It was in 2011, the year before the Kardashians fully transcended their reality TV existence to claim world domination, that the bold, pronounced brow reached its zenith. When Cara Delevingne pounced into our lives a year later, the brow trend turned, quite literally, and became not just about boldness, but fullness and bushiness, too.
Right now, it’s all about a lighter, natural-looking, full brow. But, don’t be deceived – nobody said that means going au natural. Rather, like almost every other thing women are expected to do, it’s about the appearance of the natural, and the unrelenting secret upkeep to achieve it.
Indeed, this natural brow poses significant challenges for the rookie, as it’s very difficult to achieve fullness without going in hard on the eyebrow pencil or dye and falling into “Scouse Brow” (that ultra-dark, fake-looking eyebrow that looks like you drew it on with a magic marker).
Hence, the rise of the current eyebrow feathering trend, where “hair” is literally tattooed onto the skin.
The method has gathered serious momentum in recent months, but who do you trust with such a delicate operation on your beautiful face?
I spoke to the original brow expert, Sharon Lee, who has been practising the feathering method for years now.
Lee says a number of her clients are coming in to have their brows corrected after feathering has gone wrong. The reason, she says, is that the feathering industry is not yet regulated, (although it should be by mid-next year).
“It’s shocking how many supposed experts are not even qualified beauty therapists and yet they are actively conducting this truly invasive procedure” says Lee.
“The danger is they have no knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the skin and cannot fully understand what can go wrong or how to minimise any risk and know contraindications.”
According to Lee, too many beauty therapists are going too deep. “So,” she says, “the pigment simply bleeds out into the skin and is blurred, resulting in zero definition.”
Wrong colour choices can also occur because “the operator doesn’t understand what skin tones will absorb certain minerals in each colour, or they’re opting for the wrong blades”.
In order to achieve a natural-looking, realistic brow, Lee says it’s crucial to “lift” the blade properly. “You’ve got go deeper at the base of the hair and taper off at the tip to have the stroke look just like a real hair does.”
Lee also uses between 2 and 3 colour pigments in order to create dimension.
“Using only one colour ensures a monochromatic result, which looks drawn on. Crucially, the strokes must curve and not sit upright like a picket fence. We see all the time and it really does look drawn on. Tufts at the start of the brow must be created with low pressure and a bendable needle so as to look super soft and not ‘squared’ as we’ve all seen.
“It’s an art. We plead that everyone should do their research. It’s your face, and it’s not like a bad haircut you can throw into a pony tail until it grows out.”