Eyebrows are the beauty obsession of the Century!
Why are our eyebrows so important?
We, as humans have evolved over time and one evolutionary change is the gradual loss of hair from many parts of our bodies, via hair follicle miniaturisation. But according to scientific evolution mapping, our eyebrow hair has not greatly diminished.
Functions of Eyebrows
Our eyebrows have a physical function to perform and that is to shield and protect our eyes from sweat, water and debris. They are a physical, protective mechanism for our primary sense: our sight. Eyebrows act as a shield from sunlight by increasing the overhang for the eyeball from the brow bone.
But they also have an important social function in that they help us to communicate and recognise each other and enable us to accentuate our facial expressions. The ability for humans to use their eyebrows in communication allows us to show our emotions and to physically express what we feel. One eyebrow lifted may convey interest or scepticism while the two lifted show surprise.
Our eyebrows help us to recognise other humans. A research study investigating the role eyebrows play in facial recognition showed that the absence of eyebrows in familiar faces leads to a distraction in recognition performance. The study involved identifying famous faces while the scientists manipulated the photos so that there was either no eyes or no eyebrows. Interestingly, the study group could still identify the famous faces 60% of the time with the lack of eyes but with the identifying features of eyebrows.
Are we genetically linked with our eyebrows?
Do I look more like my Dad because we have the same eyebrows? The answer is yes! We know that the shape, colour and thickness of our eye protectors are all inherited. Of all the hair we have on our bodies, the highest significant trait correlations occur between beard, eyebrow density and monobrow appearance. Four individual genes control eyebrow hair texture. One gene determines eyebrow shape, with five genes affecting eyebrow hair colour, and another determines whether you develop a monobrow.
So, our genes dictate what we are born with and hence, determine what our brows will look like. However environmental factors such as aesthetics and the fashion trends of today, also greatly influence how our eyebrows look. With the influence of ‘fashion,’ years of waxing and/or tweezing can permanently affect the shape of our brows. Injuries or piercing’s to the skin near your eyebrows can also affect hair growth and eyebrow shape.
History of ‘the eyebrow’
- The Egyptians, both men and women in 3500 BC used makeup to honour the Gods with heavily lined eyes and prominent eyebrows.
- In ancient Greek times; the monobrow was considered a beauty trait, while in the Roman Empire the monobrow was a sign of intelligence.
- The middle ages saw domed, yes, big bulgy foreheads as a sign of beauty. To achieve this, women would pluck their eyebrows heavily.
- While the Elizabethan era saw eyebrows dyed reddish-brown to copy Queen Elizabeth.
‘If your eyebrows meet across your nose, you’ll never live to wear your wedding clothes.”-
- Jumping to more modern times, we saw the needle-thin brows of the 1920s on Clara Bow. They were severely plucked and pencilled in thin and straight, this is when commercial eyebrow pencils became available.
- In the ’30s, Greta Garbo wore very pronounced, curved and arched brows.
- Grace Kelly wore a more natural look in the ’40s.
- The ’50s had Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn and Marylin Monroe all boasting lush, immaculately shaped and coloured brows.
- Sophia Loren had the most famous brows and unique styling technique of the 1960s. She shaved them off completely, then pencilled them in tactfully with short, thread-thin strokes that secured a bold, yet seemingly natural look.
- Brooke Sheilds brought us back to the more natural look with the more bushy, more-ness of the 1980s.
- The 1990s had brows of all sizes, but there was still tweezing aplenty. The over-plucked look was sported most popularly by women like Drew Barrymore and Pamela Anderson.
- The ’00s saw pencil-thin arches, playing up the grungy brows of the ’90s.
- The following decade saw even thinner, barely-there shapes on pop stars like Christina Aguilera.
- And then women like Angelina Jolie began to gravitate towards clean, natural shapes with minimal sculpting.
- As the Kardashian clan ascended in popularity; strong, powerful eyebrows followed suit. The advent of more and more, new and improved beauty products dedicated to the brow, meant filling in eyebrows was possible and ‘the brows’ looked better than ever.
- 2015 saw the arrival of the ‘Instagram Brow’ and the’ #OnFleek’ revolution. IG became the go-to destination for brow inspo thanks to beauty influencers like Patrick Starrr. You know this look well: They were perfectly brushed up at the beginning of the brow, and then faded into a super defined arch all the way to the tail.
2020 saw the arrival of dewy brow: think wet-look, glossy and sumptuously finished. Dewy brows look lived in, healthy and lustrous. This is achieved with wax-finish formulas and generous layers of clear brow gel to lock it all in place.
How do we get the perfect eyebrows for our face shapes?
There are so many options when it comes to eyebrow products, which is why it’s super important to make sure you’re using the right one. First: Think about your brow goals. Are you trying to fill in sparse spots and add definition? Grab a brow powder and an angled brush. Are you trying to lightly shape and comb your hairs? Swipe on a lightweight brow gel. Not sure what you want or even need? Don’t be afraid to play around with a cocktail of a few products—there’s no right or wrong, so just focus on finding the best product for you.
*And remember, “Our brows are meant to be sisters, NOT twins!”
Threading is one of the best methods for enhancing and defining your natural brow shape. Unlike waxing, which is great for targeting large areas of skin (like your legs or bikini line), threading is ultra-precise. If going freehand with your eyebrow products feels a bit out of your skillset (no shade), you should try using an eyebrow stencil, aka a little template that you stick or hold on top of your brows to prevent you from “colouring” outside of the lines of your brows with your powders, pencils, or gels.
