Eyebrows are certainly having a moment. But, it can be hard out there for a girl in search of great brows – what with the zillions of products and pieces of advice. Whether you’ve got Cara Delevingne-envy or just want to grow out the results of a late-night pluck fest, here are some common myths–and facts–about those frames to the windows of our very souls.
MYTH: You just have to suffer with a red face after getting waxed or threaded.
FACT: You can ease that redness (and ouchiness) without spending a ton of money. Applying Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Pore Perfecting Toner directly to your brow area post treatment will soothe skin and calm irritation. ($3.99, Walgreens)
MYTH: An eyebrow pencil is the best way to fill in your brows.
FACT: Eyebrow pencils can be great, but wax and powder-based products can actually help achieve a more natural look. “I like to awaken ‘sleepy’ brows with some powder and an angled brush,” says Estée Lauder’s Director of Global Makeup Artistry, Blair Patterson. “Powders are more forgiving than pencils and they blend more easily.” Patterson says Estée Lauder’s Pure Color EyeShadow in Chocolate Bliss is great for creating an opaque, flat look; she uses Estée Lauder’s Brow Brush, a stiff, precision angled brush for good control: “I start at the interior of the brow and then underneath, where the brow is the cleanest, and work my way across the arch.” ($22 and $25, EsteeLauder.com)
MYTH: There’s nothing you can do if you over-pluck
FACT: Everyone is different in how much their brows grow, but, Umbreen Sheikh, owner of Wink Brow Bar in NYC’s West Village, has some holistic tips for encouraging brow growth: “Brush your brows with an eyebrow brush, always remembering to go upwards and then outwards,” she says. “Then, moisturize your brows, making sure the hairs aren’t dry.”
Of course, you can also fill in those brows while they grow back. A great bargain pick is the e.l.f. Studio Eyebrow Kit, which includes defining wax to shape and fill, and a complementing setting powder to set and perfect. ($3, available in 4 shades, eyeslipsface.com)
For a major brow boost, Benefit’s Gimme Brow is brush-on, voluminizing fiber gel that adheres to your skin and hairs to really fill things in. ($22, BenefitCosmetics.com)
MYTH: All faces look great with strongly arched brows.
FACT: According to Malynda Vigliotti, aka “Boom Boom”, the founder of NYC’s Boom Boom Brow Bar, the brow shape that’s most flattering for you depends on the shape of your face. For example, do you have a round face like, say, Beyonce? “If so, NEVER get a rounded arch – it will mimic the shape of your face and make it look even rounder,” admonishes Boom Boom. “No, no, no, you need to enhance the natural angles in your brow and get a KILLER arch going to offset the roundness!”
Boom Boom says that if you’ve got a heart-shaped face (think Vanessa Hudgens), a softer arch will soften the point of your chin. A “well-defined, angular arch” can help draw attention up and away from your jaw if you’ve got a square face (think Kiera Knightly), and a “strong, defined brow” looks best on an oval face (ala Marion Cotillard).
Moral of the story? Find the shape that looks best on your pretty face.
MYTH: You should never tweeze above the brow.
FACT: “You CAN remove those hairs above the brow that are not part of the eyebrow and not quite part of your hairline,” says celeb makeup artist and brow expert, Ramy Gafni. “The key is not to remove hairs that are too close to the eyebrow, which can leave you looking expressionless,” Ramy explains. (YIKES.) “Done correctly this actually can emphasize a great brow!”
Ramy’s pick for precision plucking: Ramy Beauty Therapy Tweezer by Tweezerman, which features a slanted, rounded, no-point design that is ideal for the delicate skin around the eye. ($25, Beauty.com)
MYTH: Brows should always match your hair color.
FACT: Says who?! “Eyebrows do not have to match hair exactly,” says Ramy. “In fact, they can be lighter or darker than your hair color and still be extremely flattering!” He says it’s much more important to concentrate on brows that are are full and natural-looking.
MYTH: Different removal methods cause hair to grow back differently.
FACT: According to Ramy, any method that removes the hairs from the root will yield results that last equally long. However, something to keep in mind: “Any time you remove hair from the root you run the risk of damage,” says Ramy. “That said, bad tweezing isn’t as traumatic since the hairs are removed one-by-one, whereas a bad waxing can shock the hair follicle and cause it to stop growing.”
Ergo: make sure you only let trusted hands near your eyebrows with hot wax.