Monday, August 9, 2010

The Brow Post!

This is me after graduating high school in 1993. I was 18 and I had bad eyebrows. I mean, just look at them. It is like Ronald McDonald and Joan Crawford had a secret love child and then left it on my parents' door step in a basket. Then the brow child grew into a college-bound girl hellbent on using poorly colored eyebrow pencils from Maybelline. Not only were the girl's brows terribly colored, they were too dark and uneven. I am not sure, but I think she looks turse? No! Wait! She looks surprised! I cannot tell. Those darn brows are confusing me.

Anyway, that 'bad brow girl' grew up and matured when she discovered the world of professional eyebrow tinting. Long gone were the mornings spent trying to get brows to look even and properly pigmented! I said goodbye to cheap pencils and brows that washed off at the pool or beach.

Even though my hair is a natural shade of auburn, my natural brow color is pale blond. My brows are so blond that when I got sunburn on my face as a child, my brows looked white. Yeah, THAT pale. Like I said, I spent tortuous years penciling in brow color in the hopes of bringing life to my face but I just ended up looking like a girl with no clue. Enter the esthetician.

In the summer of 1999, I was in summer session at my college. I was about to complete the requirements for my Bachelor of Arts degree and one day I heard about salon tinting for eyebrows.

After learning about tinting, I was in my local mall one day and I walked into a JC Penney salon. I asked if they offered tinting and waxing and the girl behind the reception desk said 'yes' and also stated they had a cancellation and asked if I was interested. I excitedly answered "yes" and I was led back to the esthetician's area.

The esthetician was a lovely, sweet older lady. As she prepared the dye and then applied it to my brows, I was giddy with the prospect of no longer being a slave to pencils. After 10 minutes or so, the esthetician wiped the tint off and rinsed my brows with damp cotton rounds. Then, my brows were waxed. Like tinting, I had never been waxed before. Let me tell you, the pain and sound of that linen strip yanking away the hair and warm wax was quite, can we say, unique? (Ow!)

After the twinge-worthy experience of the wax, the esthetician told me we were done and kindly handed me a mirror to see my new brows. Even though the shape of my brows were amazing, the color was another story. THEY WERE JET BLACK! Due to my shock and kind heart, I did not say anything. I politely said thank you and gave the lovely lady a tip and left. I drove home in tears. When I got home, my husband looked at me strangely and asked if I was "playing with my pencils." I cried. What had I gone and done to myself?! At this point, I actually missed those yucky pencils!

Over the course of two weeks, my brows faded into a nice shade of brown and eventually, they returned their previous state of pale, white blond. I contemplated going back to pencils again but something inside me told me not to quit. I found a brand new salon by my house and I called and asked about tinting. I was informed that they offer both tint and wax and I made my appointment. After my appointment, I slowly looked into the mirror, and to my amazement and delight, my brows looked perfect. The color was a medium brown and I felt like a million bucks as I walked to my car.

I love getting my brows done professionally. It saves me time when it comes to doing my makeup every day and I do not have to worry about my brows washing away at the pool and/or beach. On weekends, all I have to do is wear lipstick, a little mascara, and some foundation and I am out the door!

A while back, the lovely and fabulous Brittany of Va-Voom Vintage did a gorgeous tutorial for brow shaping. You should go check it out! And if you need tips on tinting, I am here to help.

Here is what you need to know about tinting services:

1. Find a good salon that offers esthetician services, especially brow services.
2. Understand your skin and hair. If you hair is dark, your eyebrows should be one to two shades LIGHTER than your hair color. If you hair is light, go one to two shades DARKER. Brows and hair should not match. It looks too flat.
3. During the few days before you tint and wax, do not use anything with AHAs or salicylic acid (acne creams/gels) in it. When the esthetician uses the wax, your skin could get very irritated! Wait to use AHAs and/or salicylic acid a few days after you are waxed.
4. After your brows are waxed, let your skin breathe! Your brows and surrounding skin will be red. This is normal. You can dust on a light mineral or loose powder but do not use full makeup. Clinique makes a powder that helps with redness. This is good.
5. At the end of the day, after your appointment, you can use a soothing gel like Murad's Recovery Gel (available at Ulta and Sephora). You can also use aloe vera gel.
6. In the days after your waxing, be sure to wear sunscreen and a gentle moisturizing lotion (remember, use nothing containing AHAs or salicylic acid)
7. A couple of days after your wax, expect a little skin flaking and peeling. This is normal. This is just your skin's natural reaction to having a layer of dermis taken off along with the hair. If the peeling is annoying, use a gentle moisturizer.
8. Between salon appointments, you can use an eyebrow pencil or marker. MAC's brow crayons and Anatasia of Beverly Hills' brow markers (avail at Sephora and Ulta) are both great products to maintain your lovely tint. Be sure to use a clear brow setting gel (clear mascara is great too) to keep brows groomed and color looking good all day.
9. Once you get your brows tinted and waxed, you will need to have them done every 5 to 6 weeks. If you are out in the sun a lot, you may need to get them done earlier since sun fades hair/brow color greatly.

I hope you girls find these tips useful! If you have any questions, please ask!


  1. Fabulous post!! so informative...and hilarious!! Thanks for mentioning my tutorial!:)
    I am seriously going to go to a salon and have my brows done now! My mom has a brow gal who does excellent work so I think I'll give her a buzz. Thanks for all of the great tips and advice!! xoxo

  2. Good info! I too suffer from blond eyebrows (and lashes) and currently use pencils and powders, but I hate dealing with all of that. And if I'm running late and forget? Then I have to avoid mirrors all day.

    I think I will need to look into this...

  3. Thanks for the compliment and comments, Brittany! I hope you find an amazing brow expert. Once you do, there is no going back! I wish I had just found out about tinting earlier!

  4. Nicole,

    It sounds like your brows and lashes are like mine: non-existent! lol! Anyway, I have been tinting for 11 years and I love it! It really is a time saver. I did try lash tinting once and it was weird. The result also did not look dark enough and it didn't last long at all. For lashes, I just use mascara.

  5. Way too hard on yourself. We all learn the same way- through trial and e-r-r-o-r :)
    Thanks for the tips.

  6. Blackberry,

    I was merely poking fun at myself. I have a good sense of humor so it doesn't bother me that I was a "bad brow girl" when I was younger. I think it's funny and yes, trial and error is how we learn.

  7. Thank you for posting this--I am definitely going to look into this!

  8. Jitterbugdoll,

    You are so welcome! I was inspired to do a proper brow post due to all the wonderful comments about brows on my bettie bangs post.

    Like I said, professional tinting is the best way to go and it is such a time saver!