Beauty Solutions: Window Frames to the Soul

by Sonja on November 19, 2008

Someone once told me that if the eyes are windows to the soul, then eyebrows are the window frames. She went on to explain the virtues of creating beautiful brows and how their importance cannot be overlooked, because your eyebrows frame your face. When tended to, you get a polished look and virtual face lift. Ever since then, I’ve never neglected my eyebrows.

The Proper Tools

At my sister’s wedding, I did makeup for all the bridesmaids. I kept finding myself saying, “Oh, honey, let me do something with those brows. It’s time to tweeze!” I explained that they needed to pick up a pair of award-winning Tweezerman tweezers. They make plucking little wayward hairs so much easier, because they’re sharp and precise. If you don’t have a pair, you need to make this purchase. You will wonder how you ever lived without them.

Shape Up

If your eyebrows haven’t been shaped, I suggest going to a salon and having it done professionally. Once you’ve got the right shape — and shapes that match — all you need to do is maintain with plucking here and there as little hairs pop up. I recommend that you don’t get them waxed, because this is a really sensitive area. You can get ingrown hairs; and you have to let the wayward hairs grow a bit so the wax can grab onto them. If you have dark hair, that in-between look is not good.

If you want to avoid the expense of a salon visit, get a set of stencils. Ditzy Cosmetics has come up with a fabulous innovation. Instead of just the traditional stencil that goes around the brow to show you where to fill in color, they also have reusable, “hands-free” stencils you press onto the brow to guide you in tweezing. They’re easy to use, because the medical-grade material is thin enough to mold to the browbone and won’t hold on so tight as to pull out your hair.

But don’t get carried away with the tweezing or you’ll end up looking like those old ladies with pencil-thin or lopsided brows — or both. I checked in with makeup artist Giana Santelli, the president of Ditzy Cosmetics and the creator of the Beauty-Full Brows line. She says overtweezing is the most common mistake that women make. Once those hairs are plucked, they often don’t grow back. Giana has some helpful recommendations:

  • Only tweeze the bottom part of the brow, because, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can easily ruin the shape and symmetry of your brows.
  • Tweeze daily so it doesn’t become a major exercise.
  • Reduce pain by holding taut the area to be tweezed (don’t just pull) and tweeze close to the skin. Pull in the same direction that the hair grows.
  • Tweeze after a bath or shower when hair follicles are more open and the skin is softened. Everything is more pliable.
  • Don’t forget to moisturize the tweezed area.

Filling in the Gaps

Once you’ve got the shape down, you’ll probably find that you want to beef up what you’ve got to work with. I’m half Korean and have learned that Asians tend to have sparse brows. Don’t know why that is but I deal with it just fine with a little know-how and the right products.

Whether you use a pencil or a brow wax and powder, the key is to use a light touch with light, feathery strokes. Don’t get carried away and simply draw on a set of brows, unless you really want to look like a clown. You want to create a shadow that creates the illusion of brows that look natural and fuller.

Choose a color that is a bit lighter than your brows to get a natural look. I find that taupe is a good choice for most people, from blondes to brunettes. Ditzy Cosmetics has a universal palette with brow wax and powder that works really well. Brow wax helps the color last and stay put. If you use just powder, it will wear off quickly. Ditzy’s is resistant to water and smudging.

I also really like the Tarte Toolbox. It’s a great all-in-one kit with a pencil, brow wax and powder, a great brush for applying the wax and powder, tweezers, gel to help keep hairs in place, and three different-shaped stencils to help guide where to fill in the color — all in a smartly designed case that travels well. The tweezers are a little hard to work with so still get a pair of Tweezermans; but these work in a pinch. This is a wonderful kit.

Both Ditzy and Tarte’s sets include easy-to-understand instructions with illustrations on how to use their products.

A Unique Alternative

If you’ve really gone and overdone it or simply have little hair to start with, how about an eyebrow restoration? Bosley, a hair replacement center with offices in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, now offers a service to transplant hairs into the eyebrows in much the same way as they do on the scalp for people with balding or thinning hair. I’m not sure if I’m up for that. But I’m sure are plenty of women who are.

