Bring back the brows!

Eyebrows are back and they’re bigger and better than before, at least that’s the plan. I love eyebrows, it’s all about the eyebrows – the bigger the better I say, but after falling foul to over plucking in my teenage years, I haven’t had the eyebrows I wanted, until now.

If I could go back in time I’d gleefully slap my young self for reducing my once full brows to a mere pencil thin arch above my eye. I wish I’d listened to my Mum when she told me that big brows were beautiful “they’re like Brooke Shields’ and Cindy Crawford’s” she’d say, to which I’d reply “that is so 90s”! Eek, what a brat! Oh to have to wisdom of hindsight. Well I’ve learnt my lesson the hard way, and although I’ve slowly increased their thickness over the last few years, it’s only recently that I’ve been brave enough to push through the pain barrier to restore them to their former glory.

My Brows in Pictures

This is them many years ago, I’d like to say this was as thin as they got…. fortunately my digital photos don’t go back that far. All I can say, What was I thinking!

And during the growing out stage… spot the gaps

A few weeks ago using pencil to fill in the gaps (and full lashes)…..

And now, in all their natural glory…

I must warn you, it’s a long painstaking process. I started back in February – I was under house arrest with the flu. Surprised by how much they grew in one week, I was inspired to keep going. My plan was simple, just don’t pluck, whenever and wherever  they grow, I’ll let them do their thing and eventually I’ll have a new bushy canvas. I wanted to find my natural shape, then groom them to frame and suit my face.

Eyebrow regrowth is unpredictable and uneven. Hairs seem to sprout up all over the place, except where you want them. To start with, I grew a new set of eyebrows, a few millimeters below my current set and it took ages for them to meet in the middle! But once they finally did it was so worth it. Ok, I know it’s August and I’ve suffered nearly 6 months of sparsely populated eye brow hairs, but I’ve finally got a thicker, fuller arch and I’ so much happier with them. I’m still not quite there, there’s some stubborn patches refusing to grow, but with a little pencil infilling, I’ll get there.

Top tips for growing back the brows!

  1. The first two weeks are the worst – depending how much damage you’ve done with the tweezers, you can end up looking like you have two sets of brows, one on top of the other, so start when you’re off work/school and can push past that initial pain barrier in private… unless you want to scare people of course.
  2. Pick a shape and resist temptation to pluck! They will grow back sparsely to begin with, after years of tweezing, it takes them a while to realise they’re allowed to grow back, and once they do they spring up all over. Decide on the size/shape you’d like to achieve – Look back over old pictures, do some research or look in the mirror and sketch the shape you want – only pluck the hairs that grow outside of that area.
  3. Apply Vaseline or 8 hour cream at night and massage the brows outwards, I find this helps them maintain their shape.
  4. Fill in the gaps with an eyebrow pencil or powder. I use Givenchy Eyebrow Show pencil to fill the gaps and tease the shape. I always choose ones with a brush on the end, really handy for grooming.
  5. Be patient and realistic. How long it takes varies from person to person and is dependant on many factors such as age and how over-plucked they were to start with. And be realistic, inevitably there’ll be some stubborn hairs that may never grow back, but with proper grooming and make up, no one will ever know.

After six months of growing them out they’re thicker and fuller and better than before. It’s amazing the impact brows have on the whole face and fuller brows suit mine much more than pencil thin arches. Now, I guess they need a bit of grooming, but heavy handed plucking is a definately a thing of the past – I couldn’t go through the pain barrier again!

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My all time TOP 5

Or should I say my long term top 5, cos let’s face it, you never know who, I mean what is around the corner… I’m sure there’s some gems out there I haven’t tried yet.  Now choosing just five is tough, if I’m realistic it’s more like 55, but the following are firmly inducted in my beauty hall of fame….

Givenchy Eyebrow Show

“It’s all about the eyebrows!” Fast becoming my catch phrase because I Love, Love, LOVE eyebrows. This Givenchy pencil has saved my life after my beloved Clinique one was discontinued. I searched for a replacement, testing and buying almost every brow pencil in existence – No7, YSL, Benefit, Rimmel, Lancôme, Mac. It’s been a long and expensive process. You see, I like a good old fashioned pencil, I’m not a fan of these sudo, automatic non-pencil pencils that have popped up everywhere. I don’t like ones that are too creamy, but I do like ones that have a brush on the end. Finally I’ve found the right shade and texture with Givenchy. Just as well since I’ve been going through the painsaking process of growing my eye brows out. As a teenager I fell victim to over-tweezing (something I could wax lyrical about and is best left for another post).  It’s great for filling in the gaps. The powdery texture looks very natural and last all day, plus the brush on the end is great for sculpting.

