Your perfect brow shape

dolce eyebrows

These images aren’t just an excuse to get a bit of Dolce and Gabbana on the blog (although their ad campaigns do make my heart sing). The true purpose is to illustrate how, when it comes to brows, there is no one magic formula that is going to work for everyone or that can be called beautiful.

kate brows

The best brow shape is as individual as your nose or mouth – everyone has a unique ideal brow shape that will enhance and balance their features – and it usually is a neater, more defined version of what nature gave them.

jennifer lawrence brows

The key is this – don’t fight your natural brow shape, work with it. If you have straight brows, trying to achieve a high arch will leave you with rounded or very thin brows. If you have naturally slim brows, drawing on a heavy shape will over-power your features.

If you’ve been shaping your brows in a certain way for a long time, have a look at photos of yourself as a child and keep this in mind when reassessing your brow shape.

A few of my favourite things

brow favourite things

These are the products in my brow arsenal that I’m particularly enjoying at the moment:

Bobbi Brown eye shadow in Saddle
The powder itself is great quality and very pigmented but what really makes this a standout product is the shade. Saddle is a versatile brown/grey that’s perfect for a natural looking brow for brunettes and dark blondes.

Mac eye shadow in Omega
My go-to shade for blondes, this is a flattering dusty colour that gives just the right amount of definition.

Suqqu Eyebrow Liquid Pen in Moss Green
I discovered this via make-up artist to the stars Lisa Eldridge. I’m yet to come across a recommendation from Lisa that isn’t brilliant; this felt tip-like pen makes it easy to create natural hair strokes and stays put until you are ready to take it off (even then you’ll need to use a bit of effort). Don’t be put off by the Moss Green shade – this is excellent for brunettes.

Clarins eyebrow pencil in Dark Brown
The best texture and colour in a traditional pencil that I’ve found. Great for brunettes for filling in and blondes for individual hair strokes.

Anastasia Brow Wiz in Brunette
While this shade edges slightly into the reddish zone (red is bad, grey is good), I love the texture and thin nib so much I’m happy to overlook this. I need to try the shade Granite next.

Mac Eyebrows in Stud
Discovering new products is my favourite thing, but I have a long-standing love for Stud. Great dark grey/brown shade and a fine tip that is self-sharpening. One pen also lasts for ages.

For more from me on eyebrows, get in touch here.

Brow Boothe

Brow Boothe

I am so excited to announce the launch of my new eyebrow shaping service, Brow Boothe!

You might already be aware that I am into brows, especially if you have read this, this and this.

I have decided to put my passion for those two small patches of hair above our eyes to good use and help other people achieve the brows they were meant to have.

You can find out more about the Brow Boothe philosophy and the treatments available here. Please get in touch, I’d love to hear from you!

Tanya Burr: Backstage At The Burberry SS13 Fashion Show

I absolutely love Twitter, and never more so than during Fashion Week. It’s so brilliant to see real-time snippets of the shows from the magazine editors, bloggers and fashionistas as they see the brand new designs on the runway.

Here is a brilliant video from Tanya Burr at the Burberry SS13 show in London, to say I’m envious would be a small understatement; how incredible is Cara Delevingne?

The story of my brows – part two

It was after the wedding that I really discovered beauty blogs and videos. I can’t actually remember how I stumbled upon it, but Primped was one of the first I encountered. It was there that I discovered Zoe Foster who, as you know, is now one of my favourite beauty bloggers. It was her post; Your Eyebrows Are Making You Ugly, that made me really see the light. There was also this post written by Lien Davies, who I now consider to be the ultimate Queen of Eyebrows.

After reading this I decided to leave my brows alone once again, but properly this time. I gave myself a goal of one month and put down those tweezers. It was agonising. It was also kind of fascinating, I hadn’t seen anything like what my natural brows were like for years and when hairs started growing as low down as my eye socket I remembered how I had got into this mess. My natural brows really are huge. Unfortunately though, not everything grew back. The re-growth was patchy and a lot of the hair follicles were damaged from so many years of having the hair ripped out, meaning the new hairs grew out at odd angles. Not a pretty sight.

I persevered, stuck to my one-month goal and, as I couldn’t see Lien (she lives in Sydney), booked myself an appointment for brow shaping at Selfridges in London. I’d had individual lashes applied there before the wedding and really rated the salon and service and, from what they had written on their website, they seemed like they would completely understand what I needed for my brows. I explained to the therapist that I had been growing them back because I had been plucking them too thinly for years and that now I was ready for a bit of shape to be put back in.

