November 19th, 2015
We do sometimes wonder if Cara ever hated her brows as a kid. Considering the column inches that have been written on her now world famous ones, it’s no surprise that a manicured fuller brow is as essential as a perfectly lined lip these days. She jokes that they’re insured for millions, but whether they are or not it is clear that brow maintenance has fast become big business. From the pop-ups in every shopping mall or department store, to the bespoke brow treatments in salons, there is a style and treatment for everyone. HD Brows is just one example of our new obsession, as they have fast become a major player in the pro market, recently rebranding to High Definition in order to reflect the broader product offering from the brand which includes make-up and tools.
For make-up artists there’s never been so much choice of brow products. Brow fashion can now be seen on the catwalks, in fashion and editorial campaigns; never have brows been just so coiffured. But for women over 35 this poses a problem – many have been over-plucked during the Seventies and Nineties in an effort to get the then-trendy thin arches, and the hair has never grown back. Ageing in general also makes brows thin — along with hair — as does the menopause thanks to a lack of the female hormone oestrogen. Thyroid problems, which dog over half the female population, can also lead to thinning brows, so it’s no wonder that the skills required to create a beautiful full brow are in high demand. There’s even an aesthetic treatment that can transplant hair from the back of the head to the eyebrow to refill sparse or non-existing hair, with a side effect of having to trim them forever more, and we all know that brows can be tattooed on. The skill of the artist here is utterly paramount as its a permanent, irreversible solution.
It’s clear that to work some brow magic of your own you need more than a brown pencil, a roll of cotton and some tweezers; brows now have a whole routine of their own. To begin:
Used to dress the naked parts of a stripped-down arch, wax will give a natural sheen to the brow and can be tinted or clear. Allowing you to fill gaps and set the powder or pencil, less is very much more in the case of brow wax, as it can build up very quickly – the lighter formulas are better.
Inglot Freedom System Brow Wax £4.50 each
These are ideal for defining brows that already have a good shape, by giving a more uniform density than a pencil. For temporary changes, coloured powders on bleached brows work best.
Billion Dollar Brows Powder, four shades for £18
Illamasqua Brow Cake, six shades for £15.50
Chelsea Beautique’s semi-permanent brow powders (£15) are smooth and natural. The versatile selection of colours work with almost all hair colours and skin tones, and since it’s water resistant and smudge proof it will lock in the look, keeping them perfectly in place all day. These professional semi-permanent powders are super-high in pigmentation, gliding and adhering easily on both hair and bare skin. Perfect in humid conditions, these powders won’t smudge no matter how much sweat threatens them.
Gels will set the brow shape, adding just the tiniest hint of hue, as well as managing longer, unruly arches. A water-resistant formula that won’t flake or dry too shiny or crispy is better. For tinted brow gels, the formula should colour the individual hairs without staining the skin below, a feat best accomplished by a wand that isolates each hair perfectly. And for both clear and tinted types, the gel shouldn’t disturb the powder or pencil underneath. To achieve natural lift, the gel needs to be swept through the brow in an upward motion.
MAC Brow Set, three shades including clear £13.50
Still a vital staple in any brow kit, only a pencil can create the illusion of a single strand and fill sparse hair so precisely. Ideally pencils should be waxed, matte and lighter than the natural shade. The finer the tip of the pencil, the greater the definition.
These offer an all-in-one option, usually with shades of powder, wax, pencils, brushes and tweezers. Many come with highlighters, fewer with gels.
Benefit Brow-zing £24.50
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Pro Palette (£90) is a compendium of professional brow powders for shaping, shading and defining your brows. Holding all eleven shades of the Brow Powder Duos, Brow Pro Palette is a must-have for all Anastasia fans and great for make-up artists. These lightweight brow colours easily define and enhance for a natural brow look.
The Beautiful Brows kit (£30) contains the essential tools to create and maintain perfectly-shaped, beautiful brows really quickly. The key to this product are the professional semi-permanent powders, which are are highly pigmented and adhere easily on both the skin and hair of the eyebrow. The powder is smudge and sweat-proof, water resistant and will stay on for up to 24 hours.
Other useful brow products in your kit could also include:
Suqqu Eyebrow Liquid Pen, £20 – A liquid eyebrow pen with a fine brush-tip like a soft felt pen which draws delicate lines in moss-green (which surprisingly suits most skin tones). It’s water-and oil-resistant and lasts all day without smudging.
Silk Fibre Brow Enhancer, £19.99 – Most eyebrow products just colour in your eyebrows, but this one is different — it is made of tiny, pigmented nylon fibres which cling onto each one of your eyebrow hairs when brushed on with the wand. It is really easy to use and makes the eyebrows impressively dark because it thickens the hairs as well as darkening them. Even better, it sets in place within a minute so that it is almost unsmudgeable, but it comes off easily with warm water and cotton wool.
Blink Brow Bar Nourishing Brow Oil £16, to nourish and stimulate growth.
The Cool Fix Lip and Brow Rollerball from Shaveworks £14.50, to aid irritation from hair removal sites.
Japonesque Brow Shaping Scissors £16.50, with a built in comb and angled to allow for perfect arched curves.
Kryolan Eyebrow Plastic £6, used when natural brow needs to be blocked out and an alternative created.
Chelsea Beautique’s 6-piece Brow Stencil set (£14) is the quickest way to block the perfect brow. With three varying shapes (Elegant, for a slim, defined look, Naturale, the most natural and popular look and Vivid, for a bolder more noticeable look), each of the three stencil shapes comes in both rounded-edge and square-edge finish.
Salon System’s MarvelBrow Stencils (£7.95) contain 18 pairs of stencils in three brow shapes: Natural Arch, High Arch and Full Arch, recognising the importance of individual and bespoke treatments. The stencils are easy to use, with a self-adhesive, peelable strip on the back to ensure accurate placement which then leaves your hands free to design and draw in the brow more efficiently.
Salon System also have just introduced a MarvelBrow Sculpt, Colour and Correct Course (£125 + VAT) which teaches professionals how to correct unruly, over-tweezed, greying and misshapen brows for a thick for a more natural, youthful appearance. The concept combines a scientific approach to brow shaping with unique treatments to sculpt, define, lengthen and thicken the brows.