No, seriously. I inherited my dad's K-drama teen villain brows:
|Kim Woo-Bin as Choi Young-Do in Heirs. Which I'm totally hate-watching, btw. Why can't I stop?!|
Which I'm not strictly complaining about, because if I still had them arched bushes I could do many an impressive scowl of plotty doom as the camera zooms and the sinister violins kick in. Unfortunately, the nineties ultra-thin brow trend came just in time to legitimise my adolescence ultra-ultra-enthusiastic wielding of tweezers...
[wait, no, pictoral evidence
redacted BURNED FOR EVER]
A gallon of castor oil (old wives' tale that certainly worked for me) coupled with my natural were-tendencies helped them bounce (bush?) back a bit, but over the past 2 years or so I've noticed legit (vs self-inflicted) thinning of my hairs :O Which I'm told can be due only to that 28-30 ageing jump. This, combined with the increasing visibility of 'Teh Brow' (thankfully, in a variety of thicknesses and shapes to complement various looks) in fashion's new/old flirtation with minimalism, have brought me reluctantly into the daily eyebrow-filling fold. Ish.
1. Tweezers :P Used in moderation and never while inebriated. Mine have a spring in the middle that does all the gripping for you, from a Japanese drugstore. I prefer angled tips to straight or really tiny pointy ones.
2. Shu Uemura 6OB badger brush -- very firm, with short hairs, and much finer and smaller than any other brow brush I've seen [some comparisons here], it's actually mainly sold as an eyeliner brush. Excellent for flicking on really precise, thin lines, naturally tapering at the tip (the hairs get finer and less loosely packed at the longer tip) -- i.e. just like natural brow hairs -- and works with gels as well as powders
3. Spoolie. Essential for making brow products look more like brow / less like product -- you wouldn't pack on eyeshadow without blending at least the edges, right? And even without colour products, a spoolie's necessary to give my wayward sprouting-in-all-directions brows a neater appearance. This one's actually a GWP from Suqqu (stop laughing :P), and while its bristles are finer and more varied in shape/size, and the whole shebang lasts longer than cheap unbranded spoolies (mine's survived daily use for 3 years and counting), I couldn't exactly recommend shelling out for it. It's not even angled!
4. Suqqu Eyebrow Powder 02 (discontinued). Suqqu used to make five single shades of eyebrow powder (dryish, densely packed shades of greyed black, olive and brown). This was their ashiest dark brown (cooler than any of the browns in either of their current eyebrow palettes).
5. + 6. Shu Uemura H9 Hard Formula Brow Pencil 02 Seal Brown and 05 Stone Grey -- deservedly cult products, and the ones I reach for when in need of a quick, one-product, my-brows-but-better look. There's a lot of guff talked about these, but really, it's hardly rocket science. They're hard-textured pencils which dispense colour very lightly (no risk of a sharpie effect) and work just as well sharpened to a regular pencil point as to the angled 'Shu' slice. Oils on existing hairs (or skincare/base products in that area) will help to release more colour, but they'll still work to fill in genuinely sparse areas -- as you'll see below, they swatch just fine onto paper. One thing is true, however -- one pencil will last years of daily use.
7. + 8. Suqqu Eyebrow Liquid Pen 01 Moss Green and 02 Brown I mostly reserve for the tiny bald patch in the middle of my left brow, and to extend the very tail ends of both i.e. places where I have no hair with which to 'blend in' powder or pencil strokes. Using these alone takes a bit too long for a brow-imperfectionist like me -- you're essentially drawing on a myriad on baby-fine hairs one by one -- but if you happen to have the time/patience and want/need something extremely precise whose results that mimic the natural colour, sheen and even texture of real brow hair, then I highly recommend these. Having tried a handful of cheaper offerings from Japanese and Western brands, the Suqqu pens stand out for me not only in their carefully balanced cool shades, but in the fine brush tip that dispenses a moderate but even flow of pigment without flooding or skipping. Maybe it's just bad luck, but the few Japanese drugstore pens which equal Suqqu on these two counts (and share their water- and oil-proof indelibility) have all dried out or become otherwise unreliable (flaky/crumbly formula or faded in colour) after about two months; the Suqqu pens have stayed perfectly reliably consistent since I purchased them last winter -- my Moss Green is still going strong, and my Brown has (which sees much more frequent -- almost daily -- use) only just run out of juice (repurchased during Selfridge's Black Friday promo).
9. Rouge Bunny Rouge Eye Gloss I don't often quote RBR copy (the blog's already verbose enough without their dose of purple) but this one really does what it says on the
The formula is wax free and achieves perfect transparency and a soft light film....Brush onto brows for a dewy effect.
I also don't often use this on brows, preferring to err on the side of under- than over-groomed, and preferring the eye gloss itself as a minimalist eyelid wash or purely textural highlighter, but when a modicum of extra polish is wanted this is my product of choice -- any other kind of gel/liquid/wax 'holding' product on my brows adds far too much texture (more often than not crunch) to justify their grooming effects for me -- the RBR gloss adds a very natural gleam and offers gentle hold with no weight (flattening brows unnaturally into the skin) or hardness. And it's not going to rain down brown/black flakes when you sneeze, either. :P
Time to see some of these in action! You'll also have noted that I have two shades of both the Shu pencils and Suqqu pens -- this is because I often lighten my brows to match my (almost invariable lightened and warmed-up) hair so tend to transition from one, through a blend/combination of the two, to the other. Matching / naturalism aside, I also switch between them to harmonise or contrast with either cooler or warmer looks e.g. see Seal Brown, Stone Grey, and a mix of the two used in the three looks here.
Swatches(My Suqqu 02 pen was on its very last legs here, sorry -- please pretend it's texturally the equal of 01 and just look at its colour.)
On white paper
On the back of my hand
|Suqqu powder 02 swatched twice (left: one very fine swipe of the 6OB brush, right: built up to show how the shade deepens and cools down as it's layered)|
See, there's nothing scarily green about the Suqqu Moss Green shade-- it's so ashy an off-black it makes Shu Stone Grey pull almost khaki. If you want green, check out Fude Takumi Eye Brow Liner in Pure Brown, my latest there's-got-to-be-a-cheaper-sub-for-Suqqu experiment :P
Er, any lime-haired beauties out there who'd like a swatched-once pen, SIB? Just shout.
Two routines now, in scary macro.
My ultra-groomed brow routine, practised very rarely.
1. Bare but spoolied
2. Suqqu Brow Powder 02 on Shu 6OB brush:
3. Suqqu Brow Pen 02 Brown to further fill in and extend the very tail:
4. RBR Eye Gloss, lightly brushed through, with a bit extra to tame the drooping willowy hairs in the middle (apart from taming, see how it 'plumps up' the whole brow? Like a good lipgloss):
My everyday routine consists of just one product. Here's an example during a cooler brow month with the Shu pencil.
1. Bare but spoolied
2. Shu Uemura H9 Pencil Stone Grey
3. Spoolie again, to blend and soften
For the effect of the Suqqu powder used alone, see here. These two looks show the Suqqu pen in 01 Moss Green.