Being a professional makeup artist in film and television I see a lot of perfectly shaped eyebrows. My job is so easy when an actress or model sits in my chair fresh from a grooming with her eyebrow guru! However, there are times when I have to shape or clean up an eyebrow prior to makeup application and there are many tricks of the trade that I rely on when using tweezers, razors, brow fillers, tints or gels.
Flawless brows enhance the look of your eyes and face. Following the illustrated guide below, perfect brows should start above the inside corner of your eye and end at the outside corner. The arch happens just outside the iris of your eye and should be natural looking.
Tweeze – at home plucking is something this Pro recommends for maintaining a professional tweezing by an expert brow specialist. Your arsenal should contain tweezers (Tweezerman or another reputable company), small eyebrow scissors, magnification mirror and a spooli brush. If you are a “tender” girl or boy and you tear up or sneeze when extracting hair, try using a a small amount of Ambasol to numb the brow area prior to tweezing. Only tweeze the underside of your brow, pull the hair in the same direction as hair growth and be sure to extract the hair from the root.
Razor – an alternative to tweezing and completely non-invasive. However, you should have your brows professionally groomed and utilize this method only for at-home maintenance. This Pro likes to use a razor for quick clean up when on set because tweezing causes redness and swelling and I can’t afford to spend precious time allowing the skin area to settle when working on a fast-paced production. I use Eve Pearl's Tri-Fold Razor, but there are alternatives like the Tinkle razor found at professional industry beauty salons like Cinema Secrets or pharmacies. I love Eve's because it folds up for safety and it is compact for travel. These razors are also great for quick beard trim maintenance.
Waxing – is quick and easy, but you should not have your brows waxed if you are taking certain medications or using certain anti-aging skincare products. As with all invasive hair removal, waxing can be painful and leave your brow area swollen and red for several hours or even days after the procedure. This Pro personally experienced the unfortunate occurrence of some of my skin being removed from my upper brow bone area, which left healing scabs that were hard to cover up with makeup! Thank goodness the heavy bang was in style!
Threading – this method is newly popular in the United States, but it is a centuries old technique in India. Threading is when a practitioner uses thin, twisted cotton thread and rolls it over the untidy hairline, which “plucks” the hair at the follicle level. Unlike tweezing where you are removing a single hair each time, threading can remove an entire row of hair resulting in a straighter line. The top layers of your skin are not traumatized so threading is recommended as an alternative to waxing and if you are a Retin-A or Accutane user, this method is highly advised. Our Marketing Pro heard of this technique and was able to experience threading at the recent MakeUp Show in Los Angeles. She is not a good candidate for waxing and always plucked but never attacked her upper brow line. After watching several demonstrations, she gave it a go. With speed and clean accuracy, the esthetician downsized and shaped her brows dramatically. Like waxing, there is a bit of pain, stinging and swelling. However, it was well worth it and this Pro is a convert! The esthetician explained that threading hair removal lasts for approximately four to six weeks and that it does not pull on the skin so over time, there is less damage to the eyelid area where sagging can occur after years of waxing.
Laser – this method is incredibly expensive and over time is permanent . It is the leading-edge solution for eyebrow hair removal, especially if you tend to have very course, thick, heavy brows (some men prefer this method). Laser is absorbed best by dark hair so if you are blonde, light brown or red haired, you may need several sessions before you see results if any. There is a warming or sometimes burning sensation during your treatment, which is targeted to your lower sub-dermal tissue region. Your hair absorbs the laser energy, which overtime can alter the growth chemistry and disable hair’s natural growth. It takes several treatments before your hair follicle is totally altered and costs will vary depending on your esthetician’s establishment. You should not be able to grow your eyebrow hair back once your treatments are complete so observing eyebrow “trends” will be impossible.
Elke Von Freudenberg – this lady is one of the “eyebrow guru’s” referred to in the opening paragraph of this post. She specializes in custom brow shaping, correction and redesign. Shape is crucial and Elke thinks “your eyebrows should be as fashionable as you are.” You must check out her many “how-to” videos and instructional guides on her website www.themodelbrow.com. This Pro recommends purchasing her easy to use eyebrow kit and bookmarking her site for future reference. If you are lucky enough to be in the New York area, book an appointment with Elke personally at Janet Rufin’s Parlour or at Slope Suds Salon in Brooklyn. Many celebrities rely on Elke’s eyebrow expertise and this Pro utilizes her step-by-step methods when I need a refresher course in brow shaping, plus her easy to follow guide has helped me personally when my own eyebrows need some TLC.
Stores are flooded with products that can be used to fill in sparse brows or if you’ve got wicked with the tweezers and over plucked! Shadows, pencils, tints and gels are at your disposal and purchasing a waterproof formula is highly recommended to prevent fading during the day, but make sure you get the advice of a professional about color matching. This Pro's technique is to use up to three colors of shadow in the same pigment family, but in varying degrees of depth when filling in eyebrows. In theory, your eyebrows should be at least one shade darker than your hair color to give your face definition and in some cases, three shades darker is flattering.
TIPS AND TRICKS:
This Pro discourages at-home bleaching of brows and strongly advises that this method only be administered by a professional. If you are drastically changing the color of your hair (i.e., candy apple red or hot fuchsia pink), then it is recommended that you take advice from celebrity icons like Pink, who constantly changes her hair color, but keeps her brows neutral.