Monday, May 26, 2008

Brow Business

happy memorial day everyone!!! i hope you're all doing something very fun and have enjoyed the 3-day weekend. today i'm going to be discussing one of the most important parts of getting your makeup right, and that's making sure your brows look fierce! i know that a LOT of people don't bother with their brows and that is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. for a very long time i didn't define my own brows, and i can't tell you what a HUGE positive difference it made when i learned how to do them correctly. if, like myself, you ever watch QVC, you'll see a lot of before and after pictures of the models with their brows done while they're demo-ing brow products, and i have yet to see a model that didn't look 50 times better in the after picture. not only does defining your brows frame your face and showcase your eyes, but it makes you look more polished and gives your face a noticeable life (especially important for anyone worried about looking a little bit older).

first off on the mission to get gorgeous brows is, of course, making sure they're the right shape and having them correctly groomed. if you've never plucked your brows and they're completely au naturale, i would strongly recommend going and getting them professionally shaped. it will only take a few minutes and cost under $20, and that way you will have a beautiful shape that you can easily maintain at home by plucking away the stray hairs. once you have a flattering shape, it's not hard to keep them up, it's getting the shape in the first place that can be very scary! the picture to the right shows a before and after of a well shaped brow. the lines that are going across the picture show you how to line up where your brow should be, and you can do this easily using a long eyeliner pencil or regular pencil, too. grab a white eyeliner pencil (Wet'n'Wild makes a cheapie one for under a dollar) and make a mark where your brow should be, then you can go back and tweeze away the strays that don't fall into the lines. some commonly made mistakes? plucking too far into the start of the brow, putting your arch in the wrong place, and just plucking too much overall. see this is why it's a good idea to get a professional to help you if you're starting off with brows that resemble Pai Mei from Kill Bill!

once you've gotten a beautiful brow shape, the best way to keep it up is with a pair of quality tweezers. now i must confess, for years and years i thought that it was incredibly foolish to pay more than 99 cents for a pair of cheapie Walgreen's tweezers. i mean, come on, tweezers are tweezers, right?! WRONG. i was SO wrong! and until i got my first pair of Tweezerman Animal Print Slant Tweezers, you couldn't have convinced me otherwise. but the difference is, with a pair of good tweezers, you can grab the teensiest of tiniest brow stubble and you never break the hair off mid-shaft, and they are just so precise and last forever! i highly recommend investing in a pair of Tweezerman tweezers, they have a million different kinds for every different plucker, and they even sharpen them for free anytime you'd like!

now that you have your brows shaped and the tools to keep them looking gorgeous, it's time to define them and fill them in. now don't let the thought of this scare you, i'm definitely not recommending that you paint on Joan Crawford-esque brows, i hate too dark brows and think they make a person look harsh and old, but accentuating your brows subtly can make the most beautiful difference! i flip-flop back and forth between loving pencils and powders with waxes, and i'd recommend them both, just pick the one you feel most comfortable using. and believe me, you don't have to spend a ton of money for a nice brow products, i have found fab ones for under $5 that i love just as much as the ones for $25! one of my favorite brow do-it-all kits is Benefit's Brow Zings, $28 (pictured to the left). it includes a brow powder, wax, two brushes and a pair of mini tweezers to keep in your purse! how cute is that?! it comes in 3 colors, Light, Medium, and Dark. the problem i've found with Brow Zings is that the Light version that i own seems to be on the warmer side, i know when i had my natural hair color of dark dishwater blonde i had to be very careful that my brows didn't come out too reddish looking. now that my hair is dyed dark auburn my Brow Zings is perfect, but i would definitely test this one out first if your have ashy blonde or cool brown hair. it might not work so well for you. if you're trying to save some of your hard-earned money, i would also highly recommend the Sephora Brand Eyebrow Palette, $12 (at right). it's basically a knock-off of Benefit Brow Zings, except it's missing the tiny tweezers. i had this one before Brow Zings and i have to say, i think it's just as good, and given the opportunity i might just buy this one and skip the Brow Zings because it's basically the same exact product for a whole hell of a lot less!

if pencils are more your thing, try out the Chanel Le Crayon Sourcils Precision Brow Definer, $28 (pictured at left). now i know that $28 is insanely expensive for an eyebrow pencil, but there's just something about this one that i can't exactly explain that makes it beyond fabulous! the taupe shade, which i own, would be perfect for anyone with hair ranging from platinum blonde to medium brown to red to gray. it stays on so well thanks to it's long-wearing, vitamin E enriched formula, and comes with a little mascara spoolie on one end so you can pencil in and then blend without searching through your stash for a separate eyebrow brush. the texture of the pencil is kind of on the harder side, but this is a positive thing, because i find that with some of the really soft eyebrow pencils it's easy to overdo it. with the Chanel pencil, you can really get in there and mess around without having to worry about coming out with crazily overdone brows. it also helps if you're a brow beginner since it's easy to use, and the fact that the pencil isn't super soft means that it will last a long, long time. a great cheaper alternative to the Chanel pencil is Prestige's Eyebrow Pencil, $3.45 (at right, available at drugstores). this is actually the very first brow product i tried and thankfully, i happened to pick a great one! the Taupe is a nice, natural color, the formula wears well and the brush on one end works nicely to blend the pencil into your brows for a perfect look.

a few tips i try to follow when doing my brows? use a light touch, you can always add more but it's much harder to take away excess product. but isn't that the golden rule of all makeup application? and when it comes to plucking and filling in your brows, stick with your God-given shape. a fuller, more natural brow not only always looks best but is very "in" right now! just get rid of the strays that grow under your natural browline and keep your arch looking clean. and never, no matter what, shave your eyebrows! i mean not even as a quick touch-up! yuck! step away from the mirror before things get close to that!

any favorite tips for doing eyebrows you'd like to share with me? what are you favorite brow products? let me know in the comments!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the suggestions on brow products. I desperately need them.

My problem has to do with almost all of my eyebrows falling out.
Granted, I do have hyperthyroidism which I take medication to control. also, I am prescribed Adderall which tends to cause hair loss in me.

The real brow loss began, though, in earnest, when I started using the drugstore eyebrow pencils to fill in my sparse brows. By the end of one week of using eyebrow pencils, ALL of my brows had fallen out. It was one depressing site, I can assure you.

Sorry I didn't have a real "tip" to offer - other than to caution women who have a problem with hair falling out easily to avoid drugstore brow pencils and to avoid a heavy hand with the brow pencil since it dislodges the brow hairs.

Do you think there is a toxic ingredient contained in certain drugstore pencils that might be contributing to this problem? I am curious as to what your opinion might be on this topic.