Grooming those brows
A beautician tells you how

brows.jpg (13757 bytes)I have my sister to thank for getting me hooked on plucking my eyebrows. Who knew that tagging along with her to her first gig as a model would open my eyes to a whole new world of beauty. But after watching a make-up artist transform my sister’s untamed brows into two shapely, seductive arches ala Elizabeth Taylor, I was a convert.

That watershed day 10 years ago taught me that beauty is all about the brows, baby.

Eyebrows are generally overlooked by the masses; they’re the ugly stepsisters to their more glamorous siblings, the eyes, nose, cheeks and mouth. But a pair of well-groomed eyebrows can open and lift the visage in a way none of the other facial features can — even without make-up.

So, now that I have your attention, here are a few simple steps on how to pluck your way to a better you.

First — get a grip. As with any art, you need the right tools for the job. For creating flawless eyebrows you will need a brow pencil, brush, powder and gel. But above all, *invest in a top-of-the-line stainless steel pair of tweezers. Spending money on good tweezers reduces the time it takes to pluck as well as the pain and suffering. Chose a slant-tipped set, which incorporates the benefits of both the flat and point tipped tweezers into one pair.

Now, with the right tool in hand, you’re ready to renovate your face. Look at yourself in the mirror and decide what shape of face you have—is it more oval than round, for example, or is it heart shaped? Also, using pictures of celebrities with faces similarly shaped to your own can help you gauge what shape arch will look best.

There are a number of different brow shapes to choose from, but the top three are curved, angled and rounded.

In general a curved brow — think Salma Hayek, Sandra Bullock, Janet Jackson — works well on all face shapes. An angled brow — think Ashley Judd, Cameron Diaz, Marilyn Monroe — will give your face a lift, making it look younger. Finally, the rounded eyebrow — think Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts, Madonna — softens features and works best on a heart-shaped face.

With your eyebrow shape in mind, use your brow brush to sweep the hairs up and then trim any surplus hair above the top of your natural arch. Make sure your brow starts and stops where it should. Your brow ought to begin at your tear duct, peak at the outer edge of your iris and end at the outer corner of your eye. Plan on plucking out any hairs that are found outside the designated area. Using a white pencil or concealer helps to denote the hairs that have to go.

A helpful hint: hold up your tweezers to your face with one end at the edge of your nose and the other at the end of your eyebrow. You know your eyebrows are the right length if there is a straight line from the edge of your nose to the outer corner of the eye to the brow. Now for the masochistic part of the process. Holding your tweezers at a 45-degree angle, pluck out the hairs that you have tagged for removal. Always pluck hair in the direction it grows—it’s easier and quite a bit less painful. Also, using a bit of toothache medicine or ice on the brow will numb the area and keep you from getting teary-eyed.

Once you have your desired shape, go back and thin out the brow so that it looks sleek, not bushy. Next use a freshly sharpened brow pencil to help define and fill in sparse areas of the eyebrow. To simulate real hair, use short, irregular-length strokes of the pencil.

Brow powder will give thin brows overall definition, and is great for a more natural daytime look. Once again using the brow brush, sweep powder up and outward over brows.

Finally, to keep your eyebrow hairs in place dab on some gel and let it dry.

Remember, your brows are just as expressive as your eyes. They communicate the subtlest of emotions and reveal your character. So take a look in the mirror and see what your unkempt eyebrows are telling the world about you — then decide what you really want them to say.