We were impressionable youths in 1993 when Drew Barrymore starred in a grungy, sexy Guess? campaign that featured her skinny brows. We loved how she looked, so we immediately lunged for our Tweezermans. Our mothers warned us about zealous plucking, but we didn't care. Our eyebrows would be thin! Our eyebrows would be hyper-sculpted! Our eyebrows would be a disaster! Mom was right, and we've been trying to return them to their pre-Drew, virginal state ever since. Thankfully we've had the last 14 years for re-growth, and they've regenerated just in time. This spring season, eyebrows are truly major (big, beautiful, and downright bushy). If you've got skimpy brows that need a boost, or are just curious about how to groom what you've got, read on for the latest tips and tricks.During our days at ELLE, we experimented with using Rogaine on bald spots in our brows per the advice of a beauty editor. Her suggestions were to only use the men's extra-strength formula (though never ever do this if you're pregnant or trying to get pregnant), and to apply a very small amount with a pointed q-tip. Rogaine is not FDA approved for this use, and one should be extremely careful about not getting it into one's eyes. We dutifully did this with mixed results. The Rogaine dried our skin out (causing eyebrow dandruff, cute look) and any hair regrowth only lasts as long as we applied the product.
We recently heard of an even better alternative, suggested to us by our incredibly fantastic eyebrow groomer, Laurie Barri at Wax (see little black book). She advises clients to use Nioxin's Follicle Booster on their thin brow spots. She suggests doing this at night because the formula can cause a little skin redness. "It's a growth serum, not an overnight miracle," Barri says. "It's not like you're going to wake up looking like Brooke Shields, but my clients do notice a difference with regular use."
If you just were smart and didn't remove 75 percent of your brows like some of us, or you just want to accentuate what you have, Barri recommends going for brow powder or eye shadow (in the same tone as your brows) over pencil. Pencils contain wax, which sits on your skin-looking fakey-while powder blends into your skin. The other tools she recommends are clear eyebrow gel for volume and control (M.A.C. makes one of Barri's favorite, Brow Set, $13), an angled brush for applying brow powder, and a spooly brush to soften color (Damone Roberts makes our favorite, a dual-sided angle/spooly brush, $30). A clean mascara brush/applicator works as a great substitution in a pinch.
To get a version of the spring trend eyebrows, use the above image of Ashley Olsen as an inspiration. The idea is to be subtly groomed, so trim only the longest, craziest stray hairs-you don't want controlled precision. Using your angle brush and brow powder (which doesn't have to be as dark as your brows), fill in any bald or thin spots. Using your spooly, brush through your brows to soften and blend the color. Brush brows up to get the lightly feathered and natural look as seen on the catwalks and set with a light swipe of clear brow gel to set them in place. Voila! Bountiful brows, beautifully.