If you're anything like me, your self-isolation beauty routine is a far cry from pre-lockdown days. My skin hasn't seen a scrap of makeup in months, my hair now holds the shape of its permanent messy bun when I remove the hair tie, and my skin is so pale from weeks indoors it's almost translucent.
None of this has particularly bothered me - after all, who am I trying to impress? My boyfriend? Don't be ridiculous.
But the one aspect of my pre-lockdown appearance I am mourning are my eyebrows. Previously always reasonably shaped and occasionally treated to some brow gel, they're now looking like two hairy otters stuck to my face. They almost need their own shampoo and conditioning routine, they've become so unruly.
While this is all fine and quite amusing at the moment, I know the second we get to COVID-19 alert level 2 and it's time to leave the house, I'm going to perform some drastic surgery.
KIDDING. Obviously a trip to the salon will be in order - probably in giant, face hiding sunglasses.
But if you have some important Zoom calls coming up and you need to deal with your own brows right this moment, you're going to need a little help from the experts.
The experts I turned to are the brow magicians from nationwide hair removal chain OFF&ON, brow trainer Emmie Bryant and general manager Claire Weathers.
They say attempting to do your own brows is similar to trimming your own fringe - don't let short-term frustration lead to long-term regret!
This is not the time to experiment, attempt a 'look' or go beyond anything but basic, obvious maintenance.
And there's even some light amongst the darkness.
"The great news is that by the time you can get back to see your brow artist, you may have finally achieved what they often ask you to attempt but seems impossible – grow out your brows to discover its natural believable shape," says Bryant.
"Every single hair in your brow makes a difference and so this may just be the time that nature's balance is corrected. Similarly removing more than what is obvious may mean a step back."
So tread carefully. Here are some quick tips from the brow experts if you do feel the desire to take to the tweezers at home:
- This is not the time to define your brows – it's simply about keeping maintained and cleaning up the obvious strays outside the core
- Find natural light and do not use a magnifying mirror. It will give you a skewed perspective and you may go overboard
- Use sharp slanted tweezers which have been sanitised and pull in the direction of the hair from the base
- Try using a white pencil to draw around the core shape - then only if outside the border remove them
- Remember they are sisters, not twins. Don't try to force it now and if in doubt, do not take it out!
- Remove a hair, brush brows, step back and reassess. Don't go down the rabbit hole!
- Tweeze after showering/putting hot water on your face as this means they'll come out easier and it doesn’t hurt as much
- Between the brows, remember only the little finger width, no more
- Gaps and strays are normal and make up a natural brow, so don't go on a mission to try and change what nature gave you
- Don't even attempt to trim your brows. This is akin to giving yourself a home haircut and is best left to the professionals
- Head hairs and brow hairs are different. The same applies for colour. Don’t make the mistake of using a permanent colour on your brows or expecting the same results
- Colour for your brows is also ideally one–two shades lighter than your hair – processing for less time doesn't change that. You have been warned!
- Some supermarkets/chemists stock specific brow colours. Err on the side of caution again when it comes to colour choice
- Tinted brow gels, brown mascara or colour through pencils and powders are your safest and best bet – with these, what has been done can also be undone