Wednesday, May 20, 2009

BROW WOW! Get Picture Perfect Eyebrows

The easiest trick to a subtle updated look is to grooming your eyebrows. Although pencil thin brows are mostly passe (except on the runway), shaping them up a bit will not only open up your eyes, but can also take years off of your appearance. Here are some brow basics to set you on your way.

Where Do They Grow?

First, to determine where your brows should begin and end use a makeup brush or a pencil. First, lay it the long way along the side of your nose pointing towards the ceiling and the floor. Your brows should start there. Remove any hair beyond this growing between your eyes. To find your arch, move your tool to the right just past your iris (the dark circle in the center of your eyeball) to where your eye color begins. This should be your brow's highest point, or arch. To determine where they should end, move the pencil diagonally from your nose (see picture). If they stop short, you should extend them.

Say Tweeze Please.

Plucking is for chickens, we tweeze our eyebrows. Start by brushing your brows straight up. Look closely and you'll notice the stray hairs growing outside of the natural hairline. Those are the ones you should remove. Hold your skin taught with one hand, and with the other gently pull out the strays in the direction that they grow. This process may take up to 40 minutes, so don't rush it. It's best to remove a little at a time to avoid over doing it. The best thing to use? Tweezerman, hands down. (starting at $15) Their slanted tweezers can catch even the finest hairs. They last forever and they'll even sharpen them for free.


The latest trend in hair removal is eyebrow threading. It's done by usiing a double strand of cotton thread around a selected area and then twisting to remove the hair. If it sounds painful, it is. Not child-birth painful, but definitely more than a little uncomfortable. But many women like the fact that its quick and clean and often times there is no redness or irritation. I wouldn't recommend trying this one at home, visit an experienced professional.


For the novice, this is best done professionally. If you're doing it yourself, use a quality kit and follow the directions for best results. Brush your brows in place, then warm the wax and apply it to the unwanted hair in the direction that it grows. Smooth a small stip of muslin over the top, and then quickly pull it off. It's kind of like removing a bandaid, except you take the hair with it. For first timers, plan to do this on a day off, as sometimes you may experience some redness or slight puffiness if you're sensitive. This method is great for getting rid of the peach fuzz that can tend to grow around your eyebrows. Like the idea of waxing, but not sure if you can afford the monthly tab? Get them done once to establish the shape, then tweeze the hair yourself as it starts to grow in.

Filler Up

If your brows are sparse or stop short you'll need to fill them in. Use a brow powder or eyeshadow and a flat, angled brush. Budget friendly Milani Cosmetics makes an all-in-one Brow Fix (about $6) that includes brow color and tweezers. Brush in color using soft, light strokes only where you need it. Then use a toothbrush-like brush or your fingers to blend and soften. If you prefer using a pencil, try Lancome Le Crayon Poudre Eyebrow Pencil ($23). Complete with spiral brush on one end, it's a brow powder in the convenience of a pencil. Always choose a color that looks natural with your hair and complexion. When in doubt, go a little lighter. Taupe is a good choice for fair to medium locks. No matter how dark your hair is, NEVER use jet black for your eyebrows, it's much too harsh. If your hair is black, try an off-black or dark grayish tone. To set, you can spray a little hairspray on your finger and smooth over your brows.

Of course, if you make a dramatic hair color change, you can have your eyebrows dyed to match. Always consult a pro if you're going that route. If you're just going a few shades lighter, a facial hair bleaching kit applied to the brows may be just what you need to help soften dark brows.

Until next time!