The older I get, the more I find myself wishing I had the things I didn’t want when I was younger. For instance, I remember complaining about not being able to gain weight, and now, it seems all I do is gain. Hair is another thing I complained about. I have always had naturally thick hair; thick to the point of being extremely irritating. My eyelashes were the same way – thick and very straight. It took me forever as a teenager to master the art of curling them and applying mascara. My eyebrows, however, were the absolute worst! They were beyond thick – it literally looked like I had caterpillars perched above my eyes – and they seemed to grow everywhere except where they were supposed to. There was no definable shape (that I could see), and I had the dreaded unibrow that I had to pluck every day because they grew so fast. I would look at the pictures of Brooke Shields and wish I could get my brows to look like hers, but nothing I did made them behave. I finally accepted that my eyebrows were doomed to look thick and unkempt and tried desperately to keep them thinned out. Little did I know how much I would miss them!
Enter middle age: that wonderful time of life when it seems your body decides to turn against you. In my mid 40’s, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Among the many things affected were my weight and my hair. Ironic, right? The person who tried and tried but couldn’t gain weight, started gaining weight just by thinking about food. My thick hair started thinning, my eyelashes literally fell out, and my eyebrows – those things I used to try to tame – became dramatically thinner. Thankfully, a great doctor helped me get situated medically and many things corrected themselves, but my eyebrows continue to be much thinner than before, with a few grays thrown in for good measure!
During this journey of the disappearing eyebrows, I have learned there are a lot of people who have the same problem. There are many reasons for thinning brows – medical issues, stress, years of over-plucking, or just the natural process of aging. Whatever the reason, many times our reactions are the same: what the HECK happened to my eyebrows? And can I have them back…please? While I can’t give you the magic fix to getting them back, I can share the art of making your brows look fuller. I call it an art because it may take practice and patience to get the results you want. It may also take some experimenting to find which products work best for you.
- Even though your brows may be thin, they still need to be shaped. Line up a straight object (makeup brush or stick) from the edge of your nostril to the inside corner of your eye. Your brow typically starts where the object lays over your brow, right above the tear duct. Now line the object up from the edge of your nostril to the outside corner of your eye. That is where your brow typically ends. The arch should peak in line with the outer side of your iris. Using tweezers, carefully shape your brows.
- Decide what kind of brow filler you want to use. There are powders, pencils, and gels designed specifically for brows. My personal preference is Avon’s True Color Fiber Full Eyebrow Gel. Choose a shade 1 to 2 times lighter than your natural eyebrow color for the best blend with natural hair. If you want to go bolder or you have light brows you want to be a little darker, use a shade that is 1 to 2 times darker, depending on how bold you want to go.
- Using a brush or tip of the pencil, apply the filler using quick, short, light strokes in the direction of hair growth. This gives a more natural look, avoiding the “drawn on” look. Apply the product lightly – you can always give it another coat if you want it to go darker. Take your time with this part and experiment a little; you may like having a light look for day and a bolder look for night.
- Once you achieve the look you want, set it with gel. This helps hold the powder or pencil marks in place and helps make sure the color is even, creating a more natural looking brow.
Take the time to practice and experiment with the different types of brow fillers. Don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t look exactly how you want; just wipe it off and try again. Once you get the hang of it, sculpting your brows is quick and easy, and it’s a wonderful way to frame your eyes. After getting your makeup applied, don’t forget a little lipstick or lip gloss to hi-light your smile – your BEST beauty basic!