three natural brow colours, suitable for both professional makeup artists and home brow enthusiasts.  The fine powders are easy to apply and the colours, which are on the ashy side, can be blended together, creating an extensive palette for most eye colours.  A warmer duo is also available, if your brow colour is more towards those tones.  Brow powders can also be doubled as matte eye shadows and vice versa – when I was a redhead, I used a matte eye shadow to match my hair colour.  You can also try more advanced brow powder application techniques that utilise all the colours in your palette.  Sharon the Makeup Artist and Pixiwoo have some great video tutorials if you have a shit load of time to spend on your brows.  Lucky you.

Finally, from Marnie…

Tinting can make your brow hair look fuller. 

That may be true, but it scares the hell out of me.  Please leave this to a professional unless you are an expert yourself, so as not to look like a post surgery Burt Reynolds.

And…

Brush the brows up.  This will be far more flattering and youthful.

I recently participated in a beauty poll where I was asked to name my must have beauty product.  The one thing that is a constant in my arsenal of pretty making crap, is my brow and lash comb – boring answer, but so very true.  I haven’t been without one since I knew what one was, and I would forgo brushing the hair on my head before neglecting the furry little friends above my eyes – such is my obsession with them.  When I’m just dagging about with no makeup on, I don’t really bother, but as soon as anything with a bit of tint goes on my face, out comes the brow comb.  You may call it obsessive/compulsive, but I actually feel uneasy if they haven’t been groomed – like that feeling you get in those dreams when you’ve forgotten to wear pants out in public – that uneasy.

So there you go, a bit about brows.  Please feel more than welcome to share any of your own tips or fish for a bit more information.  Myself and Marnie will be only too happy to help.  If you would like to see how amazing she is at painting faces, and in particular her brow creations, then check out her work here.

Kind Beauty : All brands mentioned are cruelty free.

I was lucky enough to receive the Make Up Store Tri Brow as a gift, but all opinions are my own.  Loveface has an ‘if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all’ policy, so if I don’t love it, you won’t see it here.

 

LISTEN : YEAH YEAH YEAHS  Gold Lion & THE WHITE STRIPES  My Doorbell (for Marnie)