Brow-beaten no more
I blame Brooke Shields. She's been rocking them for years. Bushy, hairy and bold, words rarely associated with beauty. But when it comes to brows, nowadays it seems the bushier the better. Think supermodel Cara Delevingne, she of the much-copied bold bodacious brow. She's created a career based almost exclusively on her dark brunette assets.
Back to reality and there's little old me with a few sparse hairs, if any, that haven't grown or changed their natural shape since the day I was attached to an umbilical cord. I have no eyebrows, never have. Not sure why or how I'm lacking hair on the one of the few parts of my body I actually would want it, but it's been the bane of my existence since my teenage years.
I've created all types of "arches" and considered permanent tattooing until it dawned on me I'd look more Marilyn Manson than Marilyn Monroe. I've even been tempted to jump on the latest surgical bandwagon; the "Eyebrow Transplant" (yes, you read that correctly!). The British Association for Plastic Surgery have reported a surge in demand. Again, I blame Brooke…and Cara.
There have been times that pared-down striped back beauty seems to be all the rage, it's one thing to wear a muted eyeshadow or a nude lip, but quite another to assume a natural brow should be so natural it's almost translucent, like mine.
I've had proud moments sitting with fellow Frows enviously looking at models strut their designer collections and spotting a heavily powdered brow.
Whether or not this is done to accentuate the lips, eyes, cheeks or clothes, the fact is, it's there in the flesh and if it's good enough for Stella and Marc, who am I to argue?
Similarly, pop's bad girl Miley Cyrus is seen sporting bleached brows (and not much more) in this month's W magazine. Admittedly a washed-out brow is not a look I would experiment with even in the privacy of my own bathroom, but at least it's a look that's worth a beauty spotlight. Colour is key. I'm not an advocate of matchy-matchy trends but when it comes to my brows, I'd give up my favourite Miu Miu handbag for anyone who can find me my perfect shade. Texture is also crucial. I've tried powders but ultimately I return to a pencil.
Perhaps it's because it feels more natural to draw in pencil rather than control a feathered brush. And it doesn't stop there. There's the arch, the height, the width, the whole shape of the eyebrow line that can change a look in an instant. It's endless, it's a craft that takes years of practice - or at a very least a steady hand.
Fortunately, as a beauty editor, I am often in the presence of makeup artists with an impressive portfolio and a few hundred tricks up their sleeves for face-framing peaks. It all comes down to symmetry, so they say. (Maths was never my strong subject at school!).
If you take a pencil, the lead type, not the eyebrow kind, and place it vertically from the inner corner of your eye leaning on the side of your nose, this is supposedly where your eyebrow should begin.
Slide the top of the pencil to the furthest point of your outer ear and voilà that's your finishing line. Sounds easy? It's taken me almost 15 years to perfect the illusion of having eyebrows, but I've done it with much success (and plenty of mistakes).
Apart from my husband, a couple of long-term boyfriends that have seen me without my 'face on', two brothers that have teased me for my outlandish appearance and three sisters who have regularly advised me on my finished look, my brow nudity has been kept almost secret. Until now!
I may be a few hundred hairs short of a brow or two but without the need to submit myself to pain of a tweeze or a twinge of a cotton thread, I'm having the last laugh.