Today I’m debuting a new section in which I will provide step by step beauty guides called, rather uncreatively, “Beauty How-Tos”. Today’s issue is on getting perfect brows at home – no spa or nail salon required!
Step 1: Prep. Start with a clean face and generally gnarly brows. Rinse your face with hot water to enlarge the hair follicles if you’re going to be plucking. Pat dry with a washcloth.
Step 2: Draw. Using either a brow mascara or pencil, draw in your perfect brows. I highly recommend using a brow mascara like MAC Brow Set (13.50), for two reasons: It will grab stray hairs you might have trouble seeing otherwise if you’re blonde, allowing you to clean them up; it will also encourage you to create thicker brows than pencil. Women have a problem with overthinning our brows, which can create amazing definition for the face. If you feel they look too thick or dark, wait until putting on other makeup before freaking out. They probably look more natural than you think.
For pencil, there are 2 methods: draw tiny strokes in an outward direction, imitating the natural hair, or draw an outline around the entire height of the ideal brow. I recommend the second method, because again, it encourages that thicker brow, and it also gives you the straightest and most even lines from shaping.
For brow mascara, it’s a bit trickier. Sweep the mascara over your eyebrow carefully, holding the wand at a 45 degree angle to your face so you won’t over-sweep. Take your fingertip and smudge the mascara over the hairs lightly (we want to color hairs, not skin!). Touch up anything spotty with matching pencil. If you have dark hair and dark or olive-toned skin, you may want to use one of the too-light concealers you’ve inevitably bought and not thrown out to mask the offending hairs and outline the ideal shape. Do not skip this step! Draw, draw, draw until your brows are the absolute perfect shape. The mascara/pencil color will go away, but this shape is for the next couple of weeks on your face, so make it the best it can possibly be.
Step 3: Pluck. When plucking, pull the hair out in the direction the hair is growing – this puts less stress on the hair follicle and makes it less likely to get irritated and break out as a result. I highly recommend plucking for anyone but blondes. Blondes are lucky; stubble is extremely unlikely to show from their light brow hairs, so they can skip the plucking step entirely and use a handy tool I LOVE: the Japonesque Touch Up Razor ($7.50). It’s cheap and amazing.
Here’s how it works: if it’s a stray hair off the regular brow line, simply place the razor edge underneath the hair and cut toward the base of the hair, as close cut as you can get it. I’ve used and abused this tool, and I promise, you can’t cut yourself. If the offending hair is on the brow line, pull the hairs around it away with your fingertip. Make sure to stay with your ideal brow shape! That’s why it’s there: it’s a guideline to make sure you don’t go crazy with this razor or your tweezers and end up browless.
Step 4: Help your skin recover from plucking. First rinse with cold water to tighten the pores, then moisturize with a lightweight facial moisturizer. If you don’t rinse with cold water first, you run the risk of clogging your open pores with moisturizer (yes, moisturizer can clog pores!) and cause a breakout in the already irritated area. This will head off any redness or splotchiness at the pass. Wait a few minutes before applying or doing anything else.
Step 5: Use a Q-tip and some eye makeup remover to remove any excess drawing residue from your pencil, mascara or concealer. And you’re done! Apply the rest of your makeup and enjoy your beautiful new brows!
top image source: http://www.collegefashion.net/