It is possible to leave quarantine with better brows than you went in with.
On the long list of beauty services that we miss during lockdown, getting our brows done ranks near the top.
Whether you overplucked in the aughts, favour filling them á la the Instagram Brow or are naturally blessed with a pair worthy of a woolly-mammoth, while the rest of our beauty maintenance regimes have been put on hold until further notice, keeping your brows looking good – when armed with the right knowledge and tools – is one beauty treatment you can totally manage during isolation.
That said, now isn't the time for a brow revolution — this is all about maintenance!
Here's how to prevent a little social distancing wrecking your brow game...
Let Nature Take Its Course
While some might be tempted, in these times of heightened stress, to pick up the tweezers and go to town for no other reason than as a distraction (boredom plus tweezers is not a good combination), captivity is actually a great time to allow your eyebrows to fully grow out. Figuring out your brows natural shape will let you see what you've got to work with and will help to avoid making drastic mistakes further down the line.
If you're a little sparse in the brow department or want to speed up the regrowth process, try Revitalash's Brow serum – powered by revitalising peptides, extracts and vitamins, it's not cheap but will guarantee bushier brows in just a few weeks.
RevitaBrow® Advanced 3.0ml, €138 – SHOP
Get the right tools
Waxing is a treatment best left to the professionals as it does come with some risks (including burns, skin lifting and damage to the hair follicle if removed incorrectly), so stick to tweezing for those reasons alone. Arm yourself with a slant tip tweezers (the most precise), small scissors and a brush with a spooly – those are going to be your allies when shaping your brows at home.
Before starting your brow maintenance, some admin: Ensure your tools, hands, brows and surrounding skin are clean before tweezing. Also, be sure you're in good daylight and no need for a magnifying mirror; you can’t see the forest through the trees!
Tweezerman Slant Tweezers, €27.49, Boots - SHOP
Knowing What shape is Best?
As is the case with most things in life, the best brow shape for your face shape is the one you naturally have!
All brows have a head, an arch, and a tail and help balance all facial features if they follow their natural shape. It's actually very hard to achieve a completely different brow shape to the one that's natural (not a challenge any reader is to accept) and brows will always look their most beautiful when following a natural arch.
Two key areas to keep in check are the head and the arch. Ideally, your brows should begin at the bridge of your nose, not at the sides of the nostrils as some people think. Press your tweezers against the bone in the bridge of your nose to find the exact spot and remove any hairs that have grown outside that. The arch of the brow should be two-thirds of the way down your brow, towards the tail, but if your brows are naturally quite straight - don't try to force an arch either.
Start With The Strays
If you have some stray hairs here and there, including little sprigs on your eyelids or forehead, don't fret — this is super common, and there’s nothing wrong with that! Tidy up the new hairs growing underneath your arch and trim any super-long hairs towards the tail of the brown, but avoid plucking above the brow arch, as this can distort your natural brow shape completely.
Once the obvious stay hairs are gone, a good way to maintain a precise shape is to fill in your brows to a shape a professional has most recently given you and remove (gently does it) the hairs sit outside of the area. Pluck a few hairs at a time and then move back away from the mirror to check you aren’t over-plucking and interfering with the natural brow structure, don't rush it.
Brow Wiz, €25, Anastasia Beverly Hills - SHOP
Direction + Discretion
When plucking, support the skin using your non-tweezing hand. Gently pull the skin tight (this makes picking up each hair a lot easier and makes for a slightly less painful experience) and pluck the hairs in the direction of hair growth with firm, confident pulls to avoid breaking the hair or missing the root.
To stop your tweezing your brow becoming a coping mechanism (and leaving you bald when normality finally reumes), use discretion and set hard time limits for yourself. A quick tidy is allowed once a week, but longer brow-grooming should only be scheduled every three to four weeks. Any more often than that you run the risk of interrupting the natural growth cycle.
If you feel you've messed up or made your brows uneven looking (sisters, not twins remember), best to put down the tweezers and back away slowly! Do not attempt to correct the mistake by taking more and more, and more. Instead, see tip one and simply let it grow out.
You'll find plenty of home tinting kits in bigger pharmacies that will do the trick, but when choosing colour, as a rule of thumb, you still want to stay 1 or 2 shades lighter than your hair colour. Too matchy-matchy looks a bit weird and anything super dark can look slightly scary.
Then — much like when you’re getting your hair dyed — it's a good idea to patch test the dye before applying, to ensure you're not allergic to any specific ingredients (remember we're using everything in power to stay out of hospitals right now).
After mixing up the semi-permanent dye, apply some Vaseline or petroleum jelly around your brow area to stop any of the dye from staining your skin. Proceed with the tint, building up to your desired colour slowly, applying and removing several times if needed. This is the best way to prevent a tint that's way too dark.
Dybrow Dye Kit - Dark Brown, €9.99, Boots - SHOP
Afraid of commitment?
If the permanency of the above option terrifies you (even though no one outside of your house is likely to see you for a while), you could just fake a tinted effect with a light brow gel that also lends a fuller look to your brows. Win-Win!
Brow Colourist Semi-Perm Brow Mascara, €4.30, Catrice - SHOP
Main image by @jordandaniels_