I hope you find these tips helpful. Brooke Shields doesn’t have to be the only one with beautiful brows.

top image via Epiclectic

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Tracee Sioux November 19, 2008 at 8:08 am

I would like to know how to make my cousin grow her 1990 itty bitty skinny overtweezed brows back in. My sister-in-law too - it’s like the last fashion magazine they read was back in high school and they’ve tweezed the arch right out of their brow. They always marvel over mine, but won’t believe it’s MORE brow near the nose that creates the arch.

Amy May November 19, 2008 at 8:31 am

I have awful eyebrows naturally and got pretty good at tweezing them a long time ago! But I’ve always wanted to go get them done professionally, just once. You’ve spurred me on! It’ll my Christmas present to myself. :)

Kezia November 19, 2008 at 10:45 am

oooh brows. Mine are blonde and patchy. nice, eh? I usually fill them in with pencil or gel. Now I want to try the Ditzy brow kit! I’m actually getting my brows shaped and tinted tomorrow. i know tinting is bad (the dye). but i do it a few times a year because it makes a HUGE different. i’ll post pix tomorrow. :-)

Sonja November 19, 2008 at 12:33 pm

❤ Tracee, show them the photos on the Bosley website of the before and after: It shows what a big difference properly done/not overtweezed eyebrows make. They should stop tweezing what grows back in. But they may find that the hairs simply don’t grow back. At that point, it’s tough to just use a pencil or powder to get a natural look. The restoration may be their best option. At the very least, they should resist the temptation to keep on tweezing and let what they’ve got grow out.
❤ Amy, definitely go in for a professional shaping. I had it done like TWENTY years ago and have never had to get it done again. Talk about a good investment! Now I just follow the shape made all those years ago and tweeze here and there as needed. Just be sure to go somewhere where they’ve got good experience and know what they’re doing.
❤ Interesting, Kezia. I hadn’t thought about dying since I’ve got dark hair. I’d love to see your pics!

Sonja November 19, 2008 at 12:35 pm

❤ Quick note to everyone. The Tarte Toolbox is the product pic at the top. The Ditzy color set is the one pictured below.

Christine November 19, 2008 at 4:09 pm

FYI for those of you who have tried waxing and can’t take it - try getting your eyebrows threaded.

It only recently came the the malls we have here, but I started doing it six months ago, and I will never go back to plucking myself.

For me, I had my eyebrows waxed twice, and it was excruciating. Never again. The threading is not nearly as painful, and my brows are always shaped beautifully. :)

szaza November 19, 2008 at 9:49 pm

Remember the scene where Holly Golightly is getting ready to go see Sally Tomato at Sing Sing? That was a great brow-grooming moment in cinema. And really, who had better brows than Audrey? I think brows look best full— they look more distingué (as Holly would say). I use Anastasia’s brow gel to keep mine in place, it’s quite good and the wax pencil works too.

Tracee Sioux, perhaps you should sit your cousin down to an Audrey marathon? Some Sabrina, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Roman Holiday?

jennine November 20, 2008 at 4:15 am

oh, i don’t wax my eyebrows anymore… i kind of have a natural arch, so it’s easy to follow the line. also… i’ve noticed the brow brush makes all the difference in the world. i’ll never just fill ‘em and leave ‘em ever again.

Cecile November 20, 2008 at 4:47 am

The arch of my eyebrows is so peculiar, it´s like Mr.Spock, and I really love the shape, it is original and since I was little I have them like this.

Always, for a good look, is better a little help like you said Sonja, to look even better.

Great post!

Sonja November 20, 2008 at 11:19 am

❤ Thanks for bringing that up, Christine. I forgot all about that. I saw that done on TV awhile back. It did look pretty cool and people were saying it didn’t hurt.
❤ Szaza, good call! I forgot about that scene. You’re so right about Audrey. She was such a fabulous fashion icon.
❤ Jennine, a friend of mine brushed her eyebrows starting when she was little after her mother instructed her to. Over the years, her brows just grew in the just-right direction. Seems that she trained them. How cool is that?!
❤ Cecile, I love that you embrace what you’ve got naturally. It’s so wonderful to celebrate our individual, unique beauty. :)

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