Beauty Call: Don’t be brow-beaten

Tame your fat caterpillars or thicken up skinny ones

Keira Knightley channels Audrey Hepburn

Keira Knightley channels Audrey Hepburn


Most of us are familiar with the concept of fashion as an economic indicator; the idea that hemlines rise when times are good and fall in periods of austerity is old news. Of course, that theory has more holes in it than a pair of fishnet tights, but eyebrows are often looked at in a similar way. They were plucked into thin lines in the straitened 1930s and 1970s, so surely the trend should be for skinny brows now?

Well, no. Full, generous brows are a key look at the moment. Think of Cara Delevingne’s beetle brows (she is widely credited with bringing the look back), Keira Knightley channelling Audrey Hepburn and Modern Family’s Sofía Vergara.

Make-up counter shelves are groaning with eyebrow products, and brow bars can’t keep up with demand in some cases. Since I have a pair of brows with the unsettling tendency to resemble fat black caterpillars if not regularly and ruthlessly attended to, I love trying out anything that will tame the beasts.

I’m a fan of brow kits (Clarins Pro Palette got me hooked). I also appreciate the simpler options. Experts agree that thin, overplucked eyebrows can age a face by up to 10 years, but don’t despair if yours refuse to grow. It’s easy to cheat your way to fullness using a matt eyeshadow a shade darker than your natural eyebrow colour, and an angled brush (try Bare Minerals Brow Brush, €12) to fill in gaps and create a good shape.

I’m not crazy about brow mascaras, as they are often too thick, clumpy and can distribute colour unevenly, so choose a good brow pencil instead. A waxy pencil will keep everything shapely and tailored – try Clinique Instant Lift for Brows (€19), or the double ended L’Oréal Super Liner Brow Artist (€8.95), which is available in four shades and provides colour, wax and an eyebrow comb in one handy pencil.

If you feel you would like more drastic measures than this, brow extensions, tattoos and growth accelerators such as RapidBrow (€48) are all becoming increasingly popular. Also worth thinking about are 3D brows, which were originally developed for brow loss due to chemotherapy, permanent scarring and alopecia: synthetic eyebrow hairs are fixed directly on to the skin to create real-looking eyebrows, which are waterproof and last for up to 14 days.

Not withstanding all this 3D talk, “natural” really is the buzz word for brows at the moment. High-definition eyebrows are enjoying a moment, and it’s very important to understand the distinction between well-groomed HD brows and the scary and ridiculous looking Scouse brow. Here’s the difference. The Scouse brow is sported by Katie Price and would frighten the horses, while the HD brow is infinitely more subtle and should look uncontrived if done properly.

Regardless of the state of the economy, eyebrows are getting a lot of attention and it’s never been easier to keep them in shape.

Aisling is on Twitter @aismcdermott For more see





cSmashbox Brow Tech To Go €24

Quickly groom and define with this double-ended waterproof pencil and soft gel. Great for the handbag.



cBillion Dollar Brows Brow Buddy Shaping Tool €26.60 at

This odd-looking gadget might help if your brows don’t match. It will show you where to start plucking and create the arch.


cElizabeth Arden Prevage Clinical Lash & Brow Enhancing Serum €100

Clinically proven to work on lashes and brows quickly. Supports and helps the natural growth cycle.


cSleek Make-up brow kit €9.99

Bears a remarkable similarity to other, more expensive brow kits, but at a fraction of the price. The wax in this little case will set and colour.




Beautiful Brows Kit €45 at

A brow kit and then some. This contains eyebrow powder, stencils, brushes, highlighter and tweezers – it has everything you could possibly need to tame your eyebrows.

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