Monday, September 14, 2015

Brunette Brow Game

If you ask me, the 'brows on fleek' and 'brow game strong' era is waning, but good brows have always been a staple in the daily face- see Jeremy Renner's 'frame the face' moment. Whether you do it by pencil, powder, paste or pomade, brows have stood the test of time and I know from experience that brunettes on the darker end of the spectrum used to have trouble finding products to suit their brows and their colouring. Thankfully, this is no longer the case.

(1) Maintenance
The first step is acceptance. Being Chinese, my brows are a very different type of hair and shape and rejecting them and trying to turn them into something they're not will not turn out well. The 'advice I would give my younger self' mantra goes 'Do not overpluck the eyebrows,' for a good reason. A younger version of myself was reading the book Vogue Makeup by Juliet Cohen and I thought 'well I'd better make sure my brows are tidy' and I slowly plucked them into what I thought was an acceptable shape. They were by no means 'tadpoles' or 'high-maintenance' thin, but they were most definitely the wrong shape. No more, please. Plucking the hairs that are outliers is the only thing I do these days, because I find threading is the best method of achieving a low-maintenance shape that I'm happy with.

Leave the shaping to the professionals because for anywhere between $10-$25 people who shape brows for a living will work wonders with a few minutes and some high-tension thread. Truthfully I haven't tried waxing or any other avenues of brow shaping because I think threading is great- I love the way it makes my brows look. I tweeze stray hairs most of the time just to make sure they're only growing where they should be.

(2) Grey-Black
Shade selection for brow products is crucial, as it's all too easy to use dark brown to fill them in and look back to find the product was too warm. I've found quite a few that I think are good shade matches for undyed, Asian, naturally black/blackish-brown hair. For beginners I think powders are the easiest- it's what I used when I started out and it's extremely easy to blend out. I like MAC Brun eyeshadow. Pencils are the next step up, and I have 2 favourites- I swatched the three products I like and the pencil side of the Revlon Brow Fantasy double-ended product, which I'm not mad about. The Lioele Artist Auto Eyebrow pencil in 03 Grey-Black is the best for Asian brows, but it does have to purchased online. If you don't want to shop online, and if you're on a budget, the Rimmel Professional Eyebrow Pencil in 04 Brown Black is excellent. It's got a toothbrush-style brow brush instead of a spoolie, but hey- you get what you pay for and this is very accessible from most beauty retailers.

(3) Brow Gels
For something quick and easy, a brow gel is the way to go. Tinted or clear, they are quick to use and it's hard to go wrong with a brow gel. I like the Ardell Brow Sculpting Gel for a clear option as it shapes the brow hairs and keeps them in place but doesn't look like makeup, and the Revlon Brow Fantasy in Dark Brown is a good choice for a pencil and a tinted gel. Maybelline, L'Oreal and Australis offer brow gels too, but I'm going to mention the latest brow release from Rimmel, the Brow This Way brow styling gels*. I don't know if the name is meant to be a play on words for 'born this way', or 'grow this way(?)' but the compact tube and shade range are promising. There are four shades- clear, a taupe-blonde, medium brown and dark brown. I enjoyed trialing these but they are pigmented to a fault and the brush can be problematic. I like where they were going with the shape of the brush- this shape has definitely been more popular than Maybelline's ball-shaped brush. Even so it's a bit too big and I gave one a trim because it's difficult to brush it on without looking like something out of those Boyfriend Does My Makeup videos because the product is pigmented to the point of inky. I love brow gels because they're easy and no fuss but I'll keep trying new ones until I find 'The One'.

*Product provided for consideration.

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