October 24th 2014
How to shape your perfect eyebrows
March 12th 2013
Coveting Cara Delevingne's big brows? Ayesha Muttucumaru talks eyebrow shaping with the experts
Model of the moment Cara Delevingne is the face of the new power brow and it’s one trend that we can’t get enough of. However, if like us you’re looking to jump on the bushy brow bandwagon, let us clarify that we don’t intend to forge an army of Cara clones (because, let’s be honest, we’d all look a bit ridiculous if that was the case). It’s about creating amazingly individual, immaculately groomed, full, strong, natural brows that match your particular face shape, balance out your features and make the most of what you were born with.
According to make-up artist Kay Montano, the craze for preened and plucked brows is the result of cultural influences and personal taste. “Culturally, there is a trend for groomed brows, but in fashion, you’re meant to leave them alone as they’re the ones that naturally fit your face”. She adds, “Take Kate Moss for example. She has naturally thin eyebrows, but her beauty comes from the combination of all of her features and how they work together.” Once you tamper with one element, it can disrupt the whole equilibrium of your face.
Vanita Parti, founder of Blink, also agrees that less is more. “When it comes to brows, I believe it is not so much about following a trend but making the most of your natural brows.”
So how do you master the perfect brow for you? Whether you’re an eyebrow-shaping virgin, or an active member of over-pluckers anonymous, we’ve spoken with the pros to bring you the best tips, tricks and techniques of the trade on shaping, grooming and maintenance without a Scouse brow in sight. Pencils at the ready ladies, your eyebrow masterclass is now in session…
Lesson 1: Shape
If you’re a brow-shaping novice, take heed before you tweeze and please don’t even think about touching your natural brow shape unless under the supervision of a professional. The best way? According to Vanita, “We always encourage growing the brows as fully as possible and then define by shaping with threading. The correct shape is essential so that the brow is balanced and the height of the arch right for the shape and contours of your face. Threading will accentuate the natural arch around two thirds along the length of the eyebrow, framing your face and widening the eye area.”
So how exactly does threading work? Originating in Asia, this ancient technique of hair removal uses a cotton piece of thread held at three points by the technician (the mouth and their two hands) which is then rolled over the desired area. As it moves across the skin, the twisting strands pull out the hair follicles from the root, allowing for greater precision and resulting in a cleaner, neater finish that has often eluded many other methods of hair removal. Results can last up to four weeks and the hair grows back finer each time that you have it done too. That’s a good enough reason to pack away the tweezers.
Lesson 2: Maintenance
In the event that you’re in between threading sessions, and can’t resist removing those few pesky strands before a big night out, you may be allowed on the odd occasion to bring your tweezers out of retirement. Just make sure that they’re good quality ones, such as Tweezerman’s Animal Print Slant Tweezer, £22, or Shavata’s Slanted Tweezers, £19.50.
Here are Vanita’s top tips for at home plucking:
1. Beforehand, make sure you draw a perimeter around your brows with a white cosmetic marker. It is so easy to get pluck happy and this will remind you how far you can go. Remember to keep the fullness and the length and only get rid of unsightly strays.
2. Use a pencil that is a slight shade darker than your natural colour to fill in, this will even them out and add impact. However when at home don't try and create volume where there is none but work on the shape and balance of your brows. Remember the mantra ‘enhance rather than enlarge.’
Try using B by Blink eyebrow pencils, £13, and brow gel, £15, to perfect the look.
Lesson 3: Colour and Grooming
According to Kay Montano, “In addition to visiting a good brow bar, there are many products on the market that can undo the damage of over-tweezing, damage that people could have avoided had they have left them alone in the first place.”
So how do you add intensity without looking overdone? We asked Kay for her advice for achieving polished, natural-looking brows. With her help and the right tools, full, gap-free brows may not be as impossible a feat as previously thought…
1. “Ensure that you choose the right shade. Most brow pencils are too brown, or they look too red or aren’t grey enough. Bear in mind that when it mixes with the colour of your skin, it can look very different to what it looks like on the pencil itself. Opt for ones that are more grey and are very sheer, hard and faint like Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Pencils, £17.”
2. “Follow this by applying a clear mascara such as No7 Lash & Brow Perfector, £8.50.”
3. “Alternatively, try mixing a loose or pressed powder with a matte taupe eyeshadow to fill in gaps, followed by a brow gel. This avoids looking too overdone and makes the colour more subtle.” We like Autograph’s Pure Colour Mono Eyeshadow in Taupe, £6, and Eyeko Brow Gel, £18, which contains keratin and gingko bilabo to condition and thicken.
4. “Use a sharp, slightly slanted flat brush which isn’t fluffy,” advises Kay. We suggest using the Anastasia Beverley Hills Angled Cut Brow Brush, £13, or Estee Lauder’s Eyeliner/Brow Brush 20, £17.”
5. “If in doubt, leave your brows alone. You can’t go wrong and the end look will be much more modern than aiming for a shape that doesn’t suit your face just because of a trend.”
Brave enough to go a shade darker? If so, try booking in for an eyebrow tint with Blink who offer a service called Bold Brows. Consisting of a brow consultation, expert advice on which darker shade best suits you, a brow thread, bespoke tinting (lasting up to six weeks) and a tutorial from your Blink therapist on how to create and maintain the look at home, you will also receive a complimentary Blink Brow Pencil in your recommended shade. To find your nearest Blink bar, visit www.blinkbrowbar.com.
So there you have it! Your comprehensive eyebrow how-to, whether you’re looking for strong and powerful, or demure and subtle. The bottom line? As Kay puts it, “The eyebrows that you’re born with were the ones that you’re meant to have. The more you meddle with them, the more it’ll look like there’s something wrong with your face. Women shouldn’t be made to think that they have the wrong brows as you can’t improve on nature.” We couldn’t agree more.
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