About a month ago, my friend, a makeup artist with a fetish for strong brows, suggested I use an eyebrow pencil to fill in these two pesky, sparse spots in my eyebrows on either side of the bridge of my nose. I was instantly skeptical, since I always thought using eyebrow pencils would be a messy headache. Penciled in brows are too obvious and look, well, fake, often screaming "Hey, look, I colored on my face this morning!"
Plus, not everyone can pull off Cara Delevingne brows. I'd always shrugged off brow pencil as a not needed, additional step to an already packed morning routine. But then again, I also disliked these two erratic brow spots enough to try something new. Since this MUA friend never steers me wrong, I decided to take the plunge, despite my initial "Yeah, this probably won't work" thoughts. Full, thick brows are innately youthful, so why not?
I grabbed a black/brown pencil by Rimmel with a brush on the cap and, after two days of use, I was hooked. It was definitely a "where have you been all my life" moment. I loved the result and now use it daily, playing with how much I want to fill things in and incorporating the pencil into my routine before I add shadow/liner primer. Even my hairstylist Sarah noticed it when she cut my hair this weekend, asking me if she could cut my bangs even shorter to show off my fuller-looking brows. Yeah, it was that noticeable. I've even been playing with filling out the ends of my brows at my temples.
But this wasn't the easiest place to get to, because I'm highly aware of when thin-browed people use pencil or even tattoo their brows into an immovable shape. It looks fake. because it is fake. An old boss got her brows tattooed after years of overplucking and it was like "Whoa" jarring and very unnatural.
Here are my erratic brows. Notice the sparseness at the bridge. How can you not, right? It's so obvs. They needed to be rounded and cleaned up.
Here they are filled in, from a distance. I really just want to show off my awesome and cleaned up long layers.
There they are up close, fuller and cleaner, with no sparseness in this dog selfie.
However, these are the stages I went through to get to this point!
1. The "Grumble, Grumble" Skepticism Stage
Grumble, grumble. I use the most cosmetic products on or around my eyes. Eyeliner, eye shadow, mascara, eye shadow primer, and brow brush. The notion of adding a brow pencil made me worry that I would look too busy around the eyes. Plus, I didn't need another step added to an already time-consuming morning routine. So I was hesitant... for far too long, I would eventually learn.
2. The "But I Really Hate Those Sparse Spots" Stage
At some point after my convo with Samantha, my MUA friend, I was reminded how much I hate those sparse spots. Waxing and threading does not fix or help the fact that the hair is a bit thinner and has an erratic growth pattern. It was around this phase that I decided, "Let me try it. I can always wipe it off" (which, BTW, is a makeup golden rule you should always adhere to).
3. The "Pick The Right Pencil" Stage
Another makeup golden rule is that it's okay to buy a mass market or inexpensive product when trying something new. Don't shell out a wad of cash for something you might end up hating. Even though I have been gifted with plenty of free brow pencils over the years, I decided to hit Target to try a cheapie. Rimmel, whose Exaggerate Eyeliner is a holy grail product for me, won the battle. I liked that the cap had a brush on it.
4. The "Instant Gratification" Stage
I didn't even wait until I got home to play with the brow pencil. The lighted mirror in my car worked just fine. I lightly rubbed the pencil tip over the sparse section and it quickly became filled out, thicker-looking, and even with the rest of my brows. I experienced immediate gratification. On to the next brow.
5. The "People Are Noticing And I Feel Good" Stage
Even though I wear sunglasses for, like, 80 percent of my life, you can still see my brows from behind the shades and the people who see me all the time totally noticed my brown makeover. Sarah, my stylist, was like, "OMG, your brows! Let's do shorter bangs to show them off. They totally frame your eyes." So we did.
6. The "Desire To Try More New Things" Stage
I now do brow pencil daily, but now I am wondering if there are other brands at the higher end of the spectrum that I should try. I love to play with different colors of smoky eyes (purple! brown! sunset!) and I have been doing a more drastic flick with my cat eye, so I will venture into trying darker or even thicker brows, and use different formulations of brow pencils.
Overall, these stages have taught me something more important than how to get fuller, better framing, Cara Delevingne-inspired brows and how to get rid of sparse brow sections. You can and you should try new things when it comes to cosmetics and makeup. Nothing is permanent! One swipe of a moist towelette and you can start right over. If it works, keep doing it. If it doesn't, move on. That, ladies, is the beauty of makeup.
Images: Amy Sciarretto (2); Giphy (6)