Dear Friends and Readers,
Fashion Week in NY, London and Milan is an incredible source of inspiration for the clothes we are going to wear/buy/resuscitate from dark corners of our closet. But it is also inspiration for the beauty industry. The latest products, colors, concoctions are often tested on the runway before they get to your closest department store or drugstore. This years biggest trend? Full highbrows. There was not 1 single media outlet in the past weeks that didn’t pontificate on the importance of a thick brow. From Yahoo to Style.com all the websites had something to say about thick eyebrows. I figured I would weigh in my capacity as former Frida Kalho lookalike.
If you think I am going to share pictures of me in my early teenage with volcanian eyebrows, you don’t know me. All photographic evidence of that awkward phase of my life has been disposed of (and besides my mom wouldn’t embarrass me THAT much). Take my word for it: I had a unibrow, braces and big curls. Then my mom brought me to a spa where I got my eyebrows done for the first time at the age of 14. It was revolutionary… until I took it too far. It was the nineties and first supermodels were all the rage. I was a victim of misinformation… I didn’t know that pictures could be retouched to look perfect even when the models were not. Teenagers today have a distinct advantage because they know what photo retouching can do. Besides you really have every body/face type represented so you can pick and choose who you like best.
This year the fashion show circus resolved that your eyebrows should look like Cara Delevigne, Sophia Vergara or Lily Collins. For a person like me who has gone from caterpillars to anchovies and anything in between, this trend needs to be further analyzed.
No matter the face shape, eyebrows (or the lack thereof) are one of the most prominent facial features. I often see people with overplucked eyebrows and I cringe inside because (a) it was me only a few years ago and (b) unless there is a health problem, that person may be a perfectionist (and not in a good way). At the other end of the spectrum there are people (mostly men) who have eyebrows that are completely out of control and make them look intimidating, aggressive or unpolished even when they are not.
It’s all about balance and good taste so stick to what looks good and natural on you, in spite of the current trends (because no Lily Collins’ eyebrows are officially TOO MUCH!).
Do you have a teenager in your family that is starting to play with makeup and complains about eyebrows? Do you have virgin eyebrow that have never been plucked (jeez I am jealous!)? Make an appointment with a reliable eyebrow expert to have the job professionally done. Do your due diligence, though: avoid all the “experts” who use waxing or threading to remove hair. Trust me the room for mistakes is just too great. Go for an expert who uses tweezers. Eyebrows are a precision job and wax/thread are often imprecise.
If, for budgetary reasons or otherwise a visit to an expert is to be excluded, you can still achieve professional results at home. But you need to invest in the right tools. Good tweezers, a comb brush (or spooley), eyebrow scissors, stencilsand a good eyebrow pencil are all you need. Why stencils? Because they allow you to achieve an even, simmetrical and balanced result. You need to remember that your eyebrows are sisters, not twins, so you may be driven to pluck one more than the other because you see cannot see the natural asymmetry in your face (everyone’s face is asymmetrical because God and Mother Nature don’t draw in straight lines). Using a stencil is the best way to avoid mistakes. So what is next?
- Before you start the process make sure that you remove all make up and lotions from your face. Then position your stencil and start drawing your eyebrows. Yes you got that right you need to do that BEFORE you pluck. Make sure NOT to use a magnifying glass so you are forced to look at all your face and see the big picture. Since less is more when it comes to eyebrows, attention to detail can be detrimental, it is the overall flow of the shape that matters.
- Now that you have drawn your ideal eyebrows it is time to trim. Many people skip this step thinking it unimportant. Let me tell you: I would have never overplucked my eyebrows as a teenager had I know how important trimming Iis for both men and women. Some of us, the Frida Kahlo of the world (and men too) are born with eyebrows that grow very long dark and thick. To reveal the actual shape of your arches and avoid the furry caterpillar effect, you need to trim your eyebrows before you even start plucking. Brush up the hair in the first half of your eyebrows (that is the closest to your nose) then delicately trim off all the excess hair that is too long, thick and bushy. Make sure not to trim the arch or the tail as it will make your eyes look close-set even if they aren’t.
- NOW it is time to tweeze. Remember less is more and when in doubt don’t pluck it! try to pluck in the direction in which each hair grows as it is much less painful. Clean of plucked hair before you pluck the next, you want the point to remain as sharp and precise as possible.
Maintenance tips: only pluck about once a week. I usually do my eyebrows on Friday night (facial night in the Weiss household) after my face has been scrubbed and steamed enough that plucking becomes super easy and painless.
Regrowth tips: regrowing overplucked eyebrows is one of the most difficult things because when the damage is done, the hair may regrow in the wrong places or directions, thinner than before. That is IF they decide to grow back. Do you want to give them a little extra help? It will come in a pricey package but in time and with a great deal of patience (6 months minimum), it will work. Forget the over the counter serums purporting to make your eyebrows grow. Forget playing with Rogaine which will only make you break out! If you are serious about this you need serious science: Latisse is usually prescribed to make your eyelashes grow… well it works for eyebrows too! I can vouch for this statement although Latisse was not FDA approved to grow anything other than lashes. I have been using Latisse on my eyebrows and so far I am seeing a distinct improvement. Apply day and night for 6 months and pray that your eyebrows have forgiven your sins.
And what do you do in the meantime? Bury your tweezers, toss them, put them in the most remote place of your house, as long as you don’t fall into temptation. The rest is “fake it til you make it” routine: use your beloved stencils to draw a neat eyebrow. I have tried all the eyebrow enhancers out there in the market and so far my favorite is Tom Ford Brow Sculptor. I found it during a trip to London and it came with an hefty pricetag BUT it has also lasted about 10 months. In alternative, I really like Lancome Crayon Poudre and MAC pencils. Just remember that the perfect color is difficult to find (thankfully Tom Ford Brow Sculptor Taupe is a perfect match for me) so you want to mix 2 pencils to customize yours.
Finally some tips for men. If you have a unibrow, you need to get rid of it like yesterday. You may think it is a bother and a waste of time but NOTHING makes men look more unappealing, uneducated and unpolished than a unibrow. If you have bushy eyebrows you need to trim: it takes 2 minutes every other week but it makes you look polished and opens up your eyes. I strongly discourage men from getting their eyebrows done, besides these 2 tips because they end up looking really weird. Also most real eyebrow experts will not tweeze male eyebrows with the exception of the unibrow.
To learn more about how to draw your eyebrows in 30 seconds, check out themarvelous tutorial by Wayne Goss, Youtube Guru and Make Up Artist Extraordinaire.
I hope this helps you finding your perfect arch!