We all want better brows. Sarah Halliwell quizzes experts on natural brow know-how…
All products featured on thegloss.ie are selected by our editors. If you buy something through affiliate links on our site we may earn a commission.
Define good brows? Well, it depends what you’re after. “Well-defined brows can frame your face and complete your make-up look,” says Suzie O’Neil of Ayu. Agreed. We don’t all want enormous brushed-up brows, but most of us could do with a bit of a brow boost. Those seriously strong brows are falling out of favour, with a more natural look coming in. I’m coming to this in my 50s, by the way, as someone who doesn’t want to get get anything permanent done, but would like fuller, natural-looking brows. Ultimately, if you’re in a brow rut, the key is to find a brow artist you trust for good advice and guidance. As Kim O’Sullivan, an expert with 20 years in the industry, who tends to a range of familiar brows, including Vogue Williams, says: “Find someone reputable and experienced, and stick with them – brows are temperamental and slow-growing, so it can be a journey!”
CARE & CORRECT Aidan Corcoran, beauty stylist at Brown Thomas, enthuses about O’Sullivan’s own Brow Aid range, designed to care for as well as enhance eyebrows, which is, in his words, “flying out of store”. O’Sullivan is an advocate of discreet enhancements that deliver a lifting, “awake” effect but nothing too obvious. “If your brows are very thin, explore microblading, or semi-permanent tattooos that last for a year or more,” she says. O’Sullivan brought the latter procedure into Ireland, and it remains hugely popular. “Or try a Hybrid Brow treatment (€60), which lasts longer than a normal tint – up to six weeks. Otherwise, it boils down to maintaining the health of your brows. Introduce a serum to your nighttime routine. Brow Aid SOS Lash & Brow Recovery Protein Mask (€29) is brilliant for maintaining brow condition. If brows are sparse, every hair is precious, and the less you do to them, the better. Use a brow pencil for structure, then a tinted brow mascara to add texture to the hair you have.”
TREAT & TINT For those seriously lacking in brow hair, perhaps postmenopause or cancer treatment, treatments can help. Dearbhla Keenan, Creative Director of Make-up for Brown Sugar, notes: “The most popular treatment is HD Sculpt (€60), a version of lamination, the chemical process which delicately manipulates the hair upwards, ideal if you’re looking for fullness. It’s a combination of tint and shape, and makes your brows more manageable.” It lasts four to six weeks. HD Brows (from €50) involves waxing, threading and tinting, with no chemical process. “It’s not expensive, and it’s quick to do. Do it regularly and stay away from darker tints: you don’t want brows you hate for the first week.”
THE PENCIL CASE The beauty of brows is you don’t need to spend a fortune for a big improvement: a pencil will go a long way. As Dearbhla Keenan says, “The key is to get the right shade; take note of your hair and eye colour, and skin tone. Finish with a brow set or gel for longevity.” I rate Catrice and Essence for these, both under €4, while make-up artist Sarah Jane Langan says Got2Be Glued Brow & Edges is a great bargain brow fixer.
PICK A PENCIL Choose from: Catrice Slimmatic brow pencil, above, €3.95; Essence Micro Precise brow pencil, €2.50; both at Penneys stores nationwide and leading pharmacies. “Catrice brow colourist brow mascara lasts the day and gives good colour to my greying, disappearing eyebrows!” says THE GLOSS beauty panellist Yvonne. Dearbhla Keenan rates the HD Brow, a cool-toned brown, €20, and By SK brow pencils, in five shades, from blonde to dark brown, €17; www.sarahkeary.ie.
NOURISH, SHAPE AND FIX Brow Aid The SOS Protein Mask (€29; www.browaid.com) nourishes brows (and lashes). Sculpted by Aimee’s Shape and Set brow tool, with angled pencil plus fixing gel in one, in six shades, €23; at Boots. Panellist Clare reports: “I don’t have a lot of brow, but want to enhance what I have: I apply the Refy Brow Pomade (€18) with a gentle hand and the results are lovely … your brows, but better!” Michele Scott-Lynch, founder of curly hair brand Bouclème, rates Refy’s Brow Sculpt, €20, at Arnotts.
ASK THE EXPERTS Head to Eilish Downey at Sugar Coated in Frascati, Blackrock, Co Dublin (www.sugarcoated.ie). Brow tints at Brown Sugar salons start from €18 (www.brownsugar.ie). Kim O’Sullivan is at The Dublin Makeup Academy, 34 Fitzwilliam Street Upper, Dublin 2; www.thedublinmakeupacademy.com. We hear great things about wax it lounge in Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow; www.waxitlounge.ie.