Whether you need to atone for the sins of pluckings past or have a pair in desperate need of maintenance, learning how to manage your brows is as crucial as knowing how to properly apply lipstick. Your brows frame your face, balance your features and can lift your entire look - or drag it all down. But if you've never picked up a pair of tweezers, let alone brow powder, don't despair: we quizzed Sydney's eyebrow expert Kristin Fisher of Kristin Fisher Eyebrows for the definitive brow basics.
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1. Don't touch the fullest part of your brow
Struggling to work out your natural brow shape? Here's how to find it. "The fullest part of the brow shows your shape, so never take anything out of that," says Fisher. "Only touch the strays around it." And despite what you might have heard, it is safe to wax above the brow - provided you exercise caution. "Sometimes a lot of the shape comes from straightening the top line of your brow, it can really define it beautifully," says Fisher. "But always take less - less is more."
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2. Colour can help
Fisher recommends tinting - even dark hairs - to give brows a boost. "It picks up any blonde hairs above the brow to give a fuller look," she says. As a general rule, your brows should be tinted one to two shades darker than your natural hair colour. "Blondes can often go two shades darker if their brows are really fair," says Fisher. The same rule applies when choosing powder (see below). "There are warm and cool-toned powders - I prefer warmer if you have dark hair, but if you're really blonde and blue-eyed you can go for cool."
3. Powder and brush are your new best friends
Apply brow powder with a hard-angled brush to fill in any gaps and give your look instant polish. "You don't need to fill in the fullest part of your brow, just a bit above and below and at the front," says Fisher. "I like a hard-angled brush for a precise application." Fisher favours powder over gels or pencils as it offers a softer look and blends more naturally. "Remember that everyone is sparse at the beginning of the brow, so you never want to fill that in too heavily or it will look fake," she says. Try Alison Jade, Benefit, ModelCo or Poni Cosmetics brow powders. Pictured: Benefit Brow Zings, $55, myer.com.au.
4. Brush your brows
"I'm constantly brushing my brows," admits Fisher, who keeps a brow brush in her car, handbag and at home. Invest in an eyebrow comb or spare mascara wands to keep your brows in place all day - for extra staying power, use a clear brow gel or even a light mist of hairspray on the brush. Try: Eyeko Brow Gel, $32, mecca.com.au.
5. Waxing is king
"Waxing will pull the hair out from the root, where as tweezing can snap the hair in half, especially if it's too short," cautions Fisher, who uses a gentle strip wax to grab every single hair. "It gives a really clean-looking brow." She also cautions against bleach: "Bleaching can really damage the brows and make them go orange, and you end up with a two-toned tiger effect when the hairs grow back."
6. Grow them out - it'll be worth the wait
Still paying for the mistakes you made in high school? Just give it time - Fisher says even the sparsest brows can usually be rescued. "I had a client with tadpole brows so I sent her away for six months and the transformation was incredible - she came back with full, beautiful brows," she says. Generally, it takes three months' worth of growth - no plucking allowed - to regain your natural brow.
7. See a professional
Every eyebrow is different, so seeing a trained professional who can analyse your face shape to perfect your brow line is crucial. Find one who will not only wax your brows but create a custom tint colour that suits your skin tone.