If you haven't jumped on the brow bandwagon by now, boy are you missing out!
Few things can give you a polished, clean, put-together and classy look like a good set of brows! Don't believe me? Use Facetune to fade them out and see what happens. It seems like a small feature, but it's so significant when bringing together your look. If the latest eyebrow trends like the glitter brow, the wavy brow or even the McDonald's brow (which was a joke, thank god) are scaring you, you have every right to run for the hills on that one. Time and time again, the classic that works best on every face is natural, but a little more defined. Work with your current, god-given natural shape and you can't go wrong. We don't want super skinny, or scary sharp angles, or something that looks like two caterpillars on your face, but most people have a great natural shape that can be tamed or developed a little to really frame your face and make your peepers pop! Here are a couple of options for those of you wanting to step up your brow game, tried and tested by yours truly.
FEATHER BROW TATTOOING
I have a pretty good natural shape, but felt the need to weekly tint my brows and spent a good 10 minutes a day getting them right before going out, as they're a little sparse. I went to see one of Sydney's best brow experts - Ursula Cervellone of Feather Brow Couture in Botany - to gauge her advice.
First you'll lie down and Ursula will check out your brows from a bunch of angles, take photos and run you through her game plan that includes numbing, shape, thickness, colour of the pigments, aftercare, number of touchups needed and any other tips and tricks to get the most out of your treatment. I had previously sent her pictures of my naked brows so she could get an idea of them before I arrived. I showed her pictures of how I'd liked them when they'd been properly filled in for photoshoots over the years, so that she could understand my taste and preference. I lean more to the natural side in my preferences, but she can tailor her treatments to the customer.
None to very mild. She numbs the whole area with a topical cream while you're discussing the above, for about 45 minutes, so you really can't feel anything. When the numbing cream started to wear off towards the end of the treatment, I could feel a mild scraping sensation, but nothing painful, she numbed it again throughout the procedure.
HOW IT WORKS
Using a string with ink on it, Ursula measured my brows using different methods to create the most symmetrical shape. She drew and set out her guidelines, so that I was able to see the shape she suggested first. Then she tested different shades of pigments on my forehead that best suited my skin tone and hair, it makes it much easier when you can see how the different pigments are side-by-side and choose the one you like best. I chose a deep brown with a slightly ashy, cool undertone as that matched my brows the best, and was suggested for my skin type. She then works her magic with a little pen-like tool called a microblade - it's a manual way to tattoo, to mimic tiny hair stokes within the skin.
The whole treatment from the time I walked in the door to when I walked out took about 2.5 hours. I came back for one touch up and I don't think I really need another at this point.
To get my desired look she corrected a little unevenness that I had and improved the shape, whilst still looking natural.
MY RESULTS - BEFORE/AFTER:
THINGS TO BE AWARE OF:
- Research your brow artist, and make sure they have an EXCELLENT reputation.
I'd been previously offered by another place to come in and when I looked them up and did a bit of research, I learned they had terrible reviews and questionable hygiene practices, so it turned me right off. I heard about Feather Brow Couture from a girlfriend who had booked in with her mum to see Ursula, and she did an amazing job on both of them. Look for someone fully qualified with excellent training, experience and a very clean salon. Don't be afraid to ask questions - they're your brows after all!
- Certain skin types may need more touchups. Generally people with oilier skin don't hold the ink *as well* and might need more touch ups than people with drier skin. The pigments are organic-based and have a base of Iron Oxide - so those with an Iron deficiency may notice that the ink disappears a little faster, as the body will absorb it from wherever it can. Having a balanced diet or supplements if you're anaemic will help you.
- Aftercare is SO IMPORTANT. Feather Brow Couture gave me an excellent aftercare cream (way better than my days of using Bepanthen after tattoos when I was younger!) and I was instructed to apply it several times a day and to try not to get my brows wet with water for the next 10 days. I was a total nerd and followed my instructions like the model patient I am, and I had great results :)
- They looked very dark for the first few days, so without makeup I looked a little odd, but with makeup it looked just fine and when it all settled, it was perfect (the photo below by Wendell T was two days after my initial treatment). Now I spend approximately 10-30 seconds doing my brows in the morning brushing the hairs up or adding a little pencil/powder if I want a bolder look to match my makeup.
- On average the treatment will fade a bit after a few years and you may need them done again. The length of time depends on your skin type, how you care for it and the aftercare immediately following your treatment.
Approximately $900 will get you your initial consultation and one touch up. Although, this can depend on the level of work and touch ups needed, or corrections if someone else has previously done a not-so-great job on your brows and you want them fixed.
If all of this seems a little too much for you and you don't want to commit to a certain brow shape for fear of the trends changing...
FOR A LESS PERMANENT VERSION:
A great way to add a bit of density and volume to your brows. Simply brush on the powder-like fibres either using a stencil or just following the shape of your natural brow, brush through a little with a spoolie, and voila! My absolute favourite for intensifying my look and keeping it sweat-proof and splash-proof is Cherry Blooms Fiber Brows in Cappuccino Brown.
Whether you go with a traditional pencil, more of a crayon-like formula or even a flat coloured eyeshadow, this makes it really easy to mimic the brow hairs with small strokes for a more natural look. My favourite for this style is the Benefit Goof Proof Brow Pencil.
- BROW MASCARA
A very cool way for two steps in one. A little colour and a formula that will also hold your brow hairs in place at the same time. I love Benefit Gimme Brow and 1000 Hours Instant Brows mascara.
For those who don't trust their own skills, simply head to your local beautician for a brow tint. They normally last for 1-2 weeks depending on how much you wash your face, and its a great low-maintenance way to rock bold brows or match your hair colour if you've recently switched it up. By far the best salon in Sydney for this (in my humble opinion) is The Parlour Room in Clovelly.
Are there any other treatments that you're keen to know about? Let me be your guinea pig! I'm very fussy with my choices but I think I have a lot of great grooming recommendations that are naturally inbuilt after years of experience in my career and needing to be looking spot-on at all times! Send me your feedback in the comments below or through the social media channels at the top and bottom of this page :)