Brows are an integral part of the overall look of your face (they don't call them face framers for nothing), and can make or break the look you're going for. Having gone through a little... let's call it 'sketchy' patch a few years back (some of us are still recovering from the plague of over-plucking), we've settled, thankfully, on the agreement that full is best. But, not everyone is so naturally blessed with Bambi-esque brows, and can do with a little help. With so much out there, from DIY tinting and shaping to more commitment-y tattooing, it's not easy to know what's best for you. So, we pulled together our favourite brow filling products and procedures for you to help you get A+ arches...
DIY done right
This is as close to an in-salon tint as you can, and not have to get out of your pjs. Although it's always good to proceed with caution when colouring your brows at home (frame the outer edge of your brow with a little Paw Paw ointment or Vaseline to avoid colour bleed on the skin), 1000 Hour Eyelash and Brow Dye Kit is essentially fool-proof. The easy-to-mix solution (just a combination of the liquid tint drops with application cream) glides onto the hairs evenly so you can navigate depth of colour quickly. It's best to start lighter than you think you need, and build from there. It's all done in under 10 minutes, and costs a fraction of in-salon jobs. A great solution if you've got a long time between brow appointments, too.
For a quick fix as you're rushing out the door and realise you essentially have eyeline to hairline, no stops, this is a little lifesaver. The Estee Lauder’s Volumizing Brow Tint works just like a mascara, for your brows - so, giving more than just colour, you get volume and texture (unlike the smooth finish of a pencil). It’s long lasting (about 12 hours, or until you cleanse) and is great to keep in the handbag for touch-ups. This isn't designed for building up to a colour, so be sure to utilise an Estee Lauder counter to trial. A good rule of thumb is approximately one or even two shades darker than your hair colour.
It's one thing to improve the look of your brows by building up the fullness, but no amount of filling in is going to hide a bad shape. While some have a natural arch that rarely needs tweezing, others need a little more help in the shaping area. What you want to do is refine the shape without losing your natural arch. The best way to do this, funnily enough, is with a pre-designed brow stencil. Despite this seeming counterintuitive, the Eylure Taking Shape Brow Stencils come with four different options to suit you. Both plastic and pre-waxed, the stencils align to the ideal brow head (in line with the inner cornice of your eye) and tail (where an invisible line would continue from your nostril, toward your outer eye). In light strokes of an eyebrow pencil, colour in the space and remove stencil. Tweeze all hairs that aren't coloured in, and with a soft-touch use a pencil to create short feather-like strokes to fill in any light areas.
Brow extensions take a little require a little more commitment and can be a bit fiddly, but when done right offer an amazing, natural finish. The process, offered in selected beauty salons, attach individual fabricated hair fibres to your existing hairs giving a much fuller effect that isn't drawn on. (So, even sticky beaks who don't understand personal space won't be able to tell). It’s painless and relatively affordable (between $70 and $200 depending on how much existing natural brow you have) and lasts from 5 days to two weeks. This is the best option for special events or relaxing holidays (they don't fare well against a lot of activity - the less they are interfered with by sweat, rubbing, wiping and water, the better). The one down side is that the aftercare is a little precious - to get the most longevity out of them, it's suggested that you don't touch your brows (you'd be surprised how much you do when you're not allowed!) while the extensions are in, and to try and avoid sleeping with your face touching your pillow... But, as we say, best for special occasions to make it all worth it. For a DIY option that gives the same effect but doesn't last as long as the salon extensions, try Cherry Blooms Fibre Brows - they take just 30 seconds to apply and come in four shades.
Brow For Keeps (Sort Of)
While this does ask for a lot of trust in your brow expert, it's not as scary as it sounds. It's not a block of ink etched on your face for all eternity like makeup tattoos of the past. But, you're still looking at about 12 months longevity - that's some staying power. Be sure to do a lot of research on the salon, the technician and the type of ink they use before forking over the hundreds of dollars the procedure costs. We're big fans of Amy Jean Eye Couture Brow Tattoo (see her work to the right). Once done, sorted and settled, it's time to prepare yourself for allowing someone to tattoo your actual face (it's a bit of an emotional speed bump because, tattoo...face...yikes). But, while this isn't an entirely pain free way to fill your brows (numbing cream is applied before the tattooing begins, so it's more of a light scratching feeling), it's still a really quick (10-ish minutes) way to have your brows sorted for a really long time. You have to avoid direct contact with water (to avoid fading) and they won't look great straight up - it takes a few days for the colour to settle into your ideal shade - but thanks to bespoke colour formulation and skilled hand of your technician your only real problem afterward will be how to deal with all the compliments.
Story by Mariah Bovee and Rikki Hodge-Smith