The beauty panel: Brow beaten - the importance of a good groomer
Whether your eyebrows are excellent or non-existent, says Sarah Caden, the good groomer is a face-changer
If the popular wisdom goes that the eyes are the windows of the soul, then the eyebrows are the window frames. Well, sort of. The state of your soul isn't exactly evident in how your brows shape up, but your kemptness rating can be improved by a well-tended pair. Yes, keep up, of course there's a kemptness rating.
One excellent piece of advice when it comes to shaping your brows is that they are sisters rather than twins. This is to say that in shape they should be similar, but not identical. The two sides of your face are not identical or symmetrical, so the same goes for your brows. If you've never gone near your brows, it's also good advice to get them professionally shaped the first time and then you can copy their wise work at home. That said, it's advisable to choose a professional whose own brows are neither too thick, too thin or too surprised-looking. Even if you already have a great shape, if you wear make-up and leave your brows bare, they will let you down. This is where brow make-up comes in. And if you have barely any brows thanks to years of overzealous plucking - then we have the perfect fillers and fixers for you.
Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Brow Gel in Taupe, €23, House of Fraser, Dundrum Town Centre, D16; Arnotts, D1; Brown Thomas
This is a new product from the Bobbi Brown stable and it ties in perfectly with the brand's subtle but sleek ethos. They have done mascara-like brow-grooming products before, but this is a new gel-wax, as they're calling it. Available in eight shades, it is more long-lasting than some other waxy brow products, which tend to dry out and go flaky after a few hours. "If you currently use one product for colour and filler and another for fixing a good arch, then try this as a good one-stop-shop," said a panellist.
Best Better Blonde
Catrice Velvet Brow Powder Artist in Blond Brows are a Girl's Best Friend, €4.50, Dunnes; Penneys; selected pharmacies nationwide
This is a knacky little number from the brand beloved of teenagers and those who know value when they see it. It looks like a pencil, but it's more like a powder marker, with a round sponge applicator with which to paint pigment where it's needed. At the other end is a brush with which to comb through the pumped-up brows. "Unlike a pencil, this doesn't go on in thin, hair-thickness strokes, so it's more of a filler product," a panellist said. "But for sparse-browed blondes, this is a bonus."
Best Luxury Pair
Chanel Brow Powder Duo in Naturel, €45, Chanel counters nationwide
This is a pricey little palette, but there are those who will be so thrilled with the matt-black Chanel logo-ed mini tweezers that they'll immediately forget the spend. The case contains the tweezers, a brush for the two coloured powders and a comb with which to put shape on the brows. "A sweet eyebrow offering," one panellist said. "The powders are as naturel in colour as the name suggests, and can be blended to suit most brown-coloured brows."
Best Red Relief
Lancome Sourcils Gel in Auburn, €23, Lancome counters nationwide
Available in six colours ranging from blond to black, this is a gel-cream that has the bonus of being waterproof. No harm with summer coming, and not only in case of rain. The gel-like texture means it isn't too thick or tattooed-looking, so you can wear it subtly with minimal make-up or build it up for with full make-up. "A good auburn is great to find," said a panellist, "if you have the kind of Irish-y eyebrows that aren't full ginger but are redder than brown."
Best Full Kit
Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Brow Box in Bathwater Blonde, €25.50, House of Fraser, Dundrum Town Centre, D16; Debenhams
This is like a very sweet treasure chest, containing all the loot you need for perfectly groomed mid-brown brows. Part of Stefani's range for this brand, it's a two-tier treat, with light and dark powders and a neutral-coloured holding wax on the top, and two brushes and a tiny gold tweezers on the tier below. "There's no denying the cuteness of this mini-case," said a panellist, "but it's far from a novelty product within."