We've all heard the horror stories - and anyone who lived through the '90s tadpole phase is probably still having nightmares - but, armed with the right equipment and some technical nous, beautiful brows are possible to DIY. Just ask Natalie Plain, CEO and co-founder of Billion Dollar Brows, whose best-selling products have saved over-tweezed brows across America - and can finally do the same in Australia through Mecca. We quizzed the good brow guru (trust us, that's a thing) for all her shaping, taming, tweezing and trimming wisdom.
Related story: Brows for beginners: 7 ways to get yours into shape
1. What are the essential tools for at-home brow shaping and maintenance?
The good news is, to achieve fantastic brows, you don't need much at all! The biggest challenge most women face is simply stepping back and allowing their brows to grow to their full potential without constantly plucking them. Once your brows have grown, then you can think about the grooming products you need to keep them fabulous. As far as essentials are concerned, you need a good pair of tweezers, a great pencil or powder to fill in the sparse spots we all have, and a gel to lock in your look.
2. What are your brow shaping rules?
It's always nice to see a professional to keep your brows on point, but if you choose to DIY, there's no need to overthink it. The DIY-er who wants a professional look at home needs a Brow Buddy - it measures your face and takes into account your facial structure. Then, it shows you precisely where to start, arch and end your eyebrows. The results are truly amazing and it's the best way to get a professional look at home.
Related story: The mascara jungle: testing the best wands on the market
3. When is it best to see a professional?
When you have a problem you can't fix on your own - if you accidentally damaged your brows, have a medical condition, have noticeable bald spots, or if you simply don't know where to begin when it comes to your brows, absolutely see a brow professional. By the way, a brow professional is someone who doesn't double as anything else - see someone who only shapes brows and nothing else! Mind you, just one visit to a brow pro can provide you with all the instruction you need. A good professional with help shape your brows properly, then they will show you what products you need and how to use them so you look amazing every day.
4. What do you need to be careful of when trimming brows yourself?
Trimming with scissors is essential but be cautious. Aside from the obvious dangers associated with holding blades near your eyes, snipping too much hair in an odd pattern will look awkward for weeks to come. Rather than focus on "don'ts", I like to lay out the simple "dos". Simply comb your brows upward toward your hairline with a spoolie brow brush and trim just the tips - one by one, ideally. Be conservative because you can always go back and trim more later. Then, comb hairs downward toward your nose and trim just the snaggly tips once again. The really long ones that need trimming should be obvious to you. Again, use caution and snip only the long hairs that stand out.
Related story: 6 of the best products to soothe skin post-treatment
5. How can women fix thin brows?
The next trend in brows is big and natural which is easier said than done. Since brow hairs are brittle and delicate, and because not all of us are blessed with big brows, you might need a little help to achieve the look. If you've damaged or over-plucked your brows, a product like BDB's Brow Boost can help maximise your potential and enhance the brows you have for a natural look, plus brows can be visually enhanced with great cosmetics.
6. How do you choose the right shade of pencil?
If you're going to fill in your brows with pencil or powder for the bold brow look, it is incredibly important to take quality and colour into account. Low-grade cosmetics are usually unblendable and the pigments are simply not natural looking. It's sometimes difficult to choose a flattering colour, which is why we developed our Universal Brow Pencil which really does work on almost every face. It's a cool taupe shade and it can be applied as dark or as light as you want. Plus, it comes with a spoolie brush attached because one "must" everyone should remember is blend, blend, blend! You want them to be naturally beautiful, not drawn on! Preach!
Cleansing: you're doing it wrong. A celeb facialist reveals all
Want killer bone structure? How to contour in 3 simple steps
Shu Uemura's chief make-up artist spills his secrets for a radiant base