I began over-plucking my eyebrows in the fourth grade. Someone told me that the brows frame the face, and thinking that it was the most groundbreaking piece of advice I'd ever heard in my short life, I immediately marched into my mother's bathroom, took her eyeliner brush, stuck it next the crook of my nostril, and began plotting their demise. That sent me into a tailspin of ill-advised tweezing, eventually graduating to the ranks of bad-idea waxing.
This continued until I finally realized that in a photo they tapered too thin, making me appear perpetually mad or skeptically surprised, depending on the angle. I promptly stopped waxing.
In an effort to regrow to their former glory, I dabbled in Latisse, only to come to the realization that I will never have Cara Delevingne’s caterpillars for brows. At least without a little help. I considered powder, which requires a level of patience I've yet to acquire. Brow pencils, on a good day, make the face real estate above my eyes look like John Water’s upper lip. I prefer gels. They have enough tack to fill in sparse spots without looking illustrated. Application is unfussy: brush up then, out. It’s therapeutic. The end result, too, is completely natural.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Tinted Brow Gel is my go-to. It comes in seven shades, allowing you to lighten, match, or darken your own. Eyeko Brow Gel’s nano-brush gives targeted color, but sometimes results in strange clumps of gel on hair (wiping off excess product with a paper towel is an easy fix). Clear Covergirl Natural Lash keeps brows in place and slightly wets their natural hue—it’s best for beach days. Sometimes, I pair it with Eyeko’s Brow Liner. If that sounds semi-contradictory to my general aversion to liners, know that the liner is surprisingly faint and appears totally normal with some fingertip smudging. Plus, there’s the benefit of not needing to worry about gel weirdly winding up on your temples in that early morning, pre-caffeinated haze.
Photos by Tom Newton.
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