Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The trouble with brows is...

9 times out of 10 when I offer to fill in a customer's eyebrows they physically back away from me with a look of sheer terror on their face. Is it because I have terrible brows? Me thinks not, so I have displayed a picture of myself with eyebrows exposed (yes, I'm taking a phone pic while sitting in my car, sue me, my makeup looked good and so was the lighting). They are defined, a good color for my complexion and hair, a subtle arch, and not fake looking, right? It took me a while not to be offended by their trepidation. I have several theories, all of which may be deemed of weight, in why nearly everyone is brow-phobic.

1. The Joan Crawford look- They are old enough to be terrified by the thought of this old screen staple with her drawn on brows and the legions of followers which grace the malls and bingo halls to this day. Their pencils are cocked and loaded from the moment they awake. This has had a trickle down affect on several other sub-groups, one of which follows.
2. The Playboy Bunny association- She's what about 30-50% of the female population see as the female ideal. The other 50-70% thinks this woman is plastic and fakey and just NOT them and they don't want the gateway drug of eyebrows to take them to the dark side. Pamela Anderson's arches might be a half-moon disaster the majority of the populace, but it's a slim enough margin that as a retail artist, I could see them as the next purveyor of said look.

3. The "I've never done anything to my brows" girl- This is not said with respect to those who do, these women are very proud that they've never touched their brows. It makes them natural. It makes them low maintenance. And I have no problem with either of these scenarios. These women only know brow upkeep as a fussy, overdone, "one more thing I have to do every day" addition to their either super-fast routine or their already labored getting-ready process. I get that too: completely.

Here are my defenses and retorts for these common misconceptions:

1. If someone has natural brows that is offering to fill in your brows, why would they decide to adopt an affection for Joan Crawford once they began to fill in yours?
2. Most artists in their right minds wouldn't take someone from zero to 100 the first time they fill in a newbie's brows. We get that you have a natural look going on in the brow region, any artist worth their brush, will give you a little hit to get you hooked first. Not that I'd be working you up to the full-on Playboy brow anyhow, not my thing...
3. If you're going to take even 2 minutes on your face putting on: gloss or balm, mascara, and foundation/tinted moisturizer for example (a common 3some of the 'natural' woman), I argue that brows should be a part of that 2 minutes (ok, 3 or 4). The difference it makes is overwhelming. The lip balm will wear off in an hour anyhow, apply that in the car. Take that minute to sketch on some wax or pencil or faster yet, brow mascara.

Here are my recommendations for the best of the brow world:

Wax/powder combo-This is my favorite. I use either Benefit's Browzings (dark) or Tarte's Toolbox in dark starting with the wax and adding powder where more filling in is needed. Wax holds the hair down. The Tarte kit even has a gel that will set it so it won't move. The Benefit kit's wax is fantastic, but the brushes (since they changed them back in 2003) leave little to be desired. Best bet for a brow brush is Trish McEvoy, with stiff short hairs, it'll place the wax firmly on the hairs that you work it into.

Pencil/Wax Combo- At $12.50 Urban Decay's brow pencil is an amazing bargain. The Blonde Bombshell works for most (the brunette is quite red, so not advised unless you're redheaded). The pencil is hard, so the color payoff is low: This is a GOOD thing for brow pencils. That way, you don't end up wiping it off after it gave you a "drawn on look". The kicker to this product is the triple functionality: The 2nd end is a wax pencil that will hold the brows in place after you've laid down the color. Then the cap to one end is a brush that will groom the hair into shape. This is sooooo fast too! Highly recommended for the quick brow.

Mascara- Many brands make a nice brow mascara, but I've never been partial to it personally. I have too much blank space going on in the brow area to leave it to mascara. This is better for people who have a lot of hair that needs grooming or that have a decent amount of hair in the brow region, but it is too light. The Stila brow mascara is only $10 and has 4 very versatile colors.

All in one kits- DuWop recently came out with a Brow Wow, a brow kit that features a wax, a powder with grayish undertones (this is good, they go on less reddish and very realistic), a double ended brush, and a highlighter for under the brows. Only complaint is how much wax versus how much powder: They got it backwards. At least knowing my past kits, I use 10 times more wax than powder since the powder lasts for eternity and it only takes a little dab over the wax. Still, quite decent. Tarte's kit has phenom tweezers (like mini-tweezermans!), a light waxy pomade, powder (could be less red in my opinion), a fabu gel for setting, AND a little pencil. This pencil is so small though, you need a special tiny sharpener to do it (solution: Hard candy's skinny eyeliner pencils come with a sharpener and they are only $9 total). Also, Tarte included 3 stencils, which I haven't mastered namely because I don't want to tweeze ANY more of my brows at this point. But a good starting point nonetheless.

Others to check out: Smashbox wax/powder combo (wax is colorless), Anastasia (a little too Beverly Hills facelift inspired for me), and Hard Candy Pencil/gel duo (again, the brunette pencil's a bit reddish).
Who has your favorite brows products? Do you even notice?


tb said...

Such insight into the inner workings of the female psyche...

Happy Holidays!

Eryn said...

Boy do I need help with this...:)