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Tag Archives : eyebrow shaping

Interview with Brenda Christian, Part 2

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

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? Middle? Last?

BC: Major brow clean-up, such as major tweezing or waxing, should be done prior to applying any makeup, so you are working on clean skin. But for your daily routine, eyebrows should be applied in the middle, after the application of skin treatment, foundation, concealers, and eye primer. Then 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. 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.

Framing The Eyes

The goal is to create the most beautiful face, drawing attention to the eyes by softly and specifically framing the eyes, 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 the 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

As 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. 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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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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Brenda Christian Interview Pt. 1: The Universal Brow Definer

Interview with Brenda Christian, President and CEO, Brenda Christian Cosmetics, Inc. 

Brenda Christian founded her eponymous cosmetics line in 1982 to offer women unparalleled solutions to their skin care and makeup needs. The company develops products based upon voids in the cosmetics industry that Christian identifies through client interactions. We talked to this inspiring female entrepreneur about her journey, creating her own line of products and much more!

What inspired you to develop your cosmetic products?

B.C.: Though my business is now 32 years old, it seems like yesterday that I made the decision to become a professional makeup artist. I was young and energetic, and within a few months was booked solid, traveling and doing fashion show work. Still, my greatest love was teaching a woman, one on one, how to apply her makeup…everything from how to hold a makeup brush correctly to selecting shades she could wear to achieve her best look. When I began developing products, I did so out of necessity.

Regarding my brow products, that is quite a story!

Early on I became the go-to person for brow shaping in Houston. I adored working with my clients, but felt weak in adding to eyebrows to fill voids, or even more terrifying, creating an eyebrow where absolutely no hair existed. I could not find a product that worked well, and felt insecure about my work.

About that time, I enrolled in a three day course for experienced makeup artists offered by Maurice Stein, a well-known Hollywood makeup artist. The first day of the course, he tested each student. After the practical testing, Maurice pulled me away from the rest of the class and asked me why I was working in Houston and not California!  I explained that my goal was not to become a television and cinema makeup artist, but to develop products formulated to work in extreme climatic conditions, like the heat and humidity of Houston. I told him I was working on a product to create eyebrows on women that had none.

For three days, Maurice worked with me, teaching me separately from the rest of the class, how to create beautiful eyebrows on women that had none. At the end of the class, Maurice asked me if I would show the products that I had been working on to Harry Blake, Director of Makeup for NBC Studios. I was happy to do so! Both men were excited about the potential of the new wax I had developed and encouraged me to share the products with them upon completion. Today, I am honored that Maurice sells my eyebrow products in his Cinema Secrets store in California, and I have always been grateful for his artistic training.

Your Universal Brow Definer is legendary. How is one brow pencil shade really universal?


B.C.:
As I worked with my clients without brow hairs – due to genetics, a bad tweezing or waxing experience, or loss of hair through aging – and as a perfectionist, I would attempt to create an eyebrow that looked just as natural as real hair. I tried working with pencils and brush-on brow products, but couldn’t accomplish a natural looking brow. I began to work with different types of materials; oils, gels, clays, pastes, etc., trying to develop a “three dimensional eyebrow”.

I worked with literally hundreds of clients trying to create an eyebrow “hair” that could not be distinguished from the adjacent actual eyebrow hairs. As I tested different materials, I noticed that one material in one color would actually change color depending upon whether my client had very dry skin or oily skin around the brows. I mention this because the wax would not change color anywhere else on the body.

brenda-christian-brenda-christian-cosmeticsMost natural blondes have finer hair and drier skin and most redheads have even drier skin. This affected the color of the Universal Brow Definer wax as I applied it to the skin. Clients with oilier skin would cause the wax to become very dark. It had very little to do with how much pressure was placed on the eyebrow. It had to do with the reaction of the formula itself, creating a specific color base on almost every eyebrow. This material was a tinted wax, and when applied on a blond, it would literally turn golden blond or ash blond to mimic the client’s actual hair color. The same color would turn a reddened tan shade when applied to a redhead, and amazingly on myself, with very deep brown hair, it would turn dark when it touched my skin. The wax was actually reacting to the pH of the skin’s surface.

This in itself was fabulous, but the strokes – whether I poured the wax into a pencil and applied it or used it with a brush – were flat, and I wanted a three dimensional appearance. In order to accomplish that, I had to thicken the wax base of the colorant (now Universal Brow Definer Pencil®) and apply it in extremely thin strokes, which meant I needed to design a special blade to provide an angled edge on the pencil. Knowing that some of the best knives came from Germany, I visited with a sharpener company and they developed a special blade to provide that very specific edge to the pencil. Next, I needed to provide the three dimensional texture that would have each stroke look like a brow hair. To do that, I needed to work with light to catch facets of the strokes. I developed a demi-matte gel which, when applied, intensified the color of the wax base of the pencil but absorbed and refracted light and simulated a circular appearance in the brow hair stroke. Because it refracted light, it also reflected the actual hair color that the client had on her head, causing the eyebrows to be truly perfected. Thus, the first eyebrow gel was born; I called it Perfect Brow®.

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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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