£15 Available in three shades, I wear Brown

 Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream

This needs little introduction. The cult classic, developed by Ms Arden herself over 70 years ago, has really stood the test of time. If I was stuck on a desert island, this is all I’d need (this and some food, water and wine). It really is a wonder product.  This skincare classic helps to soothe, restore, soften and protect dry or mildly irritated skin. It has so many uses… I apply it to eye brows at night to help hold them in place, it’s fantastic on dry lips and can be dabbed onto cheek and brow bones as a highlighter. I have one in my bedside table and one in my handbag so I’m never without – it lasts and last and lasts too!

50mls approx. £20 Available in various sizes, tubes and pots

Guerlain Terracota Four Season Bronzing Powder

When it comes to bronzers, I’ve played the field a little, but with Guerlain Four Season Bronzing Powder I’ve found my match. The caramel hues are so far away from the orange shades we’re used to. It’s very strongly pigmented so a little goes a long way and the finely milled powder applies like a dream, so smooth and flawless. There’s no glitter or sparkle, yet it’s not too matte, more of a satin finish I’d say. What makes it one of my all time favourites is that the four shades take you through the year, no need to change to a lighter one in the winter or darker in the summer; it’s like a customisable palette. Great for contouring and the lighter shade can be used as a touch up powder. Read full review here.

Available from Debenhams and House of Fraser £46

YSL Touche Eclat

Another that needs little introduction. For years YSL’s iconic Touche Eclat has been the go-to concealer for millions of women around the World. Another multi use product – it’s a highlighter, a concealer, a touch up pen. There are lots of competitors in that market, but for me it’s still unrivalled. A sold member of my beauty hall of fame; there’s a reason that one pen is sold every 10 seconds! 

RRP £24 but dicounted prices on CheapSmells.com

Lancôme Hypnose Mascara


I have been using Lancôme’s mascaras since I was 13. From Defincils, Amplicils, Hypnose and Hypnose drama, it seemed each offering got better and better.  From time to time my eye has wondered (with Benefit Bad Gal, Clinique’s High Impact and Diorshow), but I always return to my faithful Hypnose. For me, the key is in the brush  – it’s just the right size, not too clumpy and no other mascara creates volume like it. It can be layered for maximum impact, doesn’t smudge or clump and lasts all day.  I prefer the standard Hypnose but Hypnose Drama is pretty good too. It also has the royal seal of approval – believed to be Kate Middleton’s wedding mascara of choice.

£20.45

So that’s my top 5, what’s yours?

New Beauty Crush: Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

Girl of the moment Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, my new beauty, style and general all round girl crush.

When it comes to make up, Rosie knows what suits her and sticks to it – I love the simplicity of her make up. Her signature look centres around sultry smokey eyes and bronzed skin. Despite having the biggest and best lips in the business, Rosie doesn’t play up to them. I’d be tempted to colour in that pout all kinds of fuchsias and reds, but she keeps it simple with hues of nude and browny-pinks.

Here’s how to create the look.

Base

Her base is glowing and dewy. I’d imagine she starts off with a luminous primer like Clarin’s beauty flash balm then adds a subtle base colour, something like Chanel’s Vitalumiere Aqua foundation. With that flawless skin, I doubt she needs concealer, but a couple clicks of a highlighter or under eye concealer like YSL’s touché éclat will correct any dull areas – I think there’s evidence of some in the inner eye area – which works great to open and brighten the eye.

Cheeks

Not one for bright blushers, Rosie opts for bronzer and highlighter instead. Either she’s blessed with the most amazing cheekbones EVER or there’s some clever contouring going on here – I choose to believe it’s the later. Take a multi toned bronzing powder, something like Guerlain’s Terracota Four Seasons and contour the natural lines around your cheeks, forehead and chin. A dab of liquid highlighter on the top of cheek bones would accentuate the tan and draw attention to the chizzled features. Finish with a light dusting of a peachy/pink powder blush to add a touch of colour to apples of the cheeks.

Eyes

Brows are full and combed slightly upwards, which I love. For the smokey eye Rosie opt for gold and bronzey brown eye shadows rather than the standard black and greys. An eye quad or a palette would work best to mix and match for the shade that suits. I have a great one by Frontcover that contains some gorgeous bronzey hues. The intensity of the smokey eye varies – smudge shadow along the lid and up to the crease, if you’re feeling adventurous, take it higher up to the brow bone. Smudge some shimmery brown or bronze under the lower lash line and in the inner eye. Work in a brown or black eye liner.

For some added va-va-voom, a small kitten flick created with a gel or liquid liner looks very sexy. Finish with lashings of mascara.

Lips

Let’s face it, lips like that don’t need much dressing up. A smudge of Vaseline and they’re good to go! They’re generally kept natural, I really don’t think she wears much lipstick – maybe just a hint of sheer colour, something like a nude or dirty rose. She’s more a lipbalm kinda girl.

 WORD OF WARNING: Trying to recreate the look of one of the best looking women in the World, may lead to self esteem issues!