Well-groomed eyebrows can make all the difference to the rest of your features and may make you look younger, says Australia's 'eyebrow queen', Sharon-Lee Clarke.
As one of the world's leading eyebrow experts she has shaped the brows of Kylie Minogue, Princess Mary and Julia Roberts. "Eyebrows have a huge impact on your overall look, and can be the difference between looking unkempt, or not," explains Clarke.
"A well-shaped brow can illuminate your eyes, reduce focus from your flaws and frame your face, as well as determining whether your look is hard or soft. With a polished brow, you can afford to go without make-up and still look groomed."
What makes a perfect brow?
To achieve the ideal brow, says Clarke, "You've got to factor in skin colour, eye colour, the kind of make-up the person wears, plus the hairstyle and hair colour, and also how prominent the brow bone is or how deep-set the eyes are. For this reason, it's a really good idea to visit a salon for an expert eyebrow makeover, at least once, so you have a basic shape to maintain."
Anti-ageing for brows
"When brows get flickerings of grey, these hairs tend to be coarser and start to curl," says Clarke. "The grey hairs also don't pick up colour. In this instance, we remove as much of the curly hair as possible, then strip out all the pigment from the brows using bleach, and put even colour back into the brow."
When changing your hair colour, always do it before you have your brows shaped, because what's needed for your brows will be largely led by this.
Quality tweezers are worth the investment as they last longer and do a much better job. If possible, invest in two pairs, one slanted and one pointed, for removal of all types of hair, fine and thick.
- The Sharon-Lee Tweezer Capsule, $120, contains two gold-plated, titanium-tipped tweezers, one forked pair (great for really fine hairs and those who wear glasses) and one slanted pair (very sharp, good for ingrown hairs).
- Utowa Tweezers, $52, from Mecca Cosmetica are handmade and promise the ultimate in precision and gripping power.
- Rubis Classic Tweezers, $75.95 from Mecca Cosmetica, are favoured by make-up artists worldwide.
Q: How often should I tweeze my brows?
At least once a week to maintain a good shape.
Follow these few basic principles when shaping your own brows, says Clarke, and you'll be sure to avoid any little disasters.
- Generally, the brow shape you were born with is the one that best suits your face, so what you are aiming for is to simply remove extra bulk above and below the brow, and strays in between the eyes.
- Leave waxing to the experts and use tweezers at home. It's hard to be precise with wax you may overdo it.
- Hold skin taut and pull hair in the direction of growth.
- Use a good magnifying mirror and never take any more than three hairs at a time. Then, check in a regular mirror.
- Always work on a few hairs each from alternate brows. Don't do one, then try and make the other match. This usually results in over-plucking.
- If your eyes are close set, don't pluck away the first part of the brow above the nose to try and make the eyes look further apart. Widening the arch is the best way to do this.
Tools of the trade
- Use a brow brush to ensure brow hair sweeps in the right direction. Try The Body Shop Brow & Lash Comb, $13.95.
- As a finishing touch, brows should be filled with a pencil, wax, powder or gel. If using a pencil or wax, it should be ultra soft to prevent drag. Try Sothys Eyebrow Enhancing Pencil, $29.50, or Eles BrowBlender Pencil, $38.
- A brow powder achieves a 'soft' look without too much definition. Try Stila Brow Set, $36, or Ardell Brow Defining Powder, $13.
- A brow gel has good staying power and provides good definition without ever looking 'painted'. Try the Sharon-Lee EyeBrow Gel, $70, or Bloom Brow Gel, $20.
- A good magnifying mirror is a must. The Sharon-Lee Maggie C Mirror, $88, has 10-times magnification power on one side, and on the other a regular mirror for an overall impression.
Brow colour is as important as the shape, says Clarke, but be very cautious if you're colouring your brows at home. A slight change in colour can make a big difference; a big change is likely to look harsh.
Rule one: First, check the colour of your lashes. They should always be darker than your brows or the brows will be too prominent. If this is not the case, get your lashes tinted.
Rule two: Brow colour does not necessarily have to match your hair colour exactly. If you have very blonde hair and very dark brows, you may wish to soften the brow colour with a lighter shade, or if you have very pale brows, you could add colour.
Rule three: Lighten brows with a facial bleach such as Andrea Gentle Creme Bleach For The Face, $18.95, but only leave it on for two minutes before testing the colour.
Rule four: Darkening brows at home is very tricky, but it can be done with appropriate hair dye colour if used sparingly and very carefully. Avoid using home eyelash tint kits on the eyebrows, as these tend to come out very dark. Ideally, leave permanent tinting to the experts and use a brow make-up instead to create extra definition.