A How-To on Harnessing the Power of Your Eyebrows
Ever since Ponce de León’s mission to find the Fountain of Youth turned up diddly, mankind has been resigned to the fact that growing old is inevitable. Considering the billions of dollars thrown at the global beauty industry each year, though, it seems we’re still not quite as comfortable with the notion of actually looking older.
Interested in presenting an air of youth? Then perhaps it’s time to take an inquisitive look in the mirror to see what your eyebrows are saying about you.
“I think brows frame the face,” started Stacy Agerton, an esthetician and brow expert at the Avantgarde Salon Spa location in Miramar Beach, “so it’s very important to pay attention to them during your morning beauty routine. Eyebrows really impact a person’s appearance. Well maintained brows can lifted and brighten your face.”
If you haven’t been paying attention over the last millennia or so, you might figure that today’s trendy fuller eyebrow started with the modeling industry’s newest darling, Cara Delevingne. Those with longer memories can trace the casual-cool look back to the 1980s, when Brooke Shields rocked her bushy arches all the way to the cover of Time magazine. In the mid ’70s, the late Margaux Hemingway made the look all her own with her strong yet casual eye-enhancing coiffure. While these champions of style certainly furthered the importance of eyebrows along in the beauty chronicles of history, they hardly put them on the map. That distinction dates back to ancient Egypt, to the likes of Nefertiti (1370–1330 B.C.) and Cleopatra (69–30 B.C.). For eons, ancient Egyptians were in the habit of keeping their persons completely devoid of hair. After the removal process was complete, men and women alike took to painting on a thick, black, sculptured brow with galena (a lead-based mineral) to create an intense look and to pay homage to their falcon-eyed god, Horus. Later, in ancient Greece as well as Rome, unibrows on women were considered the utmost in femininity. Wealthier members of the Roman Empire could afford to use tree resin to adhere dyed goat’s hair to their brow bones to obtain a fuller look. After experiencing a brief period of disconnect during the Elizabethan era — when the fashion of the day for ladies consisted of removing eyebrow hair entirely, as well as plucking one’s hairline back to create the once-coveted egg-head shape — big brows made their first major appearance in the New World, circa 1700. Along with their powdered dos, proper ladies favored the soft and voluminous appearance of gluing mouse fur to their eyebrows. These days, while pasting rodent pelt to one’s face is a bit taboo, bold brows are once again all the rage.
1. Know what to look for. To find everyone’s own uniquely perfect brow, makeup artists and waxing professionals such as Agerton subscribe to a readily available formula that focuses on the angles of the face and eye.
Starting at the nostril, begin by following an invisible line straight up the face to determine the proper placement of the innermost corner of the brow. To get the arch of the brow just right, align the highest point (remember, not too high now) with the outer corner of the iris. Most artists agree that individual brow length should always follow the shape of the eye — extending ever so slightly beyond the edge of your eye.
2. Start with a clean canvas. Tweezing is acceptable, but for best results, experts recommend getting regular monthly brow waxings. Not only will this ensure symmetry, it will removes any peach fuzz that might fly under your magnifying mirror’s radar.
“I think having a brow expert maintain the shape of your eyebrows is so important,” said Agerton. “It helps to keep that polished look.”
Explain to your waxing professional the look you’re going for. Much like the hair salon, pictures never hurt.
3. Brush, trace, brush. Brush brows with a spoolie — a little round brush that looks like a mascara wand. Trace the bottom line of brow with a fine-pointed brow pencil, emphasizing proper arch placement, as per the formula. Continue to the desired length, following the natural shape of the eye socket. Brush again.
4. Find the right color. There aren’t any hard-and-fast rules about what color your brows should be: Marilyn Monroe was beautiful with a striking contrast between her blonde hair and ultra-dark brows, and fashion designer Marc Jacobs caused a stir earlier this year when his runway models all had bleached brows. But for a natural look, choose a brow color that’s a shade or two darker than your hair and stick with colors that match the tone of your hair (cool with cool, warm with warm).
5. Fill, fluff, feather. Beginning at the innermost point, fill your entire brow in with light, feathery strokes. Over time, hair loss can gradually occur, giving eyebrows a sparse and tired look. These strokes are what give the brows their full, youthful appearance, so it’s important to be meticulous.
Once brows are filled, brush and fluff again.
Expert tip Consider switching to a brow pomade (such as Anastasia Beverly Hills, DIPBROW Pomade — $18 locally at Sephora and Ulta) for a youthful, fun and fuller brow.
6. Highlight for effect. To fix any imperfections, trace the bottom of your brows with a highlighting pencil. For brows that really pop, highlight both top and bottom
7. Almost done. For the final touches, brush brows once more. For a look that will last all day, finish with a clear holding gel.