These Editors Have Totally Different Brows—Here's How They Groom Them
At one point in history, eyebrows had two pretty basic biological purposes: They kept junk like dirt and sweat out of your eyes, and on a sub-conscious level, they help with facial recognition.
In 2018, though, eyebrows aren't just viewed as a way to differentiate Chris Hemsworth from Liam Hemsworth. They’re a form of self-expression, and if the massive amount of products and brow procedures are any indication, there’s not just one way to groom or style them. Brow pomades, microblading treatments, gels, and pencils are literally everywhere, and if you're interested in grooming them, it's hard to know how to use what, and when.
To give you a glimpse into just how drastically different individuals' eyebrow routines can be — and to give you some inspiration for grooming your own brows — we asked four InStyle editors to reveal their personal brow grooming stories. Keep scrolling to hear more from a threading enthusiast, a woman who's brow journey began with Aaliyah, and more.
VIDEO: Beauty School: Feathered Brows
Alexis, the Retired Eyebrow Archer
"I stopped getting my eyebrows done seven years ago. No wax, no threading, nothing. I love perfectly groomed eyebrows, but more importantly, I wanted mine to be really thick and beautiful. I’ve always had an eyebrow crush on Aaliyah. Remember her pictures inside of her “I Care 4 U” CD? Yes, I actually had the CD. (Hey, it was 2002.) To me, her feathered brows were the definition of #goals long before Cara Delevingne’s rise to eyebrow fame. It took me a while, but I eventually realized that I’d never get there if I kept getting my eyebrows arched, so I stopped. I did try eyebrow extensions once, but I haven’t had anyone professionally do my eyebrows since then.
Now, my routine consists of a few swipes of Browbar’s Eyebrow Pencil ($23; net-a-porter.com) in the morning. It’s a godsend for moments when I’m in a hurry. Some days I literally scribble it over my hairs, and it still leaves a natural-looking finish. Oh, and for those of you who are wondering if I ever achieved Aaliyah-level eyebrows? Not exactly. I’ve learned that I’m naturally not a hairy person, so I’ve accepted that my arches will never be super thick, and I’m OK with that."
Dianna, the Microblader
"I used to obsess over-filling in my naturally light and sparse brows until I got them microbladed last year. Now—not to toot my own horn—I often get compliments on the shape and color. Microblading, in which a scalpel comprised of tiny needles is used to deposit semi-permanent pigment in a hair-like stroke pattern, was totally worth it in terms of both cost ($1,500!) and temporary pain.
I saw Piret Aava—AKA @eyebrowdoctor—and plan to continue to visit her once a year for touch-ups. Having my brows done 24/7 has shaved several minutes off my morning routine (I just use a clear gel to groom) and boosted my confidence immensely."
Emily, the Threader
"I was what you might call 'Hot-Topic edgy' in high school, so an eyebrow piercing spared me from the damage of over-grooming that so many fell prey to in the early aughts. My college roommate later introduced me to waxing. Hair removal became a female-bonding ritual. Once a month, we'd splurge on a trip to the spa in the next town over, indulging in the ecstasy of shared anticipation and voluntary pain. My naturally full brows looked sick withthe sharp wax line. It made me feel so sophisticated. Unfortunately, it also made me feel itchy. I have very sensitive skin. I'm not sure if it was the heat, material, or possible unsanitary double-dipping, but each wax was followed by 48-hours of skin irritation.
Over the next few years, I oscillated between waxing and tweezing, dissatisfied with both processes. Then, I moved to Sunnyside, a neighborhood in Queens where threading salons outnumber Starbucks by 3 to 1. One experimental trip to the salon later, I was hooked. Three solid weeks of maintenance-free clean lines, and none of the itchy red bumps. It's a little cheaper than wax, too."
Victoria, the Eyebrow Pencil Enthusiast
"One situation when I was 12-years-old totally shaped my eyebrow experience—pun not intended. My friend had just had her eyebrows waxed for the first time, therefore the hair-free skin underneath her eyebrows was bright red and irritated. I was terrified of the pain she might have experienced. I assumed if I had my own eyebrows waxed, I'd have to walk around with red, spotchy skin, too, so I swore it off. (I'm a little dramatic sometimes.) With all that being said, I have never waxed, tweezed, or threaded my eyebrows. I honestly didn't touch them until I was about 22 and realized that filling them in would help frame my face and create a pulled-together look without using a ton of other makeup.
My eyebrows have a wide diameter, but they're not dense. They're also feathery (a quality I love) and very fair. That means that I have to pencil in sparse spots to give them the bold, full appearance I envy. Brooke Shields has always been my eyebrow idol. I follow the same routine every single day. I apply the Laura Mercier Eyebrow Pencil in Ash Blonde ($24; nordstrom.com) to the sparse spots on my eyebrows. I have a hair-less scar towards the front of my left brow, so I try to fill that in, too. Then, I use Chantecaille Full Brow Perfecting Gel ($40; nordstrom.com) to brush them up and lock them in place. My mantra with my eyebrows is to leave them alone, so if a random, stray hair pops up, I simply let it be."