22 Jan 2010

TT#1: The Brows Have It (repost)

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Makeup is a very tricky art. Aside from having a living organ for a canvas, it’s also one that requires you to make sure that every aspect of the process – from foundation to lipstick – is explainable, and justifiable. No one likes accidents, no matter if  they’re pleasant ones, on their faces.

One of the trickiest parts of the makeup process is the construction of the eyebrows. Many makeup jobs have been either praised or ruined purely on the basis of brow structure. It can be the best friend you can have, and might also be the worst enemy to your final look. Yes, the eyebrows are that important.

The key to perfect brows is to understand that they are the basic framework of the face. They make even the most made-up face look unfinished if poorly executed. Inversely, a fresh face with barely any make up on will look polished as any makeup can with the addition of perfectly groomed, tweezed, and filled in brows.

Much as any makeup requirement is tailor-fit to the client, the same is true for the eyebrow. So instead of telling you what your brows should look like, I will just list down what steps need to be done in order to achieve the perfect eyebrow for you.

1.) Consult a pro. Find out what your brows need professionally, especially if you’re having your brows done for the first time, or if you’re one of the millions of people who have absolutely no idea what to do with those hair pieces directly above your eye. Never start touching your brows without a battle plan, and a professional will give you the necessary tools and tricks to prepare your for such a crusade.

2.) Follow the curve of your eyes. Naturally shaped brows never veer away from the shape of your own eye.

figure 1

The eyebrow should start ideally at the same point where your inner eye area starts [see figure 1] and should GRADUALLY arch to its highest point directly on top of the iris (to find out how to determine this spot, get a pencil, place it at the middle of your lower lip, and should pass against the edge of your nose as well; the angle reaching the brow is the angle of the highest point of your brow [see figure 2]).

figure 2

The edge of the brow, on the other hand, is determined the same way the arch is determined, though this time, instead of the iris, move the pencil to the outer edge of your eye, still passing through the edge of the nose, and starting at the middle point of your lower lip [see figure 3].

figure 3

3.) Draw the brow you like, with Step #2 as a guide, using a white eyeliner. This will expose the unwanted hair that is up for removal and will make it easier for you to remove it as opposed to using your imagination from the beginning.

4.) Tweeze, wax, thread, or all of the above. This is the fun part (for the tweezer) and the worst part (for the tweezee). Tweezing is the easiest, most accessible way of grooming brows, but waxing and threading have proven to be wonderful alternatives to keeping the eyebrows clean. Choose your weapon of choice, but if you tweeze: tweeze one hair at a time; if waxing: be careful not to place the hot wax on areas that should not be removed; if threading: have a professional do it, cause it is virtually impossible (though not improbable) for someone to thread their own brows. The key though is to take your time. Relax, and always keep on looking at your brow after each hair is removed so you’re aware at its development at each step. And NEVER shave. Though it is the fastest and most painless way of removing those unwanted stray hairs, you wouldn’t want your brow area to achieve a 5-o’clock shadow look 2 days after. Shaving also allows for ingrown hair to happen, more than tweezing, waxing & threading.

5.) Alternate your grooming from left to right brows. Don’t finish one brow first, then move on to the next. Trust me: it is easier to keep them looking the same if you alternate grooming them. If you finish one brow before the other, you are forced to follow the shape of the finished brow, whether or not your happy with it.

6.) Keep brows fairly thick. Remove only stray hairs. Thin brows make one look too surprised and old (think Louise Brooks’ 20s flapper look), and it is easier to fix misdiagnosed eyebrow shapes if we still have hair to work with.

7.) Use a soft brow powder filler instead of eyebrow pencils. Pencils, if unused properly, tend to give out a severe structure, aside from containing wax, which makes the brow finish shinier and more fake. Use brown or deep mocha eyeshadows instead, and fill in only the areas that need filling.

8.) Use a brow finisher, like clear mascara or brow groomer. If your locks need hairspray, gel, or wax sometimes, so does the brow, to keep it in place. A little of this goes a long, long way.

9.) Keep brow colors within the same color family as your hair color. So if you have brown hair, have your professional hairstylist bleach your brow to match the hair. The intention here is to make it all look natural. Nothing looks more fake than brunettes having black eyebrows, or deep black hair having bleach-blonde eyebrows.

10.) Maintain your brows 2-3 weeks after each grooming session. By this time, sparse little hairs will start to creep in. Take them out immediately, making sure though that you don’t touch the areas if the main brow shape.

11.) Exclusively For The Boys: you only need to remember 3 very important things: a) make sure that there is NO hair in between the brows; nothing is more unflattering and un-human-looking as a unibrow (yes, even Frida Kahlo, with her immense talent, still looked Neanderthal with her unibrow – refer to figure 1 to know where the brow should start, and anything beyond that point should be removed; b) it is okay to remove stray hairs especially if they are near the actual eye, just as long as you practice prudence; clear away all hair near the eyes but at the same time, keep some of the wispy directional ones to create a natural look; and c) if needed, trim the hairs themselves, because no one wants their brows to look like overgrown weeds.

Here are examples of how men’s brows should look like:

examples of men’s brows

And for a more in-depth discussion, here’s a video you can check out:

YouTube Preview Image

There you go! Perfect brows are easier to attain than you think. So go ahead, and start plucking!

(I would like to thank my most handsome beebee Nico Nicomedes for providing the illustrations for today’s Tuesday Tip. Check out his website here.)

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