Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A History in my Brows + Anastasia Product Review

I recently had the pleasure of receiving some Anastasia products to review.  I was really excited to review these products b/c I'll admit it I'm a bit obsessed w/ brows.  For years I've had a Love/Hate relationship w/ my own brows and it's finally come around like many relationships to an acceptance of their limitations and appreciation for their strengths.

My relationship w/ my own brows goes all the way back to my childhood when many in my family use to refer to them as "Brooke Shield brows" (how I wish I could still claim this title now).  They were full, dark and I'll admit were more one than two separate entities.  I first got my brows waxed at the tender age of 11...after what felt likes years of teasing from not only my family but ppl at school as well.  I didn't get them shaped or anything like that, just the middle section waxed so that I would have two brows.  Really I should have stopped at that!

What happened in the years to come is unfortunate at best.  As w/ many women and their brows they don't realize when to stop.  During high school (and this was the mid to late 90s...thinner brows were in) I started getting more and more of my brows taken off.  I don't know how it happened and really a good brow person should have stopped me (but that's the case w/ a lot of waxers they don't always have a good eye for brows or proper shape) but my brows started to get further and further apart and thinner and thinner.

In actuality speaking as a professional makeup artist I'm now not even a big fan of brow waxing and prefer tweezing as it's more precise...it's too easy to get wax in just the wrong area and rip off half a brow...or even just a couple of important hairs!  I think waxing can be good for bigger areas like the middle but when we're getting into the arch tweezing all the way!

By university I'll admit it, I was addicted to tweezing my brows and was left w/ what I refer to as two upside smiles/frowns above my eyes...and to think I started w/ a unibrow!  By the end of university I was aware my brows weren't good but I just didn't know how to fix them.

It wasn't until I entered Makeup school that I learned how to bring my brows (at least half way) back from the dead.  It literally took about 6 hard mths of no tweezers and just letting those babies grow.  I let my teacher clean them up during the first couple of mths but other than that I left them alone.  I mean how can anyone really trust a makeup artist w/ bad brows anyway...it's literally one of the most important features on the face and probably the one most civilians give the least credit to.  Plus how would any client trust me w/ their brows if mine were jacked up!  The brows are also the area I have the most trouble convincing clients to "fix".  I can't tell you how many times a client has "freaked out" over seeing their brows properly filled in...insisting they look too big or dark...really they just need to adjust and get use to it and in fact I've helped shape their eyes so much better (and it looks a million times better in pics).

Back to my brows - unfortunately, all those years of over tweezing had left my once luscious brows sparser in areas then before...the front in particular.  But I will say I did recover better than some.  My brow hair is naturally very dark (much darker than  my natural hair colour) and pretty coarse and dense so the brows I do have left aren't "too bad".  To see them not filled it isn't great...I try to comfort myself w/ the fact that  a lot of ppl's natural brows that haven't been over tweezed aren't great w/out being filled in too.  Once filled in they aren't bad...they have a nice arch to them and are a med full shape which I think is good for my facial features.  I think overall they are pretty balanced and even so all is not lost...and it just goes to show that everyone can get awesome brows if they shape them and fill them in properly...which leads in nicely to my review for

The kit comes in this cute little box w/ two brow colours for mixing and blending so you can adjust the shade for your brows, a wax to help hold unruly brows in place, two neutral eyeshadows for highlighting your newly coiffed and shaped brows, an angle brush for precise powder application and eyebrow stencils in a variety of shapes and sizes to help get the perfect brow for you!  There are also instructions inside on how to use everything to get the perfect brows.

