the benefits of beautiful brows
Lourdes Leon may have a famous mother but it’s her brows that often get the most attention. The young Madonna’s famously fierce brows (actually, almost a unibrow) were part of the reason she was picked to co-front the campaign for Stella McCartney’s eco-friendly fragrance, POP (from $87 at Farmers). According to McCartney, the 20-year-old’s millennial brows establish her as a new face of beauty. According to social media, it’s “feral” (aka enviable).
But, no matter how modern, few look good with brows that resemble a ragged inky slash across the forehead. For a start, over-plucking may have left some of us with the type of mean arches favoured by the evil stepmother in a Disney movie. For others, feral is just another word for unkempt. And yet we can — and should — take note of Lourdes’ lead. Well-shaped brows balance the face; diverting attention from strong jaws, optically elongating round faces, horizontally balancing long ones. The trick is in knowing when bold becomes bedraggled.
Brows can take about a year to grow out, with the most difficult (as in unruly) stage at six to eight weeks. Devoted application of hair-growth products like RevitaBrow Advanced ($139 for a four-month supply at beautypod.co.nz) can help with thickness; pencils, wands and powders are needed for shape.
Our eyebrows droop as we age, making us look angrier as time goes by. Perhaps unconvinced that ageing itself wouldn’t be enough to leave us a bit miffed, Mother Nature had the last laugh and permanently etched the displeasure on our face. But she can be thwarted. With the exceptions of Botox and microblading (semi-permanent tattooing that involves “drawing” on strokes with a pigment pen), the best solutions for misshapen brows are brow tools. Think brow pencils aren’t a subject to get excited about? You would be wrong. A good one makes light work of feathering in sparse hairs. Products like Billion Dollar Brows’ Universal Brow Pencil ($36), Benefit’s Goof-Proof ($44) and MAC’s self-propelling Eye Brows ($38) are best sellers for good reasons. Personally, I can recommend Hourglass’ Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil ($54 at meccacosmetica.co.nz), which has a fantastic powder-wax formula and a triangular rather than pointed head, making it much easier and quicker to draw in, or reshape, wonky brows. Finally, there’s the method. One of the best comes from legendary makeup artist Mary Greenwell. First, she brushes the brow hairs downwards to clear them out of the way, then, following their footprint, feathers them back in again with a pencil using vertical strokes from inner brow to arch and horizontal strokes from then on. Hairs are then wrangled back into place with a spoolie brush or brow gel applicator. The benefit of Greenwell’s approach is that you are able to get bold, natural brows that don’t look like they were drawn on with a Sharpie.