The New Brows [Jason Lloyd Evans]
It started with Cara Delevingne, whose now world-famous brows (we hadn’t thought facial hair could achieve cult status, either) were launched into the limelight via the admiring tweets of backstage beauty editors at the spring/summer shows in September 2012. A fashion frenzy began – and the mantra? That bigger is almost always better.
Over a year later, it has become clear that the world’s brow obsession is no passing phase. Maybelline made a notable first last month, signing New York brow guru Maribeth Madron as their global eyebrow expert, while demand for brow treatments has risen 127 per cent in the last year (whatclinic.co.uk), and we are witnessing a surge of once-unheard-of innovation, technology and know-how to tailor, personalise, enhance, rebuild and even replace lost or lacking arches.
This time it has nothing to do with Cara. ‘We have finally acknowledged that the brows are not just a catwalk phenomenon but the most transformative feature on the face, because they frame our eyes, determine expression and, when done properly, can instantly make us appear more beautiful,’ explains Madron.
The 3 brow trends you need to know now
1. The Hollywood Brow
(Louis Vuitton, A/W '13)
Try it: even if you have thin and naturally sparse brows. This full and feminine arch emerged to rapturous applause at Dolce & Gabbana, Loewe and Carolina Herrera, proving that big doesn’t have to mean boyish.
Groomed, glamorous and with that facelifting curve, its appeal is clear. Full, darker brows are an ideal, though not essential, starting point for creating a killer arch.
Use a firm eyebrow pencil to exaggerate your natural shape before blending with a brow comb and tweezing away the odd stray hair. But beware of the common pitfalls.
‘A statement brow can alter your facial proportions, so avoid slavishly copying a catwalk look, and instead adapt it to work with your natural brow for a more flattering finish,’ warns global make-up artist and blogger Wendy Rowe. ‘And don’t go too dark – they’ll look drawn on.’
If thick brows don’t come naturally, there are techy new treatments to guarantee this finish for even the most follicly challenged. The Brow Build Treatment, £80 at Goddess London (goddesslondon.co.uk), and soon nationwide, adds synthetic hairs among your natural ones, to create a well-defined brow that lasts for six weeks.
Amita Patel’s 3D Eyebrow treatment at Four London (fourlondon.com), from £50, was born from her compulsion to help cancer suffers get their eyebrows back post-treatment and uses synthetic mink hairs, which are adhered to the skin for an unbelievably real finish.
After something less permanent? Benefit and Bobbi Brown counters nationwide both have new brow- building services to provide on-trend brows tailored to you.
Top tip: enlist a professional to find your natural arch.
2. The Black Brow
(Louis Vuitton, S/S '13)
Try it: if your natural brows lack shape and structure.
As seen at: Louis Vuitton.
Daring beauty lovers should fast-forward to summer 2014 and dip a toe into next season’s boldest facial movement, conjured up at LouisVuitton in Paris, where make-up maestro Pat McGrath designed a new power brow like none other. Jet black, almost horizontal and with an air of aggression, it was instantly termed next season’s ‘supermodel brow’.
Aside from the instant beauty kudos lent by this trend, the ever-so-slightly-upward angle of the brow conveniently exaggerates cheekbones and pulls the eye immediately up and outward in a similar way to a sweep of black liner.
Simply draw a straight line through the brow, blending and building up intensity with a deep brown eyeshadow and soft brush to achieve the soft-focus effect you see here.
‘Don’t be afraid to experiment with a brow like this, which is straight from the catwalk, but do try it for size before taking it public,’ warns Maribeth Madron. ‘Some brows are difficult for even supermodels to pull off because eyebrows are not uniform by nature, and all facial features must exist in harmony. For example, a face with fine features could be overwhelmed by this look.’
Not ready to go the whole hog? Try taking your brows a few shades darker instead. ‘Stick within two shades of your current hair colour to begin with,’ suggests Madron. ‘I think blondes should match brows to theirs darkest base hair for definition, and I pick the highlight colour on brunette hair to stop them looking harsh.’
Top tip: Blink Brow Bars (blinkbrowbar.com) offer a speedy Eyebrow Tint Service like no other, £12.
3. The Baby Brow
(Todd Lynn, A/W '13)
As seen at: Todd Lynn (above), Roksanda Ilinic and Matthew Williamson.
We know brows are having a massive moment, that they can enhance our faces beyond belief and that much of the fashion focus has been on oversized arches, but we think you’ll agree that bold isn’t the only way to be beautiful.
Quietly showcased across all four fashion capitals, this winter’s underground Baby Brow trend sat alongside glowy, sculpted skin to create the elusive fresh-faced finish that is beauty’s Holy Grail. Take note, however, that ‘natural’ does not translate as ungroomed here.
‘This is not a nothing brow,’ says face painter Mel Arter. ‘Brushed-up brows like these add graphic, defined architecture to the facial structure and require grooming and attention. Rather conveniently, though, they do suit everyone.’
Get the look by using a clear or colour-matched brow gel to push up and set your arches, and remember that this look works best with an organic finish, so avoid over-plucking. While a few seasons back we might have been surprised to see stray eyebrow hairs embraced in this manner, this new take is very much part of the brow revolution.
It’s now about having a kept brow, whatever trend you decide to embrace,’ explains Arter. ‘Keep them clean, tidy and symmetrical, and leave your given shape as organic as possible.’ And there you have it!
Top top: condition lashes daily with Vaseline and treat them with the same respect you do your hair.
Click through the gallery below for our top product picks for achieving the hot brow looks...