May 13th 2021
DIY brows: the treatments to try at home - and the ones to avoid
May 6th 2020 / 0 comment
Brows getting a little out of hand? From tinting to laminating and shaping, here's what to do
Some beauty treatments are easy to do at home - face masks? A doddle. Nails? Simple. Waxing? Just about manageable. Grey roots? Got it. But brows? They've been an unexpectedly hot topic on our Whatsapp groups. It seems that when it comes to brows, we're unrecognisable as the put-together women who went into lockdown and at a loss as to how to tackle them.
“Usually professionals would say don’t touch your brows between appointments but right not the rules are out the window,” says Treatwell’s eyebrow expert Shavata Singh. Whether you’re normally a HD Brows woman, a microblading convert, a fan of threading or have been dabbling in brow lamination, you'll probably are having to rethink right now. There are certain brow treatments that are fine to attempt at home and others that should be avoided at all costs.
Here's what the experts say:
How to tweeze your brows at home
Plucking is the easiest at-home brow grooming route to go down.
1. Make sure you have a good pair of tweezers
If you’ve been seeing a pro for years, chances are your tweezers are a bit dusty, so it could be worth investing in a new pair. “A sign of a good tweezer is the amount of pressure it takes to close the tips together,” explains Laurretta Power, senior brow expert for Benefit. “If you have to really grip and press hard to make the tips meet and grab the hair it’s time to move on and look for a new tool.”
A tight closure is especially important as brow hairs can have a light coat of oil on them and tend to be a little slippery, says Laurretta. She recommends Benefit's Slanted Tweezers, £17 while we've always been fond of the classic Tweezerman, £22.
Once you've invested, look after them. “Keep your tweezers in a safe place, not just thrown in your makeup bag. If you bang them around too much or drop them on a hard surface the tips will be thrown off-balance and it’ll make it more and more difficult to grab the hair.”
2. Use a full-face mirror
Before getting started Shavata recommends having two mirrors to hand; one magnifying mirror and one larger one for full-face. “Use the magnifying mirror when tweezing but keep checking the bigger picture in the larger mirror,” she explains. “It’ll help you keep things even.”
Laurretta agrees, adding: “Use a mirror where you can see both of your brows at once. Using only a tiny magnifying mirror should be illegal because you can only see a field of tiny hair versus the actual shape and what it’s doing for your entire face.”
3. Tweeze in the direction of hair growth
Once you get down to the actual tweezing, it’s essential to remove the hair in the right direction. “Each hair is connected to a tiny blood vessel that keeps it healthy and allows it to grow back when the hair is removed. If you tweeze in the wrong direction that vessel can be ruptured and the hair never returns,” says Laurretta. “You must hold the skin tight with one finger and then tweeze the hair in the direction it is growing. Typically that direction is upward or toward the temple, rather than straight out.”
It’s also key to remove one hair at a time rather than tugging out a bunch at once, according to Laurretta; this ensures you haven’t plucked the wrong one leaving you with patchy brows.
4. How to shape your brows
Eyebrow expert Patsy Kerr explains a simple brow shaping technique to Vogue Arabia.
To map out your brow shape – beginning, arch and end – take a pencil. Hold it against the bridge of the nose. This is where your brow should start.
"For your tail, hold the pencil from the outer edge of your nostril to the outer edge of your eye," Patsy says. "For your arch, point the pencil to the outer edge of the pupil."
Laurretta adds: "If you're not confident attempting to shape them, tweeze as little as possible to makes the brows look tidy and even - this will give a laid back, well-groomed look."
She advises only to tweeze underneath your brows and the space between your brows. "Never tweeze above the brows. There is more room for mistake and this will be more obvious than if you tweeze too much underneath."
If you have sensitive skin, put two wet cotton rounds in the fridge an hour or so before you get started and use these after your pruning session to reduce redness.
How to trim your brows at home
If you want to regain the shape of your brows without doing anything too drastic, trimming them is an option. "You'll need a spoolie brush and some straight scissors," says Shavata. "Brush all the hairs up - anything standing above the shape of your brow is what you trim. Make sure you use small snips - one big snip will give you a wonky line."
"Remember it's a trim, not a haircut," cautions Laurretta.
How to tint your brows at home
Brow tinting is relatively easy to get right at home with the correct products. The fact that Laurretta warns against home hair dye for this delicate job means that it's probably not uncommon. “The chemicals in hair dye are much stronger and it could end in disaster for your brows,” warns Laurretta.
Buy a brow tinting kit - Eylure Dybrow, £7.49 is good value - you can get up to 12 applications per tube and your brows should remain dyed for six weeks. You’ll also need water, cotton wool, cotton buds and Vaseline or balm.
1. Put balm around the brows
“Ensure your brows are clean and dry and start applying the petroleum jelly (Vaseline) on the skin around the brows where you don’t want the tint to go,” says Laurretta. “The Vaseline acts as a barrier to help prevent over staining the skin.”
2. Apply tint and leave for 3 minutes
“Mix the tint as per the instructions and brush tint through the brow hairs. Clean up the edges of your brows with the cotton bud and leave for around three minutes. To check how the colour has developed, remove a small section with a damp cotton wool pad. If you are satisfied with the colour, remove the rest of tint from your brows with damp cotton pads. If you’d like the colour to be a little bit darker, reapply a bit more tint over the area you removed, and wait another minute or so. Never leave the tint on for longer than five minutes.”
3. Alternatively use a coverup tint
Until you can get back to the salon try a brow gel (these are the brow gels we recommend) or for more coverage use a brow pomade and a waxy pencil for defining arches and evening out your brow. Blink Brow Bar's Ultimate Arch Definer, £22, is a failsafe option.
Should you wax your brows at home?
The professionals don't advise it. “I would never recommend waxing facial hair without training as so much can go wrong," warns Lauretta. We're talking hot wax burning and dripping where you don't want it. “It takes lots of training and practice and there’s a lot to know when it comes to doing it safely.”
On top of that, adds Vanita Parti, CEO and founder of Blink Brow Bar “wax will not allow you to get the shape that you need.”
How to do brow lamination at home
Brow lamination took the beauty world by storm earlier this year, putting straightened-style fluffy brows firmly on the map. This salon treatment uses a perming solution to fix brows in place. We strongly advise against buying this online. Professional formulas should only be wielded by trained hands.
Instead, soap brows (yes, putting soap on your eyebrow) offer a very similar effect and are risk-free. Here’s how to do soap brows for a laminated brow look from home. All you need is a bar of soap and a spoolie or brow blender and you're good to go.
How to thread your brows at home
While we have a few friends who have mastered the knack of self-threading, it certainly looks to be one of the most difficult brow-shaping techniques to master at home, but Vanita (the woman who brought threading to the UK high street) says it is possible, athough practice on your leg hair first til you have mastered the technique.
She doesn't recommend trying to shape your brows via threading, rather using it to remove stray hairs. "Leave the shaping to the experts unless it’s absolutely necessary and can’t wait," says Vanita. "In which case, take it slow, one hair at a time and keep to the boundaries of your brows."
You can't beat Youtube for threading videos. This one by Ami Desai is one of the clearest and has had 2.4m views.