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Brenda Christian Interview Pt. 2: Proper Eyebrow Pencil Application

Here’s part 2 of our interview with inspiring female beauty entrepreneur, Brenda Christian. (Be sure to read part 1.) Here she shares some of her best brow tips that she’s learned in her 30+ year career.

What are the biggest mistakes people make with their eyebrow makeup?

  • Drawing on the eyebrows with soft brow pencils or brush-on brow product, trying to color in the empty space. Brow hairs should always be stroked into the brow line in tiny short strokes, working in the direction from which the brow hair would grow naturally, in order to closely simulate real hair.
  • Another mistake is starting the eyebrows too far from the center of the face. Placement of the eyebrow is the most important cosmetic decision you will make for your face. (Read Brenda’s comprehensive shaping guide below.) Sometimes this requires patience for natural hair re-growth. During this time, filling in with Universal Brow Definer® and Perfect Brow® is ideal.
  • Third is trying to lift the eyes by drawing a circular style to the brow instead of gently framing the eye itself in its natural shape.

What step should eyebrow shaping be in your makeup routine?

Brow clean-up, such as major tweezing or waxing, should be done prior to applying any makeup, so you are working on clean skin. For your daily routine, eyebrows should be applied in the middle, after the application of skin treatment, foundation, concealers, and eye primer. Brush the brows upward, clean-up any stray hairs with a good pair of tweezers, sharpen and apply Universal Brow Definer® and set by pressing on Perfect Brow Gel®.

What are your tips for achieving the best brow shape?

It always concerns me when I see a professional makeup artist tell someone that there is an absolute rule for applying eyebrows, because the truth is there is not. There are so many variables which must be taken into account, such as ethnicity, natural and/or enhanced hair color, size of the eyes, both horizontally and vertically, amount of lid above the eye and skin in the brow bone area, width of the nose and the nostrils and overall bone structure of the client.

Framing The Eyes

The two most important considerations are balancing the face and framing the eyes. The eyebrow is like a frame on a fine painting in your living room. One must take into account the color of the wall, the amount of space around the frame and the size of the piece of art. The overall goal is to add beauty to the room by framing the art. A beautiful room (the face) is the primary objective, and the art (the eyes) should enhance the room. If the wall is large and the art is small and a heavy, ornate frame is chosen, then the focus becomes the frame…not the room, not the art. So it is with eyebrow design.

The goal is to create the most beautiful face, drawing attention to the eyes by softly and specifically framing them, keeping in mind the balance of the face so that a brow appears to be almost non-existent, youthful, and above all, natural. This isn’t to say that fashion trends do not play a part in the eyebrow design dynamic. Today’s brow is fuller, soft in relation to the hair color of the client, and carefully stroked with a precision wedge or point simulating real eyebrow hairs.

Always work with a very sharp pencil, never a soft, crayon like pencil. The texture of the pencil is very important because it must allow you to create the width of an actual hair. Apply the Universal Brow Definer® in short, firm strokes, always in the direction the hair would grow naturally. This automatically gives a wider look to the root area of the brow stroke, narrowing toward the end of the hair, just as natural eyebrow hairs appear. The natural texture of the brow is achieved by applying Perfect Brow Gel® in short, pressing strokes, releasing a matte gel over the pencil strokes to set and enhance the brow application.

Brow Color

As far as color is concerned, very rarely should eyebrow hair be darker than a client’s natural hair. Even if a blond has dramatically lightened her hair, the natural hair color will be a deeper, ash or golden blond color and that color eyebrow will appear most natural. Likewise, a red head will rarely have a bright red eyebrow. Look at the eyebrows on a naturally auburn haired child and you will see a reddened softened brown or blonde brow, rarely a bright red tone. A brunette should apply the tone of brown or black closest to his or her natural hair color but a slight shade lighter and then layer the strokes of the hairs to increase density for a more natural look, never appearing hard. On most people, the Universal Brow Definer® and Perfect Brow Gel® will provide the most natural eyebrow appearance possible.

Sometimes, I will variegate in a distinct color like an auburn red, or deep black very, very sparingly to enhance the tone of the Universal Brow Definer® application, but this is the exception and not the rule.

Step-by-Step Eyebrow Shaping Guide

brenda-christian-brenda-christian-cosmeticsAs far as shaping is concerned, the most general guidance I can suggest is that the brow should begin above the inner tear duct and arch above the outer iris, then gently taper outward at about a 15-20 degree downward angle to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch outside the outer eye including the eyelash extension length. Be careful not to dip down on the edges of the eyebrow causing a semi-circular clown like appearance.

