If you know me, you know I have a set of brow products I am eternally loyal to. You can count them on one hand and I recommend them to ALL of my clients.
However… in the last few months, some of my favourite brands have exited the Australian market or been discontinued. This gave me the perfect excuse to see what else was out there so I did a call out on @browconfidence (as you do) to find out what everyone was using and have been testing recommendations as well as making my own discoveries during my brow sessions with clients.
Below are four that have impressed me and have been added to the rotation so you might even see them at work at your next appointment:
My favourite shade is 04 (black). It’s the holy grail for Asian brows and those with darker hairs who may be incorrectly using brown. The non-clumpy formula separates and sets hairs in place and it’s effective at covering greys as well as sparseness at the front of your brows (spot applying where needed, this is what I’ve been using it on myself for). A good alternative to Glossier Boy Brow in Black, which isn’t yet available in Australia.
With the felt tip, you can easily create subtle yet defined hair strokes especially when you want to re-create “sprouty” hairs at the front of your brows. I personally don’t use the sponge tip (with brow powder), however if you want to, it’s best to use an external brush for more precision and definition so hairs look like the real deal. I love the shades ‘Fling’ and ‘Taupe’.
Despite the surname, there is no relation between Tina and I (ha!) except that I love her pencils and we share a mutual appreciation for brows. This is a professional-grade tool that can only be sharpened with a blade but excellent for practised hands. It is truly the ‘it’ product for creating long-wear, high impact hair strokes that look identical to the real thing.
This is a French brow brand stocked in MECCA created by a makeup artist. It is on the pricier end for a brow crayon at $36, but if you are struggling to find a shade that exactly matches your brow hairs, give this range a try. They have shades like ‘Ash Blonde’, ‘Cold Brunette’, ‘Black’ and even ‘Grey’. I recommend sticking to the cooler tones, which look more natural and flattering. You also get the staying power of a waterproof formula here so your styling looks just as good at 2pm as it did at 8am.
M.A.C Cosmetics Shape and Shade Brow Tint and Tina Davies Pro Silk Pencil in action at our recent Brow Confidence shoot. Photo: Chantell Brown.
Imagine all your queries answered and knowing exactly what to expect before your first brow appointment. Would this put your mind at ease, or better yet, get you a bit excited to have your brows done?
I’m sure this is not common practice, but why shouldn’t it be this way?
Here are 4 reasons why I offer a non-negotiable phone consultation – with the request of a selfie! – before I’ll book in your appointment for the first time.
“I go the extra mile because I understand how nerve-racking it is to trust someone with your brows.”
1. ELIMINATE ANXIETY & EXPECTATION
Blind dates are awkward at the best of times, but a blind brow date takes it to the next level.
Unlike other beauty services, women generally approach me in a state of frustration and uncertainty about their brows so a casual chat is a great antidote to understand their past experiences, to manage their expectations and to give them a sense of resolution.
More importantly, this approach gives women a voice to express how they truly feel without judgement which fosters a connection and warmth before we start our journey together.
2. DO WE CONNECT?
I hear a lot of feedback about women going to different places based on celebrity endorsements, bloggers reviews and friends’ referrals but here’s the thing: there’s absolutely no guarantee that you’ll have the same positive experience or outcome. The main priority is to make sure you go to someone who understands your aesthetic and who’s willing to teach you to recreate the same (or similar) result at home.
3. IT’S YOUR DECISION
By having a consultation, it also empowers you to make a conscious decision which means you’re on board with the effort it may take to achieve your desired brows. However, if there’s any hesitation by either party, it’s not worth going ahead because it will definitely lead to dissatisfactions. So again, it’s about being on the same page.
4. IT SETS BROW CONFIDENCE APART FROM THE REST
What I first started my business, it was clear to me that what was on offer didn’t meet women’s needs, so I decided to do things differently. To avoid having women randomly booking in, uninformed, and repeating this cycle of disappointment, I decided a consultation was the perfect way to excite women, while helping them feel less anxious and awkward.
