5 Steps For Perfect Brows

Daniela Morosini

Forget a slick of red lipstick or a signature hair do, in 2017, brows are your ultimate beauty calling card. Whether you like a boyish, unfussy brow or want your arches so sharp you couldn’t take them on a flight, there’s no two ways about it: brows can make or break your look. In fact, a brow transformation is by far the easiest way to give yourself a makeover. The right shape and shade can make your eyes look bigger, your face more contoured and even make you look like you’ve had more sleep – which we could all use these days since Netflix has auto-play. Of course, if you’ve never done more than pluck the odd hair, slapping yourself down in the chair of a complete stranger who’s waving hot wax around might be the stuff of nightmares - especially if ‘brow waxing’ to you brings to mind the pencil thin brows of the Noughties.

"Benefit are the brow waxing authority. We’ve got top 5 selling brow products in the UK, and globally, we’ve waxed more brows than any other brand!" explained Lisa Potter-Dixon, Benefit’s Head Makeup Artist. "Plus, we love a natural brow. I don’t want anyone to leave looking permanently surprised! We’re all about working with your natural shape and gently grooming that." So, if you’re nervous about getting your brows done for the first time or just slightly confused by the range of options on offer (Tinting? Tweezing? What does it all mean?), you can rest assured that the pro team at Benefit will put you right at ease. "We never just go in willy-nilly and start waxing away - every appointment starts with a proper consultation, just like going to the hairdressers. You can even bring pictures if you like," added Lisa.

Plus, if you head to any Benefit Brow Bar in April for a brow service, not only will you get a free mini Gimme Brow Brow Gel worth £10 (their no.1 best-seller, no biggie), but 100% of the profits from your service will go to their Bold Is Beautiful project. Bold Is Beautiful split the funds they raise between Refuge, who support women and children affected by domestic violence, and Look Good Feel Better, who help women cope with the visible effects of cancer treatment. Helping women through some of the most challenging circumstances and getting to treat yourself to a brow-over? That’s a win-win in our books.

Read on to get the scoop on which brow service is right for you...

Brow Mapping

Nope, you don’t need a compass and the only destination is truly excellent brows. "Brow mapping is a technique we use in all our Benefit Brow Bars as part of your consultation to work out the best brow shape for you. This helps us make sure your brow starts, arches and ends in the right place to best compliment your features. Something you might notice about Benefit brow services that’s different is that we ask you to sit up for your treatment, rather than lie down. This is because when you’re horizontal, it pulls the skin back on your face ever so slightly, which can result in putting your arch in the wrong place. We always get you to sit comfortably so we can work out the best shape for you with more precision," Lisa told us.

It’s both a science and an art, as your brow expert will use a special tool to work out where your brows should begin and end. "We pencil these markings in first very softly using product, so we can see where the brow is going to sit. Done right, it’ll slim the appearance of your nose, enhance the tail of your brow which a lot of women lose as they get older and open your eye up. Just like contouring transforms your face, brow mapping totally transforms your whole eye area," added Lisa.

This is more about the position of the brow rather than the shape - that’s where the artistry comes in. "We offer a whole range of shapes, like straight, arched or ‘feathered’, which is when you really graduate the start of the eyebrow, and we’ll help you choose the right one as part of the brow mapping service."

Brow mapping is ideal for any woman with any kind of brow - think of it as laying the blueprint for your brows. From there, you can tint, wax and shape away, confident that you’ve laid the best possible foundations.

Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.

Tinting

Tinting is Benefit’s bread and butter. "Even if you have dark brows like me, you can still benefit from tinting them. It helps pick up all the little baby hairs and adds a glossiness that’s hard to beat," explained Lisa. Tinting is super-speedy, and is usually part of a combined brow waxing and tinting service at Benefit. "It takes three minutes, that’s all! We’ll chat to you about the desired effect, take into account your natural hair colour and any highlights or lowlights you have and then custom-blend your perfect shade."

Tinting is actually quite the time-saver, as you might find yourself skipping brow pencil or powder altogether. "I’m a brow addict, so I still use pencil on top, but when you’ve had your brows tinted, you just wake up feeling a bit more groomed and together. It’s perfect for time-pressed women," added Lisa.

