Think of your brows as face architecture. Well drawn eyebrows really do frame the face, attracting attention to the eyes and making them appear larger and more defined.
Brows should always be well groomed. Even ‘Brow Queen’ actress Brooke Shields plucks her strays. Make-up artist Carol Shaw suggests having your brows shaped by a professional first, to get the right arch, and then maintaining them at home, plucking stragglers that fall below the curve.
THE SECRETS OF A GREAT TWEEZE...
- Natural daylight is best, so sit near a window and use a hand-held magnifying mirror.
- Cleanse the area thoroughly, removing any last trace of cleansing product with toner or rosewater, so that the surface isn’t greasy.
- Using a brow pencil, draw in the brow’s natural line, to act as a guide and prevent over-plucking.
- Gently pull the skin of the outer edge of your eyebrow up and out so that you can see the browbone, and use it as a guide. Brows should extend a bit beyond each corner of your eyes, so don’t pluck too much from either end – and don’t pluck more than one hair at a time, or you’ll end up with bald patches.
- Pluck stray hairs first, using a sharp tweezer with fine points. Make-up artists all swear by Tweezerman.
- Always tweeze from underneath the brow, never the top, following the natural shape and plucking hair out in the direction it grows.
- Start at the middle of the brow and work towards your ear, then work from the middle in towards your nose. Make sure the arch is highest at the centre of your eye.
- Swipe tweezed brows with a cotton bud dipped in pure tea tree oil – nature’s perfect antiseptic.
- Be warned: continual plucking will eventually make the hairs grow more and more slowly, until they stop growing altogether. Avoid over-zealous plucking, because you’re bound to want to change the shape of your brows at some stage in the future – and you may not be able to grow them back.
- Should the colour of your eyebrows match your hair? ‘I prefer brows the same as hair or a little lighter,’ declares Carol Shaw. ‘If brows are much darker, you look like you’re scowling.’
- The late make-up genius Kevyn Aucoin always maintained that brows should be a couple of shades lighter than hair:
‘I take a cream bleach and apply it to the eyebrows, leaving it on anywhere from one to 15 minutes, depending how light I want them to be. I check by wiping the bleach from a tiny part of the eyebrows. Leaving it on too long can irritate the skin, so I err on the side of caution. If the skin is sensitive, I remove the bleach early. If I go too far in the other direction, the eyebrows can always be dyed back easily to their normal shade.’
- The ‘Scouse brow’ is also now popular, however: try darkening your brows with pencil, and see what it looks like in the mirror. If you like the effect, considering getting them dyed. (They’ll fade, but it can be lower-maintenance than daily pencilling/grooming.)
- To define brows, ‘Use light, feathery strokes whether you’re using a pencil – which shouldn’t be too soft – or powder, which you should apply with an eyeliner brush following the direction of the hairs,’ advises Mary Greenwell.
- Make-up artist Vincent Longo uses pencil first on brows, then matching powder shadow. ‘That fixes the brow for the whole day.’
- To highlight the browbone and define the brow, some make-up artists draw a line underneath the brow with a fat concealer stick, then blend it with a Q-tip.
- Many make-up artists prefer brow colour in powdered form, rather than a pencil, to get a softer and prettier finish. There are now special brow powders – try Estée Lauder and Chanel – which all have a higher wax content, for staying power.
- If you do want to use a pencil, look for one with a built-in brush, so you can groom any wandering hairs.
- Once you’ve made up your brows, you may want to use a special brow gel – although a touch of hairspray, sprayed onto a toothbrush and very lightly brushed through the brows, also does the trick.
If you can’t get to a salon for a first-time tweeze, make sure that your chosen brow shape suits your face:
1. If it’s round, aim the end of the brow towards the tip of the ear.
2. For an oval face, the brow should curve down towards the lower ear.
3. For a square face, slope it towards the middle of the ear.
4. For a long face, shape the brow in a straightish line towards the tip of the ear.