published Monday, August 27th, 2012

Thin eyebrows bowing to fuller shapes

  • photo
    Laura Mariani gets her eyebrows waxed by Sandra Miller at Mystic Modes Spa in North Chattanooga. Heavy eyebrows are coming back in fashion, style experts say.
    Photo by John Rawlston.
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Tips for bold natural eyebrows

• Trim properly. To get that thick look, you need to be extremely careful while trimming. The main point is to let them grow naturally. Don't overpluck, as it can damage the shape of the brow.

• Be considerate about thickness and contour. Let the brow grow to its natural form first, then touch up.

• Enhance thin eyebrows with liners, kajal or fillers to get a natural, fuller look. While applying strokes of the eye shadow, keeping it toward the brows will make them look natural and definite. Make sure the colors are the same as the brows.


Move over, Groucho. Big, bold eyebrows are making a comeback with women.

Fashion website noted the natural look on models in the fall/winter runway shows during New York Fashion Week.

Thick brows haven't been mainstream since the 1980s when Brooke Shields popularized the look, known as "Brooke Brows," with her naturally full brows, said Sandra Miller, esthetician and owner of Mystic Modes Mini Spa on North Market Street.

"Thinner brows have been mostly popular during the 30 years I've been doing this, but the Brooke Brows were hugely popular at one time," she said. "Just like everything else in fashion, eyebrow trends mimic whatever is popular in Hollywood."

According to Glamcheck, women whose eyebrows are thin can enhance the thickness by applying a kajal (eye darkener) or liner.

Scarlett Smith, 32, of Chattanooga, said that won't be necessary for her brows, which were so naturally thick she started waxing them when she was 11 years old.

"After about 10 years, (the hair) stopped growing back in most spots," she said. "Lately, I guess with age, I have been able to maintain them myself with plucking."

Her 15- and 13-year-old daughters "have to pluck constantly," she said. "We do have them waxed every three months, though. They consider waxing to be far less painful than plucking."

Besides waxing and plucking with tweezers, methods of sculpting brows include threading (removing individual hairs with thread), laser removal and shaving. Miller said the most popular treatment is waxing.

"It takes three minutes to wax a brow," she said. "With a little touching up using tweezers, the entire process takes about 10 minutes."

The cost of waxing eyebrows ranges locally in spas and salons from $10 to $25. Miller charges $10. Depending on how fast one's hair grows, the process needs to be done every four to six weeks, she said.

"No matter what method you use to remove the hair, the results are the same. You remove the hair by its root," Miller said. "Each method is somewhat painful."

Beauty experts say shaping the eyebrows can add definition to the face, particularly by framing the eyes or setting off the cheekbones.

Laura Mariani, 41, of Chattanooga, said she can see the difference in the mirror.

"I have naturally thick brows, and I like to get them waxed because, if I don't, my eyes look really small," she said.

Miller explained that eyebrows are not solely about the eyes.

"The bone structure of the face and the size of the person should determine the shape of the brows," she said. "If a person is very petite, for example, thick brows would overwhelm the face."

Miller also waxes men's brows, including those of her business partner, Mike Pachenker.

"For men, the process is typically a clean-up process rather than sculpting -- it's getting rid of the unibrow look," Pachenker said. "She makes the brows look neat. ... The goal is to look clean and not bushy."

Smith said she hated her thick, black brows when she was growing up but has grown to appreciate them.

"I guess when they were so thick, I felt like they were big, hairy caterpillars on my face, and they felt a little masculine," she said. "I did have tons of people compare my eyebrows to Brooke Shields growing up, and people still do that to my girls. I guess I just always felt more like Groucho Marx."

about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

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