While tinting alone can’t reshape your brows in the way waxing can, it adds fullness and definition that compliments and accentuates your arches. "I always say a brow tint is like an instant eye lift. Just making them that tiny bit darker makes your eyes look bigger and more awake - it’s such a good beauty hack. It’s especially good for redheads, as a lot of my redhead clients have brows more strawberry blonde than their hair, so it’s a great way to bring the brow tone more in line with your hair colour," noted Lisa.

Just like waxing, it lasts four to six weeks, and the colour fades out rather than growing out - so don’t worry about any root regrowth!

Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.

Waxing

If you’ve ever waxed your own legs with any degree of success, you’ll know just how satisfyingly smooth it leaves your skin. "Waxing is great because, unlike threading which can sometimes snap the hair, waxing pulls the brow hairs out by the root. This makes the treatment have much longer-lasting results and won’t leave you with those little black dots of hair that threading sometimes does," explained Lisa.

Waxing is a great, speedy option with results that last up to six weeks - but unlike leg waxing, it’s really something you should only let a professional do. "One wrong hair gone and your brows are toast!" noted Lisa. "Of course, it’s a personal preference whether you like to wax or thread, but personally, I find waxing to be the quickest and the most precise. We only ever need to wax each brow nine times per treatment - we use strip wax, and I’m such a wuss with pain, but I find brow waxing the least painful place to be waxed! We use a special tea tree based wax at Benefit which is very soothing, so if you have sensitive skin it should be less abrasive. I find I get less ingrown hairs, too."

Waxing the brow might sound like it’s going to rip off about 800 brow hairs, but really, Benefit are all about keeping the brow as full and groomed as possible. "The customer is always right: we’ll never try and talk you into getting a brow shape you don’t want. We’ll do a full consultation and never give you a brow shape that’s just ‘trendy’ - we’ll give you one that actually suits your face shape and looks natural."

Waxing is an especially good option for anyone with strong brow hairs, as it’ll remove them much quicker and less painfully than tweezing.

Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.

Tweezing

Ah yes, plucking. Few among us can resist the allure of plucking those pesky strays that seem to pop up in immeasurable numbers overnight. "Obviously, it is much quicker and I find it much less painful to wax a brow to reshape it rather than tweezing, but there are some circumstances where we would do a tweezing service instead," explained Lisa.

For example, if you’ve recently had a cosmetic procedure like Botox, or you’re taking a medication like steroids or Roaccutane for acne which thins the skin, waxing isn’t advisable on any part of the body, as you’re more likely to get bleeding and trauma to the skin. "In these instances, or if you have incredibly delicate skin for another reason, or very very sparse brows, we might advise a tweezing service instead. It’s a little more controlled than waxing, and it allows maximum control."

Plucking isn’t really the best way to reshape your entire brow (just think how long that would take! Also, ouch) but it will offer you a means to an end if you’re not able to, or don’t want to go for wax right now.

Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.

Products

Benefit offer a truly eye-popping selection of brow products - it’s enough to bring on full kid-in-a-candy-store mania. "Gimme Brow is the best-selling brow product in the whole country," laughed Lisa. "No doubt because it’s so quick and easy to use. It mimics the appearance of brow hairs, and it has these special fibres you can brush on. It adds volume and fullness to the brow in a jiffy. Totally fool-proof."

With powders, pencils and pomades, choosing the right brow product all comes down to personal preference. "All of the products we have can work for everyone, it’s just what you find easiest. For example, a total brow beginner who just wants a really natural bit of definition could try the Goof Proof Brow Pencil. It’s so soft and simple, it glides on easily and takes next to no time. I really like the Precisely, My Brow Pencil which has an ultra-fine tip that you can use to really accentuate that feathered, graduated effect. Perfect for a perfectionist!" explained Lisa.

If you want to turn up the volume a little more, try a gel or pomade. "Brow Zings is another classic - it’s got powder and wax in a handy little compact, and like all of our brow range, it’s waterproof and has 12-hour wear. Or there’s Ka-Brow, which is great if you want that really bold Instagram eyebrow. It gives a very dramatic, slick effect - if you’re more confident with brow makeup, this is one to try." So, whether you’ve got five minutes in the morning just for your brows, or five minutes for your whole face, there’s an option for you.

Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.

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