Thursday, September 2, 2010

Brow How

Do not underestimate the power of the eyebrows. An all too thin pair instantly adds years to a face and unkempt, ungroomed ones are totally inexcusable if you're way past your college years. Well-maintained brows frames and anchors the face, but a well-shaped customized pair may give the illusion of a slimmer nose and a slimmer face altogether. Having frequented Tokyo for my makeup training, I discovered something quite amazing, something I never really thought of when it comes to eyebrows: that you can change your expression with every occasion.
Japanese women are known to have purposely blunt-cut brows, almost as if the eyebrows stop growing right before the peak/arch. The reason behind this is that they can change the shape of their eyebrow, altogether changing their expression according to which best suits the occasion. For example, a square-shaped eyebrow would give the impression of seriousness at a job interview and a round-shaped one will give the impression of softness/femininity at a wedding or even a first date. Likewise, if one's features would be deemed as rather mousy or younger than their age, a square-shaped pair of eyebrows would give the impression authority, power and sternness. Features that are rather masculine? soften it up by going for a rounder shape. Same goes for a face that is rather round or plump, a square-shaped pair of eyebrows will instantly balance and give the illusion that's slimmer, so on and so forth.

Square shaped brows say "I'm strong, independent..."

L-R: Dakota Fanning, child-no-more, Angelina Jolie means serious business

Round shape brows say "I'm romantic, feminine.."

L-R: hottie Megan fox & romantic Drew Barrymore

The best form of eyebrow grooming is threading because it won't leave the skin sagging the way eyebrow waxing does throughout the years. Threading is able to take out hairs which the naked eye can't see or the tweezer can't pluck. Best of all, it takes less than 5 minutes if done by a skilled threader. Word of caution though, NOT all threaders are eyebrow threaders. A skilled or professional must understand eyebrow shape, the direction of the hair growth and is equipped with tools OTHER THAN thread. How can you spot a novice? if a session of eyebrow threading leaves your skin with tiny blood clots or patches of skin peeled out raw, bumpy & very blotchy. I would find another threader if I were you. Remember, the skin around the eye area is the most sensitive and thin-skinned part of the face. You can't risk damaging that area ever!

Eyebrow Threading

photo from

Getting your eyebrows groomed regularly leaves you a template to follow on your own in case you're too busy to get them done and cannot set aside time to visit the salon or spa. Here are several tools which will help you in maintaining groomed eyebrows:

Equip yourself with these...

Shu Uemura Eyebrow Brush & Slanted Tweezer by Tweezerman

Regularly combing your brows in the direction of the hair growth will not only set them in place but stimulate the growth of the hair as well. This will also prevent ingrown hairs and make it less painful to pluck or to thread. I like the eyebrow brushes that have a comb on the other side. The brush side is an awesome blending tool for when you have to fill them in later on. Pluck any stray hairs that grow back especially underneath the arch and in between the eyebrows (nobody looks good in a uni-brow, unless you're Bert from Sesame Street!). Slanted tweezers are just sharp enough to take out even as little as a stubble but not pointed enough to injure your eye area. Drop them and the tweezers are dead. Yes, that's right! Dropping your tweezers will disalign the prongs of your tweezer automatically making it less effective at plucking.

As a self-declared mascara freak, I'm always on the lookout for products that stimulate lash growth. Then one day it hit me, if a product is good enough to make lashes grow, then there's no rule that says it can't be used for the brows as well. If you're desperately trying to grow your eyebrows back, daily use of L'Oreal Lash Serum will speed up the growth of the hairs on your eyebrow. It really works for me! My threader as my witness, I now have to come in weekly as opposed to every 2 weeks to get my eyebrows done. She describes my eyebrows as "fuller" and "thicker".

L'Oreal Renewal Lash Serum

(good enough for eyebrows too!)

If your brows are already full, clear mascara or clear brow gel will yield a sleek, put-together finish even without any makeup. It not only sets hair but you can tame them into place without ever the risk of applying them too dark or the hassle of blending makeup altogether. Lucky you, bold eyebrows have made a comeback and they are here to stay! Full brows are the secret to maintaining a youthful appearance!

The Body Shop Clear Brow Gel

won't put a dent in your bank account!

The great thing nowadays about brows is that brands which are at the forefront of makeup and cosmetics realize that not everybody has the time or luxury to buy a truckload of makeup. Catering to the career-driven woman who's either got about 5 minutes tops to do her face or one who can't be bothered fussing over makeup, are the eyebrow multi-taskers. If your eyebrows are semi-full or have an ample amount of hair, need minimal filling in, then these one-stop shop must-haves are yours on-the-go:

Benefit Speed Brow Gel

Polished eyebrows in one sweep!

MAC Brow Set

Best-selling shades are Girl/Boy (reddish-brown) & Beguile (blondish-brown), comes in clear too!

Shu Uemura Eyebrow Manicure in Palm Beige

The cone-shaped pointed brush allows you to use it like eyebrow pencil!

It takes skill and some amount of practice to use the tinted eyebrow gels I mentioned above. I know a lot of women who still prefer eyebrow pencils. With a light hand and the right kind of pencil, anyone can achieve the "bold" eyebrow look that's back this season. Pencils are best for filling in bald spots, emphasizing arches and lengthening the tail.

Shu Uemura Eyebrow Liner in Seal Brown

The most universal brownish black you'll ever find, no sharpening required! retractable pencil comes with an angled brush on the other end!

Shu Uemura Hard 9 Eyebrow Pencil in Seal Brown or Acorn

sold as a regular pencil, trained Shu Uemura associates will sharpen this for free into a "dagger" shaped slant. Used flat for shading, tilted to the side to draw one hair at a time. Guess what? IT ONLY DRAWS ON THE EYEBROW AREA. (don't attempt to use as eyeliner! It won't draw on your eyelid!)

Benefit Instant Brow Pencil

A pencil+wax in one plus brush on the other end for combing hairs into place!

If you've got the blending time and have quite the technique with a brush, you can also achieve a soft full brow with dual powder formulas. The right angled brush plus a little bit of water allows an adjustable finish. Less water for stronger, more defined; more water for a sheer, more natural brow.

The Body Shop Eyebrow Kit

comes in two shades you can mix with a nifty angled+pointed brush that folds in half for storage!

Chanel Le Sourcil Eyebrow Kit

3 shades of powder+brush+angled brush+tweezers = all bases covered (this was my first ever eyebrow kit and I love it to this day!)

Benefit Brow Zings

tinted wax+powder to set+angled & rounded brush+tweezers for depth & definition

Bear a few things in mind when it comes to eyebrows:
  1. You can substitute a bit of hair spray on a mascara brush in place of clear eyebrow gel to tame unruly brows.
  2. No two eyebrows are alike & you'll only end up over-plucking them if you insist on getting them as symmetrical as possible. Pick the fuller brow and fill in the other one to make it look the same.
  3. Dab a bit of concealer underneath the eyebrow arch in case you didn't have time to pluck stray hairs. Doing this gives you that alert-alive-awake-enthusiastic appearance.
  4. Bleaching, dying, shaving & trimming should be left to the professionals. Enough said.
  5. Cosmetic tattoos should be the last option, remember that getting one will leave you marked for life.