5 Brow Growth Journey Truths, and Mistakes That Nobody Will Tell You (except me!)
Brow services have quickly become my most booked appointments at True Beauty Brooklyn, and it’s because I am brow obsessed. I do a dance (seriously!) , or sing a terrible off-key song about how you are now a brow goddess (Seriously!) when we finish your service, and you look in the mirror for the first time, and we both know that you’ve never looked so good.
After working on hundreds of faces, and speaking with so many women about their brow journey’s, I realized that there are certain terrible moments that we have all experienced on our brow journeys.
The main difference between my story and yours, is that while you grew up, got a corporate job, maybe a masters degree, and began dedicating your life to other interests, I did not. I stuck with brows, and learned everything that I could about them. I melded what I learned about human anatomy and physiology with beauty, and design standards, until I developed a fool proof method to sculpt near perfect, consistent, balanced, and symmetrical eyebrows that are 100% customized to each individual human face.
I mean. I had to. I spent too many years with jacked up brows, trusting the wrong people, and at times ruining my own face. I bet you did too. We all did.
The aspect of my career as a beauty therapist that brings me the greatest joy, is the ability to help to make women look like the most effortlessly beautiful versions of themselves. Initially I was drawn to the beauty industry for the same reasons that I have always pursued my other hobbies and passions: the ability to work with my hands, and use my creativity, artistry, alchemy, and (most importantly) having a place to focus my never-ending curiosity. The bonus is the discovery that I love being in service to my girls. Not to belittle my job in any way, because your girl works hard.
But the reality of the life that I’ve built for myself is that I get to spend every day meeting incredible, beautiful, thoughtful, dope, smart women and essentially hang and play dress up!
We chat, talk about what’s going on in each other’s lives, and in turn, I become a better beauty ally to you, because I know you! I can then help you find your best beauty solution, catered to your lifestyle through skincare, lash extensions, and both permanent and natural solutions for shaping, and grooming your eyebrows.
What surprises me still, is the cluelessness about eyebrows that plagues us—and I don’t fault you! It’s due to a lack of available information. I mean, look at us! We’re out there smashing glass ceilings, starting our own enterprises, podcasting our way through personal finance 101. But most of us just can’t get our two brows to look the same!
That is—until today, in this moment, when you met me, your new homegirl: the professional brow tamer.
This brings me to the first universal truth about our brow journeys:
1. From the ages of 12-18, I over tweezed, over-waxed, and generally fucked up my eyebrows.
When I think back to my middle and high school years in my tiny, rural, Catskill Mountain New York hometown, one of my earliest brow memories is chasing my younger sister around our house trying to catch and get ahold of her, to tweeze her eyebrows. Now, my younger sister is much smarter than I am. She always has been. She knew that my 14 year old self did not know anything about how to tweeze eyebrows. Which is why I was chasing her. But, it was the late 90s, and in feeling insecure about, well, everything about my physical appearance I discovered that eyebrows are the one part of my face that I could change, and it actually changed the way my face looked (please note that I didn’t say this was a good change). This memory (and in hearing so many others just like it) leads me to my theory as to why so many of us actively choose to butcher our brows during our coming of age years.
We were hormonal, emotional wrecks, discovering ourselves for the first time, and because we don’t know who we are yet, we try to be anyone else, including the freak with one and a half, way too thin eyebrows staring back at you in the mirror.
This is why Jess was running away from me, and my tweezers
In the years I’ve spent developing my technique and formulas to shape balanced, symmetrical, and individually customized eyebrows, I’ve worked with women from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Brooklyn is dope like that. I ask each of them to share with me their stories.
“Tell me your brow journey”, I ask each of my girls before we remove a single hair. “I need to know where you’ve been, to understand where we are now, and so we can together discuss where your brow shape could be in the future, with guidance, and patience.” Usually, the reply is that nobody has ever asked them this question before.
After a moment of reflection, their brow horror stories come tumbling out of their mouths; how they spent years trusting the wrong people (or themselves!) with their faces, feeling silly and dumb that they made it this far in life without having properly figured out how to tame, and groom such an intimate part of their faces.
Well. I’m here to tell you to breathe a sigh of relief, because here’s a secret from a brow pro: until someone shows you the way, most women are hopelessly lost. They are struggling, and frustrated, fed up with trying to make sense of what is supposed to be their eye-defining arches.
So, girl. Before you jump off a cliff, let me tell you some good news, and share with you one of my (many) brow theories (and number 2 on this list):
2. There are 2 types of women in the world. The lucky few babes that are like Kaia Gerber— genetically blessed at the age of 15, full browed, and actually listen to their mom’s advice when she told tells them never to touch their eyebrows— and then there are the rest of us.
I do not fall into the “Perfect Arch From the Womb, Always Knew How To Do my Brows” category.
From what I’ve been witness to, most women don’t fall into the Kaia Gerber/ Cindy Crawford category either! Which means for the rest of us, we need a friend to take the tweezers out of our hands, remove the 5x magnifying mirror from our homes, and show us the way to the brow promise land! But who to trust, right?!
If I’m keeping it real with you (and now that we are homegirls, I always will), when it comes to brows, it’s the blind leading the less blind. I mean, I did NOT look like this when I was 15!
Actually listened to her mom when she said to never touch her eyebrows
I’ll show you what I looked like at 15, but it’s only so that you can look at me now, and trust me when I say that I am the friend that you’ve been looking for! Believe when I say that I know your struggle so well, that I dedicated my life to learning more about your brows than you do!
3. You need a Brow Guide to show you the error of your ways
Allow me to be your brow guide. I can actually show you to the brow promise land!
