Good eyebrows maketh the face…
That’s probably etched in stone somewhere. It’s so true what they say, about brows framing the face – altering their shape can completely transform the way you look. We’ve all over plucked* at one stage in our lives (you remember, that time you never want to go back to!!) and felt the true weight of the word ‘transformative’. #neverforget
Over the years, I’ve tried it all: waxing, tweezing, threading, cream, just letting it grow free…
(That was an interesting time.)
Here is what I’ve learned from years in pursuit of the perfect brow:
Waxing: Most people see this as the never-fail option. When you’re in the hands of a professional, what can possibly go wrong? A lot, that’s what. Think about it: you are letting a stranger pour hot wax on your FACE. I once got serious burns that took two weeks to heal, with red, blistering sores on each eyelid. (I have a friend that experienced that during a Brazilian… Seriously, no words.) The most important thing here is to find a waxer you trust who uses good, safe, appropriately hot wax – and who comes recommended. It’s sometimes worth paying a little bit more and going less frequently so you know what you’re in for…
If you’re playing at home, test the wax on your wrist to check the temperature before applying to the face. Never wax the same spot more than twice in one session – the skin becomes super sensitive from the heat of the wax and, by over waxing, you risk ripping off layers of skin rather than just the hair. Even three or four wax strips in the same place can result in sores and scabs, and this can delay the next waxing session. Plus, it really hurts and turns red raw for, at best, hours (trust me, I’ve experienced it!!).
Tweezing: Less is more. It was an architect who coined the phrase, but it applies here too. Tweeze often but with caution, and remember that symmetry is key. Don’t go rogue – take it slow! It’s important to ensure that you have good lighting that illuminates both brows evenly, so that you can check your progression regularly as you tweeze. One trick I use (and that always works), is really helpful in showing where the eyebrow should start and end.**
Take a pen and sit it vertically at the outside of each side of the nose. Your eyebrow should start where that pen hits on the brow line. Then take the pen and put it at a 45 degree angle, starting at your nose and resting atop your cheekbone so that it reaches the outer edge of your eyebrow. This is where it should end. The arch (shape under the eyebrow) is really a matter of choice. If in doubt, see a professional once a month to get it shaped and then just tweeze any strays that pop up in between.
Threading: A lot of people are skeptical about this hair removal option. It can be really painful but, if you see an experienced threader, you’ll find it results in the best shape. It’s more precise than waxing and won’t leave any red markings, plus it’s over pretty quickly. It’s a little like small, constant pinches. I think the best eyebrow shaping I’ve ever had was from a threader, but my eyes watered the whole time. If you find your skin is sensitive and doesn’t react well to waxing, threading is a great option. They can pull out just single hairs or whole clumps in one pull, so a good balance of efficiency and accuracy.
It’s been around since Ancient Egypt (that’s how Cleopatra got her brows tweaked), so is a hair removal approach that’s definitely stood the test of time (ie. thousands of years).
Natural: Yep, like many out there, I jumped on the anti-maintenance bandwagon for several months a couple of years ago. If you have eyebrows you love, this is (obviously) the way to go but mine need taming ;)
Hair Removal Cream: I tried this once years ago and it worked, but it caused a reaction on my skin (and I also later found out that it can accelerate wrinkling and induce acne). I would avoid it, especially if you have sensitive skin… unless you’re in the mood for acne…?
Laser is the only one I haven’t tried on my brows, but I’m curious to hear if you have!
How do you keep yours in line? For me, it feels like I’m constantly plucking strays in between my monthly wax appointments…
*I have over plucked in every direction; from underneath, from the midline and from the outer edges. Trust me, super short eyebrows (or half a left eyebrow) is just as bad as a thin caterpillar eyebrow.
**Here are diagrammed instructions on how to shape your brows.