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9 years ago by

Good eyebrows maketh the face…

That’s probably etched in stone somewhere. It’s so true what they say, about brows framing the face – altering their shape can completely transform the way you look. We’ve all over plucked* at one stage in our lives (you remember, that time you never want to go back to!!) and felt the true weight of the word ‘transformative’. #neverforget

Over the years, I’ve tried it all: waxing, tweezing, threading, cream,  just letting it grow free…
(That was an interesting time.)

* * * * *

Here is what I’ve learned from years in pursuit of the perfect brow:

Waxing: Most people see this as the never-fail option. When you’re in the hands of a professional, what can possibly go wrong? A lot, that’s what. Think about it: you are letting a stranger pour hot wax on your FACE. I once got serious burns that took two weeks to heal, with red, blistering sores on each eyelid. (I have a friend that experienced that during a Brazilian… Seriously, no words.) The most important thing here is to find a waxer you trust who uses good, safe, appropriately hot wax – and who comes recommended. It’s sometimes worth paying a little bit more and going less frequently so you know what you’re in for…

If you’re playing at home, test the wax on your wrist to check the temperature before applying to the face. Never wax the same spot more than twice in one session – the skin becomes super sensitive from the heat of the wax and, by over waxing, you risk ripping off layers of skin rather than just the hair. Even three or four wax strips in the same place can result in sores and scabs, and this can delay the next waxing session. Plus, it really hurts and turns red raw for, at best, hours (trust me, I’ve experienced it!!).

Tweezing: Less is more. It was an architect who coined the phrase, but it applies here too. Tweeze often but with caution, and remember that symmetry is key. Don’t go rogue – take it slow! It’s important to ensure that you have good lighting that illuminates both brows evenly, so that you can check your progression regularly as you tweeze. One trick I use (and that always works), is really helpful in showing where the eyebrow should start and end.**

Take a pen and sit it vertically at the outside of each side of the nose. Your eyebrow should start where that pen hits on the brow line. Then take the pen and put it at a 45 degree angle, starting at your nose and resting atop your cheekbone so that it reaches the outer edge of your eyebrow. This is where it should end. The arch (shape under the eyebrow) is really a matter of choice. If in doubt, see a professional once a month to get it shaped and then just tweeze any strays that pop up in between.

Threading: A lot of people are skeptical about this hair removal option. It can be really painful but, if you see an experienced threader, you’ll find it results in the best shape. It’s more precise than waxing and won’t leave any red markings, plus it’s over pretty quickly. It’s a little like small, constant pinches. I think the best eyebrow shaping I’ve ever had was from a threader, but my eyes watered the whole time. If you find your skin is sensitive and doesn’t react well to waxing, threading is a great option. They can pull out just single hairs or whole clumps in one pull, so a good balance of efficiency and accuracy. 

It’s been around since Ancient Egypt (that’s how Cleopatra got her brows tweaked), so is a hair removal approach that’s definitely stood the test of time (ie. thousands of years).

Natural: Yep, like many out there, I jumped on the anti-maintenance bandwagon for several months a couple of years ago. If you have eyebrows you love, this is (obviously) the way to go but mine need taming ;)

Hair Removal Cream: I tried this once years ago and it worked, but it caused a reaction on my skin (and I also later found out that it can accelerate wrinkling and induce acne). I would avoid it, especially if you have sensitive skin… unless you’re in the mood for acne…?

Laser is the only one I haven’t tried on my brows, but I’m curious to hear if you have!
How do you keep yours in line? For me, it feels like I’m constantly plucking strays in between my monthly wax appointments…

*I have over plucked in every direction; from underneath, from the midline and from the outer edges. Trust me, super short eyebrows (or half a left eyebrow) is just as bad as a thin caterpillar eyebrow.
**Here are diagrammed instructions on how to shape your brows.


Add yours
  • Charikleia March, 18 2015, 9:17 / Reply

    Very comprehensive overview, way to go!
    I hate anything that has to do with removal of facial hair due to pain. I need to admit I am lucky enough not to need much intervention in this area, however what I occasionally do is trust a nice lady at the hairdresser’s who is super patient with my cries of angst and not very radical with shapes. She uses a tweezer and I do this every 3 months. In the meanwhile I am not touching anything as I do not trust myself with tweezers and as eyebrows do define the most important feature of one’s face, the eyes, so if I would do anyhting wrong I would need to hide under stands of hair, shades, and what have you.

    A big kiss from Greece!

