Mgrandmother, like many women of the WWII generation, soaped her eyebrows. She ran an old toothbrush under the faucet, sponged it so that it was barely damp, then ran it along the solid soap near the sink, the moisture helping to keep the waxy deposit relatively thin and clear. The toothbrush would then be used to stroke the eyebrows upward, the soapy residue keeping them fluffy but secure in place for the day. The technique lives on in the film industry and the drag community, but the rest of us can get closer to its effects with less faff and a simple brow product.
For me, brow glues and waxes are a must-have in the summer, when drawing over perfect browbones seems unnaturally long-maintenance, and a sleek, sculpted jar shape with other more casual, minimal, and sleek makeup looks. . I want something that I can gently sweep to instantly set the eyebrows and make them look thicker (when the hair is proud, the overall thickness of the eyebrow shape increases); that holds tight but doesn’t feel hard and spiky, or flakes off like my eyebrows have dandruff.
My long term love is Surratt Expressionist Brow Pomade (£ 30 for 5ml) an exceptional product with a sobering price point so I’m looking for more affordable alternatives. Refy Beauty’s Brow Sculpt (£ 16 for 8.5ml) impressed. This double ended wand features a double comb and a brush head on one end – useful for getting your brows where you want them before you stick them with the setting cream (dispensed via a mascara wand) to the ‘other. It sticks without stiffness or flakes, although I find I have to scrape off any excess to avoid residual whiteness. I love it so much that I just bought another one.
NYX Professional Makeup Eyebrow Glue (£ 6.50 for 5ml) is what it sounds. This is a one-stop solution that takes seconds to comb, shape, and glue eyebrows in place. You need to work quickly, one eyebrow at a time, to stop the glue setting before you’re ready, but once you’re done, you can forget about it all until bedtime.
The best balance between performance and price has come from HD Brows Brow Glue (£ 16 for 10ml), which sort of withstood the heaviest downpour of the year, but gave the kind of puffy, full eyebrows that pair perfectly with a lighter base, a hint of bronzer and a tinted lip balm. My grandmother would have loved it.