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Take a brow: How to achieve the perfect brow |


Take a brow: How to achieve the perfect brow

KISS ASS - Ana G. Kalaw - The Philippine Star

Kalimutan mo na ang lahat, huwag lang ang kilay.

This has been a beauty mantra ever since a makeup junkie friend handed me a pencil and said that my eyebrows were as flat and one-dimensional as a Miss Universe contestant without her push-ups. The brown pencil, L’Oreal Brow Stylist in Light Brown, changed my life (in the way waxing for the first time does) and I’ve never looked back with an unfilled brow since.

Eyebrows are the secret weapon of women. Angelina Jolie, Megan Fox, Kim Kardashian, Marilyn Dietrich, even Frida Kahlo — all owe their sex appeal partly to their perfect arches. Think about it: if eyes are the windows to the soul, then brows are the frames that hold everything up. Brows finish up your look quite nicely. Without them, you’d just be another girl who didn’t make an effort.

The last couple of years have seen the resurgence of the eyebrow: bold, drawn-in arches that can only be paired with even bolder lipstick, and reminiscent of those perfect curves that you see on mannequins from the ‘90s. At the spring/summer 2013 shows, however, particularly in Paris and Milan, the brow had been tamed down a bit, still very much present but given a more natural finish. As seen at the Chanel, Gucci and Calvin Klein shows, brows are subtly enhanced rather than drawn on; less severe blacks, more organic taupes, light browns, grayish browns and ash. Brooke Shields post-postpartum rather than in her virginal Blue Lagoon days. On the Philippine catwalks, designers such as Vania Romoff, Eric delos Santos and Cary Santiago also opted for natural-looking arches to complement their ensembles.

Great-looking eyebrows are all about product as much as application. It’s important to always choose pencils with a firm lead, colors that give subtle shading and formulas that will last you the whole day. (Eyebrow touchups aren’t really time-efficient.) Here are some tried-and-tested, most of them beloved, products that can help in achieving the perfect brow.





K Palette Two-Way Eyebrow Liner

The brow-down: I have a bias for K-Palette’s eyebrow products. I easily formed an attachment to the Real Lasting Eyebrow Liner, a huge success with beauty junkies this past year, but now I’m about to philander with the new Lasting 2-Way Eyebrow Liner. Just like its predecessor, this two-way liner has a brush thin and fine enough to coat each hair strand, or to mimic the hair on the brows. Version 2.0, however, features a small powder pouf at the opposite end. The powder is meant to give a more natural coating to your arches.

Know how to brow: For a more effortless-looking finish, use the liner at the outer ends of the brow and the powder for the inner parts.



Smashbox Brow Tech

The brow-down: Two shades and a colorless wax equal great-looking curves. Brow Tech is great for overplucked brows that need to look a little bit fuller.  Just go easy on the wax as it has a tendency to clump hair together as if it’s been caught in bubblegum. If your brows aren’t unruly and if you don’t sweat overly much, just leave out the wax altogether.

Brow Tech’s shades are mostly brown and are best for those with lighter hair or fairer complexions.

Know how to brow: The lighter shade is meant to be used first to fill in sparse areas while the darker shade is for defining. I like to do it the other way around and start with the darker brown before topping with the lighter shade; I get a more natural brow that way.



MAC Eye Brows

The brow-down:  MAC’s Eye Brows are pencil-slim and have a small, rounded tip that gives the brows just the right amount of definition. The formula is creamy and highly-pigmented so always apply with a light hand. The best thing: each application lasts the whole day and doesn’t cake or streak. MAC’s automatic eye brow pencil automatically sharpens itself when twisted. This pencil is automatically sharpened with a twist of the tube.  

Know how to brow: MAC Eye Brows has a half-dozen shades ranging from a pale taupe to grayish-brown. The best shades for Filipinas, however, would be Fling (the lightest for those who just want to fill already nicely-shaped brows), Brunette (a deep dark brown) or Spiked (a grayish-brown perfect for those with darker hair or tanned complexions). The other shades have underlying red tones; reddish tones would be apt if going for that kontrabida Bella Flores look.



Benefit Brows a-go-go

The brow-down: A nifty little box that contains both of Benefit’s light and dark Brow Zing powders, Brow Zing Wax, a mini Smokin’ liner, Eye Bright eyeshadow, Brow Highlighter Powder, mini tweezers, and a double-ended mini brush, this is the brand’s kit for creating the ideal eye, with the intent of starting out with the brows. It’s great for women who can’t be bothered to get four or five different products just to have the ideal everyday eye makeup, or for travelers who refuse to pay overweight fees for five pounds worth of makeup. 

The two shades of brown are quite subtle on their own but look better when carefully combined (apply the darker shade at the tail-end of the brows).

Know how to brow: Unlike with other eyebrow products, Brows a-go-go introduces a wax first, powder second system to effect more natural-looking brows. The slanted end of the brush is meant for shaping brows with the colored wax while the rounded brush is used to fill in brows with powder. Confused? Don’t fret. The kit comes with an illustrated booklet that dishes out easy-to-follow instructions.


Shu Uemura Hard 9 pencil

The brow-down: This is high-maintenance brow makeup, considering the product works best when sharpened into a unique angled shape resembling the Japanese “naginata” sword. Shu Uemura already sells the product sharpened to this shape although, unless you’re a master sculptor, you would have to bring it back to the store for resharpening. The thin, flat, slanted tip makes it easier to fill in the brows and is best drawing in the tapered outer end of the brows.

The lead is pretty firm and made of a formula that, when combined with the oils on your eyebrow hair, gives great natural color. This is a good product for those who already have thick brows that need a bit more shaping.

Know how to brow: Choose Seal Brown 02 if you have light-colored hair and Stone Grey 05 to match darker tresses.



Shiseido Natural Brow Pencil

The brow-down: I usually avoid black for my brows for fear of looking like Maleficent on a bad day. Black brow powder or pencil is difficult to use, even for those with naturally thick, dark brows. Shiseido’s Natural Brow Pencil in Black, however, is a different story. The finish is so subtle and soft-looking, it’s almost a dark gray instead of black.  A colleague of mine has very sparse eyebrows and the one time she tried this product, it looked as if she grew a decent-looking pair within minutes.

Know how to brow: Always apply brow products with a light hand and start either at middle part of the brow going outwards or in the area that is most sparse.



E.L.F. Cosmetics Essential Eyebrow Stencil Kit

The brow-down: When in doubt, cheat. Those with fine or non-existent brows would benefit greatly from this set of four reusable stencils. Just choose the desired shape and arch: Curved Arch, Soft Arch, Structured Arch or Full Arch and then go filler-happy. Priced at a little over P100, it’s pretty much a no-brainer.

Know how to brow: Positioning the stencil can be quite tricky. Just make sure the arch in the stencil is place right above your natural arch.

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