My grandmother, bless her soul, was one of those grand old ladies who never left the house without three crucial elements: lipstick, perfume, and eyebrows. What do I mean when I say eyebrows? Well, for the lucky ones this simply means making sure that they’re well-groomed and maybe combed/set. For the rest of us, this means carefully shaping, penciling, filling in, and setting our arches. She used to tell me, “Mela, no matter what else you put on your face, you make sure you see about your eyebrows.”
As we get older our eyebrows naturally thin out, (a blessing if you’re someone like my sister, who was born with the thickest, darkest eyebrows I’ve ever seen on a blonde) but if you’re like me, you’re absolutely dreading this day. As it is, keeping my eyebrows groomed and shaped means that I have to remove several pigment-giving hairs, giving the illusion that I have no eyebrows at all. If I let them grow in they’re patchy horrors, but shaped they’re so pale they look non-existent. Growing up, I neglected my eyebrows. Filling them in was no good because the only colors I could find were either too brown or too red, and made me look like some cartoonish version of myself. Many of the blondes I knew (natural or bottled, it made no difference) had lovely dark arches that seemed to require no maintenance whatsoever, and so I was left to fend for myself on the eyebrow front. As I got older I learned that there was a whole cosmetics world beyond my local CVS, and slowly became acclimated to paying more than $7.00 for an eyeliner.
Over time, I made my way to a MAC counter, (Your first time at MAC is always intimidating. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar or the child of a MAC employee.) and was introduced to my very first natural-looking eyebrow pencil: Fling. I loved that pencil and used it religiously every day for nearly a decade. I would occasionally branch off into the strange land that was Sephora, where Anastasia of Beverly Hills dominated the eyebrow market, and offered brow products designed to define and resurrect your brows in ways mere mortals like myself could not entirely fathom. I played with their duo powders for a little while, but decided that I liked the precision of a pencil over the softness of a powder. (That, and I didn’t care for the way that even the lightest shades in the Anastasia offerings were too dark for my Casper-white face.) One day, I was introduced to the MAC shadow called Omega. Touted as a powder dupe for Fling, and ideal for setting my beloved brow pencil, I scooped it up immediately, and found myself filling and powdering my way to perfect arches.
Then Make Up Forever got on my radar, and their Aqua Brow gel corrector in shade 10, made its way into my Sephora cart. At $20 a tube I thought to myself, “Well, I go through about 5 Flings a year, and those aren’t cheap; if this stuff is as good as the reviews indicate it might be worth a shot.” I also liked the idea of a waterproof product, as Fling/Omega wasn’t even a little waterproof, and only lasted through hour 4 of an 8 hour work shift. When swatched next to each other, the two looked incredibly similar, and so I snatched it up and gave it a go. Let me tell you, there is a significant learning curve with this product, as it can clump up in the hairs and go on a bit patchy in places if you’re not careful, (an angled brush like the MAC 266 is ideal for application) but with a bit of practice I mastered it. I was, however, a little disappointed: it was just a touch too ashy and when layered it almost had a gray cast to it. When used sparingly it was just fine, and will probably work well in the steamy summer months, but for now, I have to shelve it.
Next was Blinc, a company I have mixed feelings about overall, and their eyebrow mousse. In a fit of post tax-return euphoria I purchased all three of their blonde range (light, medium, and dark) and have found through trial and error that the light color is an excellent setting product, the medium is perfect as a stand-alone product on days when I don’t need to be perfectly defined, and the dark actually works best as an eyelash enhancer for days I can’t be arsed to wear mascara. If I had to do it again, I think I’d spend my money elsewhere, but I’m glad I have them for the time being.
Finally, I decided to dabble with Anastasia of Beverly Hills again. Anastasia and I can’t seem to quit each other, as I have terrible eyebrows, and she keeps putting out products to help with terrible eyebrows, and I still desperately longed for a waterproof version of my beloved Fling. The latest brow offering from this brand is called the Dipbrow Pomade, and the color I have is (obviously) Blonde. I had to wait a while before I was able to purchase it, as it wasn’t available on the Sephora site immediately, and Anastasia’s official website kept listing it as sold out, but when I finally did get my greedy hands on it, I was impressed. Slightly warmer-toned than MUFE Aquabrow, it goes on like a creamy dream and really gets my eyebrows to photoshop-level perfect. It can lean a little dark, but a few swipes of Blinc in Light Blonde help fix that. Am I 100% ready to give up Fling? Nope, never. I’ll probably be wearing Fling well into my 80’s, but I’m pleased to have some options in my makeup bag from now until they expire.
So, my fellow flaxen haired beauties, how do you keep your brows visible and in tip-top shape?