  • Any of the above sounds fine….just please….for…the….love….of….God…..SKIP the PERMANENT MAKEUP. I knew a lady that got convinced by a friend to do it (SOME friend if you ask me)….and she REGRETS it! She has permanent eyebrows (tattooed)….but she still has to pluck….and fill them in with pencil (otherwise they look blue colored). UGH…looks well….not attractive. A uni-brow like Frida Kahlo would be better…. ;)

  • You Are So Right About That!!! The other day some beauty salon which does permanent brows liked one of my Instagram pics… I clicked to check them out…It was horrible! Horrible! And I absolutely didn’t understand how those results were used as ads if anything they made me repulse deeply.

  • Merci pour ce post Neada et bravo à toi pour avoir tout essayer, c’est courageux!!! En ce moment je suis en pleine réflexion niveau sourcil. Je n’ai jamais rien fait les concernant! Rien du tout du tout…et j’ai peur de faire quelque chose et de me retrouver avec des sourcils fins qui font peur. :X Ils sont donc au naturel et assez fournis, je n’ai pas un mono-sourcil quand même. J’ai récemment découvert le pouvoir du sourcil et je me rend compte que je suis plus jolie quand je les définis au crayon (de Hourglass, avec l’embout crayon d’un côté et de l’autre la brosse). J’étais blonde enfant et maintenant je suis châtain (un peu auburn grâce à mon coloriste, héhé) et j’ai remarqué que mes sourcils étaient restés un peu trop clairs finalement donc je devrais les foncer plus régulièrement. Mais, je me dis que je devrais peut-être un peu leur donner une forme ou du moins juste enlever quelques uns aux extrémités. J’hésite entre essayer moi-même à la pince à épiler ou aller voir une esthéticienne pour une épilation au fil (mais si elle en enlève trop?? aah). On m’a dit que c’était la meilleure solution. Sauf que l’autre jour, je suis allée me faire maquiller par une super makeup artist de chez Charlotte Tilbury et elle m’a dit de ne jamais les épiler car j’étais chanceuse de les avoir comme cela. Je ne sais pas quoi faire du coup??? :/

  • The eyebrow is the gate to your face but not only…. your eyes your lips…eyebrow can be changed with fashion …so i think it’s important that it can be done differently in different fashion style and not a permanent solution….
    Yael Guetta

  • Thank you Neada!
    J’y pensais justement et hésitais entre cire et fil… et bien ça sera fil cette fois!
    Hugs, from Paris – Place de Breteuil (where you guys shot the Saxe-Breteuil market last week!)

  • De rien, Ann-Louise! Et merci!

  • she’s so fresh, her skin glows !!
    XOX, Gap.

  • I shave mine :) you have special razors for that. Doesn’t hurt. And it’s super precise ;)

    Love, PB

  • Now, I love my eyebrows, they are very Cara Delevingne differences aside :-) . However, when I was in high school I hated them and I was tempted to made a radical waxing but lucky for me I listened to my mum. She said me that over the years, eyebrows tend to be thicker and sometimes it’s difficult to recover the natural eyebrowns shape that fit with your face shape. For me, tweezing is enough.

  • Bah mince alors!! moi j en n ai pas! ils sont tout blonds on ne les voit pas ^^
    Ann’so M

  • Love it!
    Passa a trovarmi VeryFP

  • La crème dépilatoire??? surtout pas! elle a le même effet s’un rasoir… (on parle bien de dépilation (éliminer ce qui sont à la surface de la peau, vous allez du coup attaquer le duvet et vous retrouver avec un sacré problème si vous avez dépassé entre les deux yeux, ou le front.( avec la crème dépilatoire, le poil sera un peu pus doux qu’avec le rasoir car il a été attaqué par les produits chimiques, mais il va repousser rapidement )
    La pince à épiler est la solution la moins chère , précise et la moins agressive. ça va hyper vite (moi je fais des retouches (miroir grossissant) , j’attends pas que tout repousse, ça prend 10 secondes pour vérifier le matin et 20 secondes pour enlever un ou deux revenants., Le repère pour le départ n’est pas l’extrémité des narines (trop écarté) mais la ligne verticale qui passe par le coin de l’œil et l’aile du nez.
    Le sourcil se termine au niveau de la ligne qui passe par le coin externe de l’œil.
    Et pour l”arche du sourcil (l’endroit à partir duquel on peut affiner le sourcil )on se base sur une ligne qui part de la commissure des lèvres et qui passe par le côté externe de l’iris.

    l’épilation au fil est très efficace (sourcils mais aussi duvet de la lèvre sup ) , mais il faut aller voir une pro, une néophyte risque de casser le poil et de le rendre plus dru .