THE NATURAL LOOK
For a natural look, experts say to please, please, please do not fill in your brows with one single, heavy-handed swipe of any product. Instead, the goal is to make tiny, hair-like strokes, so you’ll want to use small flicking motions with whatever tools you choose, in the direction of your hair growth to get the most realistic-looking result.
WHERE SHOULD YOUR BROW TAIL END?
Overextending the tail of your brows can create a droopy effect, drawing your face down and making you look, well, a little sad. Your eyebrows naturally stop at a place that lifts your face up and out, and you want to maintain that angle. To measure where the tail of your brow needs to end, place a brow pencil diagonally at your nostril and line it up with the side of your eye. Where the pencil hits your brow bone is where the end of your eyebrow should end (or can be extended to) without it looking fake.
HAVE YOU OVERPLUCKED?
If you’ve fallen victim to over-plucking in the past—I have too, it’s okay—know that you’re not alone, we were all there in the ’80s, ’90s and ’00s. To mask sparseness, fill in any spots with brow powder and an angled brush, or opt for a brow pencil. Then, groom your brows into place with brow mascara (clear or tinted works here). Outlining your brows with highlighter can put too much of a spotlight on your arches. Instead, opt for a concealer that’s one shade lighter than your skin tone to brighten up your brow area while still looking natural.
Permanent eyebrow shaping using eyebrow tattooing is all the rage at the moment with many celebrities sporting a thicker brow. But exactly how does it work, and is it worth all the pain and expense? There are a few techniques that are currently hot topics: “feathering” and “micro-blading” and “powdering,” but what are they and which is best for your set of brows?
Imitates the appearance of real eyebrow hairs. It is often referred to as ‘hair-strokes’. The imitation of tiny fine lines can be created either by a handheld tool with several tiny needles (microblading) or with a cosmetic tattoo machine with a single needle (nano brows).
Is a tattooing technique that involves making tiny scratches in the dermal layer by gliding needles (10-16) over the skin. They make thin tracks where pigment is then deposited. This gives a more subtle and natural look. You can achieve bolder brows with fine strokes of pigment delivered via microneedles, which resemble the texture of hair. Unlike tattoos, microblading gives you semi-permanent eyebrows and can last anywhere from 6 to 36 months before they begin to fade. After the first treatment, another touch up is required four to six weeks later.
Nano needling or micro-pigmentation
Uses a conventional needle device. Since the needle sits approximately 0.75mm outside the cartridge, it is easier to apply the precise pressure to create the perfect, crisp hair strokes. Thus, it tends to be a much cleaner process. The very tip of the needle is dipped into the pigment and the vibration pulls the pigment down into the cartridge. It is then dispensed gradually from the needle into the skin, allowing for a controlled movement and it lasts longer but of course, it costs more $.
Ombre brows or Powderfill
This is a solid fill technique and is also referred to as the ‘block method.’ It is applied by machine and is beneficial for mature clients as the pigment usually lasts longer. This is a semi-permanent eyebrow styling technique that creates a soft-shaded brow pencil look. … It is particularly recommended for women with oily skin or combination skin or anyone who fills in their brows regularly with pencil or shadow. The biggest difference between the two semi-permanent eyebrow styling techniques is how the pigment is deposited into the skin. Microblading uses a handheld tool to carve small cuts into the skin, whereas Ombre brows are done using a machine. The ombre powder technique is a bit less invasive than that of microblading.
HOW LONG DOES EYEBROW TATTOOING LAST?
The duration of a semi-permanent eyebrow treatment varies from client to client depending on a number of factors such as initial depth of tattooing, metabolism, skin type, sun exposure and chemical exposure. A refresh once a year to keep the colour and shape is recommended and is an additional cost. Generally it will take 18 months to three years for the eyebrow treatment to fade.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Eyebrow tattoo prices vary, but you can expect to pay somewhere in the region of $350-$700 for eyebrow feathering and from $350 up to $1200 for microblading. Follow up sessions (about 6 weeks later) are required to avoid fading and cost around $100-$120.
Our advice: go by ‘word of mouth’ recommendations for a good outcome and not by price.
That depends who you ask. Kylie, 44, from NSW felt microblading was “bearable”until about halfway through which is when the numbing cream started to wear off. “I felt a bit queasy but I put up with it because I knew I’d have great eyebrows at the end.” The general consensus however is that it’s not too bad. It’s no worse than plucking!
Your brows will be very dark, but this won’t be the end result. They will fade and the skin will possibly peel or flake. Aftercare is very important and must be followed diligently to maximise pigment retention. This is known as the ‘dry healing phase’ and takes about 7 to 10 days. During this time, you must keep your eyebrows away from water and out of the sun. Washing your face with a facecloth will help to keep the tattoo dry. Many salons advise you use an antiseptic cream such as Bepathen “to prevent infection and keep brows from drying-out or cracking”.
Infections are not likely to occur if aftercare is followed and treatments are performed by trained clinical staff in reputable clinics. Allergic reactions to pigments are rare, but can occur depending on the colouring products used; organic and inorganic are both fairly safe.
The best way to avoid a bad eyebrow tattoo is to check out as many technicians as you can before you book. Eyebrow tattoos are semi-permanent so you want to be as sure as possible that you’re going to like the result. Most salons offer tattoo lifting or lightening on work you’ve had done elsewhere but you really want to avoid being that person so do your research and don’t be afraid to be picky. Ask others’ for their recommendations.
There are many “overnight brow artists” so be very mindful of your choice and beware of “specials.” It’s a highly skilled art form that takes many years to learn and perfect.