February 16th, 2011
by Seanna · Filed Under: Beauty and Style
Yes, she’s gorgeous. But you know what really draws you to her is her eyebrows.
Eyebrows are just so cool. Great, well-shaped brows to the face are like the perfect pair of shoes making the outfit complete. If I have 20 seconds to do something to my face, I’m adding a little color to my brows (and concealer at the first red light). That’s how much polish a defined brown can make to your face.
Eyebrow shape actually had styles over the years. Remember the high, super thin and rounded brows of the black and white movies, Brooke Shields awesome caterpillars, and the thick, black, painted brows of Elizabeth Taylor? Somewhere in between, well-shaped, moderately dark and strong, will always be timeless and beautiful.
The basics of shape haven’t changed: the brow should align with the center of the nostril, the arch should peak somewhere past the iris, and it shouldn’t extend too far past the edge of eye; tapering out in thickness towards the outer edge. Diagrams of this abound on the internet if you’re interested in shaping your brow yourself. But since brows come in all different shapes and textures, and if you’re starting from scratch, my best advice is to leave major shaping to a professional. Ask the beauty at work or the gym with gorgeous, perfectly groomed eyebrows who does hers, and go see that person. A pro will usually use wax to groom the brow into shape, but threading gives good results, as does hand tweezing. Beware walk in eyebrow salons with just any old stranger. Growing out a bad brow wax is misery. Do your homework and go to the best you can find and afford. It’s worth the effort and expense to get a really good result.
Once you have a shape you’re happy with, just tweeze as needed to maintain. I used to have mine waxed regularly but they got thinner and thinner each time, until I realized they were too thin. Ugh. They grew back in, but I learned a good lesson, and now I do my own; tweezing two or three hairs on each side every day or so is usually enough to keep the shape maintained.
Your eyebrow color can make all the difference in the world. Choose wisely.
Now that your brows are nicely shaped, do you need to fill in the color a little? Powder brow color or eye shadow is the most natural looking and the easiest to use. Choose a MATTE (glitter-yes, shimmer-no. Ha!) color that matches your natural brow color as closely as possible. It’s normal and natural that brows are a different color than your hair color. If your brows are very fair and you want to darken them, choose a dark shade of tan, light brown, blonde or taupe that is very close to the natural brow color. When the brow make up color and natural brow color are too different, it’s obvious and looks bad; better to go without than look weird. The better cosmetics counters are a good place to look for color advice if you’re in doubt. Apply powder brow color or eye shadow with a small, wedge shaped eyeliner or brow brush. Bobbi Brown makes a great brow brush, as does Essence of Beauty (available at drugstores). But my very favorite brow brush is the so awesome Instant Brow by Claudio Riaz.
If you don’t need to mess around with adding color, and your brows are well shaped and naturally full, consider using a clear brow gel for light grooming. Even hairspray spritzed on an old toothbrush or hair gel combed through brows helps keep unruly brows in place.
What about if your brows have no hairs left? Say you’ve over tweezed or waxed for so long, they just stopped growing back (this absolutely happens, so be careful!) or you’ve lost your brows due to a medical condition or treatment? Brows can be drawn on, but it isn’t easy and almost never looks natural. In my opinion, this also calls for professional guidance. Eyebrows are an important part of your face; it is just really noticeable when they aren’t there. I did not know this until researching for this post, but there is such a thing as brow wigs. Real human hair woven into little eyebrows that you put on with an adhesive tape. Now that’s cool.
Things not to do …
Do not over pluck! A very thin brow looks unnatural; a very thin brow with a high arch looks sinister and evil; at the very best, very thin brows it make the face look permanently surprised.
Beware the magnifying mirror! This is where over plucking begins.
Thicker brows are more youthful looking than thin brows.
It is very difficult to wax your own brows well. Tweezing is the easiest way to remove brow hair.
Clean your tweezers in alcohol regularly, especially if anyone else in your house uses them too.
Ok, I’m dying to hear your brow disaster stories. Anyone but me? Ok, I’ll start, but you guys have to add yours!
So I’m 14 or 15, 9th grade, and I tweeze in between my brows so much that there was easily three inches between them, and the brow itself was like an inch long. And that’s the only place I tweezed, not underneath. So I had wide, one-inch brows. What’s worse is I didn’t even know that it was bad until, like after a few months, my friend told me how awful it was. I was mortified. I think I cut long bangs to cover them as they grew back it. I remember the brow out being ugly. Never did that again.