  • I agree with you, I think the best shaping I ever had was from threading and it lasted a long time. Only drawback was my eyes really watering and it is kind of painful. Now I just pluck, but not too much because you lose thickness in the brows as you age and I don’t want to end up with drawn on ones as an old lady!
    Here are some tips on how to fill in your brows naturally.

  • La cire à la longue risque de rendre la paupière tombante. La pince est la meilleure des solutions. Ou au fil mais par une experte et il n’y en a pas tant que ça ;-)

  • Wow what a great shoot! I love a natural look, and I usually just go for the tweezers with my eyebrows.

  • Oui, “Less is more” c’est d’un architecte du début du 19eme siècle : Mies van der Rohe, auteur entre autres du pavillon Barcelona, à Barcelone. À visiter absolument.

    Curieux mais dès que j’ai vu la photo j’ai tout de suite porté mon attention sur les sourcils de cette belle jeune fille (un peu Kendal Jenner d’ailleur), on dirait qu’elles sont plus épaisses sur les cotés, le contraire à ce qu’on conseille d’habitude mais ça lui va super bien. Comme quoi chaque visage à ses propres règles. Je suis certaine qu’un petit photomontage avec Photoshop en “inverssant” ses sourcils serait déconcertant.

  • When I was 14-17 I used to get my eyebrows done religiously — I never made them thin because that is just ugly, but they got cleaned up a bit. It wasn’t until I was 18, my last year in high school that I realized my eyebrows are thick but not crazy hairy or anything. I never needed them done, just brushed and that’s it. Now, I don’t even touch them!

    Music Festival Season Giveaway on my Blog!

  • I love this article so much!

  • Les miens, trop clairsemés même avec 0 épilation, font mon plus grand malheur.. Et la photo de la sublime Kate B ne m’aide pas !
    Si seulement il existait un remède EFFICACE pour densifier les sourcils.. je suis preneuse !

  • i find eyebrows a very important feature in our face and and i loved reading this post!

  • Moi j’ai testé cire et pince à épiler… Finalement je préfère m’occuper de mes sourcils moi-même plutôt que les laisser sous les mains d’une esthéticienne qui ne sait pas forcément ce qu’on veut comme résultat !
    Je suis dans la team pince à épiler depuis plusieurs années :) ! C’est économique, rapide, et on a le sourcil qu’on veut (attention à ne pas trop s’acharner shah c’est sûr qu’un sourcil trop épilé…c’est aussi terrible qu’un mono-sourcil! )


  • “Take a pen and sit it vertically at the outside of each nose.”

    What about those of us with only one nose?

    But seriously, you give a lot of great advice, Neada. Thank you.

  • Ha! Sorry, just wanted to think of those out there with two noses ;)

    Hope it was helpful. I really have tried it all.

  • I posted on my blog last week about a new technique: brow tattooing (you should check it out):

  • Eyebrows – so important.

    You look incredible.

    With love from London,



  • Katherine March, 18 2015, 1:38 / Reply

    Lasering eyebrows is a TERRIBLE idea. Eyebrow hairs are long lasting and low turnover (translation – two laserings and they’re pretty much gone forever. The beams really aren’t precise enough to trust.

    I lucked out and got really good eyebrows, but I still get mine waxed. I survived grunge as a college student and have no desire to revisit that era stylistically.

  • I agree, Katherine. Lasering is a great option for certain areas, but I think I would prefer to keep those beams away from my brows!

  • Tooooo close to the eye….I would only go to a doctors office with trained staff under the doctor guidence

  • Moi je ne m’épile pas les sourcils, ou alors juste un petit poil disgracieux par ci par la. Parfois, j’en viendrais presque à culpabiliser a force de voir partout que des beaux sourcils ca fait un visage haha !

  • Jane with the noisy terrier March, 18 2015, 3:51 / Reply

    Actually, UK makeup artist Wayne Goss just posted an interesting video on YouTube about shaping your eyebrows. Since the base of your nose, depending on the size of your nostrils, can be quite wide, he recommends holding the pencil vertically on the side of your nose. (The wider apart your brows, the wider your nose will look, which is why you don’t want to use the outside of the base of your nose as a guide.) To find your arch, angle the pencil from the base of your nose to your iris. Then hold the pencil from the base of your nose to the outside corner of your eye — that’s where your brows should end. It’s a great video and easier to demonstrate then describe – check it out!

