Earlier this year, one of the biggest celebrity feuds started online between team Hailey Bieber and Kylie Jenner, and team Selena Gomez, over a TikTok video where the singer complained she over-laminated her brows.
Besides the rivalry, the incident raised a topic we don't talk about enough: the world of brows makeovers.
So, we spoke with London-based brow expert Suman Jalaf, who has clients like Kriti Sanon, Shilpa Shetty, Deepika Padukone and Shraddha Kapoor, to understand the many aspects of brows.
“I am against brow laminations as a brow expert. We offer it in our studio as clients with sparse brows still love it, but it dries the hair a lot, making them curly and dry, which makes you want to do it again, weakening your brow hair further. And re-growing brow hair is like bringing the dead back from the grave," says Jalaf. “It’s just a trend and I absolutely dislike it, it looks bad, especially on Asian and Arab women who have thick brows and complain that the final look looks like they have been electrocuted.”
Another brow treatment she doesn’t recommend is brow extensions, which don’t last as the glue comes off when you wash your face. Another age-old grooming technique she isn’t fond of is permanent tattooing, where the colour becomes too deep, and eventually changes colour or becomes blurry. “The face and skin change with it and I know many people who are removing their tattooed brows with lasers today. I don’t take on clients with old brow tattoos,” says Jalaf.
The expert says that subtle, natural-looking fluffy brows that are tailored to suit individual face shapes are her signature and most requested one. “Aditi Rao Hydari pulls off a straight brow look very well and is micro feathered and shaded, more of an ombré brow look and shape. Deepika Padukone is more defined and fluffy, which suits her face and brow bone structure; Kriti Sanon has balanced, contoured brows and it suits her oval face shape,” says the expert.
If your face is heart-shaped, where the forehead is the widest part with a narrow, pointed chin, rounded, softly shaped brows with a slight curve can make the forehead appear smaller and soften the chin.
Here is the brow shape that will suit your face cut, according to Jalaf.
1. Structured brow with angled arches and longer ends for a round face.
2. Well-balanced and contoured brows for an oval face.
3. Soft, rounded arch for a heart-shaped face.
4. Brows with angled peaks for square face.
5. Shorter brows for an oblong face.
6. Linear brows for diamond-shaped faces
Now that you know what will suit your face, here’s a lowdown on grooming techniques for you to choose from.
Eyebrow threading continues to be one of the safest methods of brow grooming, especially for sensitive skin. It's especially suitable for those who struggle with folliculitis or post-wax breakouts.
“If you are blessed with natural brows, just enhance them by filling the missing gaps from scars or loss of brow hair to create more fluffiness. The trick to really natural-looking brows is blending. Once you fill in, take a spoolie and brush colour into the brows over and over again. The more blended-in, the more natural the result. Always finish off with a brow gel brushing the hair upwards and taming them,” says Jalaf. There are brow and lash growth serums, such as The Ordinary’s Multi-Peptide Lash And Brow Serum, available today too, she suggests.
If you want a boost of colour, you can go for brow tinting. This is done with henna or semi-permanent dyes (best done in a salon or a clinic) closest to your real brow colour. The entire process takes about 15-20 minutes. Applying unbranded dyes or doing it on your own for the first time can leave you with uneven brows and even an allergy. So, do a patch test for allergies first.
These are forms of semi-permanent make-up where the tattoo pigment is deposited in the skin with the help of a handheld tool or a machine with multiple needles or fine blades. Microblading is currently the most sought-after treatment since it gives the illusion of naturally fuller, thicker brows. With microblading, small fine hair-like incisions (done after numbing) are made into the skin and the tattoo pigment is deposited in the dermal layer of the skin. Avoid blood thinners and oral retinol prior to the procedure. Do not go for cosmetic procedures such as botox or peels five days prior to microblading. If you have a keloidal tendency, leucoderma, or allergies to the tattoo ink, this is not the treatment for you. Touch-up is required every six to eight months, and do not over-wash your face for the first week for the pigment to settle in. Powdered or ombre brows give a more natural finish.
Compared to microblading which uses strokes to fill in, your expert will draw dots and dashes on the targeted area to fill in. This works better for those with oily skin or mature skin. Microfeathering uses the blading method but the result is more natural and less filled-in.
Jalaf recommends this treatment only if you have very sparse hair. It’s popular on social media (the glossy gelled looks you see) as it can instantly give you a good arch. It’s a chemical bonding treatment, so it will dry your hair and weaken them if done regularly, warns the brow expert.