Friday, February 09, 2007

Brows: The New Facial Accessory

Everybody has them, but does anyone really understand why? And why do they cause such an uproar if they happen to be just one? Your brows are not merely a fixture on the face of humanity---they make a fashion statement all on their own. And since sparse arches remain tucked away in the last decade, you've got plenty of brow to work with.

However, if your brows are thin enough to resemble Drew Barrymore in the early 90s, you can take some proactive steps to help them grow. Women's Rogaine, dabbed sparingly on balding brows, will eventually promote brow growth. But don't look for a change overnight. It may take up to a month before your brows start to fully emerge. And, the Rogaine can be very drying and can cause itchy redness. So, use growth inhibitors as a last resort, and seek a physician's advice if you choose to go this route.

Even if you regularly groom, but need a brow update, give your brows some time to grow out a bit. Now, you can still pluck strays while you're waiting for them to come in, but pluck conservative, and in the obvious places, like far under and above the browline, and any that may try to bridge the unibrow gap.

Once your brows are fully grown in, seek professional help. Every woman should have a licensed beautician professionally shape her brows, whether it be through plucking, waxing, or threading. It's not very expensive, and a professional brow shaping will teach you to maintain the ideal contour of your existing brows.

When you return to plucking your own, start with the proper tools. You need a lighted makeup mirror, with preferably high magnification. If your makeup mirror doesn't offer adequate magnification, you can purchase this attachment offering magnification of 10x. You will also need an exceptional set of tweezers. I strongly recommend you make an investment in Tweezerman tweezers, like these. Not only do they offer sharp beveled edges for grabbing the tiniest of hairs, but they are guaranteed to last a lifetime, and the company offers free sharpening. You won't believe the difference between a professional set of tweezers and a drugstore set.

Comb your brows with this in their proper direction, using a tool like this. Begin plucking in the direction of hair growth, working from the inside-out. Each brow should begin at the same point parallel to the outside of each nostril. Brows should be thicker toward the bridge of the nose, slightly narrowing toward the arch. Your arch should peak at its highest point near the outer corner of your eye. At this point, the brow should taper down toward the temples, but keeping moderate length.

After your brows are properly groomed, you may wish to shape them further with a pencil, powder or gel. Cosmetic manufacturers make these in an array of neutral colors to suit blondes to brunettes. Pencils offer precision detailing, while powders and gels offer a bit of shading and fullness. Use these products sparingly, and err on the side of smudgy. You don't want drawn-in brows, i.e. Uncle Leo on Seinfeld. You may also choose to use a highlighting pencil, giving you a brow lift without going under the knife. Finish up your brow routine with a light sweep of clear brow gel or a pat of brow pomade, to hold unruly brows in place.

Below are a few tools to aid in your brow grooming routine. With some discipline and finely honed sculpting skills, your face will display two full and beautiful eyebrows!

Precision tip allows for finely drawn hairs, and it's double-end includes a brow comb.

Twist-up, quick-drying, gel formula, containing tiny hair-like particles, to give you faux fullness.

A quick sweep under your arches gives your brows some added oomph.

Tame your wild brow tresses with this colorless pomade, keeping your brows in line all day long.

The whole shebang, rolled into a cute pink pouch. Includes tweezers, dual powder, brow gel, highlighting pencil, double-ended brush, and even shaping guides.