Like a frame encloses a picture – our eyebrows frame our face. Without them, our faces would seem a bit expressionless. A well-defined eyebrow can do more for your appearance than the lushest lashes, or the plumpest lips.
The “perfect brow” has changed over the decades as these Hollywood beauties show. Guess who.
The perfect brow has changed appearances over decades. In the ’20s and ’30s it was thin and round, almost a semi-circle; in the ’40s and ’50s it was thicker and exaggerated – think Joan Crawford and Lucille Ball. By the ’80s Brooke Shields made a statement with brows that were slightly bushy, brushed upward and held in place with product.
Starting in the 90s and into this millennium, the perfect brow is the natural brow. Ideally it should start at the inner corner of the eye, arch at the center and get thinner as it slopes down from the arch, ending at the outer corner of the eye. Its thickness or thinness depends on the texture, and ranges from coarse to fine.
If you have abundant brows, keeping them perfect is easy. Tweezing is better than waxing. Even the thickest and coarsest brows have a fragile root, and over time, waxing can retard the growth. However, waxing is great for in-between the brows, to avoid the dreaded uni-brow. Tweezing should almost never be done at the top of the brow, but rather from underneath, the side closest to the lashes. If some hairs are long and unruly, brush them up toward the hairline and cut them with a small scissors. Hold the scissors vertically not horizontally, to avoid cutting the hair too bluntly. Blunt hair won’t blend back into the rest of the brow easily.
If you have skimpy brows getting them to look well defined is more challenging. Sometimes over-tweezing, age or fine hair will cause the brows to be sparse and have spaces where there should be hair. You can fill these spaces with a variety of products sold in drugstores and designer cosmetic lines. Powdered brow fillers, which are very common, are available in many shades. They are used with a stiff, angled brush and the color is applied into the spaces where the brow hair is thin, or even to add color to brows that are a pale shade. However, powdered brow products don’t last as long as pencils, and if used improperly the powder will end up in places other than the brow.
If you use a pencil it must be a brow pencil. Brow pencils are drier and less waxy than eyeliner pencils. Maybelline brow pencils have been around for decades and are available in all chain drugstores. They’re inexpensive and come in a variety of colors. The blonde is a great choice for those with blonde to medium brown hair. The pencil is also available in dark brown, charcoal grey (great for those with black or almost black hair – since black is too harsh) and auburn. Shu Uemura makes a pencil in five shades that is formulated to release pigment when applied to the brow.
The secret to using a pencil is to make short strokes – almost as if you were drawing on tiny hairs. Make these short strokes in the opposite direction of the hair growth. This will assure that the brows never look drawn on. The cosmetic company, Make Up For Ever, has created a waterproof, brow corrector cream in a tube. It comes in several shades and should be applied with a small brush. It’s great to add color to light brows, fill in spaces, and will keep brows defined even while working out or swimming – assuring your face is always well framed.
Janet Flora writes lifestyle and beauty features, and is a former contributor to Make-up Artist and Health magazines. A creative writing teacher and fiction writer, she spends her time in New York and Sag Harbor.