OK, I admit, I'm a virgin.
Or rather, I have virgin brows. That's right, somehow, in all of my twenty-something years, my arches have avoided being plucked, waxed, sugared or zapped.
I didn't think this was weird, until I saw my coworkers' reaction when I admitted my lack of experience. Gasps and disbelieving glances were followed by a pair of Tweezerman Tweezers discreetly left on my desk while I was out grabbing lunch.
Apparently this discovery happened just in time, because according to the Fall 2010 runways, brows are back in a big way. Top shows like Chanel, Prada, and Narciso Rodriguez showed the type of dark, super-defined arches that were first made popular by Brooke Shields in the '70s and Madonna in the '80s. Already showing up on magazine covers and ad campaigns, the "now" brow is dark and enunciated, precisely groomed and perfectly polished.
I got the message loud and clear, but I had no clue where to start: I have little experience with hair removal procedures in general. I've never waxed my legs or prepped for summer weather with a bikini wax; in fact a pink Gillette Venus razor has been my only hair removal device since middle school.
So I set off to Ramy Gafni's Salon in New York City for an eyebrow intervention. Gafni, a celebrity makeup artist and eyebrow guru, has shaped the brows of celebs like Rihanna and Britney Spears, so I knew I was in good hands.
WATCH RAMY'S HOW TO VIDEO ON TWEEZING YOUR BROWS
I honestly didn't expect to see much of a result, since on the scale of problem brows, mine seemed pretty inoffensive. I had spent a couple of days scrutinizing my brows in front of the mirror and I had no real revelations, except that nothing looks good when you stare at it for long enough.
But Gafni knew better. He led me to a big, comfy chair and I sunk right in, closing my eyes and giving Gafni the green light to start my brow transformation. He started by brushing my hairs back, followed by tweezing the hairs with one fell swoop of his quick hands. I cringed as the tweezers pulled my soft skin.
1. Don't do it in a hurry. You can avoid mishaps simply by waiting until you have the time to give your brows the attention they deserve.
2. Choose tweezers and trimming as opposed to threading and waxing. This will give you more precision and control. The hairs you leave behind are what create your eyebrow so they are even more important that the hairs you remove.
3. Start out standing one to two feet from a mirror. Look at your whole face from a distance and then move in closer. Hairs that need to be removed will present themselves.
4. Don't trim off too much. Take a conservative approach. It is easy to get carried away with a tweezer in hand. You can always go back and tweeze more but you can't get the brow back. You never want to get to the point where you've gone too far.
5. Make sure to use good lighting, or else you're apt to miss a spot.
When Gafni was done, he pulled down the mirror and voila! I immediately saw the difference. My once shapeless brows now had contour and definition, and it had a lifting effect on my face. My eyes looked brighter, and my cheekbones seemed a little more pronounced. The overall effect was architectural, and my face, i think, looked more polished and balanced.
In the instance of brows, less is not more. Gafni stressed the beauty behind full, shaped brows. His motto is "When in doubt, don't pluck it out." For eyebrows, thin is not in, rather, brows look best with a nice full, shape.
Which is why I'm happy I waited. If I had taken the tweezing plunge at too early an age and without the any expert advice, I probably would have ended up removing too much hair, ending up with pencil-thin brows that could never return to their youthful volume.
If you've a newbie like me, I suggest visiting a professional to first shape your brows, and then maintaining the shape yourself at home with a pair of tweezers (good brands include Tweezerman, Sonia Kashuk and Anastasia Beverly Hills).
So do I miss being a brow virgin? Not at all -- in fact, I'm quite looking forward to my next pluck.