The therapist didn’t do a bad job; it’s just that it wasn’t a great job either. She left the front of my brows (nearest my eyes) completely alone because I had more growing back to do there, and just tidied up the ends. This was fine, except it didn’t really tell me anything about the shape I should be aiming for. I just didn’t feel that the service gave me any real advice about what I should be doing or drawing back in. Also, my brows were shaped while I was lying down and the therapist was looking down on my brows from behind me (and so upside-down) which, if you read Lien’s post, you’ll know is a big no-no. When you lie down gravity pulls everything in a different way to how it does when you are upright, so it’s really not an effective way to see what brow is going to suit a face shape best.

So I left there looking less like the hairy goblin that I had when I walked in, but definitely not with an ideal, or particularly flattering, brow shape.

In her post, Lien demonstrated how her virtual brow shaping had helped an over-plucked lady who lived overseas. I decided to get in touch.

Incredibly, Lien called me just a few hours after I sent her a message! It was Sunday night in the UK but Monday morning her time in Sydney. She was absolutely lovely on the phone and genuinely wanted to help. We chatted about my brow situation and Lien asked me to send photos so that she could then digitally draw in what my perfect shape should be. By this time, I had left my brows alone for a few weeks after visiting Selfridges, so in the photos Lien could see where some of the re-growth was. When, a couple of weeks later, her Virtual Brow Shaping email came through it was like Christmas!

Virtual brow shaping by Lien Davies of browsandmakeup.com

Lien had written careful instructions on how my brows should look and I how I could achieve this. It took time and effort; I sat in front of the mirror with my crib sheet and tools and measured and filled in and plucked. It wasn’t easy to get the correct shape and, to be honest, I never really felt that I had got them  quite right. Also, after what was quite frankly a traumatic period of re-growth, I was reluctant to take too much off again. But with Lien’s guidance I persevered and managed to get my brows to a decent shape that was far more flattering than before.

This was November, and not long before Lien and I had spoken, my sister, who lives in Sydney, and I had been talking about planning a visit to go and see her. I want to stress at this point that my eyebrows were in no way part of the decision making process (I promise!), but it was a happy coincidence that by going to see my sister I could also book an appointment to see Lien!

For about a month before we went over to Australia I, once again, stopped doing anything to my brows so that Lien had as much to work with as possible. When the time came to go and visit her, they were in desperate need of attention and I absolutely couldn’t wait to finally have someone who really knew what they were talking about work their magic.

Visiting Lien was like seeing an old friend; I really cannot say enough just how amazingly lovely this lady is! She greeted me like we’d known each other for years, and when she popped me down on a stool in front of her I had complete confidence that I was going to emerge from there delighted with the results.

Lien is a total pro; she talked me through every step and took photos at each stage so that I had a reference for when I was doing it myself at home. As I wasn’t going to be able to see Lien on a regular basis, she really took time to show me everything she was doing and explain the method of filling in, then trimming, then finally, plucking. My husband had come along with me and Lien instructed him to pay attention and take notes so that he could help me later! Here are the photos from each stage:

Top right: My brows when I arrived at Lien’s
Top left: Filling in
Bottom left and right: The end result
Images by Lien Davies of browsandmakeup.com

As we were going out to meet my sister and her friends after my appointment, Lien even touched up my make up – honestly, she is such a dream! When she handed me a mirror I could have cried with gratitude. My new brows made an unbelievable difference to my face. I felt fresher, prettier, younger and just groomed and lovely – it was a great moment!

Pleased-as-punch with my new brows with my sisters in Sydney.

That night, I couldn’t bear to take my new brows off; I was so worried about being able to recreate them myself.

From there, it has taken time and a lot of practise to get them right. Lien has continued to be nothing short of amazing and we’ve been emailing back and forth, me with photos of my handiwork and Lien with extra tips and advice to get them just right. I think I’m finally there now with filling in the right places, but I still get a little hesitant every time I come to trim and shape them myself. Ideally I’d like to teleport over to Lien each month, but in lieu of that, I think I’m doing a fairly good job!

How I do my brows after seeing Lien Davies. Sorry not a great quality photo!

Hugely excitingly, Lien has just finished an e-book that shares her brow wisdom and techniques, it will be available to purchase soon!

Update: Lien’s e-book can be purchased here.

The story of my brows – part one

I have always been obsessed with my eyebrows. I think this obsession developed when I was as young as nine or ten years old; I realised that they were huge in comparison to my friends’ and also, flicked up at the ends so that I looked like some sort of devil-child or Italian soprano! I can remember my mum coming to pick me up from a friend’s house and her mum making a comment about how the way my eyebrows flicked up at the ends was a real reflection of my personality. What? I didn’t understand that at the time and I’m not sure I do now either! But someone else noticing my crazy brows, and pointing them out, made me hate them even more. I developed a habit of constantly trying to flick the ends back down again.

