We’ve all seen her: the woman with the unfortunate-looking pair of Groucho Marx or apostrophe curlicue eyebrows. No matter how hard we try, we can’t seem to pull our gaze away from her what-was-she-thinking style long enough to make polite eye contact. Which leads to the inevitable question: how groomed are you? Are you over-tweezed with skinny pencil lines or all ruffled up with stray hairs poking everywhere? And does eyebrow shape really matter? Yes! Well-coiffed brows are a beauty must: they define your face.
A walk down pop-culture’s lane
Identified as a fashion statement in the ‘50s, brows were worn either full and soft and with a distinct Marilyn Monroe silhouette or neat and polished and with a conservative Jackie Kennedy-esque style. Since then, A-list ladies have drawn the line in every shape, thickness and intensity possible. Just ask Joan Collins, Twiggy and Brooke Shields.
Today’s eyebrow statement
Fortunately, we’re no longer locked into one trend-based template—a message reinforced by the Fall/Winter 2012 runways, which had the models from Marc Jacobs to Chanel stepping out with eyebrows that ranged in appearance from bushy and bold to blue and bedazzled. All your set needs are a suitable shape.
“Brows are the most important feature on the face,” affirms Courtney Reyes, the national education director for Benefit Cosmetics’ Brow Bars and Brow Carts. “They frame the face, give an instant eye lift and create an overall youthful appearance to the complexion.”
How to get the right shape
Reyes says, “no two hairs are alike, so they are best achieved by a professional. The three factors required to craft perfectly formed brows are:
1. They must compliment your face shape,
2. They must accentuate your features,
3. They need to have timeless appeal.
And because no two hairs should be tweezed alike, they are also best achieved by a professional.
Four reasons to get a professional shape
Ask a qualified esthetician to wax, thread or pluck your way into two softly squared fronts with strong arches and tapered ends. This will provide you with:
1. Facial symmetry,
2. The illusion of higher cheekbones,
3. A slimmer nose and,
4. An elongated face.
Getting the right hue
Adding a touch of colour with eyebrow makeup will also help fill in sparse spots and add a dramatic effect. Jasmine Duffey, a Toronto-based makeup artist whose portfolio includes television programs like Love It or List It and The Mistress recommends choosing an eyebrow pencil or powder one shade lighter than the colour of your hair. Apply it by drawing/brushing it into the brows with upward strokes. But, “make sure to occasionally step back, while looking in the mirror,” says Duffey. “This will give you perspective and ensure symmetry.”
To keep every single hair firmly in place, Duffey suggests blondes and redheads add a swipe of a clear brow gel, while brunettes and dark black, denser, unrulier hair types dab a layer of brow wax to their finished look. Investing in a quality brow brush and tweezers is also advised for at-home beautifying and those in-between appointment touch-ups. Word to the wise: if you must tweeze solo, stick to plucking only the obvious stray hairs.
The closer you pluck into the brow line, warns Reyes, the more room there is for error.
“You can change up your lipstick or blush as often as you please,’ says Reyes. “But once you find a brow shape that works for you, stick with it.”