The nineties was a dark period in eyebrow history.
Inspired by the likes of Drew Barrymore, Gwen Stefani and Pamela Anderson, women furiously pruned their brows to within an inch (actually, that’s far too generous; it was more like a millimetre) of their lives. Some embraced a ‘tadpole’ shape; others were evenly spidery from tip to tail. Almost all of them were crimes against style, facial structure, and plain ol’ common sense – and for many women, irreversible damage was done.
Thankfully, the eyebrow pendulum has swung back in the other direction, leaving the tweezer-happy days of 1995 in the dust. For the last few years the beauty industry has been waxing lyrical about thick, full, attention-grabbing brows. Follicularly-endowed ladies like Cara Delevingne, Lily Collins and Game of Thrones‘ Emilia Clarke have only added momentum to the trend.
Now, not everyone has the thread count (or confidence) to go the full Cara – but that shouldn’t stop you from putting your best brows forward.
Gabriella Menagon, Head Beauty Therapist at Miss Frou Frou Beauty and Nail, has over 25 years of brow-perfecting experience and a client list that includes Jennifer Hawkins and Cate Blanchett. Gabriella says getting your eyebrows right is “extremely important”, as they can change and define your face and show off your best features.
There are several things to consider when deciding on an eyebrow shape and style, most of them coming back to your genetic makeup.
“Before I do an eyebrow shape I do a little consultation. While I’m talking to the client, I’m looking at her face structure, I’m looking at her personality, and I ask what she wants to do with her face,” Gabriella says. “Eye shape, cheekbones, the shape and size of the face, their hair – I take all these things into consideration before I wax.”
Although certain face shapes tend to suit certain eyebrow styles – for instance, flat brows look great on a longer face – there’s only so much a beauty therapist can do with your natural shape and thickness. “You can change the shape but there’s always a limitation according to what you have to work on,” Gabriella says. “You can’t create something that is not there.” So if your brows are a little on the sparse, fair side, you probably won’t be able to achieve Lily Collins-level brow thickness – but chances are that style wouldn’t complement your features.
However, if you’re desperate to plump up the thread count of your brows – or need to repair some damage done in the 90s – there are options.
“You can help [hair growth] naturally with silica and zinc, which is very good for the hair and helps grows your eyebrows,” Gabriella says. Feathering – where tiny lines are tattooed on to the skin to look like hairs – and laser treatments are also increasingly popular among women upwards of their forties. For something less permanent, there are also eyebrow gels, powders and waxes available that can make your brows look fuller and neater.
Here are more of Gabriella’s brow perfection tips.
Sure, your beauty therapist is responsible for making your brows look ace, but you have to hold up your end of the deal by grooming them. “When you’re doing your makeup each morning, you should finish the job with some powder, which will enhance your eyebrows and maintain them until your next visit to your beauty therapist,” Gabriella says. She recommends the ModelCo brow kit, which has a wax and two different powder colours. Don’t forget to brush your brows, too.
Don’t swap therapists
“You have to choose the person who does your eyebrows well, and built up a relationship with the person where you can say to her “I’m not happy with what you’re doing to me”,” Gabriella advises. “Before you change, make sure you give the person a chance before going to another. If you change all the time, chances are you’ll damage your brows.”
Put down the tweezers
For Gabriella, tweezing in between appointments is tantamount to a crime: “You think you’re doing the right thing, but you’re not. You need a professional to do that for you.” Not only can you mess up your beautician’s good work, you can also make them doubt their skills when you come in for your next appointment. “You just question yourself, you think, ‘I can’t possibly have done a job like that?!'” she adds.
Were you genetically blessed with good brows? And did you overpluck in the 90s?