Hair like Katherine Heigl, a figure like Jennifer Lopez, a smile like Halle Berry and eyebrows like — Oscar the Grouch? Don't be that girl. "So many people don't realize how important brow shape is in relation to their entire face structure," says Kisha Williams, cofounder of The Makeup Lab Artistry (843 Carondelet St., Studio 4, 982-0289; www.themakeuplabartistry.com). "Our brows showcase the most effective form of expression, and if their shape doesn't complement the overall facial structure, it can send a wrong message."
Routine professional eyebrow shaping is a simple, affordable way to improve your look. To prepare for professional brow shaping, "let brows grow out at least one month with no tweezing at all," says Nellie Spahr of Earthsavers (Lakeside Shopping Annex, 3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Suite 140, Metairie, 835-0225; 3414 Hwy. 190, Mandeville, 985-674-1133; 5501 Magazine St., 899-8555; www.earthsaversonline.com). Schuyler Louapre of Make Me Up (3426 Magazine St., 891-9688; www.makemeupnola.com) says, "My suggestion is to do it the day before you go out, never the day of because it will cause some redness." Another way to prepare for eyebrow shaping is to take a hot shower about 30 to 45 minutes before the appointment to help open the pores, which lets hair come out more easily. Pop aspirin or ibuprofen to minimize pain.
Spas generally offer three methods of eyebrow shaping: waxing, threading and plucking. Each keeps excess hair at bay for up to four weeks. Jaime Pietrangelo of My Spa by the Park (6312 Argonne Blvd., 482-2219; www.myspabythepark.com) says, "If you're using retinoids, alpha hydroxy acids or other topical prescription products, you need to pluck [or thread] and not wax." The ancient Eastern practice of threading combines the swiftness of waxing with the precision of plucking. During a threading, the esthetician winds a cotton string around small sections of the brow and plucks the hairs all at once.
Due to medical conditions, genetics, over-grooming or age, some women have eyebrows that are too thin or too pale. "Using ... brow pencils, powder and gels to give sparse brows a little help is a very common thing," Williams says. "There are ways to color in brows without overdoing it or creating a harshly drawn brow." To avoid looking fake and overdone, Williams urges women to take their hair color, natural brow color, skin tone and personality into consideration. "Even if brows are sparse, it doesn't necessarily mean that every person has to completely fill them in," Williams says. "Brows... should be filled in based on your comfort level. Not everyone is meant for a perfectly sculpted brow."
"A great brow begins with going with your own brow shape," says Lauren Prats of Earthsavers. "You should never try to make your brows look like someone else's."
For a semi permanent solution to sparse hair, consider a topical eyebrow growth stimulator such as LiBrow by LiLash. "Growth enhancers ... must be used consistently in order to see results," Williams says. "Not everyone will see the same results, because everyone's body chemistry is different."
Between professional shapings, there are a few tricks to maintaining the look. Prats recommends Jane Iredale brow gel for enhancing brow color and shape. Williams uses Maybelline's Define-A-Brow pencil sparingly to sketch in hairs and trace around the natural shape of the brow. Irma Benavidez of Earthsavers says, "Cover any new growth with a bit of concealer and flesh-toned eyeshadow."