“You TWEEZE your eyebrows.” Or at least that’s what one of my teachers at Vidal Sassoon used to say. But this guy also once told us a story about beating a homeless man’s begging hands out of his car window with a Louis Vuitton handbag, so in my opinion you needn’t put a lot of weight in his strict ideas of etiquette. I say, pluck ‘em, tweeze ‘em, do what you dig, just please (please-oh-please) don’t do too much of it. Also, I wouldn’t recommend plucking a chicken, it’s probably gross.
Over tweezing/waxing your eye brows is a really bad thing to do, because (like all other hair that you wax off) eventually it is stop growing back. I know this first hand. When I was a kid I had this nervous habit where I unconsciously pulled out my eyebrows. After a while they stopped growing back and resulted in very thin brows on the outer corner of my left eyebrow. Killing the hair follicle is great for legs, bikini lines, etc, but trust me, you’re really really gonna want your eye brows in the future. Not only are they a major vehicle for expression, they are also pretty and faces without them look weird.
The first thing I tell people to do with their eye brows is GROW THEM OUT! It’s ok if they look like shit for a couple of weeks, no one is really noticing and the end result will be totally worth it. Eyebrow styles, like clothes, have gone through a range of fads throughout time, for example in the 30s eyebrows were super thin (often waxed off and penciled in). But currently we are not in a thin eyebrow phase, so don’t be afraid to let them get a little thicker.
Once you feel like they are grown out sufficiently you can clean them up by tweezing them yourself, or if you don’t trust your own hand, by going somewhere else. If you are letting someone else tweeze your eyebrows it is important to be explicite about what you want. It’s true, they are trained professionals, but that doesn’t mean they know your personal style, so speak up for yourself. Say, “I like to keep my brows full, but shaped.”
I know there are a lot of different opinions on the “correct” way to shape eyebrows, so what I’m going to suggest to you is only my personal opinion and doesn’t mean other people are doing it wrong. However, I stand by the rule that unless you have a serious unibrow nothing should be waxed from the inner corner of your eyebrows. I do NOT believe that eye brows should line up perfectly from the inner corner of the eye, I think they should start further in toward the nose bridge. Most people are fine, stray hairs there, don’t tweeze them! So basically measure straight up from the inner corner of your eye and then move inward slightly, NOT out toward the outer corner of the eye. If you have stray hairs between your eyebrows just tweeze them a little, without making a hard line where your eyebrows begin.
If you want to take a crack at tweezing your own eyebrows, which I believe (like cutting your own bangs) is a really really good thing to know how to do, here is a little tip that might help you to not over tweeze. Take a white eyeliner pencil draw on your brow a line shaping how you want your arch to look. Then shade with the pencil over all the hairs you plan to tweeze. Before you start tweezing look at yourself in the mirror, the white should be marking out what areas you are going to tweeze. I don’t recommend tweezing anything from the top of your eyebrows, only on the brow bone to create the arch shape you want, this results in a more natural looking brow.
Now ask yourself, “Do my eye brows look even? Do my brows still look full? Do I like the arch shade created by the white shading?” When you have answered “Yes” to these questions you can start tweezing. Don’t tweeze anything not covered by the white pencil shading.
If you are like me and you have bare patches from over tweezing, waxing, nervous pulling, etc, you can also pencil in your eyebrows. Chose a neutral color. Notice that your eyebrows are not the exact color of your hair, so don’t fill them in with a warm brown or gold blond. Places like MAC and Make Up For Ever have really good eyebrow pencils. When filling your brows make short little strokes, this mimics the look of actual eyebrow hairs and will look more natural. Also only fill where you need to, which might be either the outer corners or it might be your entire eyebrows if your hair is really light, you make the judgment call.
Ok, good luck with your eyebrows! And don’t get over zealous with these techniques if you haven’t grown your eyebrows out first!! I don’t want to be responsible for someone waxing or tweezing off all their eyebrows out of excitement. If this happens though, go to a vintage shop, buy T-strap heels, a pencil skirt and blouse, get a sculpted velor hat from a legit milliner and pencil in those eyebrows with a super thin, super arched line. Commit to a 30’s look and call it a day.
Use this cool diagram to help you!