Wednesday, 12 September 2012

'Brows!

Ok, I thought I'd share a quick(ish) post on a subject matter I feel there isn't enough help on; eyebrows. Well, make-up and eyebrows, anyway! Ever since I first got into make-up, eyebrows are a bit of my face I've never been able to truly master. They are my frenemies; when done perfectly, brows can frame the face, making eyes look more awake and taking years off in some cases. When done badly... er, hello scouse brow!

I struggle with my brows because... I'm a redhead. A NATURAL redhead. Which means my brows and lashes are fair as fair can be - read: INVISIBLE. And I've been dying my hair a much darker shade of red for years, making my invisible brows and lashes even more noticeable. My lashes I could work with - a slick of mascara and I'm good to go. My eyebrows, on the other hand... well! What shape should they be? How bushy? What colour? Should I tint them? Should I get them waxed or plucked?... are just a few of the questions I'm sure I'm not alone in asking. Or at least, was. Through time, good advice from great friends, experimenting with different products and making the odd mistake or two, I've found a few techniques which have really helped me to get 'em under control. I still think there must be a perfect solution for me out there for the perfect brows I dream of, but until then here are a few of the techniques I use. A couple of years ago I discovered Eylure - an at home tint kits for eyelashes and eyebrows. And it was only a fiver! Bonus!




I bought two packs - one dark brown (for my brows) and one black (for my lashes).  It's pretty easy stuff to use, actually - I did a test to make sure I wasn't allergic, and started on my brows. On my first try I was so careful to only coat the hairs and not my skin, but after many months of using the product I get it all over the place and don't have any issues washing it off my skin.
Though the colour is dark brown, it looks surprisingly good - though I have dyed my hair darker. If you're nervous on your first attempt I would suggest leaving it on for less time, then you can control the colour by building it up on another application. There are different shades of the dye, and getting a lighter one would definitely benefit those with very light hair. As my hair (at the time) was a dark red, I could get away with the darker colour.


Using it on the lashes is another story, however. I found it really hard to put onto my lashes properly, at one point it got in my eye and burnt like the gates of hell! Fortunately it washed out with a bit of warm water. It doesn't show up half as much as I hoped, though it's a lot better than before. 
So that was the dying sorted and out of the way. Now how about the shape? Obviously shapes come and go into fashion just like everything else, but for me personally I wanted to find a shape that suited my face shape and complimented my doe eyes. Finding a style is the hard part - the easy part is first creating the perfect shape for your face. Below, I explain how to get that coveted shape, but before that here's a picture of the Eylure results!


 I couldn't get over how good my eyebrows looked, though I was a bit disappointed with the eyelashes. I've used the product several times since and find it really easy to use on the brows - not so much on the lashes. It lasts for ages, and has a good amount of product in it. For saying you could end up spending a small fortune getting your eyebrows and lashes done professionally, this is an absolute bargain, and I think it looks really good... just make sure you have a steady hand!

So here's how to shape those brows...

Grab something long and straight (a pencil/make-up brush will do the job). Say we're figuring out the correct shape for your left eyebrow; hold your pencil against your face so it touches the left nostril and points straight up (fig. A). This is where your brow should start. Next, keeping the pencil held in the same place against your nostril, swing the pencil so it rests against the corner of your eye (fig. C). This is where your brow should end. Fig. D shows you how high your brow should be (according to this, the ends should be on an equal level) and B shows where your arch should be.

Now, many people, including myself, do not have naturally perfect brows; mine don't start close enough to my nose (Fig. A), so I have to create the perfect brow my carefully filling them in with pencil and powder. I also don't have any arch if you have a look at the picture above... this is something I have to rectify with the power of make-up!


Another thing to remember is this; your eyebrows are NEVER going to match perfectly, and you shouldn't attempt to make them! Your face shape is different on both sides, so it's only natural your brows will be the same. Just rememberyour brows are not twins, they are sisters.

Follow the guide, and you're on your way to perfect, non-scousey, beautifully shaped brows!
Onto the next brow issue; filling the buggers in. I have still not perfected this on myself; I ENVY those of you with naturally dark eyebrows where finding the perfect brow colour is a whizz. I have numerous colours by numerous brands, in pencil and in powder, and I still find it very difficult to do. I try different techniques constantly to find which one I like best. Currently, due to my hair colour of the moment (Autumn red is how I would describe it), I use a reddy pencil ('redhead' by Calvin Klein) and a blonde brow powder to fill them in ('soft blonde' duo brow palette, again by Calvin Klein).