Natural brows. Excuse the quality – you’ll appreciate that I don’t have the original! Witness the flicked up ends.

When I was about 11 my mum finally agreed to take me to have my brows professionally shaped. This was a really great thing. The lady took very little off but just made them look much more tidy. The idea was that I would then continue to keep them tidy myself. Big mistake. Huge. Eleven-year-olds should not be let loose with a pair of tweezers. I think I kept the new tidy eyebrows for a few months, and then when I came to do it myself, we were on holiday in Cornwall. The reason this is significant is because we were staying in a caravan and I shut myself in the little bedroom, which had very little light, and pluck-plucked away. You know the scenario – I did one side and then needed to even up the other side, then did too much there and have to do the other side again. I can remember emerging from that little room and my mum’s dismay at what I had done. From then onwards, and throughout my teens, I continued to obsess, tearing images out of magazines to copy, and settled on what I thought was the loveliest brow shape. In a bid to achieve higher arches I took too much away from the middle of my brows, giving them a rounded shape. They were also very thin.

Thin brows from my teenage years to mid-twenties.

My moment of realisation and subsequent eyebrow crisis then didn’t happen until very recently (my late 20s). About six months before my wedding day I decided to start trying to grow them back a little and go and see a professional. Of course, after about 16 years of abuse, the re-growth was sparse and patchy, plus I didn’t really leave them long enough to see any of their true shape coming back. When I went to see a professional, I opted for threading, something I hadn’t tried before. The lady had the best intentions, of course, but essentially just got rid of all that re-growth and shaped them back into the thin, rounded shape that they had been before! I got married with those brows, which, to be honest, is a shame.

It was a beautiful day and eyebrows were the last thing I was thinking about, but – here they are being thin and round.
Photo by the wonderful Sarah Bowerman.

This post is getting very long, so I’m going to stop here for now. Next time; the discovery of beauty blogs and, specifically, Zoe Foster and Lien Davies. You can read part two of my brow story here.

Some good eyebrows

Here is a collection of people with good eyebrows. Kind of for my own enjoyment – I’ll admit it, but if you have found your way here, you might be that way inclined too. Enjoy.

Image from Clarins

This is true natural beauty, isn’t it?

I know heavily airbrushed, photoshopped etc etc but still, stunning.

So much better with her eyebrows. Those arches, so high!

She is beautiful.

I’m going to stop with that image of JLo (taken from The Declaration of Beautypendence, which I have stumbled upon just now and am going to go back to and read this marvellous-looking post as soon as I’m finished). Back to Jen: It was this very pair of brows that I have spent most of my teenage and adult life trying to copy (those on the right, not the left). Aren’t they just darling? Actually, I’d have her whole face any day. Body too, obviously. I didn’t crop the image on the left because isn’t it just the perfect example of how important correctly-shaped eyebrows are? And a whole host of other things too, which you can read about in the Declaration of Beautypendence post above.

Just a few good brows, all kind of different actually, but that’s good – face shape dictates your perfect brow. For the record, mine is not JLo-shaped.

The power of brows

Ok, so I think a large majority of the world would agree with me when I say that Mila Kunis is a particularly beautiful example of the human race. However, LOOK, just look at her without eyebrows! I found this photo on a curious, and yet, ingenious, blog dedicated entirely to photos of celebrities without eyebrows. Go ahead and have a browse, it makes for captivating viewing.

My point is this: Your eyebrows a are vitally important part of your face; treat them with the reverence of two queens sitting atop your pretty baby blues.

By this I mean, please, PLEASE, do not over-pluck. I say this as someone who grew up in the early nineties with an enormous set of natural eyebrows. I hated them. Particularly because I have curly hair, and they flicked up at the ends. Can you imagine? It was ‘fashionable’ then to have narrow lines forming precision-perfect arches. My poor little ten-year-old self didn’t stand a chance.

Not long later, I discovered tweezers and locked myself in the bathroom. From then onwards, for about 17 years, I pluck-plucked away and I had a set of those narrow, precise lines that I had always wanted.

What I know now, that I wish so much I had known/ believed my mother about then, is that natural, (neat, yes, thick, probably) suits best. And fashion cannot dictate this. A neat version of your natural brows will MAKE YOU LOOK YOUNGER, it will make your eyes prettier, your face more balanced.

Zoe Foster illustrates this perfectly with a couple of images of Keira Knightly on Primped.com.au

Later, I plan to share my own eyebrow story on here, complete with, gulp, pictures. I’ve made a mess, and now I’m learning how to clear it up.

Update: To achieve your perfect brow shape, get in touch: www.browboothe.com