Whilst beauticians are now open for appointments, I know that many of us have had to hone our DIY skills this last year to stay on top of our own skincare and makeup. During this time, I turned to my friend Ariane Poole who I have known for 40 years since we both were associated through work. I worked for David and Elizabeth Emanuel, and Ariane was one of their go-to make-up artists. Since then, Ariane has grown her brand, and she now produces her own range of cosmetics specifically for women over 50. During the lockdown, I watched many of her online how-to-videos as I love her down-to-earth attitude addressing all the issues that older women have with their skin and make-up. She often links up on Instagram live with other older women, and I would encourage people to follow her on Instagram for her live chats.
Apart from having a haircut, I have been concerned with another area of hair growth that needs constant attention, and that is my eyebrows. The shape, style, and colour of our brows are so important and often neglected by women as they get older, probably because our brows often need a lot of help to look their best and enhance our eyes. We need to give them a re-shape before we grow a monobrow or tint them before they go completely white, as in my case.
Eyebrows have been big business for over a decade now – judged to be worth £20m a year in 2016. With the recent working-from-home culture and the new world of video conferencing, plus mask-wearing when in public, eyebrows have never had so much focus and attention.
However, like many people, I have always had my brows shaped by a beautician. I had a monthly appointment for an eyebrow tint and shape. But then the lockdown came, and I had to sort my eyebrows out for myself, and I have to say I don’t think I will return to a beautician for an eyebrow shape as I am managing perfectly well on my own, and that will save me money.
Doing your eyebrows yourself may have been an unknown skill before lockdown but one that you had to develop. If you’re over the age of 12, then you’ve likely been subjected to a tweezing incident gone wrong or an over-enthusiastic beautician taking her suppressed aggression out on your brows. Those who have experienced what I like to call “eyebrow trauma” know just how drastically the slightest change can alter your entire face shape, structure, and sometimes self-esteem.
Hair at your eyebrows, like hair on other parts of your body, goes through a regular growth cycle. Eyebrow hair grows actively for three to four months, followed by a resting phase, after which the hairs are released from the skin. Your body is constantly making new hair, so most people do not notice the shedding and renewal.
Filling in your brows is the quickest and easiest way to instantly make you look more polished and put together. However if you have overplucked your eyebrows then help is at hand with RevitaBrow Advanced Eyebrow Conditioner – the sister of Revitalash which Grace and I are always recommending for strong, long, healthy eyelashes.
Here are a few steps to help you with your brows but do watch Ariane’s video at the bottom of this article if you wants some tips from an expert.
Step 1: Leave Them Alone
To reach your full brow potential beauticians experts recommend letting brows grow out for six to eight weeks to reach their full potential. The longer, the better as that lets you see your natural shape. Lockdown has been a perfect time to do this!
Step 2: Find a Laid-Back Shape
This is the way to find your perfect shape when you are younger.
Find the beginning of your brows by holding a white pencil vertically at the middle of each nostril and then mark that spot for later reference. Pivot the pencil to the outside of your iris to find your arch, and again make a mark. To find the tail end of your arch, swing the pencil until it grazes the outer corner of your eye and maybe pencil it in. However, as you get older you may want to make the end slightly shorter, in order to lift your eyes, as Ariane explains in her video.
Step 3: Snip, Snip
Give your brows a trim while repeating that mantra – less is more. You want to cut down the long hairs without giving brows a too-close crop. The best plan of attack? Brush hair down with spoolie and one hair at a time trim only the very long hairs.
Step 4: Calm Down
To prep for plucking, gently massage a generous amount of your favourite facial oil on to the brow bone. This will lubricate your skin and hair follicle, prevent hair from breaking, and take the edge off the skin’s sensitivity from tweezing.
Step 5: Clean It Up
For unfussy eyebrows, skip the hot wax, as often used in a salon, and pick up a set of tweezers. Repeat this mantra: Less is more. To get the most painless pluck, tweeze hairs in direction of hair growth while holding the skin taut. Try and use natural day light but you will probably, like me, need a magnifying mirror. Start by plucking any stray hairs beneath the two dots at the beginning of your brows. (Remember a bit of bushiness is what makes a great boyish brow so baby hairs that fall within your natural shape should stay-put.) Then do the same with strays beneath your arch and beyond the end of the tail. Do not be afraid to pluck stray hairs from above your brow if they do not enhance the arch. To prevent overdoing it, step away from mirror to gain perspective. Do not think that by plucking grey or white hairs, brown ones will grow back in their place. The most likely outcome is that it will just leave a hole that will have to be filled in.
Step 6: Get the Red Out
Plucking can really aggravate your skin so be sure to immediately calm any irritation and tighten pores by applying a cooling gel. I love this Aloe Vera, Cucumber and Mint gel which is also good for sunburn and so it is always in my washbag when I go on holiday.
Step 7: Fake a Fuller Finish
If you have some sparse spots, you can fake a bolder brow by using a brow pencil to feather in some “hairs” in a shade that matches your natural brow colour on those areas and then combing through with a clear brow gel. Grace loves the brow lift perfecting liner from Studio 10 Beauty.
In the past I have used the Benefit Gimme Brow+ Volumizing Fiber Gel, 3 Medium Neutral Light Brown. It seems to colour my endless grey ones quite well and keeps the long, strong hairs in place. There are many shades available so choose carefully.
Ariane Poole suggests the Blink double-ended brow pencil if you want a quick and easy finish. She has also suggested her own brow balm for me and I have been following her instructions on her video and it works extremely well and gives a much more natural finish than other products. I follow this with the Ariane Poole brow mascara and it gives a perfect finish whereby the brow hairs stay in place. I have also tried her new Brow Duo, again with much success as it comes with pomade which keeps my brows in place. Also included are some mini tweezers which work brilliantly. This will come with me on holiday, whenever that might be, as it is a little compact so can slip into my handbag. Click HERE for more info.
If you have no eyebrows Ariane suggests using the Stila Felt tip pens – click HERE Available in three colours.
Step 8: Hands Off
Put the tweezers away for at least six weeks. Then you can go ahead and repeat steps two through six.
To go to the Ariane Poole website click HERE.
Finally watch this video by Ariane Poole, a brow expert in my opinion, as she gives a great demonstration with some excellent tips and I am sure you will find a method to suit you. Let’s face it we all need a little help in this area!