By Renee Jacques, Allure
"You have the brows of a 13-year-old." This is what Courtney Buhler, the founder of SugarLash, told me as I nervously walked in to her workspace to get eyebrow extensions.
She's right. I have kidlike eyebrows because I don't do anything to them. I don't powder or pencil them, I don't know how to pluck them without plucking too much, and I don't even know what kind of shape my eyebrows should be. So yes, when I walked into SugarLash, my eyebrows looked like a child's: overgrown and sparse. I wanted to walk out of there with a woman's eyebrows.
When I emailed makeup artist Fiona Stiles and told her I was going to get eyebrow extensions, her response was a mix of bewilderment and intrigue. "How do they lay down the hair? Won't it look flat against the skin? Won't the adhesive look shiny?" she asked. Well, friends, I'm here to clear up all your confusion.
Here's what I looked like before the extensions:
First, Buhler spent a good ten minutes plucking away all my stray hairs to help find my shape. She told me that the application process wouldn't take that long since she would just be attaching the fake brow hairs to my already-existing hairs. Buhler also does eyebrow extensions on people who have absolutely no eyebrow hair (chemo patients, people with alopecia) by gluing the extensions to their skin, and that takes a lot more time. The prices obviously vary: A basic application (75 percent natural hair and 25 percent extensions) starts at $50, half natural hair and half extensions starts at $100, and when someone has only 25 percent of natural brows, it starts at $200 and goes up according to how much work is needed.
After plucking, Buhler drew an outline with liner around my brows to guide her when she's applying the hairs. When she showed me the outline, I kind of freaked because it was a little clownlike. But she assured me that it wouldn't look that drastic. My anxiety soothed, she went for it. This miraculous woman picked up each little strand of fake brow hair with tweezers and dipped it in adhesive. Then she carefully glued each hair next to the root of one of my existing brow hairs. It was superimpressive.
Throughout the application process Buhler informed me that my eyebrow hairs are straight, but they grow in all different directions -- probably why I'm forever confused about how to tackle them. After 30 minutes, I was done. Ta-da! New eyebrows:
I must say, I like 'em. I was scared they would look really intense and jarring, but Buhler made sure to keep them natural-looking. They even feel like soft, regular brows. I also like how they're a really dark brown. Buhler's eyebrow extensions come in five colors (auburn, honey blonde, medium brown, dark brown, and black), two thickness varieties (coarse and fine), and two hair types (curly and straight). Here's a close up of my new dark brown, coarse, and straight eyebrows:
Now, the million dollar question: How long do they last? "If it's on the skin, they'll last anywhere from 5 to 14 days, so it's kind of a special-occasion thing," says Buhler "If it's on the hair, it can last for weeks." Before I left, Buhler told me to avoid touching my eyebrows. That means no rubbing them, scrubbing them, brushing them, or applying any makeup to them. Oh?
It's been two days, and I've learned something about myself: I can't not touch my face. I'm the kind of person who will get an itch on my eye and immediately rub it vigorously, only to remember right after the fact that I have totally smudged all my mascara. So when I rubbed my eyebrows at my desk yesterday, it was shocking to see a couple little brow hairs fall on my keyboard. And washing my face has been hard. I usually like to scrub everything, including my eyebrows, so I've been seeing more eyebrow hairs going down the drain. Sleeping has been an issue, too. Buhler told me to make sure that when I go to sleep, I place my hands in prayer position on the side of my head, like they do in stock photos, to avoid rubbing my face on my pillow. All night. Yeah, that's just not going to happen.
With each new day, more little brow hairs keep popping up in random places. They're like bobby pins. And my eyebrows have slowly started to revert back to their old, boring selves. I really don't think these extensions are going to last for an entire seven days, let alone several weeks. However, they are pretty damn cool--especially for those of us who are clueless about how to make our sparse brows look fuller. For $50, you can have a pair of awesomely shaped eyebrows for about a week (maybe two if you're not as touch happy as me). My final opinion: As long as extensions are around, I'm not ready to learn how to do my eyebrows just yet.
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