Do not underestimate the power of good eyebrows.
Achieving the perfect brow shape for your face is a game changer; not only because it’s great for defining the eyes, but also because it ends up framing the entire face. In fact, most beauty experts will tell you that it can change up your look just like a new haircut would.
Case in point? Look up a celebrity who was big in the nineties and compare pictures of them then and now. Those skinny eyebrows that were all the rage back then did no-one any favours. Now, brows are bigger, more defined, and much more pleasing to the eye.
Michelle Barclay, founder of the specialist salon Browz Dubai – and who has specialised in the art of eyebrow shaping for 12 years in the UAE alone – explains that big and bold is all the rage right now.
Describing the microblading technique called ‘Fluffy Brows’, Barclay explains: “The hair strokes are a little more random and a little more outside their eyebrow shape, which gives a more fluffy, natural look.”
When it comes to maintaining at home, she also advises a natural approach.
“Keep within the natural shape and don’t remove the tails and put them further up, because it’s better to keep it natural. Don’t create too much of a random shape. Because sometimes the hairs might not even grow back.”
FIVE WAYS TO SHAPE
Not sure where to start? We’ve tried and tested five methods of eyebrow shaping – three at home and two salon treatments – and here are the results.
1 EYEBROW PENCIL
Using a pencil gets easier the more you do it. The trick here is to create strokes that are similar to your own hair rather than ‘colouring in’ the whole eyebrow (hello, clown look!). Here, we tried two pencils – the Rodial Glamobrow ($26) and the Marc Jacobs Beauty Brow Wow Defining Longwear Pencil ($43). And the first one is the winner. In fact, most drugstore eyebrow pencils end up being much better quality – and better value – than the expensive designer ones.
Most pencils now come dual-ended, meaning you get a brush on one side, which is great for prepping as well as blending. The Rodial one comes with an ultra-fine, retractable tip that was very pigmented, so created a perfect filled-in look.
2 EYEBROW POWDER
For those who prefer using a precision brush to apply product, then an eyebrow powder might be better suitable for you.
Here, we tried out the Sephora Collection Eyebrow Editor ($19), which comes with two powders and one eyebrow wax. The compact comes with a dual-tip brush as well as a mini pair of tweezers, so it’s a great kit for taking with you on your travels, for instance.
However, this was probably our least favourite to use, as it doesn’t really offer a great final look. We found the pencil to be much better.
3 EYEBROW GEL
If you cannot be bothered to faff around with a pigmented pencil or powder on a day-to-day basis, then a brow gel might be the perfect choice for you. It creates a bit of structure to the brows and makes them look neat. It’s also a great tool to use if you prefer combing your brows upwards a la Beyoncé.
We’re big fans of the 24-hour Brow Setter Clear Brow Gel ($24) by Benefit.
4 HD BROWS
Now onto the professional treatments. HD Brows is a professional salon treatment that incorporates seven steps – including threading, waxing, tweezing, tinting and shaping – and takes about 30 minutes to complete. It’s not your typical threading session; this is all about artistry.
Barclay, who demonstrated the treatment for us at her Browz Dubai salon at The Mall, Jumeirah Beach Road, explains: “HD Brows is perfect if you’ve got full brows that need shaping, or they’re light in colour and need more definition. It’s great for a more structured look. That’s why you have the tint first and then the wax to really create a sculpted shape.”
The treatment, which costs around $70, lasts for approximately 2-3 weeks.
And finally, here is the be-all to end-all eyebrow treatments. Microblading is a great way of achieving perfect brows for so many reasons. Firstly, it can create a striking look and it saves you having to fill your brows every day.
Not to be confused with tattooing, microblading is a form of self-permanent makeup that creates hair strokes using either a blade or machine.
“[It’s ideal] for those with sparse eyebrows. Or brows that have some gaps within them. It’s ideal for someone who usually fills in spaces with an eyebrow pencil. Micro-blading achieves the look of hair strokes so you no longer have to use a pencil,” Barclay states.
A microblading session starts off with a topical anaesthetic cream being applied to your eyebrows. After a 20-minute wait or so, your specialist gets to work, ‘drafting’ a look using an eyebrow pencil, which you can check.
Then it’s time to blade! The technique involves making small cuts in the skin that resemble hair strokes, after which pigment is applied. Browz uses organic pigments for its procedure (which starts from $950) and so no chemicals are involved.
The procedure is relatively painless and results I quite a nice final look.
The aftercare is detailed, so make sure you prep in advance. You’ll be required to avoid water for 5-7 days – instead, it is advised to clean your face with a cotton pad and cleanser.
“Avoid sweating over the eyebrows [if using the gym]. And don’t immerse your head under water – such as swimming or under a hot shower – as it can lift the pigment,” advises Barclay.
The treatment lasts 6-18 months, depending on the skin type. The oilier the skin, the less the pigment sticks. After the first session, customers are required to return to the salon within 4-6 weeks for a free top-up session.