It’s a foregone conclusion at this point to state that the pandemic has broadly reshaped human behaviors, from how we dress and shop to how we interact with family/friends, the arts/entertainment, and the world at large. But there are some new habits we don’t mind making permanent. You’ll have to physically wrestle the loungewear and leggings I’ve been living in from my hands before convincing me to go back to workwear (or “hard clothes”, as my husband hilariously calls them). My skin is also happier now that I’m not slathering a daily load of foundation, powder, finishing sprays, and other pore-sealing products on. However, there is one beauty arena where I’m still obsessive, even when no one is around except my cat: my brows.
I cringe to look back on old photos, not because of my penchant for sad 90s flannel and baggy jeans or my weird phase of wearing thrifted men’s polos and puka shell necklaces (what was I even going for with that combination?). One look at that trove of potential blackmail and you’d never guess that girl would one day grow up to become a Fashion and Beauty Director. A singer/songwriter, yeah, that makes sense. Someone who leads evening improv classes, maybe. But not a fashion person.
Bad fashion aside, my eyes skip straight to the real cringe-culprit: my eyebrows. At times they are thin and high like the McDonald’s logo (in my defense, my eternal muse Kate Moss made this look so good), and at others they are invisible, leaving me with a hollow look of permanent surprise. As a natural blonde, I am cursed with such fair eyebrows and eyelashes that if I don’t fill them in, they appear as an absence on my face – a blank spot where eyebrows and eyelashes are supposed to be.
It wasn’t until moving to the Middle East that I started noticing how well-groomed everyone’s eyebrows were and how puny mine were by comparison. Bushy, full, brushed-up, thick, luxurious brows to be reckoned with were all around me. I started filling my brows in religiously, but in my early days I got it totally wrong. The color was too dark, the shape was too angled, and the color too opaque. Unnaturally heavy, they looked like upside-down Nike swoops, arching sharply above my eyes.
Microblading came along, and while I loved the look, I refuse to do anything permanent or even semi-permanent to my face or body. It’s not because I’m a rigid aesthete, but because I have a lower tolerance for pain than most babies. I’ve seen a baby do a handstand. I know what they’re capable of. Instead of microblading, I tried lamination, and I loved the results. Cara Delevingne brows that lasted six weeks? I felt like a supermodel. There is something about full, flawless brows that add such dimension to the face.
When the pandemic hit, my gorgeously laminated brows collapsed along with my motivation to keep up with my beauty routine. However, with the rest of my face clean, moisturized, and makeup free, I still did the one thing I cannot live without. I filled in my brows. Folks, it was a process. First, I’d brush them up, and then try to set that with a brow gel, then I would fill them in with a brow pencil and brow wands. I wished long and hard for a single product that would do it all. As if in answer to my need, Benefit Cosmetics came along and released a brilliant new invention that I now swear by, the ‘Brow Microfilling Pen’. It gives a microblading effect for 24 hours, without the commitment, and washes right off with soap and water.
With three spongey-prongs on the end that dispense an even dose of color, the pen makes perfect brows possible in minutes and it comes in four shades to compliment blonde, light brown, medium brown, and dark brown tones.
There’s a trick to making them look really natural, but it’s an easy one. Since the prongs glide along to create tiny perfect lines – mimicking the appearance of natural brow hair – all you have to do is apply the lines matching the same length as your brow growth. For example, the fullest pair of your brows, near the inside corner of your eye, have longer hair, so use a longer stroke to create the seamless illusion of thick brows. Then use shorter, quicker strokes as your brow tapers to a fine point. The results are perfect, but even if you mess up a bit and stroke too long or flick too hard (sorry, I realize now how this sounds), just take a cotton bud and clean it up. It couldn’t be easier. Benefit ‘Brow Microfilling Pen’ has effectively replaced the three to four products I would use to finish my brows, making the process so simple that even a hand-standing baby could do it.
Benefit ‘Brow Microfilling Pen’