Take a Brow

And shape it! Whether you pluck, wax thread or bedazzle, eyebrows can make or break your look

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Waxing is the No. 1 hair-removal service for brows.

Eyebrows frame the face and set the stage for the rest of your look. How they are groomed can act like an instant eyelift — or a droopy disaster. And not just for women. Though they usually are looking more for some basic manscaping and taming of the unibrow than specific styling, men are paying more attention to their brows, as well.

Whether it is Cara Delevingne’s bold brows, Beyoncé’s high arch or J Lo’s smoldering look, women are inspired by the bold and the beautiful, and they often use celebrity style to form their own.

“I try to remind my clients that while celebrities can provide great inspiration for beauty trends, a good salon will help customize your brow to your specific face shape,” says Candy Egalite, Benefit brow expert at Benefit Brow Bar at Macy’s in Medford. “Trends come and go, however, a well-groomed eyebrow is a movement that is here to stay.”

Today’s trending brow style is fuller, with a more defined shape. “It’s all about the natural, feathered brow,” Egalite says. “Women are embracing the natural state of their brows and just trying to enhance what they already have. The fuller-figured brow is this summer.”

Jenni Short, esthetician at Medford Waxing, says that no matter what look you want, it’s important to communicate openly with your brow stylist. It’s no longer cool to just step into the back room at the busy nail salon for a quick hot-wax zip. “When talking to brow stylists, you always want to make sure they are on the same page as you,” Short explains. “Show them exactly how much you would like off and how defined you would like the brows to be. Thin to you could mean something completely different to your stylist.”

Waxing, sugaring, threading

Women are starting to consider brow styling in much the same way as hair styling. With techniques such as “brow mapping” to find your perfect shape to filling, tinting and highlighting — and even occasionally a little bling — brows today are getting the royal treatment.

Waxing is still the No. 1 hair-removal service for brows. Soft wax is Short’s preferred product for eyebrows, since it makes it easier to shape the brow and create a more defined look. But she recommends hard wax for those with sensitive skin. Sugaring, a waxing technique that uses natural ingredients like honey or sugar, also is gentler on skin.

Finally, threading is becoming a more popular service — especially for those who are sensitive to wax. In this technique, the aesthetician twists a doubled length of cotton or polyester thread, and then rolls it over areas of unwanted hair, removing hairs at the follicle level. Unlike tweezing, where single hairs are pulled out one at a time, threading can remove short lines of hair all at once. The result can be more precise than waxing, but it also tends to be more painful.

Choosing your stylist

Like a good haircut or coloring, good brow styling starts with a good stylist. Short advises to first make sure the stylist is licensed and working in a clean environment. Avoid salons that use the same applicator stick throughout your whole service, she advises, as “their wax pot is likely to be breeding with bacteria.”

“These days, places like Google, Yelp, and even Facebook are a great way to look up reviews and get started on your search for a good stylist,” she says. “Also, a good stylist usually asks what you are trying to achieve before waxing the brows. Cleaning up and shaping up are two different things, so make sure you are both on the same page.”

Checking with friends for references is also a good idea, Egalite adds.

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Skimpy brows

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According to Jenni Short, esthetician at Medford Waxing, too much tweezing or waxing can lead to difficulty in growing out brows to meet the current trend. To help, she recommends a topical product designed specifically to enhance eyebrow growth. For a more natural approach, apply coconut or castor oil to brows nightly. Salons also are starting to offer eyebrow extensions.

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