A beautifully shaped eyebrow helps to frame the face and enhance the features, and no matter whether you prefer barely-there makeup, or a statement look, getting the brows right is essential.
We're not all blessed with perfect brows, but it is important that any shaping and colouring is right for your face. Generally speaking, if you have larger facial features, a strong, solid brow will help to balance them out, while those with smaller features should opt for a more feminine style. Your brows should start at the bridge of your nose, and end beyond the outer edge of your eye for a perfect balance.
It's also worth remembering that our eyebrows, just like our hair, thin as we age, so a bushier brow will instantly add an air of youth.
Unless you're a seasoned home brow shaper, your best route to perfect arches is via a trained professional. You've got three choices on the salon front - plucking, waxing or threading. Waxing is, of course, the most painful of these, and while plucking and tweezing will create the right look, threading is becoming increasingly popular in the UK. It involves using a length of twisted cotton thread and moving it rapidly across the brows, pulling out stray hairs.
The advantage of this technique is that it plucks a whole row of hair, giving you a straighter, sharper finish. It's also relatively cheap - anywhere between £5 and £17. It's best to check that your chosen salon is a BABTAC (which regulates the industry) member. Explain to the therapist exactly what look you're hoping for, although a real expert should be able to advise on the best look for your face and features.
For those of you guilty of overplucking your own brows, step away from the tweezers for at least three weeks so that you can see the natural growth pattern, and then start afresh.
Your beauty therapist will no doubt advise return visits every few weeks, but once you've got the perfect shape, you'll want to maintain it at home. A pair of slanted tweezers are a must for keeping unruly hairs under control. If your pain threshold is a problem, try tweezing after a shower, as the warm water opens the follicles and softens the hair making life easier and less painful. Keep your tweezers on hand for a daily pluck, as it'll be easier to maintain than if you wait a week each time.
If you tend to ruin your brows with over-plucking, experts Shavata have a useful stencil kit to help you, which includes a variety of shape options and a pencil that allows you to mark the ideal shape and then pluck those hairs that don't fit the frame.
Sparse or uneven brows may need a little extra help, and there are products that can help. Rapid Brow's Eyebrow Enhancing Serum isn't cheap at £37, but it contains fortifying proteins that nourish and condition the brows, and encourage growth for a fuller look. For a more affordable option, Blink's Brow Nourishing Oil (£16) is designed to do the same thing, and has the added benefit of gorgeous essential oils that create a soothing aroma.
Preparation and finishing
When it comes to perfecting your brows, the right products can make all the difference. First off, invest in an eyebrow brush and comb to get every hair in position before you begin adding colour. There are a number of products on the market now that do more than just your average eyebrow pencil. Soap & Glory's Archery Brow Tint and Precision Shaping Pencil (£10) is a double-ended wonder, with a liquid liner to fill in sparse areas, and a precision pencil for definition.
A pricier option, but a good one nonetheless, is the Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil by Hourglass, which boasts a bristle brush for preparation, and a powder and wax formula that gives great coverage. Alternatively, to take some of the day-to-day hassle out of perfecting your brows, consider getting a professional tint. This usually involves using a semi-permanent vegetable dye to tint the brows so that you don't need to fill in the gaps or add definition every morning. It's best left to the pros, but the results last about three weeks, so it's a great option for busy folk.
What products would you recommend for perfect brows? Leave your comments below...