Of all the features on the human face, many of us pay the most attention to our eyebrows. Perhaps it's because they're so easily altered, or maybe because they're one of our most expressive features. For some, they're a reminder of grooming gone wrong (those of us who rocked "tadpole" brows in the late '90s can attest to this), while others see brows as a source of glamour (fans of Instagram's
ombré, feather, or soap brows know the feeling). But no matter which side of the spectrum you fall, chances are you've got a lot of opinions on how you like your arches to look. You may even have a tried-and-true grooming method.
As brow trends have changed, the methods and products used to shape them have followed suit. We've asked our
female colleagues to partake in the latest treatments in the past, but after an overwhelming response from our male co-workers, we decided to spread the love. Ahead, we tested five of the most popular brow techniques on male R29ers — each of which started with very Spartan grooming routines.
Keep clicking to see the transformations.
Siddhant Mohalanobish, Platform Engineer Brow Transformation: Extensions Price: $55
Never heard of brow extensions? Sidd was right there with you — until he found himself getting them for this story. The treatment at
Wink Brow Bar involves applying small, natural hairs to the skin and existing brow hairs with bonding glue. It can last up to two weeks when applied to the skin and three if attached to existing brows.
"I'm aways willing to try new experiences," Sidd says. He describes his brows as "sparse" — thanks to childhood injuries that left gaps in his arches — and walked into the appointment confident and without expectations.
After having his brows threaded, to define the shape, his aesthetician dyed his arches and started adding extensions. Post-care was simple: He was instructed not to touch them for the rest of the day and to be super gentle when washing his face or showering.
Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Immediately following the treatment, Sidd's brows were significantly fuller, darker, and the faux hairs looked natural, he say. "They definitely looked more defined and prominent but not many people noticed a change," he says.. "One coworker asked if I changed my beard."
Despite Sidd's best attempts, the extensions began falling out after about a week. If you ask us, brow extensions are great for anyone looking for a quick, natural-looking fix for an event, but they aren't a long-term solution. As for Sidd? He'll be going back to his au naturale routine — with an important lesson under his belt. "There doesn't need to be a 'perfect brow'," he says. "Whatever makes you comfortable is the perfect brow for
you." Photographed by Erin Yamagata. Cody Manker, Communications Coordinator Brow Transformation: Threading Price: $32
Zoë Kravitz is Cody's celeb brow crush for one reason: "Her brows look natural, but never
too manicured," he says. While Cody's grooming routine normally consists of biannual tweezing of just the hairs between his brows — see ya, unibrow! — he was game to try a more groomed look. We sent him to Blink Brow Bar for a threading session.
Threading is a technique that uses cotton thread and rapid motion to remove excess hair. "Cody had great, full brows and I wanted to keep that look while removing excess hair," says Sabah Feroz,
Blink Brow Bar brow expert. "I focused on removing hair in the middle of his brows and cleaned up between the brows and on the eyelid without arching his brows too much." Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Going into the appointment, Cody was pretty anxious — in fact, he asked a few members of the beauty team about the pain level numerous times before going in. "I was worried my brows wouldn't look full after and that it would hurt," he said. "But I was wrong on both accounts. The pain was totally manageable and felt similar to tweezing. My brows actually looked fuller after threading!" According to Feroz, many clients report a similar feeling. "Removing hair can make brows look fuller due to more definition," she says.
Cody immediately loved the results. "My brows look so clean and presentable, but I was still able to maintain the shape and fullness I wanted," he says. "I don't think my transformed brows changed the rest of the features on my face, but I do feel like they've improved my overall appearance." As for repeat service? He would definitely go back again.
Photographed by Erin Yamagata. Ron Douglas, Video Editor Shading With Brow Pencil Brow Transformation: Price: $21
"When I was a child, my grandma tried to wash my face because she thought I'd put my mom's mascara on my eyebrows," Ron says. "She couldn't believe they were so thick and dark." This experience, coupled with a lifetime of brow comments, has lead Ron to describe his arches as "two luscious caterpillars that live on my face named Lefty and Maverick."
Ron's brow routine usually consists of pushing the hairs up with his fingers and calling it a day, so he was excited to get his brows shaped by makeup artist
Nina Soriano. She loved Ron's brows so much she decided not to tweeze them. Instead, she did some "basic grooming."
Using a spoolie, Soriano brushed Ron's brows upward, following the natural direction of his hair growth to open up the eye area, she says. She then filled in sparse areas with
Anastasia Beverly Hill's Brow Wiz Pencil in Graphite to create definition.
"He has a really great shape naturally, so I chose not to tweeze Ron's brows," she explains. "The hairs growing below his brow are just enough that they frame the natural arch of his brow. Ron is one of the few who really just needs color added to the peak of the brow to create height and definition."
Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
"I went in a little anxious," Ron says of the grooming process. "I've never done anything to my brows before, but my makeup artist didn't want to do too much. I was actually hoping it would be more dramatic, but I trusted her judgement."
