Eyebrows are hair, so think in the gel/hairspray realm.
Is there any makeup as synonymous with the twenty-teens as eyebrows? In years to come, people will shove on an “Instagram Baddie,” concealer-lined look as a lazy costume for a retro 2016-themed party, I bet you. Like in no prior era, eyebrows have taken on a life of their own: the bigger, the bolder, the blacker, the better.
There are two schools of thought on eyebrows. One of neatness, sharpness, six-products-needed-ness. The other is of a more natural brow effect; still bold, of course, but more consisting of lots of hairs rather than a blocked out shape. My favor lies firmly in the latter. More power to the first school – that requires more patience and skill than I can muster. And perhaps because I favor a more “natural” look, I can’t really integrate such a “done” eyebrow onto my scruffy face.
Nonetheless, my eyebrows are anything but low maintenance. They need bulking, taming and, of course, some tender loving care.
But I’ve come to the realization that almost nothing I put on my eyebrows is designed with them in mind. Here’s a list of weird things you can put onto the little patches of hair that grow on your forehead.
Firstly, for adding bulk, volume, and color, I am yet to find a brow gel I truly prefer to a regular old mascara. There are stipulations, though: not any mascara will do. You want one that is waterproof (as smudging on the forehead is unacceptable and must be avoided) and preferably a brown (and not stark black) shade. This is a surprisingly hard combination to come by; for some reason, around 99% of waterproof mascaras are only available in black. There is probably a great unsolved mystery podcast to be made about this, but as it stands I have found two that fit the bill. In the UK, Natural Collection do their WaterGuard Mascara in a Black/Brown (read: brown) shade, and international players Rimmel do their 100% Waterproof Mascara in Brown, too. The brushes on both are a tad large, but slender enough for a precise-ish application. And both last all day.
If one desires taming without color, you need to rearrange your eyebrow thinking and treat them as what they are: hair. You can use anything you’d use as an unruly head-hair tamer on your brows, too. I have a sneaking suspicion that every clear brow gel in a tube is some variation on, quite simply, hair gel in a tube. And hair gel is one of the earth’s cheapest commodities! You can buy a bottle bigger than you could ever finish for a couple of dollars, and empty mascara tubes can be found easily on Amazon. Cheap hair gel is great for adding a glossier texture to eyebrows, too, which makes them look less crispy and more soft ‘n’ shiny.
For more of an invisible hold, though, hair spray is where it’s at. My penchant is to spray a whole bunch onto a toothbrush (disclaimer: not the one you or your S.O. uses in their mouth) and comb your eyebrows through. This is great for hold, but also helps re-establish a hairiness to filled in brows, making them look less blocky and more natural.
For eyebrow care, the whole world knows about using castor oil by now, right? There are claims that it helps grow eyebrows, but I remain skeptical of this point. Nonetheless, it certainly nourishes existing hairs, making them stronger and healthier, which is surely no bad thing. Stick some into another of those empty mascara tubes you got on Amazon.
And for a true deep conditioning treatment: putting your thickest, butteriest hair mask (think: Davines NouNou Pak) into your eyebrows once a week does wonders. It softens the hairs, meaning they have less wiry willpower to spring out of formation, plus adds a natural, glossy sheen. Put it on when you’re conditioning your head hair and wonder at the smoothing results. What’s good for the goose and all that …