I have an observational obsession… It’s eyebrows, more specifically, other people’s eyebrows. As a teenager of the late ‘90s I plucked my eyebrows to death as was the fashion. With the trend fixed on thin, delicate brows, my poor un-trained plucking skills left mine horrendously patchy and looking like some sort of crap Morse code.
From a distance you literally wouldn’t have known I had eyebrows, and I hadn’t yet learnt the art of using a brow pencil. I even knew a girl that would shave off her eyebrows to pencil them in higher. God only knows what they look like now.
Which is why, in my opinion, teenagers today have an easy ride (in fashion and beauty, but that’s another blog altogether). Leaving eyebrows relatively natural, there is no fear of being called caterpillar or mono-brow. Girls seem far savvier these days, well versed in threading etc. and brow grooming in general.
(Me and my bad, bad brows aged around fourteen/fifteen.)
However, with my eyebrows over the trauma of being 14 and tweezer happy and despite my joy of the Cara Delevingne thick eyebrow trend, I have concerns. Concerns for the stencil and brow powder epidemic.
Since the invention of HD Brows and brands offering an easy (ish) way to shape and maintain eyebrows (which I love and applaud by the way), there has been many a crime against beauty. An influx of girls looking like Helga from ‘Hey Arnold’ is sweeping the nation.
Of course if you have sparse or naturally thin or small eyebrows, shaping, tinting and encouraging growth is the way to go. I’m all for people using make-up or treatments to build or improve what they already have. However, if you’re super fair, don’t naturally have black hair and/or have delicate facial features, please don’t scrawl on massive jet black eyebrows that take over your face.
Also, unless you have a face like Elizabeth Hurley (which would be amazing), no-one’s face is symmetrical, which means your eyebrows aren’t going to be. Having large, perfectly symmetrical slugs for eyebrows can look a little odd, and well, creepy. Eyebrows are individuals and should be treated as such. For example, I have one with a very definite arch which I can give The Rock a run for his money with through the ability to raise it into my hairline. The other, far straighter and grows thicker.
I guess everyone has to learn the hard way and there’ll be many a teenager looking back at a Facebook or Instagram account in their thirties wondering what the hell they were thinking, like me and my no brow look. But come on. Step away from the brow powder.
Think about the shape of your face and facial features, the way in which your eyebrows naturally grow (the shape and size). Where they start and stop in relation to the inner corner of the eye and the end of the brow bone (they’re usually a full eye width long but you can extend this if you fall short or are sparse). If you’re going to go for a larger brow, trial it to see if it suits your face – don’t just slap it on.
Consider your skin tone and hair colour too, as this will determine your look. Never use a brow pencil in a solid line like you’re colouring with a Crayola, instead use short strokes at the inner corners following hair growth – angled up towards the arch and down. The idea is to create the illusion of hair, not to scream look at this massive block of colour on my face.
The same goes for brow powder using a firm angled brush.
As mentioned whichever method used, choose a colour that will complement your hair colour and skin tone – achieved using a shade lighter for a natural look or exactly the same for something more dramatic, but never darker.
In practice for brunettes this is any shade of dark brown, although for me lighter works better as I feel overdone otherwise. For blondes soft brown or taupe, redheads taupe, chestnut or auburn and for black hair dark brown or deep charcoal (as black can be a bit heavy or harsh).
There is literally an eyebrow shape to suit everyone, so please, please stop stencilling them in if you can. Practice and take your time with it. Eyebrows are as much a two second job as liquid eyeliner is a two minute job - never going to happen.
Get up earlier or be late! Eyebrows are sisters and not twins. Let’s all have a good brow day!