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Eyes and brows: How to pluck your eyebrows

May 8, 2008
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It's the instant face-lift, opening up the eye area to make you look more awake and less heavy. But if you've never plucked your eyebrows before, bear this in mind: what you pluck, you might never see again. Which is great when thin is in and you don't want to be bothered with daily upkeeps, but not so great in ten years' time when bushy's back and the retro state of your brows is an instant ager. So for a period of time start with the stray hairs and see how quickly they grow back; a few plucks later and they may disappear for good. If so, tread the middle ground - eyebrow trends come and go, so that while you may not ever be on the cutting-edge of fashion, neither will you have to be completely unfashionable, either.



A magnifying mirror is helpful, though don't forget it can amplify how 'bad' your brows look and how absolutely huge those errant hairs are. Use it to pluck individual hairs, but keep looking in a normal mirror to check the balance of your brows in the context of your whole face. And out of all the expensive tweezers we've tried, we always go back to a basic pair of Boots' own-brand, with slanted tips. It's the grip that's important, so try them on fairly fine hairs to check they grab first go – and stick with them if they do. Plucking after a bath means the pores are more open so hairs will slip out easier, but skin can be more sensitive when it's warm so you might prefer to press a hot flannel on yourself for a few seconds beforehand instead. If you're very sensitive to pain, an ice cube or some Bonjela ulcer gel may help numb the skin a little instead.



There is a long-held theory that you should never pluck from above the brow as you will ruin its natural shape. It's not one we've tested as we're inclined to agree that a lot of the curve of the brow is formed by the arch along the top. However, there would be no harm in losing the odd madly straggly hairs that stray outside of the main shape. From below, start with the untidy ones and then move up in 'rows' of hairs until you reach a depth you're happy with. If you want to create a little arch, pluck in a little deeper wherever the top of the brow is highest or, failing that, about two thirds of the way along. Don't pluck in too much from the front of the brows – they should line up with the inner corners of the eyes. And try trimming the ends of the brows with scissors before plucking to assess how far down you want the shape to go. If brows are really thick, pluck out a few random hairs from the inside to weaken the overall bushiness.



Make-up artists differ in how they highlight fine hairs to achieve the perfect, long-lasting shape. Some lightly brush a mascara wand over the skin beneath the brow, some stroke over a white liner pencil to pick them out and others find dusting loose face powder over the area picks them up. Whichever you use, it will help brows look well groomed for longer.

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