Eyebrow Installment by David Pollock, Global Safe Beauty Expert
Women all have unfortunate moments in eyebrow history. It’s a universal truth. Even the Mona Lisa had one (ever notice the painting has NO eyebrows?) I can’t navigate you around every pitfall in your eyebrow life, but we can discuss some of the more common mistakes people make and how to avoid them.
You deserve fabulous eyebrows, not “why-brows”. “Why-Brows” are the kind of eyebrow mistake that you look back on in your photos a few years later and ask yourself what on earth you were thinking. You don’t remember looking like a maniac through the entirety of that year, but sure enough your photos show you bright and smiling and maybe suffering from a horrible forehead disease as far as you can tell. Then you immediately call your best friend and ask them why they let you go out like that.
Eyebrows go through trends that change with time. This is so true that many makeup artists use the eyebrow to let the audience know what time period the character is from. Popular eyebrow fashion of the 1920s was razor-thin with a lengthened shape that turned down at the outer ends. The actress Clara Bow was the queen of the 20s eyebrow. Remember the “damsel in distress” was all the rage and the sad-eyed look these eyebrows gave was just the bees knees.
The 30s kept the same thinness but changed the angle of the brow to lifting up at the outer corners – sending an almost haughty confident message. The woman sporting these eyebrows didn’t need to be rescued; she was confident and could stand up to any fella. Marlene Dietrich reigned supreme over the 30’s eyebrow.
The 40’s and 50’s started to embrace some thickness to the eyebrow and emphasized a sultrier more dramatic shape. The pinup girl was fearlessly on the scene. The 60s and 70’s played a bit with thicknesses and the 80’s saw a brief (and unfortunate) fashion moment when removing the eyebrow completely was the “in” thing. The 90’s saw a slight return to the thinner shapes of the decades-gone-by. Through all of that there were, of course, eyebrow rebels and legends like Audrey Hepburn, Brooke Shields and Jennifer Connelly – women who marched to they own brow-beat.
Look in the mirror – do you see late 80’s Madonna eyebrows looking back at you? How about early 90’s Gwen Stefani brows? If you do, there’s a good chance that’s what everyone else sees too and that can definitely date your look – and you!
The best way to steer around this pitfall is to ignore eyebrow “trends” entirely and stick with a cleaned-up natural look. Trends are great if you’re a celebrity or a major player in the fashion industry, but for the regular gal its best to just keep it natural and neat.
“David, what does natural and neat even MEAN?” I can hear you guys through your computers! Everyone’s eyebrows have a certain “character” to them; some of you have thicker strongly arched brows, some of you have a thinner shape and a more flattened arch. The natural neat brow is about making the most of what you have, not forcing it into something it’s not. Here are some simple rules for you to remember:
Rule 1: To paraphrase a line from “A League of Their Own” – “Eyebrows; there should be two, not one.” First, draw a line from the inside corners of your eyes straight up. Any hair that falls in between those two lines is in the no-go zone. Get rid of it.
Rule 2: From the outer corner of each eye draw a line at about a 45 degree angle out towards your hairline. Any hair of your eyebrow that grows past that line makes your eyebrow too long and is also in the no-go zone. Get rid of it.
Rule 3: The inner and outer corners should be level with one another. Draw a line straight across from your inner corner towards your outer – think of it like the lines on your notebook paper in school. Your eyebrow should be on the line, not above and below and all over the place. Some of your eyebrows may not do that naturally, it’s OK. Do the best you can. If you have a bunch of stray hair that falls below that line then guess what zone it’s in. That’s right – the no-go zone! Get rid of it.
Rule 4: The highest part of your eyebrow should be above the outer edge of your iris when you’re looking straight forward. If the highest point of your arch is too far in front of or behind that point then it needs to be re-shaped. This might be best left to the professionals. If we’re talking about just a little bit of tweaking, then you can probably handle it yourself.
Once you’ve got your eyebrow-boundaries set its time to clean things up. The simplest way to do that is to grab an eyebrow brush and brush the hairs so they are lying neatly. Brush the hairs up and use brow scissors to trim any that are sticking up way too far. Brush down and repeat. Brush them back to their neat configuration.
Next, use an eyebrow pencil or powder and darken the hairs in the shape that you are aiming for. Step back and look in a mirror. Once you’re happy with the shape and how it fits your particular face it’s a cake-walk from that point on. Every hair that is not darkened by the makeup is in the no-go zone. You should know what to do with it by now, but in case you don’t – Get rid of it!
You’ll notice so far I have only told you to get rid of the hair, but I haven’t told you how. That’s because HOW a woman removes unwanted hair is a very personal choice based on what is best for her skin and her schedule. Some of you will have time and a lit magnifying mirror and a few great pairs of tweezers and will be able to devote some real time to plucking each hair one at a time. Some of you would rather wax and be done with it. Some women get very red, itchy, puffy and irritated getting waxed and will use either a cold-wax or sugar wax or may not be able to wax at all. The girls here at Just Ask David family have a strong preference for threading.
I don’t recommend chemical hair removal on the face – especially around the eyes since the skin there is so thin and can chemically burn and scar pretty easily. Another method that doesn’t come David-Approved is shaving. Yes, I know they make brow razors. No, it’s still not a good idea. Brow-razors are great tools for men to use touching up fancier and finer points of facial hair – not for a woman and her eyebrows. Firstly, a slip in the wrong direction and you’ve got an oddly placed cut or bald spot that you will need to explain to everyone. Secondly, even if everything goes right with shaving it can leave your skin dry and once that hair starts to grow back you’re in for some problems. 5’oclock shadow was great on George Michaels beard in the 80’s but it’s not so great on your eyebrows now. Remember, natural and neat and try to avoid eyebrow trends for a classic look that should keep you away from a case of “why-brows”.
Stay tuned our next installment; you never know what we’ll come up with! For more advice, recipes for beauty treatments you can make at home or to ask David a question directly; join us at www.JustAskDavid.com