Don’t use the nose as a guide, because nose widths vary both between the eyes and at the nostrils, so to use the nose can throw the entire eyebrow shaping out of proper alignment with the eye.

An important tool is a good magnification mirror, but a full-sized mirror should be used to check shaping during the process so that the overall appearance is natural.

As far as the density and width of the brow are concerned, that is where the amount of eyelid above the eye comes into play, as well as the overall facial bone structure, whether it is small, medium, or large. This is where artistry comes into play.

Expert Brow Advice

My best advice is to consult a professional makeup artist with a specialty in eyebrow design and enjoy a professional design that you can maintain on your own.

Personally, one of my greatest joys is a private eyebrow consultation. My fee is $125.00 per client and includes a take-home brow kit to continue the look, a very worthwhile investment in your personal style.

If you are in the Jacksonville Beach, Florida area, please feel free to schedule an appointment. Please email: info@brendachristian.com

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Expert Tips and Products for Eye Makeup Application: Brows, Lashes & Lids

Great Brows

Great brows are the first step to gorgeous eye makeup. When properly groomed and filled-in, they lift the eye and make you look years younger. To discover your ideal brow shape, lay a pencil next to your nostril reaching up to your brows. Brows should start at the spot where the pencil hits. Then angle the pencil to the outer corner of your eye to see where your brows should end.

Brow Shaping

It is crucial to get your brows shaped by someone skilled. After having them done professionally, you can tweeze new hairs as they come in. Tweezing is most precise, but I recommend at least some waxing, to remove the fine blonde hairs under the brow. Cleaning these up brightens the eye and helps shadow go on smoother.

Thin Brows

Many people’s brows are too thin and/or short. When thin was in, in the 60s and again in the 90s, women over-tweezed, and now their brows won’t fully grow back. You want them look thicker yet still natural. Many women use a pencil that’s too dark. A taupe pencil works on everyone. Brenda Christian’s Universal Brow Definer is a great choice! Follow this with her Perfect Brow Gel to hold everything in place.

Thick Brows

You may be attached to your full brows, but if they are too full they can look heavy and weigh the eye down. It is important to give brows proper shape and balance for your face.

Proper Eye Makeup Application

Many women don’t know how to do eye makeup. Either they wear hardly any for fear of doing it wrong, or they put on the wrong colors confidently, thinking it looks good. The biggest offense is sparkly, frosty shadow- it makes eyelids look wrinkled. Also, avoid cream shadow – it looks oily on the lids.

Powder Shadows are Best. Here is My Foolproof Way to Apply it:

  • Apply a base/primer on the lid to cover undertone colors and brighten the eye. I use my Camoflauge Eye Disguise Concealer (part of my Beauty Ammo Kit).
  • Apply base eyeshadow. Choose a base color that isn’t too light (think 60s dated light pink) or too dark. It should be close to your skin tone. A pinky-peachy-sunset color is universally flattering. Apply it to entire lid with a fat shadow brush that you use only for base shadow. If you apply other colors with that brush, the next time you apply base shadow the other colors will still be on the brush and the base color won’t go on properly.
  • Apply a crease color to the outer 1/3 of the eye and across the whole crease. Most women apply crease shadow too low, which ends up “closing” the eye. Using an angled shadow brush, sweep it up onto the brow bone, and blend it well after. My favorite crease shadow color is a caramel-light-mocha, more bronze than brown with a hint of peach. It looks great with any clothing, eye color and doesn’t distract from features.
  • Stay away from purple, green and plain brown for crease colors. Most purples make your eyes look red, greens can look dated and browns are just dull.
  • Navy works as liner. Line upper and lower eye with a pencil, then go over it to set it with a dark navy shadow. Use navy with some shimmer for nighttime, but only as liner applied with a stiff tiny angle brush.
  • For night, most women look best in the same shadows they use for daytime, but applied with a heavier hand and always well-blended. For a smoky eye, apply navy to the outer third and around the crease, then add black liner in pencil shadow or liquid. Because pencil liner can be oily, it is important to go back over it with shadow to set it and give more staying power.

No Eye is Complete Without Mascara

One of the best selling mascaras (not naming names!) is one of the worst looking on. I can always spot it on someone – their lashes look like frog legs! It is stiff, clumpy and requires several coats. I also dislike waterproof mascara as it is so hard to remove and so harsh on lashes. Use mascara that stays soft on your lashes. Always do a couple coats, and apply a lash conditioner/thickener underneath to make lashes look fuller, yet soft and conditioned.

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