The entire process was painless. "It tickled a bit," Ron says. "My brows aren't used to getting so much attention." After the grooming session, Ron was pleasantly surprised with the results. "Whenever I looked in the mirror, I noticed that my brows looked more foreboding," he says. "I felt like I looked extra serious. Very few people noticed until I pointed it out, but after that, they couldn't stop looking."
After taking the photos, Ron remarked on how much his groomed brows changed the rest of his facial features. "Your eyebrows and eyes are your best friends when it comes to expressing yourself, so your emotions might come through more intensely with sculpted brows," he says. "It changes how people navigate your face when looking at you."
Sadly, daily grooming isn't Ron's cup of tea and he'll be sticking to his usual finger-brush-up routine for the foreseeable future. "I would do it again, though," he says. "But it's definitely not an every day thing. I think my brows are pretty intense already and I'm not sure if the world of ready for more of that just yet."
Photographed by Erin Yamagata. David Kopach, Account Executive Brow Transformation: Microblading Price: $1,500
"Did you ever watch
I Love Lucy," David asks. "Ricky, Lucy's husband, was in charge of a show, casting dancers and performers. Lucy would always say, 'I want to be in the show!' but she was never talented or graceful enough to be in it." According to David, he feels the same way about his husband Marco, who's a makeup artist. "He works with all sorts of products and does all sorts of treatments and I'm kind of left out of it."
In the past, David has toyed with the idea of getting dramatic dye jobs or threading like his friends, but since his eyebrows are so light, he thought he couldn't do anything to them. Turns out, David was a perfect candidate for microblading, a semi-permanent form of tattooing that mimics hairs for natural-looking result.
"I wanted to keep David's brows super natural and spread out the strokes so it didn't look like he had makeup on his brows," says
Piret Aava, certified aesthetician and cosmetic tattoo specialist known as the Eyebrow Doctor. "He had a good natural brow to start, we just filled in the sparse areas with hair strokes to enhance his natural shape." Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Since microblading lasts for two to three years, so David was understandably nervous going into the procedure. "I was so anxious until I got to Piret's," he says. "But her set up is so clean and relaxing I immediately felt better once I walked in. I was up-front about how scared I was and before long we were chatting and laughing and I forgot why I was even there."
Thanks to a generous amount of numbing cream applied to his brows, the actual microblading process felt similar to having his brows tweezed, David reports. "It wasn't so bad," he says. "The hardest part is getting used to the noise and sensation of having ink literally scraped into your skin!"
Immediately following the treatment, David was instructed to apply "little dabs of ointment" to his brows for a week and avoid getting them wet in the shower or while washing his face. For the first week, his brows formed a scab, which made his brows appear very dark. "I actually kind of liked it, it was fun to have people notice my brows for the first time in my life," he says.
It's been over a month since David got his brows done and he's loving the results. "I get compliments on them constantly," he says. "Since I'm the most sarcastic and unpleasant person among my friends and coworkers, I
know their compliments are sincere because I'm the first person they would want to make fun of." He also noticed that having more defined brows makes him look more awake. "Nobody can tell if I'm tired or hungover anymore," he jokes. Photographed by Erin Yamagata. Greg Birkhofer, Brand Experiences Coordinator Brow Transformation: Tinting $25 Price:
Greg, who cites celebrities like Logan Lerman and Keira Knightly as his brow crushes, has a self-proclaimed "love/hate" relationship with his arches. "I've always been jealous of people with light hair and thick, dark eyebrows," he says. "Mine have always been bleach blond."
Greg has considered tinting in the past, but never took the plunge. "I'm not really one to pamper myself," he says with a laugh. "I should probably change that." Like Cody, Greg went to
Blink Brow Bar for a round of eyebrow tinting, which involves applying dye to the brows to darken them for up to five weeks.
"Greg had very light, blond brow hair, but the hair on his head was darker, so my approach was to match the brow hair to his natural hair color," says Feroz. "I mixed a brow tint and left it on for less than a minute. By giving him a warm blond brow, it really draws attention to his eyes and facial structure."
Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Greg enjoyed every second of his tinting experience. "It was so relaxing," he says. "I wish the process lasted longer!" Upon seeing his brows for the first time, Greg admits he was shocked at how dark they appeared, so he was instructed to wash his face as soon as he got home to help them fade a bit. After the color faded, Greg got used to the new look and is still reaping the benefits three weeks later, he says.
"My eyebrows are the first thing that all my friends mention when they see me now," Greg says. "I've received a considerably higher amount of compliments on my appearance after having gotten them done. I would now describe my eyebrows as 'sleek'."
But it isn't just the fact that his brows are no longer light that has Greg so enamored with his new look. "There is something sexier about my facial appearance," he says. "It has increased my confidence level, especially when it comes to being photographed. I'd definitely do it again!"
Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
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