If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then it makes sense to think of the eyebrows as the curtains.
Similar to draperies, the proper brow shape and proportion are key for overall facial balance. Even those blessed with naturally Cara Delevingne-esque brows and facial features can benefit from paying some extra attention to their arches.
According to celebrity makeup artist Joey Healy in New York City, “Regular maintenance, such as waxing or threading, helps to make the most of your eyebrows’ shape, and simply using a brow gel leaves them looking manicured and polished.”
But if you’ve over-tweezed, were born with barely-there brows, have experienced thinning with age or worse yet, a procedure gone awry that left you with a big brow problem, you have options. There are a variety of quick fixes and long-lasting solutions that can enhance and improve the appearance of your brows temporarily and even permanently.
Quick Fix Cosmetics
Brow pencils, powders, waxes and gels are usually the first products we experiment with in our quest for bolder brows. Healy says, “The key when using brow makeup is a natural looking result, and it may take some trial and error to find the perfect shade and formulation.” His advice for beautiful brows: be wary of going too dark, and try to apply in a way that mimics the look of individual hairs, such as a super-fine pencil or brush.
The upsides of brow makeup are instant results and affordability, but the temporary nature of cosmetics can be a downside, especially for those who want color and definition to stay put without worrying about touch-ups. That’s where Wunderbrow comes in – this unique waterproof, smudge-proof and transfer-proof formulation serves up natural looking definition for up to three days. Available in five shades, the pigment-packed gel is infused with hair-like fibers that add thickness to your natural brows without flaking or rubbing off.
Another good option is the Lashfood Browfood Brow Transformation System. The kit contains a collection of brow products and handy tools, including a three-month supply of their signature brow-enhancing serum.
Permanent Makeup: “Eyebrow Tattoos”
If you wish you could say “I woke up like this” (at least as far as your brows are concerned), permanent makeup is the way to go. This tattooing process accentuates your arches using fine, hair-like strokes, and although you may need touch-ups over time, the results are permanent.
Lashologist and Brow Guru Ellie Malmin of Anushka Spa and Salon in West Palm Beach, Florida warns, “It’s imperative to use an experienced permanent makeup artist to ensure you love the results. Be sure to look at before-and-after photos of the artist’s work to check that your expectations are in line with their ability and aesthetic eye.” She recommends having the technician use a temporary product on your brows to show you what the result she is aiming for would look like before you take the plunge.
With the proper technique, permanent makeup can be used to enhance brow thickness and shape, and even create the illusion of beautiful brows in cases of alopecia and hair loss due to other temporary or permanent causes.
Permanent Makeup Correction
Permanent makeup is intended to last for years and linger on indefinitely, but badly done brow tattooing can be improved thankfully. Depending on the ink and method that was used, it can sometimes turn colors and fade in spots, leaving a very obvious look that requires attention.
Laser surgeon Jill Lezaic, DO of Laser Skin Solutions in Jacksonville, FL, has performed many rescue procedures on botched permanent makeup. She uses the multi-wavelength Cutera enlighten combined picosecond/nanosecond laser to effectively erase tattoo inks of all colors.
“Some of the eyebrow tattooing I see is truly shocking, and patients are often traumatized,” she explains. “Traditionally, attempting to remove this ink with a laser has been an extremely difficult and frustrating process for both myself and my patients”. However, unlike other lasers that can require upwards of 10 plus treatments to eliminate unwanted pigment, the enlighten laser often gets the job done in as few as 3 to 4 treatments, sometimes even with just one. “This offers women a second chance to get better brows, in the hands of an experienced artist, of course,” says Dr. Lezaic.
Latisse®, the prescription drug that is FDA approved for growing beautiful, thicker, longer, darker lashes, can also be used to can help fill in sparse eyebrows. It can also make the hairs grow longer, so be prepared for the need to trim your brows as they grow. You won’t need to use much product, as just a tiny drop will work or you can just use whatever gets left on the Latisse brush after you swipe it across your upper lash line. It’s a win-win.
The same premise of hair grafting used to restore thinning hair on your head can also be applied to sparse eyebrows. This treatment involves taking small batches of just a few hair follicles from a hidden spot (usually on the back of the head) and transplanting them to the eyebrows. These follicular “units” are strategically placed in sparse areas, or can be used to create the ideal eyebrow shape.
Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Gary Motykie, MD uses the SmartGraft® system not only to perform total hair restoration of the scalp but also for eyebrow transplantation. “SmartGraft has completely changed the way we look at hair restoration since hair grafts can be extracted more precisely and placed into a holding canister that automatically counts, sorts, and moistens the grafts. It uses a combination of innovative technology and precision craftsmanship to efficiently deliver very natural looking permanent results.”
The SmartGraft treatment itself is painless thanks to local anesthesia, although your brows may remain slightly red and swollen for up to a week after the procedure. As Dr. Motykie explains, “Even though the scalp may scab and the grafted hairs may fall out a few weeks after the initial procedure, the follicles that produce new hairs still remain and will begin to grow new visible hair in about two months. The transplanted eyebrows also won’t naturally fall out so they will need to be trimmed and groomed like the hair on your head. This offers a long-lasting solution for anyone who prefers the look and feel of “real” eyebrows over permanent makeup.”