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Brows to wow
7:00am Saturday 18th August 2012 in NewsXtra
Eyebrows are enjoying a beauty moment. Lisa Haynes reveals how to achieve the perfect pair.
Athletes have stepped up to the podiums as icons during London 2012 but despite the patriotic nail art, the beauty focus has been all about fresh faces.
USA Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin revealed competing make-up free forced her to "focus on skin and well-groomed brows" to look her best.
But she isn't the only person championing the power of the brow.
The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, Keira Knightley and Lily Collins are all working a fuller eyebrow right now.
'The' face accessory of the season, big, bold, beautiful brows were the buzzwords being repeated backstage at fashion weeks, setting a new trend for anti-plucking.
Get your brows in ship-shape with our easy tweezing guide.
With solid structured brows high on the beauty agenda, it's time to acknowledge them as a feature of your face to rival your eyes or pout.
Eyebrow expert Shavata recommends getting your brows professionally shaped every two to three months: "Visit a professional brow technician to keep the shape consistent and groomed," she advises.
"You'll need about 10 days of brow growth from your last plucking in order to restore them professionally. However, if you want a full reshape they will require a minimum of a month's re-growth."
Big eyebrows won't be for everyone. A good brow technician should match your shape to your age and lifestyle. Once your perfect arches are in order you can keep new stray hairs at bay with regular at-home tweezer grooming.
:: Maximise brows
Big is beautiful this season but the on-trend bushy brow isn't always achievable.
You might have fair hair, naturally sparse brows or an unhealthy tweezer addiction. Eyebrows also thin and lose definition with age but help is at hand for those in need of some brow TLC.
"If you want to return to a healthier, stronger looking brow, it is possible," says celebrity eyebrow threader, Jo Pallan.
"Take supplements with vitamin A, C, B3 to stimulate hair growth. Gently brushing the eyebrows in the direction that they grow with a brow brush twice a day can also stimulate hair growth."
Use a brow oil to ensure hairs are well nourished and don't become brittle. Once solely dedicated to promoting lash growth, enhancing serums for eyebrows are now on offer. Use daily and the follicly-challenged will be rewarded with brows that wow.
Far from just a fashion statement, the shape of your eyebrows can change the shape of your face, lift the eye and take years off you.
"Brow shaping can create the illusion of improved facial balance and proportion," reveals Daxita Vaghela, brow and lash specialist.
"Arched shape brows are perfect for a square or heart face shape, oblique shaped brows are perfect for a round shaped face, straight brows are great for an oblong shaped face and angular brows suit triangular shaped faces."
If you're unsure, a natural curve along the brow bone suits most people.
Emphasise your eyebrows to their full potential with a brow pencil or powder in a shade best suited to your colouring.
"Apply with short, feather-like strokes while holding your skin taught," Daxita advises.
If any wayward brows need taming, use a clear gel for flawless brows.
Sick of the sight of your brow pencil? Make a break from daily re-applications and aim for something more enduring.
Tracie Giles, semi-permanent make-up artist says: "To keep the perfect shape or for a little cheat, all those fine extra strokes can be applied with permanent make-up so all you then need to do is tweeze and trim.
"It can be used to fill in sparse brows, augment brows or even lift them."
Semi-permanent brow treatments typically last for around 18 months before fading when a colour refresher may be required.
Eyebrow tinting is another low-maintenance option to take your eyebrows from barely-there to beautifully defined. Suitable for fair or dark hair, this semi-permanent treatment makes an instant impact and can last up to four weeks.
Tried & tested
London 2012 will forever become the gold standard of Olympics for Team GB. Our testers champion the medal winners with gilt-edged talons:
:: Barry M Instant Nail Effects in Gold Foil, £3.99 (www.barrym.com)
It's not very often that one coat creates a big impact. This luxuriously thick polish is less about the shimmer and more about the foil-look finish. Gold star.
:: Revlon Nail Enamel in Gold Coin, £6.49 (Boots)
After two coats, this metallic polish really gives you the Midas touch. It dries quickly to leave a semi-shiny finish that is subtle but just bling enough.
:: Rococo Nail Apparel in Molten Lava, £12 (Space NK)
I received so many compliments wearing this shimmering polish. The pearlescent factor added to the longevity and, although pricey, lasted chip-free for well over a week.
Buy it now
Alesha Dixon's feeling patriotic with her limited edition Avon nails. The brand ambassador and Britain's Got Talent star handpicked Nailwear Pro+ shades in Inky Blue and Red Reveal. Priced £6 each, available until the end of the year (www.avonshop.co.uk).
:: Shampoo saviour
Any excuse for a lie-in. Men have cottoned on to the transformative hair powers of dry shampoo. Sales of the SOS product at Asda have climbed 37% since this time last year, with one in five purchased by men who have realised it's the answer to their haircare woes. Dubbed the 'miracle in a can', it helps achieve a low-maintenance, tousled look as well as saving time in the morning. Andrew Barton, celebrity hairdresser says: "More men are experimenting with dry shampoo, straightening irons and conditioning masks. Dry shampoo can not only be used at the roots of the hair to absorb oil but also sprayed into the hands and tousled into hair to add a matt texture."
:: Recessionista alert
Have more fun in the sun with Boots' SPF saver offer. Buy one get one free on selected branded suncare is available in stores and online at www.boots.com until September 4.