Anna Magee was a painfully monobrowed teen and had been over-plucking for years. She had an eyebrow shaping lesson and ‘Wow Brow’ makeover at swish Chelsea salon, Strip and brings you options for getting your own power brow right
I was a painfully mono-browed teen and have spent the last 30 years waxing, threading and plucking my poor old eyebrows into every kind of shape imaginable, the ‘tadpole’ (thick, round ends and a skinny tail), the ‘caterpillar’ (one long slug) and the ‘surprise’ (over plucked arches that seemed like such a good idea at the time).
Despite this, I had settled on DIY plucking because the truth is, I use eyebrow plucking a bit like others use nail-biting – as a stress relief. You can always tell when I am beyond my stress threshold as my eyebrows get all manner of uneven and over plucked. This has been such a time – and my eyebrows were frankly a mess.
In eyebrow purgatory, I decided to grow them back – which has been painful – and rejoiced at being invited to try a Wow Brow treatment at swish waxing salon Strip, in Chelsea last week, just as I was almost at the end of my ability to face people without apologising for my eyebrows. The press invite described the treatment:
‘The team of Strip experts will colour and shape your eyebrows to complement your hair colour you skin tone and face shape.’
To be honest, it was basically a tint and wax, but the service was meticulous and I have to say I have never had such a technical approach to eyebrow shaping before. It was an education.
Laura Clark, my therapist began by pencilling in the shape she wanted to do. I wanted low-maintenance as anything too thin gets a spiky shadow of outgrowth that’s hard to cover with make-up.
It’s odd to think that this was the first time anyone has ever done this for me during an eyebrow treatment. Given the number of times they have got it horribly wrong – one time I left a brow bar in Holborn (which shall remain nameless) with only one brow done because she had done such abad job – I think this should be mandatory for all brow appointments.
She used a straight stick – a bit like a nail file – to measure the dimensions, a trick that can be easily done at home with your own plucking technique.
First, at each of these three points, make a small marking with brow pencil.
Shaping point one: hold the stick from the outside of your nostril diagonally across your face to the outside of your eye, that’s where the eyebrow should end.
Shaping point two: Hold the stick at the outside of your nostril and across the front of your eye, at the otter edge of your pupil – this should be the highest point
Shaping point three: hold the stick from the outside of your nostril straight upwards. This is where the eyebrow should start.
Then, with pencil, draw lines joining the points.
Laura then tinted my brows a darkish brown. She said that most people are advised to go a slightly darker colour than their natural one to get real definition, but my hair is dark enough already. It’s funny though because I had always thought that dark eyebrows didn’t need tinting. Turns out I was wrong, the tinting gave my brows a sufficient amount of pop factor, without the Souse Brow effect.
The Wow Brow treatment costs £36 at Strip in Chelsea.
OTHER WAYS TO GET POWER BROWS
Threading Done with an even tension it gives brows a polished, clean look, says Vaishaly Patel who threads the eyebrows of Nigella Lawson and Gwyneth Paltrow. ‘But untrained staff vary the tension and that breaks the hair instead of removing it at the root. This hurts and causes little lumps and spikes on the skin.‘ Ask the threader to draw in the shape beforehand to ensure you’re happy with it.
Plucking at home ‘For older women whose skin around the eyebrows is sagging, plucking is better as threading can sometimes catch sagging skin and cause bruising,’ says says Debra Morris, director of Education at BABTAC. At home I use Ylure eyebrow stencils (£3.95 from pharmacies) which come in shapes based on celebrities’ brows called Jennifer, Catherine etc. You stick one on, draw in, and pluck around. The only tweezers I can use – my husband calls them ‘The Jaws of Life’ – are Tweezerman Slant Tweezer £20.95.
New ‘Ice’ laser Most hair removal lasers are not fine enough to be done near the eyebrows. But new Soprano Ice has a tiny, fine point that works on localised areas such as eyebrows, nostrils and even ears, says Dr Robin Stone, a consultant NHS dermatologist and medical director of Courthouse Clinics. Most lasers can only be used on pale skin with dark hair as they target the melanin – pigment – in both skin and hair in order to kill hair at its follicle so can burn and damage darker skin. ‘The Soprano uses invisible light and can be used on all dark olive, Asian and black skin.’ A course for brows at Courthouse Clinics costs £225.