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One of the most important and often overlooked features of the face is the eyebrow. They are the key to framing the eyes, creating definition for the face, and highlighting the eye area. Eyebrows are very easy to change, and can really make a difference in a person’s looks - without any kind of surgery or injections! Following is a basic guideline for how to shape eyebrows.

Imagine drawing 3 dots as your reference points that you will later connect to fill in your eyebrow shape. The first dot, or starting point of the eyebrow, would be above the inner corner of the eye. The second dot will be placed slightly higher, and if you are looking straight ahead in the mirror this dot will go just to the outside of the iris. Whether you are doing this on yourself or on someone else, be sure the person is looking straight ahead or the placement of the arch will be off. The third dot, or outside ending point of the brow, will be at the same height as the first dot (lower than the middle dot). To determine the ideal placement for this, hold a straight edge (an eyeliner or makeup brush works well), and connect it from the bottom outside corner of your nose to the outside corner of your eye. Where the line ends in the brow area is how far the brow should come out (and where the third dot would be placed). A surprising amount of women’s eyebrows do not extend as far as they could for optimal effect. Adding this little amount can improve the shape of the brows, and really define the eye area.

Brows may be filled in using light pencil strokes, a powder (i.e. eye shadow or brow color), or a brow groomer, which may come in a tube with a wand that looks like mascara. My favorite is using a powder for a soft, natural look. A wax or gel may be used to tame unruly hairs. When choosing a color, most people think you should match your hair color; however, it is best to choose a somewhat lighter shade. If you match your hair color, often the brows will appear too dark, fake, or drawn in. A slightly lighter shade will create a more natural look.

A funny thing seems to happen as we age…women tend to loose hair in the eyebrow area, and men’s seem to grow thicker and more unruly! So, men: we appreciate it if you (or your hairdresser/barber/significant other) keep an eye on these and perform a little grooming. A little trim goes a long way to giving you a neat and polished appearance! Also, going grey? A little hair dye can be added to your brows if you also color your hair. Again, be careful not to go too dark, and NEVER get it in your eyes. This might be best left to a professional.

Now, the brow shaping above is meant to be a guideline for what is currently and generally considered appealing. Keep in mind that bone structure and face shape vary from person to person, and adjustments may need to be made. All faces are different and each carries its own unique beauty. If there is one thing we can learn by looking at the history of the eyebrow in fashion, it is that our perceptions of beauty change and are strongly influenced by what is popular at the time. Compare the shaved off, pencil-thin, drawn in eyebrows of the 1920’s to the Brooke Shields look of the ‘80’s -- Quite a big difference! It just goes to show that beauty is a perception that changes over time, and varies from person to person as well.

And never forget the importance of inner beauty. I am waiting for the day when we have a reality show that does an “Extreme Personality Makeover”.

© 2008 Mimi Pettibone/Stellar Style, all rights reserved

Mimi Pettibone: Hair & Makeup Stylist. © Stellar Style 2008. All rights reserved