My advice is to find and use a pencil that is very slightly lighter in colour than your actual brow colour, find the shape of your brows with the pencil, then fill them in with a powder. Anastasia do some excellent brow pencil ('Anastasia Brow Whiz'), and you can use an eye shadow if you can't find a decent eyebrow powder. Use some concealer under your brow when you have finished to neaten the line and make your brow bones look bright and polished. I fill mine in lightly and make sure to keep the ends nearest to your nose light and wispy for a more natural finish.

You can see in this picture here than I've created an arch towards the end of  my brow my using my pencil and filling in with powder. I use this look for my everyday make-up as it has quite a natural finish.


University... To Go or Not To Go?

I can not BELIEVE how long ago my last post was! Two years is a long time... I've now finished university, and I have to say it was truly the best experience of my life, and certainly the most rewarding!

 I'd like to say the best bit was the actual part I was paying for - the degree - but that's probably at the bottom of the list. The best parts are the friends, living on your own, being independent and responsible for yourself, the laughs, going out even though you have a 9am lecture the next day (and only regretting it in the morning when you have to bolt out of lecture to chuck up in the toilets, which one of my house-mates did), the random house parties, the late night decisions... in fact just thinking about it makes me want to time travel right back to the very beginning, so I can experience it all over again!

There has, however, been a serious disturbance to the amount of young'uns planning on attending university and experiencing the... ah, experience, for themselves. I'm talking, obviously, about the rise in fees. I was one of the last few people who managed to avoid the sudden, huge rise in fees, and it's got me thinking about whether I would have gone to university 3 years ago if the price had been this high...

Honestly, I don't think going purely for the degree is worth it. For a start, you're not exactly going to 'stand out' in the professional world - everyone has one nowadays, it's more experience that companies are looking for, which you have to get whether or not you have a degree.

Secondly, there's the very high chance that, like me, you'll go into uni with your mind very specifically set on an idea, and come out with a completely different one. Going into university, I wanted to be a TV presenter; coming out, a radio presenter. Now, I'm not even 100% what I want to do. My degree is in media/media writing, so probably I should stay in that field - but I know there's a chance I'll find something outside of the media that appeals to me. I do have uni to thank for realising that TV presenting is something I don't want to do - I was so sure it was the perfect career for me, until I experienced it and realised it felt COMPLETELY different to how I thought it would. Without experiencing it there, I would have surely struggled fruitlessly to get into the area, then fought tooth and nail to get the opportunity in the real world, only to realise possibly years later it wasn't something I was interested in. And without uni, I would never have experienced radio presenting, something I really enjoyed and did alongside my studies at the universities radio station. What's more, I gained experience in other things that really appealed to me, such as journalism, and I was able to expand on that by doing other things besides my studies, such as writing for the student magazine, to help expand my CV. All that was right on my doorstep; I literally had to ask, and I was able to do it. Getting experience like that is far more tiresome, time consuming and difficult in 'the real world'.

By far the most important uni experience to me was living without parents or guardians for the first time. Going to uni is like little iddy biddy baby steps to coming into 'the real world' (every time I write that, I read it in a spooky voice in my head...), rather than shoe horning yourself into it. You have to pay bills and rent, you have to keep on top of your loans and overdrafts, you have to handle your finances well (otherwise you can't afford food for the last month or so of uni - come on, admit it, we've all made this mistake!). What's more, you can come and go as you please, you have to do your own food shopping (exciting for the first, what, three shops, then you end up going hungry for a week because you can't be bothered to go), you can stay out all night, do whatever you please... it's the perfect opportunity to discover yourself as an adult.

Though living alone was surely the most important bit of uni, the best part had to be the people. It's not a lie when they say you meet some of your closest friends at uni - I know I've met some people I will always keep in contact with. Sure, I met people I'd rather forget too, and I probably had some of the biggest arguments of my life at uni, but it really shrinks into significance when you think of the great people you've met. Lifelong friends, particularly when they have the same professional interests as you, will always benefit your life in some way or other, even if it's just having someone along for the ride with you.

So, back to the question at hand... WOULD I go to uni with the current raised prices?

I believe I would. It really is an experience that can't be missed; I learnt a heck of a lot about myself in those three short years, which I believe is an irreplaceable experience and one that will benefit me for the rest of my life. I met people I couldn't now imagine my life without. I gained experience and a fancy smancy degree in an area of personal interest, making it more enjoyable than school (I still shudder whenever anyone mentions trig...). I learnt how to take care of myself. I'm in a lot of debt despite having the cheaper fees, but a small part of me says... so what? You only life once. Having a degree will help you achieve that well-paying job that should hopefully help you pay it back sooner rather than later anyway. And lots of people are in debt because of uni. I really would do it all over again if I could. They say it's one of the best experiences of your life, and after having done it all myself, it's pretty easy to see why.