I was a bit worried at first that even the Brunette powders wouldn't be dark enough for my brows b/c they are very dark but luckily that was not the case at all.  In fact the I still had to adjust using the lighter shade mixed w/ the darker shade (specifically in areas on my brows that are already dense and don't need a lot of powder, the darker shade came in handy though in areas that were more sparse like the front).  What's funny is on clients I always use brow powders but on myself I actually use pencils usually so it actually took a little practice at first to use the angle brush on myself and adjust how much product I actually needed lol.  To be honest my brows aren't unruly so I didn't use the wax but it looks like it would be good for holding brows in place.  I did like the two shadows that came w/ the kit...they were very neutral but the one colour is esp. nice as a highlight under the brow bone which accentuates the arch area.  When it came to the stencils I'll be honest I didn't LOVE them for my brows...but I also think that's b/c my brows in reality just need some light filling in.  I think they would work MUCH better for someone who has almost no brows as it would help give them guidelines and help them create "something out of nothing" and symmetrical brows or someone who likes a very dramatic look w/ their brows as I find stenciling can often look a bit "strong" and maybe a bit "too perfect" if that makes sense.  I did find them a bit long (like the cut out brows in the stencils themselves were long)...or maybe my brows are just short.

Right now they only have the express kits in Blonde and Brunette and I think they should expand into Redheads b/c A LOT of the redheads I work w/ have sparse or very light brows that need filling in.  

Here's some pics of my Brows in various stages w/ a full face of makeup: Natural, Filled in w/ Powder, Filled in w/ Powder using a Stencil - Med Arch and Petite Arch.

Natural Brows
See they aren't HORRIBLE...and to a lot of ppl this is how they walk around everyday...or w/ even less.  A lot of ppl might not even notice anything wrong w/ them.  To me they look very unfinished lol!

Filled in w/ Powder from the Beauty Express Kit
To me this just looks SO MUCH more POLISHED!  It really finishes the look, the arch looks natural, brows are a good fullness for my face and they bring attention to my eyes!  In truth it's just a bit of powder and an angle brush but look at the difference it makes!

Using the Stencils from the kit and filled in w/ Powder from the kit - Medium Arch
I personally just think this is too much for my face and now my brows are overwhelming my features.  It's not horrible but it's too much for me.  I used the Medium arch stencil which was actually the best fit for my brows w/ the hair I do have.  The issue for me isn't the thickness as they aren't actually that much thicker than my brows in the pic above.  It's that the stencil was to big for my eye...seriously I didn't even use it all and still I found it too big.  I don't think I have overly small eyes or eyebrows either (in length).  

Using the Stencils from the kit and filled in w/ the Powder from the Kit - Petite Arch
So this is def. a better fit for my features then the Med Arch which was way too strong.  I def. think this looks passable but I should mention that after the stencils I did always fix it up a bit as I didn't find my brows came out "perfect" just using the stencils.  What I find funny is that this is the smallest of the stencils and I actually know a lot of clients have MUCH smaller brows then mine and definitely thinner...if I was to use this on them they would think it was too thick but I think it's a good fit for my face. I still prefer when I filled my brows in myself w/out the stencil but that just might be b/c that's what "I'm use to" like a lot of my clients who think it looks crazy when I fill in their brows.

As mentioned before I think the stencils would work well if you have VERY large eyes or can handle a long brow OR if you have almost no natural brows or VERY light, sparse brows b/c then you can just construct the shape and size you want.  They come in 5 different sizes: Petite Arch, Med Arch, High Arch, Slim High Arch and Full Arch.

The second product I received was Lash Genuis which is a Clear Waterproof Topcoat for Mascara.  Usually for clients I just keep Waterproof mascara in my kit to be honest but this would be good for ppl who's favourite mascara doesn't come in waterproof but they need to "waterproof" their eyes for an event or outing.  In general it's actually not good to wear waterproof mascara ALL the time and some find waterproof mascara dry or clumpy so actually this would be a good product to have on hand for those occasions when waterproof mascara was called for ie. wedding, pool party etc and it promises to deliver waterproof results w/out the clumping or drying of many other waterproof mascaras.  It's also Dermatologist Tested, Hypoallergenic, Fragrance Free and Paraben Free which are all good things when we're talking about products for the eyes!

1 comment:

Liz said...

I feel like I could have written the first part of this post! After a childhood of having a thick, dark, near-unibrow, I overtweezed to the nth degree and endured some bad waxes, too. And it took ages to figure out, through much trial and error, what shape worked for my face. I'm so, so glad I got that awkward phase out of the way before I started working as an artist!