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From our hearts and our heads

Do you have to maintain your eyebrows?

BODYThe pressure to manage body hair can start early for girls, so you may notice that your classmates at school suddenly seem to have perfectly manicured eyebrows. Does that mean you should, too? The simple answer is no, not unless you want to, and you’ve talked to a parent about it (while it is your body, decisions about altering it should come with some guidance from an adult).

If you do want to shape your eyebrows, there are number of ways to go about it, with two major caveats that apply across the board:

1. Go one hair at a time. If you’re managing eyebrow care yourself, pick a moment when you have plenty of time to focus on the task at hand (e.g. don’t get to work 10 minutes before the school carpool arrives). Not only can eyebrow hair have a tendency not to grow back in as robustly, the hair is also very visible on your face—any mistakes will be hard to hide, and might either take a while to grow back in, or may never grow back in at all.

2. Think long and hard about following trends. For decades different amounts of eyebrow hair, shapes, and methods of grooming have come in and out of vogue, and some of them are less reversible than others. Full eyebrows are very in right now, but a whole generation of women who over-plucked when barely-there eyebrows were in, in the early 2000s, are stuck in the past with their look, since the hair never grew back. That’s a frustrating place to be. So be wary of following irreversible trends that can alter the way your whole face looks.

Now, onto the techniques. This list isn’t exhaustive, but captures the most common options today, leaving aside some really extreme methods like permanent tattoos:

1. Tweezing. This is probably the easiest method for personal eyebrow maintenance, in terms of budget, portability, and skill-level. You can buy a pair of tweezers for a couple bucks at any drug store, take care of stuff in your own home, and even bring them with you easily on vacation. While tweezing can be a little painful at first, the more you do it, the more you get used to, and stop noticing, the feeling. The best time to tweeze your eyebrows is immediately after a hot shower. The steam from the water helps open up your pores a little and makes it hurt less to pluck hair out. Every woman has a natural eyebrow shape that suits her face best, and plucking is just a matter of cleaning the hair up, not dramatically changing the shape. There are some tricks to determining shape and measuring everything out, that Women’s Health Magazine outlines further.

2. Waxing. This method entails literal hot wax that’s applied to hair, layered over with a fabric strip, and then ripped off. It can be a more painful experience than tweezing, but, as with tweezing, something that a lot of women get used to and stop feeling as acutely. Waxing is quite effective for attaining a very defined eyebrow shape, and can also sometimes stop hair from growing back for longer because it pulls the hair out by the root really effectively. Waxing can be done at home, but is more difficult to master than tweezing and requires more safety precautions, so more often women visit a beauty parlor that specializes in waxing, and make appointments every few weeks to keep up. Make sure to find a salon you really trust (ask your friends, they might have a go-to specialist to recommend), and make sure you have the budget to keep up with the appointments.

3. Threading. For this last method, a specialist wraps a fine thread around each individual eyebrow hair and pulls it out. It’s a lot like tweezing in that sense, but some women find it far less painful and much more precise, in terms of creating a specific eyebrow shape instead of just cleaning up the hair around the natural shape of the brow.