Waxing remains a cheap, effective, and efficient way to keep brows sculpted, tamed, and beautiful. It's also incredibly painful. It burns. It can rip tender skin. In fact, experts at Spruce & Bond, a brow bar in NYC, thinks you should stop waxing your eyebrows, altogether. On top of that, several other brow experts have shared why tweezing, despite its tediousness, is actually the best, most controllable option (even if they're not pushing for getting rid of waxing forever).
I know, ladies, I know. You think tweezers and immediately have horrible flashbacks to the last time you overplucked and tried to treat your brows like an algebra equation (you know, what you do to one side, you must do to the other). You rarely ever achieved balanced, only too-thin brow action. Then, it took what felt like forever — in reality, it was more like four weeks, tops — to grow back... and you've been skinny brow scarred ever since.
However, there are some physical problems that go along with waxing, in how it looks and feels. The team at Spruce & Bond reminds me that the skin around the eyes is four times thinner than the rest of the body and therefore requires more TLC.
Using hot, thick, and tacky wax, which your waxer applies and then unceremoniously rips off your face, seems counterintuitive to being delicate with that thin skin, right? Think Steve Carell in The 40-Year-Old Virgin if you're still not convinced.
Matt Shakik, a brow specialist at Spruce & Bond, a salon that offers waxing and laser hair removal services, admitted that S&B will "wax basically everything we can get our hands on, and yet we NEVER touch wax to the sensitive eye area." He noted that waxing does speed up the aging process, which probably isn't a look you're going for.
So, I'm calling it: Waxing is out, tweezing is in. Here's how to master the art of the tweeze, with tips supplied by experts.
1. Better Arches Than McDonald's
Spruce & Bond opts for arches achieved via tweezer, the preferred tool due to its precision.
"So many people get tweezer happy," Shakik tells me. "They think that they can take out a hair, that becomes another hair, then another and another, and before you know it, too many have been lost." Yep. I know that feel.
"What people don’t realize is that this creates trauma behind the growth cycle," Shakik continues. "The body recognizes that it doesn’t need certain hair growth once it senses that the same hairs are constantly being tweezed. It says, 'OK, so I’m clearly not needed,' so it shuts off the growth to certain follicles. As the years go by, many serial tweezers don’t have hair growing back in their brows as a result of constant over-tweezing." Yikes. If you fell victim to the temptation to over-tweeze in the past, don't worry too much because...
Good news for serial pluckers: Hair will eventually return! Shakik says, "What you need to do is recreate a growth connection that restarts the body's hair production." He recommends using an eyebrow serum, such as Joey Healy’s Renovation Serum.
"Simply putting it on the hairless area fuels your follicles enough to regenerate them by allowing the body to realize it needs to put the nutrients to work," he explains. "So put the tweezers down and leave the shaping to the professionals." Yes, sir!
3. Self-Maintenance Mixed With Self-Control
While the pros are the first line of defense, Shakik also recommends relying on yourself for maintenance. "Once you have had your brows professionally sculpted and structured to suit your face, you should do the best to keep them on point," he told us. "The key is to remove the hairs that start to sprout as you see them. Once you start to ask yourself if another should come out, that’s where you stop and are ready to get them tended to professionally again."
4. Let Go, Let Grow
Shakik also asks clients to do what might seem unthinkable to most of us: Allow for growth for twice as long as normal with no tweezing, waxing, or threading. "I think it’s very important to trick the body into thinking that there isn’t a common practice when it comes to your brows, just like trying to get in shape," he says. "So every now and again, let your brows go and allow them to rejuvenate. The growth cycle usually lasts 28 days, so you never really get the same growth each month. Allowing the extra time in between will give you fuller growth."
5. Why Tweezing Is "A Must"
Revitalash's Robin Evans is a waxing fan, but she also encourages tweezing. "I love waxing because it cleans up pretty much every single little baby hair," she tells me. "But tweezing is a MUST. As a professional, I need to tweeze to be more articulate with the shape and arch I'm trying to create. And for those wanting to shape at home, it's a safer bet to tweeze rather than wax, so as to not either burn yourself with overheating the wax, or using too much wax and taking off too much hair. Neither of these are a look you would be happy with."
Evans suggests products for assistance, saying, "I also love recommending a brow gel like Revitalash Hi-Def Tinted Brow Gel to my clients, because not only does it enhance the shape of the brow, but it's so easy to use that it's virtually foolproof." This, along with a pair of tweezers, is her prescription!
7. Skin Concerns
Tweezerman's Edward Cruz loves tweezing as a brow grooming method because it's like Audrey Hepburn; that is, it's timeless and classic. He has seen baby fine, new skin yanked off as a result of waxing and that makes him cringe.
"I have seen trends come about that have been great, like threading, but tweezing has always been my standby and it's because I get precision and it's easier to create a shape that I want," Cruz tells me. "The shape of a brow is not instant. It takes a little time to balance and get them looking like sisters rather than far-off cousins."
8. Fast Fixes
If you want to become an expert tweezer, Cruz recommends slanted Tweezermans and a spooly brush, which is essentially a mascara brush or a makeup brush to comb the hairs. "Brush them upwards, smooth out the top for a clean line," he says, noting that you should pluck from below.
Cruz told us you can fix an overpluck situation with eyebrow pencil or by diffusing powder shadow, and fading it into the arch and tail of the brow.
"You can use an angled brush, with a little shadow on it, and soften the bottom of the brow, inner towards temple," Cruz says. "It's an outstanding way to create a brow when you need some help.
He also suggests something really mental: "Let it grow back in, and grin and bear it."
I personally think all brow shaping, be it waxing or tweezing, is best left to a pro, but I'm totally down to try these tips for at-home touch-ups in between appointments. Go forth and be fleek, readers.
Images: Giphy (10)