A set of well-shaped, expertly-groomed eyebrows can transform any woman’s face. They are the defining element, the feature that makes you look polished and pulled-together while remaining subtle. They are not meant to draw attention; they are meant to enhance your naturally beautiful features.
That being said, brow shaping and maintenance can be a tough skill to master. After the jump, view my step-by-step guide on achieving brows that work in harmony with your features.
1. Book an appointment with a professional.
Whether you choose waxing or threading, it’s important to visit a professional, at least for the initial visit. An esthetician can assess your facial features from a perspective that is physically impossible for you view on yourself. They can step back, study your face as a whole, see the current state of your brows, and work to give you a customized shape that works with your features and natural hair growth. It’s much easier for them to engage in hair removal than it would be for you to do it home, balancing over your bathroom sink in poor lighting. If you choose wax, it’s important to visit an esthetician because they are knowledgable about what medications may interfere with your waxing procedure, the best time to wax, and things of that nature.
If you’re not sure where to start, begin by calling a couple of highly-recommended spas or salons in your area, and ask if they have an esthetician who specializes in brows. If they don’t, ask who they would recommend. At the beginning your appointment, be sure to discuss with your esthetician the look you are going for. (For example, if you dislike rounded brows, say so.)
2. Keep those tweezers sharp.
In between visits, it’s important to pluck stray hairs in order to keep your brows looking polished. Tweezerman tweezers work really well, stay sharp, and have free lifetime sharpening. Do not tweeze into the brow itself; just remove any stray hairs beneath the arch, between brows, and outside of the natural brow.
If you’re looking to keep brows shapely, Anastasia Soare (Hollywood’s brow expert) has a set of stencils in her eponymous cosmetics line. They fit different brow shapes and sizes. Apply the stencil over your eyebrow (it will lightly stick to skin), take an eyeliner or brow pencil and color within the stencil. Press hard; you want to see these lines. Remove the stencil. Pluck any hairs that are not within the area you just colored in.
3. Buy a good pair of brow scissors.
Not trimming brows is one of the tops causes of overplucking. Because you’ll be doing intricate trimming, you need a special set of scissors. Tweezerman Stork Scissors are razor-sharp, come to a fine, precise point, and are tiny enough to maneuver with precision (and have the same free lifetime sharpening as Tweezerman tweezers). At $10, they are a steal.
Brush brows upward with a brow brush. Holding scissors parallel to the top of the brow line, trim any hairs that extend past the top of the brow. It’s often difficult to trim the outer brow, past the arch. If you’re uncomfortable with that, leave it to your esthetician.
4. Shape and style.
First, fill in sparse spots with a brow pencil or powder. I really like Tarte EmphasEYES High-Definition Eyebrow Pencil ($19.50), a naturally-formulated stick-thin pencil. Avoid looking like you took a Sharpie to your face by using short strokes to fill in bare areas, mimicking actual hairs in the brow. If you prefer a powder,
5. Lock up your style.
You’ll want to set brows to ensure they keep their shape all day. One option is clear mascara (I like Maybelline Great Lash), because it’s a more economical than brow gel, which can run $20 and up, and works just the same.
Wax is another way to force brows to stay put. Smashbox’s Brow Tech Wax ($20) is a clear wax to lock your brow style in place. Laura Mercier Brow Definer ($20) is a tinted wax-gel hybrid that provides light hold and comes in 3 shades.
6. Pick up an all-in-one kit.
Brow kits, complete with the essentials to give you shapely arches, are a good alternative for people who need several of the products listed here but are looking for a more economical option. With brow cosmetics, a little goes a long way. I once had an Anastasia brow powder that I eventually threw out after 3 years, and with daily use, I’d barely made a dent in it. Even though kits offer smaller quantities of products, you can save a lot of money since they generally will last you quite a long time. Bonus: they can be stowed away in your purse for on-the-fly touch-ups.
Urban Decay’s Brow Box ($29) provides the essentials for professional-looking brows, including 2 fillers powders, clear wax, a mini brush, and tiny tweezers. BeneFit’s Brows A-Go-Go ($38) goes beyond just brows; it covers almost your whole eye. The kit light and dark filler powder, tinted wax, a mini black eyeliner, eye bright, brow highlighter powder, mini tweezers, and a dual-ended brush.
With these tips, you can say goodbye to unruly brows forever.