Girl, let me be the gift to you that my friend was to me many years ago! Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.
First, let’s earn each other’s trust a little bit more, right? Let me show you my pain circa 2002. I thought about sharing a more...flattering picture, that could equally illustrate my terrible brows at 15 years old, but since this particular picture made my best friend and I laugh until we cried recently, I thought I’d make your day a little bit brighter by sharing with you my embarrassment. Before I do, and so you can appreciate the glow up, can I share with you a great pic of my brows from a few weeks ago?
Me! Grown ass Ms. Elizabeth Taylor
brow miniature horse
(still beautiful and majestic, but you have to glue some wings on a bitch to get that unicorn thing going)
Ok. Now. Laugh at my expense.
Young Elizabeth circa 2002. A hot mess
no words can explain this.
Ok, ok! You laughed a little too hard! Let’s see you put your highschool pictures on the internet for the world to laugh at! Now dry your eyes, and let’s continue.
Fast forward a few years to 2004. I just moved to into my dorm at Parsons School of Design in New York City. All of my peers were much cooler than I, including my new friend Christine. Christine was from LA, and a freshmen just like me, but she had style. She knew things that the 18 year- olds I grew up with back home didn’t know, information of which I devoured. When she explained worldly things to me, it was always in a non-condescending way, and I felt comfortable learning from her. Things like, that the famed luxury fashion house, Louis Vuitton is pronounced “Louie”, and never “Louis”, because that is how the ‘s’ is pronounced in French.
She invited me as her plus 1 to parties that my still-country-fresh-ass didn't belong at. One of my favorite memories from that time, is when she invited me to a Chanel NYFW party. Not knowing any better, or who he was, I walked right over to Karl Lagerfeld (in my pink, Payless pumps) and shook his hand saying, ‘Oh my god! I love your leather gloves!’.
About a month into our friendship, Christine sat me down in her dorm room and said to me in her special, let- me -help-you-elevate-your-life way of teaching , “Elizabeth, I'm tired of looking at these McDonald's arches that you have for eyebrows. I am going to teach you how to grow your eyebrows in. And I'm going to show you how to fill them in with pencil so that you don't look crazy while you're growing them in.” My friend Christine changed the trajectory of my life, with those little words.
Now. If I lived happily- ever-after with my new brows, I might have ended up in a different career. But my story doesn’t end there. My true life changing obsession didn’t come from an easy solution. It comes from years of having my brows f-ed up.
So. Let’s continue.
At the end of my freshman year of college, my older cousin who lived on Long Island offered me a room to stay in her house for free, and I could commute into the city each day. Imagine it, girl! I’m 19, and living my best Long Island, New York City commuter life. To celebrate this new transition, I asked my cousin, if she has an eyebrow lady. Couldn’t she see by my big, full, freshly grown in eyebrows, and that I was now a chic, sophisticated New Yorker? Gone was the little girl from upstate New York, with pencil thin, shapeless hairs floating above her eyes!
She said yes, and took me to her brow lady.
Strutting into the small salon that was located in a strip mall not far from my cousin’s house, I felt fabulous. I mean look at me! Couldn’t they all feel that I was a true, chic, New Yorker? I knew my now near virgin, gorgeous, full brows looked good, because my new cool friend Christine, showed me how to make them look great.
And everyone can see a great brow, right? She knew that I just needed them cleaned up, right? I didn't tell her that, and she never asked. Can you see where this story is going? You’re cringing just reading these words, because we both know that you’ve been here too.
4. I trusted the wrong person!
I just trusted this person with my face, and made the deadly assumption that you’ve made before too. I assumed that all aesthetics are the same, and that if your sign says “brow wax/threading/shaping” that you must be an expert, and that you must know more than I do about these two wild patches of hair, that are supposed to accentuate my eyes.
Even as I felt, no I knew that she was taking too long, I said nothing, and allowed her to continue whatever she was doing up there, sure that when she was finished, I will have completed my journey to the grown, version of Elizabeth. Elizabeth the New Yorker!
When she handed me that mirror, I must have gasped aloud, because the woman quickly said, “you had so much hair, I thought it was your first time getting them done, and you would want them like this! This is the style that everyone wants!”
This woman had razored off the eyebrows that had just spent a year growing, back into two McDonald's arches.
Does that story sound at all familiar to you? It is the story that I continue to hear over and over again.
The good news to wrap all of this up in a tidy little bow? The last item on this list is one that really connects all of us (just in case you are a Unicorn, and 1-4 don’t pertain to you) and makes numbers 1- 4 bearable:
5. I (and probably most of your Brow Crushes) Use Makeup To Fill In The Holes and Spaces in My Brows (from mistake #1 on this list) to Achieve My Perfect Arch
Yes, girl! It’s true ! Nobody is perfect, even in this instagram perfect world that we’re living in today. Don’t believe me? Zoom in to every envious brow photo that you see. If it’s too perfect to be real, it probably has some sort of help (except for the Kaia’s in the world. Those unicorns do exist. Compliment them when you see one in the wild.)
So, what about you? Have you made some, or all of these mistakes? Are you a unicorn like Kaia (perfect, never touched arches from the womb) or a miniature horse (still beautiful and majestic, but you have to glue some wings on a bitch to get that unicorn thing going), like me? I want to know! Leave a comment, and tell me where you fall on this spectrum!
If you’d like to see how far I’ve come on my journey as a brow artist, check out the muses that trust me with their faces (for permanent make up for the eyebrows, girl! ) and allow me to help them see themselves for as their most beautiful selves, click this link.