March 21, 2011

Monday Beauty Blog-*Special Request Blog* Brows

Wednesday of StyleWeek was our American Heart Association Fundraising Show The "Go Red Challenge". It was an inspirational evening where survivors of heart disease modeled gowns designed by StyleWeek’s Designers.  For this special evening, the makeup team’s only directions were to make these amazing women feel beautiful as they walked down the runway. And they did a brilliant job! It was an honor to be part of the evening, and I look forward to being part of future fundraisers.
Courtesy of Daniel Gagnon

This however did leave me with a bit of a quandary as to what this week’s blog should be about. So I posted on facebook and twitter asking for requests. The first real request I received was quickly approved by a number of other readers, and that was for a blog about brows. Brows it is!

A wise makeup artist friend of mine said once “If the eyes are the windows to the soul, than our brows are the drapes.”  I have quoted this many times. Anyone who has worked with me has heard me say it often. And everyone knows a room looks unfinished without window dressings, so does a face.

I whole heartedly believe that how one chooses to groom their brows is a personal choice. But just like we know that an “I’m With Stupid” t-shirt is not haute couture, we know a bad brow when we see one.
The over done 90's brow

Personally, I would rather see a completely natural untouched, and perhaps unruly brow, than the over-tweezed pencil thin brows of the nineties, or even worse, the heartbreakingly over done brow that bears more of a resemblance to a sperm than an eyebrow.
One of the scariest brows ever

So what makes a good brow? Thick or thin, round or angled, if you follow a basic formula, everything else is just preference.

The formula is simple; first draw a line up from your nostril straight toward your forehead. This is the starting point for your brow. Then if you draw a line starting at your nostril through your pupil and extending out, that is where your arch begins.  Finally draw a line from your nostril out toward your temple. The end of your brow will meet with this line. Your brow should be fullest at the beginning of the brow and then taper to a point at the end.

As far as which shape is right for you; before you whip out the tweezers and wax, grab an eye liner pencil and a mirror. Yup eye LINER pencil. Brow pencils are perfect for filling in your brows but for this you want the softness and pigment of an eye liner. If you have dark brows grab a beige or white pencil. If you are light haired go for a darker colored pencil. Have some makeup remover close by, and just start playing with shapes using the above formula. Once you have found your chosen brow shape, either start plucking or if it calls for an overhaul you may need to bring in a professional.
Classic Brow Shape

Rounded Brow Shape

*WARNING* If the person about to shape your brows has bad brows themselves, flee!
The likelihood that their bad brows will be contagious is pretty significant.

Of course many of us have already wreaked havoc on our brows and may have to grapple with the unpleasant growing back in period. If your brows are over-plucked and you need to endure regrowth, the easiest way is to artfully fill in what little brow you do have, and just pluck stragglers. Though, for many, this is easier said than done. One of the most important things to do is to stay clear of magnifying mirrors. Tweeze only the most flagrant offenders, and leave the rest alone. The best way to fill in your brows (something I have to do daily, as I have almost no brows at all, and what little I have are quite blonde) is to create and fill in your brow shape with a brow pencil, and yes this time use a BROW pencil (I like Laura Mercier, Kevyn Aucoin, and Nars). Do this with light sketching motions. Short strokes will mimic hair; it is the best way to avoid that “drawn on” look. Pick a color about a shade lighter than your hair if you are light skinned, so your brows don’t appear too heavy. You can stop here and set with a clear brow gel (I REALLY don’t care for tinted brow gel, too much risk for gloopiness). For many of us this is plenty.

If you want to have an even more polished look; after you fill in with pencil, go over the brow with a brow powder. This gives a more dramatic elegant look that works very nicely with a smoky eye. It also adds balance to a nude face with a strong red lip. After filling in with the powder, again set with clear brow gel.

I hope this helps those who feel “brow challenged”. The most important thing to remember is all mistakes are fixable. Nothing is forever. And it is only makeup.

Have fun designing the drapes, for those windows!

Next week, I will tell you all about the frosty beauty behind Kelly Eident and her “I’m Your Present” show.

Send you questions and requests to

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