THE ARTISANAL EYEBROW
With much relief, we report craft brows are back. It’s time to unfollow the Insta brow: we bring you bespoke tints, texture before trend and a big rethink on ink. By
We’re not here to point fingers.this is one we can all admit to: we may have overdone it. Sometime after power brows turned into the new lipstick, hedgerow styling bars turned into temples of worship and top-shelf pluckers became (locally) famous,‘trend brows’ jumped the shark. When a whole Jenneration of girls embraced the ultra-stylised ‘Instagram brow’, you were either with them or boldly boyfriend-browed-à-la-cara Delevingne against them. Tattooing came along and made our obsession semipermanent, and then somebody invented brow stamps …
Now here we are. In rehab, intimidated by eyebrows that seem to have taken over our faces and certainly too much of our personal grooming budget, with an uncertain urge to update.
“Having ‘done’ brows and looking polished without any other makeup on is not going away,” notes eastern Sydney brow artist Kristin Fisher, but slaving to the trend is.“that really filled-in, characterless, same-on-everybody brow is definitely on the way out,” she says.“it brows are over. Having tattoos because it’s the thing to do is over.” A quietly brilliant, feature-lifting, builtfor-you (for you are the Beyoncé; your brows are the back-up dancers) artisanal brow is out there. Let’s go get it.
We’re off the hook! Perfect brows are not perfection. “When brows are identical, so strong or overfilled, they look ‘made’. It’s like a comb-over — you’re not fooling anybody,” Clarke says. “Brows need to show character.” Hair colour, bone structure and arch are crucial architectural points, but don’t forget your vibe. If your style is more Yves Salomon than Saint Laurent, question whether a sculptural ‘Insta brow’ is really for you. If you have to change your makeup or style just to make a brow work, something ain’t right.
This goes for fillers, too. “A good therapist will ask a lot of questions, watching your range of movement as you speak freely,” Clarke says. “I need to see the real depth and pitch of your eye, the taper of your lash line, if you favour one side as your face moves.” This leads to the really believable brow. “Your injector can then see where your true arch is and lift or tweak most gently.” It’s a fundamental flaw to freeze up first.
“Ask the salon for memberships and qualifications,” Amy Jean advises. “The two most reputable are the Australian Association of Cosmetic Tattoo and SPCP [Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals], which is a global register.” Check for hygiene certifications, too. “Never fall for cheap deals or promotions for tattooing,” she says. “Ask yourself why you’d be paying a quarter of the [standard] price.”
“Glycolic cleansers or vitamin A can pull the colour out, even though you’re not literally putting it on your brows. We say, ‘No actives on the forehead,’” Fisher explains. “You’ve got to cover brows in at least [SPF] 30+ sunscreen, too, or the sun will take them.” Chlorine can also shorten the life of colour.
Those (including the menfolk) with curly, coarse, grey or naturally red brows with kinks, rejoice. No more panic-plucking or trimming into oblivion. “Brow taming treatments — essentially a perm solution — to relax out-of-control hair are fabulous for brows you thought were past saving,” Clarke says.
Let’s all respect the ingenuity of a simple, considered brow colour. A tint at the tips elongates the brow by celebrating the wispy hairs you didn’t know you had. “Stains, like henna, to colour the skin behind the hair give the illusion of density where there is little hair,” Clarke explains. “Henna fades out but lasts weeks, so the tone is incredibly important. If you have dark hair, go ashbased. If you’re medium or blonde, green-based will fade out most naturally.”
A good therapist provides an intense consultation before the ink. “You need to see what you’re really going to get,” Fisher says. “We draw the brow on with makeup and have clients wear them for a day, take photos, scrutinise before making any decisions.” Pretty sure? The next step is to try henna for a few weeks.
2 Benefit 3D Browtones Highlights in Copper, $42 Arty, metallic browlights that will wash out instantly. (1): Librow Purified Eyebrow Serum, $182 for six-month supply (2): Be religious about it and this on-skin serum will encourage hairs to grow longer...