Interested in a brow consultation? Now that you know what it’s all about, contact me for a brow chat here.
If you’ve ever had to fend off comments like “Are you ok?“, “What’s wrong?” and the classic, “You look tired…” – even when you’re perfectly fine – the problem, and solution, might be your brow shape.
A study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found that people were more likely to identify someone when their eyes were missing than when their brows were missing. This is all just to say that brows make a significant, if not lasting, impressions and in a world where an impressions are so important, you’d better hope your brows are #REPRESENTING.
Ahead are some examples of common ‘unbalanced’ brows and the emotions they elicit – with commentary by master brow stylist, Lien Davies.
“Overarched brows characterised by a dramatic elevation (and a dramatic decline) produces and angry or frowny expression.”
“Arching the brow at the centre of the iris (coloured part of the eye) has caused an epidemic of surprised-looking women.” Don’t peak too early, people!
“Sparse brows (A.K.A. ‘invisible brows’) result in a lack of facial definition and make you look tired and un-groomed. If sparse brows are arched too high they also accentuate droopy eyelids, exacerbating the problem.”
“Brows that aren’t symmetrical; that are uneven as well as set too wide apart, rob your face of balance making you look puzzled at best, and completely bewildered at worst.” Not ideal…
“A flat brow literally exudes a flat, uninterested expression even if you’re an excitable person. The lack of overall length also fails to frame your eyes.”
Mastering your brow shape is a lot easier than it looks.
Course correction just takes a system to ensure both brows are symmetrical and they start, arch and end at the same points that universally flattering. To get you started, give Lien a call for a brow chat: HERE.
Holding Image: Backstage Blumarine SS 2016
Illustrations by Emma @ The Wander Love Collective
The simple truth is that I (quite literally) can’t work without my precision tweezers, Lotus. She’s more than a working tool – she’s a trusted friend! Together, we create beautiful brows for my clients and in the process, makeover their confidence.
Here are five reasons why tweezing is better for your brows:
1. METICULOUS SHAPING
Achieving the right brow shape is all about precision and symmetry. Tweezing is the most accurate technique because you can remove one hair at a time. But before you pluck, remember: it pays to invest in quality tweezers like Rubis or Tweezerman.
2. NO PAIN, ALL GAIN
Tweezing is relatively painless compared to waxing, which can pull and burn the sensitive skin around your eyes.
3. More balance
Unlike other methods, tweezing means you can sit upright during your appointment. This allows your ‘brow lady’ to take into account your facial movements before shaping accordingly.
“ACHIEVING THE RIGHT BROW SHAPE IS ALL ABOUT PRECISION AND SYMMETRY.”
4. Less regrowth
By plucking only the unwanted and unruly hairs, regrowth is minimal and your natural thickness remains in tact.
5. Save time and money
Instead of paying someone to tame regrowth, why not do it yourself? You can’t go wrong with tidying up obvious stray hairs (as long as you keep away from your natural shape. Fear not, this is a basic lesson I teach early on). Bonus: imagine the time you’ll save by doing a little DIY at home.
In the comments below, I’d love to hear your experience. Have you ever had your brows professionally shaped? If so, which method did your brow expert use?
For most of my young adult life, I had no idea what I wanted to do for work. I was hoping to find a job in a creative industry and to one day be my own boss, but that was the extent of my career criteria. Fast forward 20-something years, through hard work and perseverance (and of course, overcoming a few roadblocks along the way), I’ve been lucky enough to turn my passion for helping women into a rewarding brow business. Success aside, nothing is more important and fulfilling than being a wife to Chris, and mum to Tyler and Anouk.
MY ACCIDENTAL START IN THE BEAUTY INDUSTRY
My beauty journey began when I was 23. After completing my business degree at UTS university, I applied for work in the finance industry. And failed miserably. Five times to be exact! But that didn’t surprise me. I had zero interest in the corporate world, and it showed during my interviews. Knowing what I didn’t want to do motivated me to figure out what I was passionate about.
