Annabel Meggeson learns how to get perfect arches at home
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