  • nice article. Brows shape is indeed key to the face framing. I used to have very high arched brows like the girl in the picture. However I was wrinkling my forehead really a lot and I got (a terrible) idea to do botox. It completely changed the way my eyebrows shape and it never really came back to original structure. It was the only time i tried a cosmetic procedure and i regret that a lot, so just wanted to say dont do it guys! I wish I was told the same.

  • Maria R March, 18 2015, 4:29 / Reply

    Not “an” architect… Mies van der Rohe was one of the biggest architects from the 20th century!! :)

  • I know, don’t worry ;)
    I absolutely love and admire his work!

  • Jennifer March, 18 2015, 4:48 / Reply

    Great post, so informative. I like tweezing, but only to get strays. I have done both professionally tweezing and waxing and it went fine. I don’t love waxing but need to find someone to help shape them better.
    threading was fine but not too many good places here and seeing someone put the threads in their mouth gross.

  • Angeline March, 18 2015, 5:38 / Reply

    Bom Jour! Now I´m enjoying my natural eyebrows. I don’t need to torture me, and I´m so happy in no depending of any wax, tweezing etc. Just a little bit of make up to make them darker…. My inspiration: Brooke shields in the 80´s and Hillary Rhoda! Bisou, Bisou.

  • OH my goodness, I think I over plucked my right eyebrow, starts in the wrong place a little farther back. I will let it grow.. I hope it grows back! eeek! Well now you’ve done it Neada, I am feeling a little self conscious.
    Let me get the chocolate.

  • Good eye brows really do make the face. This was really interesting with a lot of good info thanks for sharing :)

  • love natural eyebrows…that said it depend on whats natural…u can clean..color ..cut…to create a natural look that flattering …

  • Threading is the best option ever, the line is absolutely perfect. However I would not recommend it for highly sensitive skins as I may irritates the skin and cause little pimples (they go away within a few days but well…).

  • Symmetry is the Key – Sad for me, when i was 13 I let a friend of my older sister tweeze my brows. She dug in an damaged my skin permanently so there’s a patch where the hair won’t grow. It took me over 20 years to give up waxes. I always preferred a natural look and made sure to tell the esthetician but would always come out with thin brows, miserable. The last straw was on my birthday, I told the lady that i liked her brows and woudl like them to remain full as hers were. She then over waxed and when I told her “but i wanted like yours” she said “mine are grown out” Well, yes… i want yours now, not the pre version which i haven’t seen…. Between my misery at not looking the way i wanted and the irritation i experienced I had had enough .

    Quitting waxing was the best thing ever. My brows grew back and not in months, it took years. I still have the sparse spot but i can deal. I tweeze myself now and use Marc Jacobs brow tamer to keep them in place. I will never wax them again. I almost considered it but realized it would be ridiculous to go back. Now I just need to pay attention to when they are getting overgrown and get in and pluck.

  • I have this thing where I just pull off of my eyebrows and eyelashes… like literally, pull them out, I mean not all of them just those which are loose, I’ll burn in face hair hell.

  • I have hypothyroidism, so my brows look literally starving. So little hair to play with. :( I would probably cut off a body part for Brooke Shields’ brows. Anyhow, I am actually toying with permanent makeup. Just a light/medium brown and embroidery style. Something to fill in the gaps.
    A couple of comments here scared me a bit though.

  • I agree with you, I think the best shaping I ever had was from threading and it lasted a long time. Only drawback was my eyes really watering and it is kind of painful. Now I just pluck, but not too much because you lose thickness in the brows as you age and I don’t want to end up with drawn on ones as an old lady!
    Here are some tips on how to fill in your brows naturally

    How to get a perfect cupid’s bow

  • 100% d’accord avec ce post. Après plusieurs années de ‘trial and error’ y compris une tache en dessous du sourcil droit causée par une cire trop chaude, ma méthode préférée est le fil. Plus précis, moins agressif pour la peau. Je vais voir une indienne qui a de beaux sourcils bien fournis, c‘est important la forme des sourcils de la personne qui doit procéder à l opération!!! Ça fait mal mais ça met du temps a repousser! Je fais même la moustache au fil! Les poils repoussent très fins, ça fait un mal de chien mais le fil est la meilleure méthode d’épilation Du visage!

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