A little lost, I did what seemed to be the next logical step – a mindmap. A visual overview of how I wanted my life to look in the next five, ten, even twenty years. I wrote down everything that mattered to me at the time: artistry, creative freedom, financial independence, empowering and connecting women, being my own boss, incorporating my love for colours and shapes, using my hands and a ‘non-9-5’ job. Then, my ‘a-ha!’ moment: a career as a makeup artist. Truth be told, I knew nothing about makeup, but I wasn’t discouraged. Even without skills or sales experience, I convinced Heather Saba (former Area Manager of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, circa 2000) to hire me as a cosmetic consultant. And that was the beginning of my ‘on-the-job’ training.
After spending the next four years working for different beauty counters, it was obvious that women were overwhelmed by the sheer choice of products and information, and yet their specific beauty needs weren’t being met. I saw this gap as an opportunity to step up and in 2005, launched Brows & Makeup. From secret tricks to keeping eyeshadow from slipping to thickening brows that’d been subjected to years of over-waxing, my goal was to offer clients’ simple and practical solutions to their daily frustrations.
“Look within yourself for answers – everything you need to know is there”
WHY I REBRANDED THE BUSINESS
Five years in, it was clear that Brows & Makeup was organically transitioning into a brow-specific service. The majority of my clients were asking for fuller and more natural-looking brows, so it was a no-brainer to tailor the business to give them exactly what they wanted. Early this June, Brow Confidence was launched with a mission to help women, around the world, look good by making brows their best beauty asset.
WHY MY WORK IS DIFFERENT
Being ‘self-taught’ gave me the creative freedom to explore my craft and create my own style, without restrictions or boundaries. Before long, I’d established a unique shaping system called Six Steps To Your Ultimate Brow Shape. Everything about it disrupts the status quo. The Ultimate Brow Shape is a universal, face-flattering shape, personalised with tailored tweezing to suit every woman and her individual look.
WHY I LOVE WHAT I DO
In helping women look beautiful and feel confident, I’ve found my true purpose. I believe we all have a special talent to share with the world, and mine happens to be brow shaping. What I value most is the connection with clients, women I call my dear friends. During the 30-minute appointments, we solve life’s problems, laugh, gossip and sometimes even shed a tear or two… And I couldn’t ask for a better way to spend my time.
WHAT I’VE LEARNED ABOUT WOMEN OVER THE YEARS
Regardless of age or cultural background, women we are basically all the same. We all want to be confident in our own skin and to be the best version of ourselves. I’ve also realised that most women don’t buy into fads and understand that brows are an outward expression of their inner beauty – they just need a little helping hand achieving it.
MY ULTIMATE BROW TIP
Every woman should learn how to fill in their brows. The right technique, paired with must-have products can create magical results. No brows are too challenging to correct, you just need the right know-how.
It was, and still is American makeup artist Bobbi Brown. From her focus on empowering women to the brand’s simple beauty philosophies; I love everything about Bobbi and the business. Working for her in the early days armed me with invaluable knowledge and insight about what it takes to run a successful business and connect with clients.
MY BEAUTY PHILOSOPHY
There’s beauty in simplicity. A hint of makeup and great brows can do wonders to one’s appearance and automatically boost self-esteem (no matter how dire your bad hair day is!). My go-to look only takes a few minutes; a dewy foundation, a pop of cream blush and a few strokes of tinted brow mascara.
MY BIGGEST SECRET GOES BEYOND GREAT BROWS
“Kindness makes you the most beautiful person in the world”. To me, this quote says it all.
THE MOST VALUABLE ADVICE I’VE RECEIVED
“Look within yourself for answers – everything you need to know is there”. My mum taught me from a young age to believe in myself and my abilities. That’s how I choose to live my life.