Enhancing Your Eyebrows

When I was younger, I plucked my eyebrows.  A lot.  In fact, they stopped growing back (except where I don’t want them to!) and are very thin and short.  I think my tiny eyebrows make me look older – and kinda mean, so I “enhance” them.  (Translation:  I draw them on.)  I hate having to do it, but I consider it a necessary evil to keep from looking, well…evil.  I try really hard to make them exactly alike, but as I was told by a Sephora associate “They’re supposed to be sisters, not twins.”  Still, I’d be happy if I had it down to a science and I could get them to be twins.  As it is, I usually have a starting point where they’re like my children – I love them both, even though they’re not the same.  (This is how I end up spending more time doing my brows than I do all the rest of my makeup.)  Enough rambling, here’s all the advice I have to give about eyebrows…

If You Must Pluck:  Only tweeze the hairs on the lower part of the brow.  You want your brows to be as high as possible.  Too-close-to-your-eye brows make you look older.  (This is why plastic surgeons sell “brow lifts”.)  Of course, if you have any stray hairs in the above-the-nose area, those have to go, too.  Nobody wants a uni-brow!

Find a Starting Point:  A good way to find out where you should start your brows is to do the following:   Take a long eye pencil (or whatever skinny object you can find) and place it alongside your nose.  Where the tip lands is where your brows should start.  You may be able to cheat a little bit if you want longer brows, but don’t go crazy.  You don’t want your eyebrows to look like they’re venturing into “uni-brow” territory.

Even Them Up:  If you have one brow that’s higher than the other (like I do!), you cheat by brushing the hairs in an upward direction with an eyebrow brush.  If they’re really fringy, trim the ends of the hairs with a tiny scissors (like the ones you find in a manicure kit).  Try not to “raise” your eyebrows the entire time you’re doing them.  This can exaggerate already-uneven brows.  Do a reality check throughout the process to make sure you’re getting them as even as possible.

Cheat Sheet:  If you’re not accustomed to doing your brows, brow templates can be helpful.  Several companies make them – some come in “eyebrow kits” with other products you may or may not find useful.  I like Anastasia Brow Stencils.  The kit contains 5 different stencil styles.  You just flip them over to do the other side.  The easiest way to use the stencils is to trace the outline of the stencil with a very sharp brow pencil.  Then, just fill in where you need to.  These do take some getting used to, so don’t expect your brows to be perfect on the first try.

Anastasia Eyebrow Stencils. $20 at Ulta stores and Sephora.com

Filling in the Blanks:  I know there are all kinds of brow-specific products out there, but I like the very inexpensive Cover Girl Brow & Eye Makers pencils.  They come in a decent variety of colors, hold up to sharpening, and are a perfect blend of waxy & smooth.  The only downside is that they don’t do much to “calm” hairs that want to stand up, so the difference between the area you draw in and the area that actually has brow hairs can be a little noticeable.  (Keep reading to find out how to minimize that problem.)

Cover Girl Brow & Eye Maker Pencils. Approx. $4. Available at drug stores and mass merchandisers.

Take a Step Back:  If you do your makeup in a “vanity” mirror that’s very close to your face, make sure you get a “big picture” glance at your work in a regular mirror.  Close up, you’re probably looking to make sure they’re even and filled in.  At a bit of a distance, it’s easier to notice the differences between the two so you can make adjustments.

Sealing the Deal:  When you’re totally happy with your work, you may want to consider sealing your brows.  This can be especially ideal if you live in a hot climate, have oily skin, wear large sunglasses, or are likely to forget you’ve “enhanced” your brows.  The last thing you want is brow pencil all over your forehead.  Unfortunately, the product I use to seal my brows (Benefit She-Laq) has been discontinued.  So, I don’t have a recommendation as to what to use.  I’ve heard Makeup Forever makes a good sealer, but I haven’t tried it.  The good thing about sealing your brows is that the sealer can create a more uniform  “sheen” when applied to natural hairs and drawn-in parts.  Also, the brush strokes can create a more natural hair-like appearance where you need it.

In Summary:  You’re not stuck with the brows you have. (or the brows you have left, in my case…)  Experiment with different styles (or change them with your moods) to enhance your overall look.  If you’d like some professional advice, find a Benefit Brow Bar in your area (some Brow Bars offer a free brow service on the week of your birthday) or see if your local Sephora, Ulta, or department store cosmetics counters have someone on hand to give you some tips.  Just make sure you get advice from someone whose eyebrows look good, not that chick whose eyebrows are so high she looks permanently surprised…

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