At Gritty Pretty, we firmly believe that each individual should do beauty their own way; it’s our mission to arm our readers with the knowledge and tools to embrace their unique, natural beauty. In a catch-phrase, ‘you do you’ is our ethos.
However, every now and again, we feel the need to take a stand against a beauty trend, rather than embracing it. This time around, that trend is the Instabrow.
Ah, the Instabrow. Much like hardcore contouring, perfect, ‘carved’ brows were made popular by Instagram makeup gurus before going mainstream. We love a fierce brow—hello, Cara Delevingne!—but perfect ombre-brows that take 20 minutes to perfect? No thank you.
So, put those stencils down. Instabrows are out, natural brows are in. Here, we call upon Amy Jean, founder of Amy Jean Brow Agency and Hannah Mutze, National Brow Artist for Benefit Cosmetics, for their advice on how to create face-framing brows that flatter.
“The Instabrow often calls for a face full of makeup to support it and can be quite harsh on the face,” explains Hannah Mutze. “Fluffy, textured brows are the way to go. They suit everyone as they often mimic a more natural, youthful brow shape, and it is one of the quickest and most simple brow styles to create.”
Brow mogul Amy Jean agrees that embracing a natural brow is the way to go; severe, straight lines and ‘solid boxes’ of colour are a no-no. “People are realising that natural brows give a softer more youthful look—anything that points in an upward direction is refreshing our face with a more open eyed or ‘awake’ appearance. Upwards and outwards is the key!” shares Amy Jean.
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With a plethora of brow gels, pencils, pens, pomades and powders on the market, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. However, there are a few fail-safe options that will have you on top of your brow game.
“Fibre gels are a one-stop option for natural looking textured brows,” says Mutze. “They use microfibres to build fullness around individual hairs in the brow, making them look thicker and more textured instantly.”
When it comes to pigment, pencils are Mutze’s preferred weapon of choice. “Fine-tipped brow pencils such as Benefit’s Precisely, My Brow Pencil are great for this brow style, as they’re designed to create hair-like strokes through the brows,” explains Mutze. “Heavily-pigmented formulas such as pomades and cream gels aren’t my first choice as they are designed to create a bolder more dramatic look. If you must, use these sparingly and with a light hand and blend well with a spoolie.” However, if you’re a bonafide brow expert, pomade away—but use a fine angled brush to create hair-like strokes à la Nikki Wolff.
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If you hit the genetic lottery and have zero sparse patches in your eyebrows, then you don’t necessarily need to go in with colour. “For ultra-discrete, fluffy brows, it can be as simple as spraying a fine amount of hairspray on to a disposable mascara wand and brushing through the hairs to fan them into position,” suggests Amy Jean. “Tinted brow gel, (such as the Amy Jean Privée Collection Brow Lacquer) is also very popular for a fluffy, natural brow as it stains the hairs for definition and sets them into position.”
The most important tool in your brow arsenal? A good ol’ spoolie. “It’s essential to use tools that separate the hairs like a brow brush or comb, so your product to follow can glide and not appear artificially applied,” says Amy Jean. Duly noted.
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Technique is paramount to creating natural-looking brows. The good news? It’s not as hard as it seems. In fact, most advice boils down to the same three key tips.
“Firstly, you need to comb through the spine of the brows in and upward and outward direction using a spoolie,” says Amy Jean. This is essential as it will map out your brow shape and highlight any sparse areas you need to fill in.
Next up, colour. “Use a fine tipped brow pencil to create hairlike strokes, instead of block-filling the brows,” suggests Mutze. “This will create instant texture, a must-have for believable-looking brows. Always follow with a spoolie brush to blend colour into the brow — the finish will be much more seamless, with no harsh lines.”
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Product pictured from top to bottom: Surratt Beauty Expressioniste Brow Pomade.
Now, to hold those bad boys in place. “To set the brows, use a clear or tinted brow gel to ensure the hairs stay in place,” shares Amy Jean. “Try to avoid making contact with the gel on to the skin and apply to the hairs only.” We also love hard-hitting formulas such as the Surratt Beauty Expressioniste Brow Pomade.
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Until recently, this author had never consulted a brow professional. Ever. But since my first tint and wax with none other than Benefit’s Hannah Mutze, I can honestly attest to the benefits (pun very much intended) of consulting an expert to achieve your best-ever brows.
“Great-looking brows call for a professional brow shape and tint every four to eight weeks,” says Mutze. “Shaping the brows removes all the unwanted fuzz surrounding the brows and can correct any shape mishaps, enhancing your natural brow shape. Regular brow tinting keeps the brows looking full and defined, it’s like waking up with makeup already on and truly simplifies every gal’s morning makeup routine.” Preach!
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Product pictured from top to bottom: Tom Ford Brow Pomade in Granite; Plume Cosmetics Nourish & Define Pomade in Golden Silk; Anastasia Beverly Hills DIPBROW Pomade in Soft Brown; Tom Ford Brow Pomade in Taupe.
If you were heavy-handed with the tweezers back in the 2000s, a brow professional has the tools to help. “Your brow technician may opt for brow henna, which stains the skin and casts a shadow across the sparse areas at each monthly appointment,” explains Amy Jean. “If you are interested in something more semi-permanent, then book a consultation for eyebrow ‘mist’ tattooing or microblading, for which the results generally last around 12-18 months. Ensure you are a suitable candidate and establish that the artist is a highly skilled and qualified cosmetic tattooist. After all, this is your face!”
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Product pictured from top to bottom: Urban Decay Brow Blade in Brown Sugar; MAC Shape & Shade Brow Tint in Fling; Billion Dollar Brows The Microblade Effect Brow Pen.
Amy Jean’s final piece of advice? “Remember that ‘trends’ are just that—choose a shape and colour with suitable products and try not to be heavily influenced by Instagram trends. Finally, always do your research and tread conservatively.” Amen, sister.
Tell us, what are your go-to brow products?
Would you consider embracing the ‘fluffy’ brow?