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Friday, September 21, 2012

The Eyebrows Have It

"I had a lot of dates but I decided to stay home and dye my eyebrows." ~Andy Warhol


Let's talk eyebrows.

Eyebrows are very important to the face- I would argue that they're possibly the most important feature. As far as I'm concerned, eyebrows represent most of the character in a face. They are also the feature that most expresses our emotion.  Well groomed brows give a face a great deal of it's strength and vitality- without them one often looks older, tired and washed out. Good brows also give one a more 'polished' appearance. Don't believe me? Take a look at the pictures of the beautiful Angelina Jolie below- some not-very-nice person (NOT me) created a picture of her without eyebrows and indeed- she is not her usual gorgeous self without them. Some might say she looks downright scary.  


See? Told you how important brows are. You'll very rarely see a celebrity without her brows 'done.'

Doing your makeup- no matter how 'natural' the intended look- without doing the brows- is much like going to all the trouble to make a perfect pot of soup from scratch and not bothering to add any seasoning.  I see women all the time who've done complete makeup…except for their brows.  I just don't get this.  There's lots of different ways of doing them- from as naturally as possible to the over-the-top glamour puss stenciled-on look. That is where your personal style and aesthetic come in. Do whatever suits your style, just be sure not to overlook your brows.

If you're over 30 or so take a look at pictures of yourself when you were in your late teens and early 20s- chances are your brows were more defined, stronger. Even at this early age it's important to tweeze the brow to give it shape, and to fill any gaps.  As we age most of us will experience thinning brows, so filling in the gaps becomes more important. Also as we age the shape may become less defined, and so may also need more attention. Take into consideration that as we age our coloring usually softens a little bit to quite a bit, so you have to adjust the color you use accordingly- if you have anything other than black hair - and maybe even if you do have black hair- there's a good chance you'll need to use a lighter color on your brows than you would have when you were in your teens or early 20's.  If you're one of the lucky ones who's brows haven't thinned, you'll still need to tweeze to maintain good shape, and trim where necessary.

Now let's talk proper definition of eyebrows.  Over the years I've come across two standard approaches, both of which are represented below. In both the starting point of the brow is determined by where a line going straight up from the outside edge of your nose meets your brow. And in both the end point of the brow is determined by where a straight line starting from the same place on the nose going past the outside edge of your eye again meets your brow.  Where they differ is in how one should determine where to place the arch. In the image on the left, one should start with the line again at the outside edge of the nose, go up past the outside edge of the pupil and place the arch where the line meets the brow.  The image on the right suggests while looking straight ahead, see where a straight vertical line going up from the outside of the iris meets the eyebrow.  On many people these two options are going to give you at least a slightly different place for the arch; one of them, or some place in between them, will most likely suit your face, and your style, perfectly. 


The way I was taught is to start with a pencil and define the shape- find your starting point, your arch, and your end point, and 'sketch' them in with short, gentle strokes. I have fairly soft coloring, and am picky about what pencil I use- the only one I like is one made by Anastasia- keep trying until you find the brand you like. The next step is to fill in any sparse areas- for this the easiest method is a powder. You can use one made for that purpose, or you may find that a matt eye shadow is a less expensive and equally effective alternative. Whatever works for you. This powder should be applied with a brush designed for the purpose; it's a small, angled brush available at beauty supply stores or your local Sephora. Or look online. At this point, should you find that you've gone too dark or heavy, you can use a spoolie- it's a little brush that looks exactly like a mascara wand and can also be found at a beauty supply store- or just use a clean toothbrush, and gently brush the brow to soften the pencil and powder to your liking. The last step is an eyebrow gel. This can be a clear gel just to help 'set' the eyebrow hairs in place, or one with color- which ever your prefer. Again, I like the Anastasia line of gels. For the budget conscious there's an old models trick; spray your clean toothbrush with a little hairspray and brush through your brows to set them in place.

If you're not familiar with eyebrow makeup you can go online and look up Anastasia, or go to a department store, beauty supply store or Sophora and ask about their products. Even if you find you don't need any new products it can be a good learning experience. It's time to shop, and play with makeup - woo-hooooo!!

Happy Dressing!