NY Times Fashion: Throw Your Tweezers Away

Women take note: “Autumn’s most prized pelt is the hairy eyebrow.”
Article features brow enhancers in different guises: Givenchy Mister Eyebrow, Eyebrow Fixing Pencil, $22; Shiseido Translucent Eyebrow Shaper $22; and Laura Mercier Deep Blonde Brow Powder Duo $23, all at Sephora.

Full article

WHETHER fake or farm-raised, fur makes a fashionable fall accessory. But this season the trendiest fluff is not the trim on coats or handbags. Autumn’s most prized pelt is the hairy eyebrow.

“For women who overpluck, this season will be about growing your eyebrows back so that they have a natural arch that extends out and ends in a beautiful point,” said Pat McGrath, a makeup artist for Max Factor and CoverGirl and the creative director for Procter & Gamble Beauty.

Ms. McGrath is one of the trend-setting stylists responsible for unleashing the feral eyebrow as this season’s beauty signature. At the Prada fall fashion show in Milan in February, she combed models’ eyebrows up with clear mascara so that they fanned out like plumage, lending their faces a wild expression which Ms. McGrath described as “sauvage.”

Her exaggerated runway look is already having an impact on personal grooming. Some women who once plucked zealously are now hoping that the thin brown lines on their foreheads bloom into thickets.

“On both coasts, everybody wants a thicker brow that reminds you of Elizabeth Taylor and Ava Gardner,” said Robyn Cosio, an eyebrow stylist who works at the Salon by Maxime in Beverly Hills and Eiji salon in Manhattan. “People love that I leave the two bottom layers of undergrowth and don’t take out so much in between the brows so that they can stick up and look feathered.”

Ladies, lay down your tweezers. Facial hair hasn’t been this much in demand since the advent in 1978 of Brooke Shields. Indeed, this month French Vogue devotes an entire page to the tinted, brushed and glossed eyebrow, recommending a “dense and proud” brow as the best way to structure a face.

The fringed frons is making a comeback because of chunky, angular fall fashions, said James Kaliardos, a makeup artist in New York and Paris. Previous seasons were full of frilly, delicate, ladylike clothes best complemented by pink-hued cosmetics and a thinner hyper-groomed brow. But this season’s outfits with their pared-down constructivist silhouettes call for a more natural-looking face anchored by a prominent brow, he said.

“With a stronger, more graphic quality to the clothes like the fall collection from Balenciaga, you want strong eyebrows that make you look intelligent and empowered, and you want to keep the rest of the face clean,” Mr. Kaliardos said. For the fall advertising campaign for Chanel, for example, he strengthened the already well-endowed brows of Daria Werbowy, a Polish-born Canadian model, by shading them with an eyebrow pencil, but he left her other features almost unadorned, he said.

In addition to Ms. Werbowy, a clique of naturally Dracula-browed Eastern European fashion models —that means you, Natalia, Vlada, Eugenia, Sasha and Snejana — is inspiring a return to the bold brow. But the hairiest of them all is Hilary Rhoda, a fresh-faced American model possessed of eyebrows as furry as tufted caterpillars, whose eerie resemblance to Ms. Shields recently landed her on the covers of Italian and French Vogue.

“That baby face with an eyebrow that says ‘I know what I want’ is what made Brooke Shields so incredible,” Mr. Kaliardos said. “Hilary has that pure rich-kid look about her like Margaux Hemingway.”

To achieve the furry but tamed Hemingway eyebrow, Ms. McGrath suggested an appointment with a professional eyebrow groomer.

“Giving yourself a beautiful eyebrow is not one of the easiest things to do,” Ms. McGrath said.

For those who want to create fuller brows at home, she suggested a way to ensure that they look evenly shaped. Start by drawing over the straggly hairs you want to remove with a white eyeliner pencil to guarantee that the placement is right before tweezing them.

Next, to create fullness, use a brow pencil or brow powder that is two shades lighter than your natural eyebrow color to fill in between the hairs. The brow should look blended rather than drawn on, she said. Finally, use clear mascara or eyebrow gel to fluff hairs — push them up so they are almost vertical — and then brush them back down, fixing them into shape, she said.

For those with very sparse brows, some salons offer eyebrow extensions. At LuxLash on Newbury Street in Boston, for example, Suzanne Cats, the owner, thickens brows by gluing a tiny fiber onto each existing hair. The process, which costs $75 to $250, can take 45 minutes to two hours and the false eyebrow effect lasts two weeks, she said. She also offers brow prosthetics — hairpieces for the eyebrows — in 20 different shapes and shades.

“It’s for women who previously had their brows made too thin,” Ms. Cats said.

But Ms. Cosio, an author of a book on the history of brows called “The Eyebrow,” said that a furry fringe does not fit everyone.

“If you have wild, thick, dense hair, a thicker brow can make you look heavy, harsh and mad,” Ms. Cosio said.

For those who do wish to emphasize the brows, Mr. Kaliardos recommended playing down other facial features by going easy on foundation and wearing sheerer lipsticks in natural-looking pink-brown hues.

“The slightest amount that you do to your eyebrows makes a big statement,” Mr. Kaliardos said. “If you are not careful, you will end up looking like Groucho Marx.”