July 23, 2012 4:36 AM   Subscribe

It's about time I did something about my eyebrows! Seeking guidance.

I've read lots of comments here that suggest that "cleaning up" your eyebrows can brighten up your face dramatically.

- I'm in China right now, and I think, as an Asian, that stylists here would be more experienced at making people like me look good. But I hear that salons here generally use knife blades to shape eyebrows, cutting instead of waxing or threading or tweezing. Is this method as good? I also think many Asian women have very thin eyebrows, which I'd like to avoid.

- What should I look for in a salon to maximize the likelihood that I'll leave looking better than when I came in? (I'm in Beijing, the Wudaokou area, in case anyone has area-specific suggestions.)

- Should I just say I would like my eyebrows cleaned up, or should I get them shaped, or what? (I just added a photo to my profile, for reference.) I feel completely neutral about my current ones, but know that they can make a huge difference in overall facial appearance, so I'm worried about breaking what (I think) doesn't need fixing.
posted by estlin to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Some people outside of places where eyebrow razors are used will be freaked out at the thought of shaving eyebrows but I am not going to presume to tell 600 million women they are doing it wrong. (People thought threading couldn't be as good as waxing until they tried it.)

-- What I look for in a salon is a beautician who has nice eyebrows. It's generally a good sign and it's very easy to say "like yours, but thicker." You could take in a photo of Zhao Wei or something - she has lovely eyebrows - and say that you like that shape and width.

-- Definitely say you want them shaped. Maintaining the shape is "cleaning up."

The thing to remember about eyebrows is that they will grow back :) I've had some insane eyebrow disasters but none of them permanently broke me, or even messed up my face. The worst case scenario is that they are too thin and then you just spend the next month pretending you are Greta Garbo and/or learning to use an eyebrow pencil if you're really that bothered.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:02 AM on July 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Have you tried tweezing your own? I started this a while back, and I like the results (and it does make a huge difference in the overall countenance; I don't look grouchy anymore :) I place a warm washcloth over the area I'll be tweezing, which makes the hairs pull out more easily. Then I use a cool washcloth afterwards to calm the stinging. Don't spend too long on one brow and keep checking for symmetry.
posted by Koko at 5:17 AM on July 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

Koko, I've seen tutorials for tweezing your own, but since I really don't know what I want, or what would be flattering for my face, I think I'd feel more comfortable having someone do it, and then do maintenance on my own.
posted by estlin at 5:25 AM on July 23, 2012

I was also going to suggest taking a picture of somebody whose eyebrow shape you liked (by the way, Zhao Wei's eyebrows look rather thin to my Korean eyes - take a look at Korean actresses, I've noticed they tend to have thicker eyebrows than Chinese or Japanese actresses; e.g. Shin Min Ah or Park Min Young).

The main thing I notice from your profile picture is you may want to have the space between your eyebrows widened, so your eyebrow starts about where the inner corner of your eye is.
posted by needled at 5:42 AM on July 23, 2012

By the way, when I've had Korean beauticians shape my eyebrows, they used a combination of eyebrow razors and tweezers. The eyebrow razor was used for shaping, and some stragglers tweezed. The advantage with the razor is that it avoids a sparse look to the eyebrows (also if you're unhappy with the look of your eyebrows it will grow out much quicker).
posted by needled at 5:54 AM on July 23, 2012

Do you ever wear makeup? If you do, you might consider filling in your eyebrows - it often makes a big difference along with shaping them. Since you're in China, you probably have access to the right types of colors for your coloring - you want an ashy grey power or pencil, probably. I prefer powder - I think it looks more natural - but either will work.

There are tons of tutorials online. I haven't watched this one, but I like this blogger. She's Asian, and does a nice job with her eyebrows.
posted by insectosaurus at 6:11 AM on July 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think the key to nice-looking eyebrows is to leave the part of the eyebrow that's closest to your nose mostly natural (while cleaning up the stray hairs) and to slightly shape the parts of the eyebrows that are nearest to your ears. In other words, the number one mistake that I think people make is to try and make the entire length of the brow thinner -- and they end up looking like Tim Curry in Rocky Horror Picture Show!

I think it's fine for you to say that you've never had your eyebrows done and you're not looking for anything dramatic, just a little cleaning up. Ask them to use a light hand as it's easier to take more hair off than to wait for it to grow back.
posted by cranberrymonger at 6:20 AM on July 23, 2012

I'm with cranberrymonger: natural eyebrow shapes nearly always look best, IMO. Personally, when I'm going to pluck, I use eyeliner to draw a line just inside where I want my brow to end and pluck anything noticeable beneath it. The line helps keep me from getting carried away and plucking too much. (You can always do more, but if you remove too much, you're plucked!)
posted by smirkette at 9:02 AM on July 23, 2012

Okay! SO I'm Chinese with fairly thick brows. I started plucking them in high school and with the benefit of recently acquired hindsight, there are two things I really really wish I knew when I was younger:

1. Lots of (traditional?) shaping/plucking advice about brushing up hairs and plucking strays underneath may not necessarily apply to our eyebrows because Chinese eyebrow hair GROWS DOWN. So you can pluck and pluck and pluck (don't do this) and still not achieve that nice clean shape/line that you want and bonus! you'll get sparse patches. So the key to shaping is to comb brow hair down and either trim the hairs that are out of line using scissors or an eyebrow razor. Then brush eyebrows back up and pluck the obvious strays.

2. I never thought I needed to fill in my brows since I have dark hair. But using pencil/ shadow can also make a huge difference in giving brows great shape precisely because dark thick hair = prominent eyebrows.

Really, go watch this Lisa Eldridge tutorial and watch it again. It changed my life.
posted by kitkatcathy at 9:05 AM on July 23, 2012 [5 favorites]

Thank you guys! Especially kitkatcathy, Lisa Eldridge's site is a treasure trove, and DarlingBri, I needed reminding that hair does, in fact, grow back. I'll poke around for more photos of actresses whose brows I like, and then head out sometime later this week. Will report back!
posted by estlin at 7:47 AM on July 24, 2012

« Older Historical Fiction   |   help me be an awesome penpal! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.