Eyebrow Grooming for Men – Complete Guide to Getting it Right
A Few Facts About Eyebrows
The average pair of eyebrows consists of about 500 individual hairs, although this can be considerably more, particularly in older men, if left unchecked.
Eyebrows have the slowest growing hair follicles of any on your body, so you want to think about that before you go mad with the tweezers.
It takes, on average, about 4 months to regrow your eyebrows completely, so if you do overdo it, you will have a bit of a wait before they are restored to their former glory.
Furthermore, eyebrow hair follicles are particularly susceptible to damage which can be caused by plucking hair out from the root i.e. tweezing, threading or waxing.
Why do we Have Eyebrows?
The main practical purpose of eyebrows is to protect the eyes from moisture running into them, such as perspiration or rain and also from other possible irritants such as dandruff from hair, or dust.
If you think about them in this context, they are pretty well designed - raised in the middle and drooping at the sides to form a natural channel for the moisture to run down.
In combination with the eyelashes, they also serve as a shade from particularly bright sunlight, although I feel their effectiveness in this is somewhat reduced by the popularity of extreme brow grooming, particularly in women.
Aside from these practical uses, eyebrows play an important role in human facial expression and interaction.
When you look at a person's face, their eyebrows combine with facial muscles to accentuate their feelings e.g. how much clearer is a frown with eyebrows than it would be without. Even more so, the raised eyebrows when expressing surprise.
Why Do you Need to Groom Your Eyebrows?
The truth is that, for almost everyone, there is no actual need to groom your eyebrows other than for aesthetic reasons.
Male grooming generally has become more accepted as the norm, and eyebrow grooming is no exception.
If you have particularly bushy eyebrows then trimming them to tidy them up is pretty standard nowadays.
Similarly, if your eyebrows are joined (termed unibrow or monobrow) then separating them by removing the hair in the middle is commonplace.
What are the Best Options?
The options you have are tweezing, threading, waxing, trimming and shaving.
Whatever you do, don't be tempted to use hair removal cream - it may seem like stating the obvious but they use harsh chemicals and are just not safe to be used on this delicate skin and so close to the eyes.
If you have particularly long or dense hairs that you just want to thin out and tidy up, then it may be that you just want a trim.
In that case, arm yourself with a comb and a pair of blunt ended scissors and it is a very simple process.
Use the comb to hold up the hairs that you want to thin out and trim with the scissors to the comb.
You could also use an electric trimmer for this instead of the scissors, but be very careful. Only do this if you are confident that you can do it without the comb slipping or you could end up with no brow!
Although shaving is a nice, painless, quick and easy option there are downsides:
Some electric multi-groomers have special attachments for eyebrow trimming e.g. Norelco MG7750/49 but just be careful if you decide to go for this option, don't go mad and follow the instructions to the letter.
Tweezing is a very precise and quite long-lasting way to remove extraneous hair, as you pluck each one individually from the root.
Threading is ostensibly the same, but uses thread wound round the hair to pluck it out, as opposed to tweezers.
Whereas tweezing is a fairly easy process to learn at home, threading is a little more tricky and best left to professionals in a salon.
If you go for the home tweezing option, then you will need to invest in a decent pair of well-aligned, sharp, slant-edged tweezers e.g. Tweezerman Slant plus a pair of blunt ended scissors and a fine-toothed comb.
The hair you wish to remove is grasped firmly, as close to the skin as possible. and pulled out in the direction of hair growth with one firm tug.
It does sting a bit, but you can prevent too much tugging by holding the skin nice and taut with the other hand and raising your eyebrows.
Waxing is a quick method of removing the hair between the eyebrows and pulls multiple hairs out from the root simultaneously.
Wax is applied in the direction of hair growth, and removed in the opposite direction.
It may be a good choice for you if your monobrow is thick, just be sure that wax is only adhered to hair that you wish to remove.
You will need a pair of tweezers as well, to pull out any strays, and if you have any very long hairs, trim first to about 1/4".
To give you an idea of how much hair to remove, take a line from each nostril up to the brow and remove any hair that falls between them.
You can do this using any straight edge e.g. a comb or pencil.
If you are new to this, it would be a good idea to go to a professional, at least for the first time, after which you will just need to maintain the gap.
Top Tips to Getting it Right
The most important thing to remember is that it is easy to remove a little more hair if required, but impossible to stick it back on if you overdo it!
The trick is to groom your eyebrows so that they are well kept without making it obvious, if you want to stay looking masculine.
It isn't necessary for both eyebrows to be exactly the same i.e. a mirror image of one another, because naturally they are not. Obviously they do want to look very similar though.
When shaping, take hair from beneath the brow and not above the brow.
We have explained previously how to determine where eyebrow should start, but to find where it should end, take a straight edge from nostril to outer edge of eye. Where it meets the brow is roughly where it should end (as shown in picture).
If you have very thick, bushy brows then start by giving them a trim with brow comb and scissors to thin them out.
Take a good look at them - it may be that trimming is all you need to do, in which case, happy days!
If you need a bit more then brush the brows upwards so that you can clearly see the hairs that need to be removed and tweeze them out one by one.
Make sure to stop frequently to take a good look at your progress and check that you are not removing too much hair.
When you are happy, follow the same steps with the other eyebrow.
What are the Pitfalls?
The biggest pitfalls are removing too much hair or over shaping so that the brow looks unnatural.
I have seen this many times, particularly in older men who have not necessarily grown up with male grooming as part and parcel of their daily routine.
Really, the safest option if you are new to brow grooming is to bite the bullet and pay for a professional to shape them for you the first time.
You can discuss exactly what you want and look at examples prior to treatment, and once they have been shaped for you, it is much easier to simply maintain at home with tweezers.
In summary, remember the following points: