Bril­liant brows

Annabel Megge­son learns how to get per­fect arches at home

Red - - CONTENTS -

Be­ing fussy about brows is a good thing. I’m re­minded of this ev­ery time I pen­cil them in and no­tice the in­stant dif­fer­ence: youth­ful def­i­ni­tion and a wel­come lift. And while I used to be happy to let mine go, call­ing them in from the wild ev­ery six months to be clipped, branded and re­leased again, I can’t get away with it now. What once looked sex­ily boy­ish now seems scruffy.

I’m fas­ci­nated by the skills of my go-to brow beau­ti­fier Vaishaly Pa­tel. I ask her if she’ll talk me through the per­fect home brow-over and she agrees. To be clear, no mat­ter how well you can neaten things up at home, you’ll never achieve Pa­tel’s sa­lon re­sults. But that’s okay. It’s about giv­ing you more in­de­pen­dence between sa­lon vis­its.

I hold up a mir­ror as Pa­tel hands me a brow pen­cil. “Use a shade darker than your nat­u­ral colour and draw a straight line through the bot­tom of your brow, fol­low­ing the shape you want, but erring on the side of full and nat­u­ral. Pluck only be­neath that line – gaps above the line are where hair needs to grow back or be filled in, not re­moved.” Pa­tel prefers slanted tweez­ers to pointed ones (“they grab bet­ter”) and urges me to take my time: “Po­si­tion the tweezer close to the skin and tug firmly so you pull from the root.”

Trim­ming is next. Brush the hairs up – hair­spray on the brush will help keep them there – then, hold­ing the scis­sors hor­i­zon­tally, guide them across the top of your brows, snip­ping only the bits that nat­u­rally fall into the scis­sors’ path. “Brow hairs over­lap, and if you cut off too much, you cre­ate gaps,” says Pa­tel, who adds that both nail scis­sors and reg­u­lar hair-cut­ting scis­sors work.

The fi­nal stage is tint­ing, for depth. She ap­proves of the home kit I’ve bought on Ama­zon (Juli­enne Eye­lash Eye­brow Tint Tint­ing Kit, £10.29) and ad­vises al­ways do­ing a patch test be­hind your ear: dab on a bit of dye with a cot­ton bud and check there’s no re­ac­tion over 24 hours. “Mix 1cm of tint with three to five drops of the per­ox­ide so­lu­tion; use Vase­line to cre­ate a bar­rier around the brow, and do one brow at a time.” She ad­vises us­ing an eye­brow wax stick with a slanted end, rather than a brush, ap­ply­ing with firm lit­tle strokes. “Af­ter 10 sec­onds, re­move with damp cot­ton wool. To go darker, reap­ply in in­cre­ments of five to 10 sec­onds.” Then fill in any gaps with a brow pen­cil.

With prac­tice, it takes five min­utes. All you need is pa­tience and the right tools.

Brow pro Vaishaly Pa­tel; Red ’s Annabel Megge­son sets to work, right

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