Wednesday, March 12, 2014

eyebrows, part one: general rules

the importance of eyebrows to the general makeup wearing world has recently increased a lot. i don't know where the sudden attention to eyebrows has come from, but they are an extremely important part of a look. this is a pretty big subject to cover, so it will be in two parts: one (general rules) and two (tutorials and products used).

i started filling my eyebrows in lightly when i started wearing makeup seriously, which was when i was around 15 or 16. if you don't know me well, my eyebrows are literally bleach blonde. they are about the same color as models who bleach their brows for fashion shows. my hair is strawberry blonde, so my brows can feasibly be a bit darker without looking off. i asked my mom for help, and she got me a set of two auburn revlon pencils, one light and one dark, as i had red tones in my hair. 'just draw light strokes, nothing too heavy,' she advised me. 'you want them to still look natural.'
that has stuck with me throughout my life- you want your eyebrows to look natural. much of my makeup look is based on looking natural, and so my eyebrows are no exception.

my mom was instrumental in teaching me what good brows should look like:
1. clean/shaped- you should pluck stray hairs.
2. not overplucked- after a while, they don't grow back. keep it natural. clean them up, but don't make them super thin.
3. any filling in/shading should look natural. i will discuss this in detail later on.

even though my brows are very light, i have found that shaping them really aids in their visibility. if i have a bunch of scattered hairs, it is hard to make out a nice brow shape. when they are streamlined, the shape is easier to discern.

there are many different shapes a person can choose for her brows. i chose a fuller, more natural shape. i really like the eyebrows that the olsen twins and lauren conrad have. lauren actually has a tutorial on how to get brows like hers here. she is an example of someone who used to overtweeze, but now has a much nicer brow shape. i personally like this tutorial by kevyn aucoin. my brow shape is closest to what he demonstrates in his book, 'making faces':

(i put his explanation of brow shapes next to the tutorial. if you ever want a fantastic makeup book, pick up 'making faces' or 'face forward.')

i think by now you get the idea that overtweezing is a bad thing, but you have to be careful of going in the opposite direction as well. there is a difference between full, natural brows and huge, overfilled brows. choosing the right colors for your brows and blending is very important, as is making sure the brow looks cleaned up at the end.

so what should you watch out for, in particular?
1. make sure you pick a flattering shape. yes, brows should generally be thicker towards the nose and taper as they move outward, but do NOT just have a weird large square area and then a tail.
2. fill your brows in lightly and comb through a lot with a mascara spoolie/wand (either a clean one or one with clear brow gel). mimic hair as you fill in, with small, thin strokes. do not just fill them in huge and bold.
3. pick a good color for your eyebrows. if your hair doesn't have red in it, be careful what kind of brown you choose. hair color is a science in itself, so if you have any questions about this, ask what color would suit you at a makeup counter.
4. make sure your brows look even and cleaned up. when you fill them in, they should have about the same amount of color all over. make sure it doesn't bleed on to the skin. it doesn't look good or natural if your eyebrows fade into the skin. the divide should be crisp; some people use concealer to help define this area, other people use a pencil meant for highlighting under the brow.

so why am i so harsh on overfilled brows? because they look out of place on a person who isn't overdone. if you are a make up artist and wearing an intense look on your eyelids, topped with crazy false lashes, by all means, fill your brows in a lot. think about eyebrows as a frame. an ornate painting would get an ornate frame. if you weren't doing a whole lot to your face, or your makeup is understated, you don't want your brows to be crazy. would you wear just false eyelashes and nothing else? no. so why make your brows stand out so much?

i think this is a good general overview of 'eyebrow rules,' so check back in a day or so for a short tutorial on how i do my eyebrows and what i use to do them.
stay tuned! :)