You’d have to be living in a deserted island Brooke Shields-circa-The-Blue-Lagoon-style not to notice that the number one beauty thing of 2014 is strong eyebrows. We’ve come a long way from the light, thin arches that were ubiquitous in the early ‘90s, when Kevyn Aucoin’s Making Faces was the ultimate makeup authority. Whether you want to amp up your brow game for just one night or indulge in a full-on facial follicular overhaul, there are lots of makeup and service options. Here, an overview of brow-thickening methods from pencils to powders and gels to semi-permanent makeup and finally, eyebrow transplants for the super-committed.
A pencil with a spoolie on one end helps you brush through your arch-itecture and make your handiwork look more like real-life hairs. Sania’s Brow Bar Angled Mechanical Pencil boasts a flat edge for precision, while Surratt’s sleek black Expressioniste Brow Pencil Rechargeable Holder helps realize your Delevingne dreams.
If you don’t trust your sketching skills, gels are an excellent way to fake fullness. Talika’s Eyebrow Extender comes in two shades and deposits little fibers to mimic more robust brows. Maybelline’s made moves in the brow mascara arena too, with its new Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara; it features a bulbous wand that easily enhances arches.
Like its hair-styling counterpart, this stuff lets you set it and forget it—and its waterproof. Housed in a little pot, it looks like a gel liner and deposits pigmented color in the same manner. (In fact, you can even use it to line your eyes in lieu of one for a monochromatic effect.) One to try: Anastasia Dipbrow Pomades.
If you can remember to pack your angled brush, powders are a long-lasting way to build up your brows. NYX’s Eyebrow Cake Powder kit comes with two shades and a setting wax, along with mini brushes for only $6.
If “I woke up like this” beauty is your end-goal, a brow tint will leave you Beyonce-style flawless—for about a month. Brow tinting yields the illusion of fuller brows and you can make them lighter, darker or warmer to complement your hair hue. The Benefit Brow Bar provides the service, which you can add on to your regularly scheduled shaping or indulge in a hint of tint a la carte. Boom Boom Brow Bar in NYC also offers tinting treatments.
Browhaus Brow Resurrection
Say you need something more. Perhaps you, like myself, were inspired by Drew Barrymore’s ‘30s-thin brows circa her work in her pivotal role in the ‘90s flick, Mad Love. And say, hypothetically, you just plucked the heck out of them and have had to draw them back on for the past decade. Tinting will make your brows appear temporarily thickened, but it won’t resuscitate the hairs and it needs to be done every few weeks. Browhaus’ solution is a semi-permanent way to reshape your brows, while imparting the shade of your choice, all of which lasts up to two years. By adding colored vegetable dye to the skin, this technique fills in sparse spots on your brows for a full, flawless look. The service is spendy at up to $925, but it includes the treatment and a tune-up (essentially a repeat treatment, wherein you can tweak color and shape to your exact preference). The best part? Since you have a semi-permanent shape to use like a stencil, you can tend to rogue hairs yourself in the interim, bringing monthly professional shapings to a bi-monthly expense. Plus, while you’re enjoying two years of tattooed-on brows, you can use Latisse to replace the faux with legitimate hairs by the time it fades away.
If tattoos on your face is just a little too Mike Tyson for you, and you have more cash to spend, eyebrow transplants may be more your speed. There are two types of brow transplants: FUT (Follicular Unit Transplant) and NeoGrafting. For the former, your surgeon will remove a four-inch wide section of your scalp from the back of your head and then graft the hairs in on your brows. NeoGrafting uses a machine to basically vacuum out hairs from your scalp without leaving a scar. The downside of the latter is that it has a lower success rate. Here, an account of Ashley Wilkins’ experience with the FUT method she chronicled for Refinery29. The surgery costs about $5,000 and resulted in about 90% regrowth.