Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Eyebrow Grooming

This is dedicated to N, who is unfortunately out of the country, but I trust she will see it when she returns!

I have been "blessed" with very dark, very prolific eyebrows.  Being pale with dark hair is really a pain--something Snow White never mentioned.  Curse you, Disney!  Admittedly, the whole immediate-stubble thing is less of a problem than the marrying-the-guy-who-sleep-kisses-you thing, but that's for another blog.  For today, I'm going to talk about eyebrow grooming options, for all of those who have similar "blessings" as me.
Firstly, eyebrow grooming is a choice.  Some people can rock ungroomed brows, but I cannot count myself among them.  There are many options for the taming of the brows, and I'll go through them below.

1) Tweezing!  This is the most common form of eyebrow control, because it's cheap (only have to pay for the tweezers!) and you can do it yourself.  There are many cons, though; if you have very abundant brows, you may find that it's too much to easily groom with just tweezers, and getting the shape right/not over-tweezing can be tricky.  It's also painful, so if you're not used to it, it can be a big turn-off, though post-shower tweezing, or icing your brows for 10 minutes beforehand, can cut down on the pain.  There are several kinds of tweezers, each with their specific uses.  A pointed tweezer is good for finding and removing stray hairs, though they require great care to use, and they're not great for removing more than one hair at a time (very time-consuming if you're trying to groom your brows).
Pointed Tweezers
Tweezerman pointed tweezers; photo from
I don't own one, and doubt I ever will, since between my tremor and luxuriant eyebrows, things could only end badly.

The most popular kind of tweezer is the slanted-tip, which is also available with a point (not shown below), since it offers both precision yet can still remove many hairs at once.
Slant Tweezers - Assorted Colors
Tweezerman slant tweezers; photo from
Revlon PerfecTweeze Slant Tip tweezers; photo from
Another variant in tweezers is the kind of handle they have; I use one like the Revlon one shown above (with a slant tip), because I find the scissor-type loops help with control (and I need all the control I can get with my tremor!), but the chopstick-type handle of the Tweezerman tweezers is much more common.

You can also get round-tipped tweezers, which are good for people with less dextrous control, but they're harder to find and not as efficient as slant-tip tweezers, since you can't grab as many hairs at once.

2) Waxing.  This is more efficient than tweezing, and if you can find a competent waxer, gives excellent results.  Another bonus of waxing is that, if done enough times, it will result in less hair regrowth (I speak from experience!).  The biggest drawbacks are the pain (having had my brows waxed many times, I can say it does diminish with time, though that's small consolation at the start) and the cost ($10+ per waxing), but the benefits of a good waxing may outweigh that for you.  One caveat to keep in mind: waxing can go very, very badly.  If the wax is too hot, it results in a burn, which has happened to me a couple of times, and you should find someone you trust who you know won't over-wax and leave you with sparse brows.  In theory, you can wax yourself at home, but really, you should never try that.  Far, far too risky, both for the end result and the pain of the process.

3) Threading.  I've never had this done myself, but I have friends who have and advocate it.  It's supposedly less painful than waxing, though it also should be done by a professional ($10+ per threading) and is by no means pain-free.  Threading yourself is a good bet for other facial hair, though, and you can find tutorials up the wazoo on YouTube.  ETA: See below for helpful comments about the pros and cons of threading from people who have done it!

Now, there are other brow grooming strategies besides hair removal.  Brow pencils are the most common way of balancing brows (filling in over-plucked areas, evening out, etc.), and the best budget-friendly ones (according to the intertubez) are Prestige, Rimmel, and Wet N Wild.  Eyeshadow is also an option, and should be applied with a slanted eyeliner brush or thin eyeshadow brush for a natural look (more so than pencil, according to some).  You should keep whatever eyebrow product you're using within 2 shades or so of your natural color; if you're dark-haired, 2 shades lighter is fine, and if you're light-haired, two shades darker works well.  Lastly, spoolies (shaped like mascara wands; you can also wash an old mascara wand and use it instead) are good for brushing your brows into shape, and you can put on eyebrow wax or Aquaphor to help them stay put.

As far as shaping goes, the current trend is mostly "stay natural" (and this will forever remain my philosophy).  Grooming for me is pretty much just tidying and neatening my brows, following the natural shape, but that's in large part because I'm super lazy.  Here's a few helpful resources for brow shaping: How to Shape EyebrowsHow to Shape Eyebrows, and Eyebrow Shape.  Maybe I'll give some of that a try...

What about you?  Do you partake in any eyebrow maintenance?  What have you used?
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