The Beauty Desk
The latest beauty news & views, direct from PRIMPED HQ!
A Close Encounter with Kylie’s Brow Stylist, Sharon-Lee
Tue, 17 July 2012 1:20PM
For some reason, in all my fifteen or so years of writing beauty, I’d never met brow guru Sharon-Lee (the expert behind Kylie’s perfect arches, no less) in the flesh.
Perhaps it’s because I’ve never been too brow-obsessed myself. I’m lucky to have inherited my mum’s arches, which to me seem both elegant and natural. So why mess around with something that I’m happy enough with? (We all have enough beauty paranoias already, without creating more, right?) Sure, I pluck a stray straggler hair here and there but beyond that, I have never had to do much brow grooming at all.
But last week, I was invited to meet Sharon-Lee in her new salon – and road-test her signature Brow Wow treatment, with a face reading and customised brow sculpting. Something in me went pop or ping or whatever sound that is when you just know you have to have something (I get a similar sensation every time I walk past a Zimmermann window). I’m not sure why, at this time in life, I now suddenly needed a new set of brows. But I do remember an older beauty editor once said to me (when I was in my early boho years) something like, “Kat, there comes a time in life when you can’t get away with as little and the only way you can carry yourself through the rest of life is to keep yourself ultra-groomed.” So perhaps I’m, ahem, nearing that point … My other theory is that, with a crazy home life full of messy boys and a needy dog, my only way to feel I am actually in control of things is to actually control the way I look. And we all know how much more together we feel on a good hair day. Same surely applies to a good brow/lip/skin day, too.
Anyway, I’m rambling. So there I was driving to Queen Street, Woollahra, one morning. Now, I love chatting to beauty experts (lucky that, seeing it’s my job), but I often rely on phone interviews, so I can to fit in to their busy schedules. So coming face to face with people who, well, do faces for a living can sometimes seem a little daunting. I always secretly wonder and worry what they’re thinking about my hair-smoothing or blush-blending abilities.
Similarly, I started to stress about what Sharon-Lee would think of my brows which, I realised, had been a little neglected since the birth of bubba Otto (hate to tell you, girls, but quite a few beauty rituals go out the bathroom window when you’re in the baby blur). Sure enough, I looked in my rear-vision mirror (the car being a great place to pluck) and was horrified to notice a flurry of fuzzy, out-of-place hairs around my brows. I managed to get the Tweezermans going at a few traffic light stops, but I still fronted at Sharon-Lee’s feeling a little scruffy.
Especially as her new salon is super-glamorous. If Marie Antoinette were around today, this is where she’d hang, with its gilded chairs, tufted couches and glittering chandeliers. You can even order cake and champagne. So very M.A.
Sharon-Lee and I sat down to chat. I thought I had a new BBFF (best beauty friend forever). Turns out she was ‘reading’ my face, and watching how I use my features, in order to determine her brow strategy for me.
“You have a prominent eye and a recessed brow bone,” she reported. “In this case, you can’t go too dark on your brow or it will push it back even more. For women who have prominent brows, however, strong colours work. For eyes, you can also go darker on the lashes to play down prominence. It’s basic contour/highlight philosophy.”
I next found myself reclining on a chair, under a string of super-bright lights. With an eye mask popped on while my lash tint went to work, Sharon-Lee got to shaping and tinting my brows. With super-quick plucking skills (they should be; she estimates that she’s shaped a whopping 50,000+ sets of brows in her time) and a soft-on-skin strawberry wax, it was as close to relaxing as a brow session could ever be.
The reveal: I still looked like me, only a pulled-together version. “It’s funny,” I said to Sharon-Lee as she held a mirror in front of. “I don’t actually notice the brows so much.”
“That’s because the eyes shouldn’t be drawn to the brows,” she said. “You only really see the brows if the colour is wrong or they’re incredibly misshapen.”
On that clever note, I’ll leave you with other words of brow wisdom, direct from the brow queen herself:
Dark circles? “The trick is to expose more brow bone because what this does is increase the space between the upper lashline and base of the brow line and this detracts from what’s beneath the lashline. There’s a science to it but it’s also logical.”
Top Tools. “Tweezers, a good mirror and a tinted brow gel. Pencil just looks like pencil and can either appear chalky or is too hard to define with; powder doesn’t have the staying power you need.” Sharon-Lee sells a great gel that’s a little like a cream-to-powder formulation, and comes enclosed in a nifty tube, along with a sponge tip applicator (which doubles as a liner) and flat tip brush, for precision work. It’s $70 and available in four shades; click here for more information. Sharon-Lee also recommends a light film of pearlised white cream eye shadow under the brow, as a pretty, highlighting finishing touch.
Latest Trends. “There is a right brow shape for each individual but there are trends in terms of thickness. Right now, brows are on the thicker side. Colour trends chop and change too, but you also need to work it back to your haircolour. Bleaching has been on the catwalk a bit, but honestly, it doesn’t transcend to reality. Those models on the catwalk – the first thing they do after a show is to get their brows recoloured.”
Celebrity Inspiration. “Everyone loves Kylie’s brows but the thing is, they work for her. She has a high forehead so she can get away with a really steep arch. And one arch is higher, but it really suits her. For people with a low forehead, you need to stretch brows horizontally, not vertically. Another celebrity favourite is Megan Fox. Even other celebs bring along photos of her to a brow session! Pictures are great for reference but don’t expect you’ll get exactly that. Megan can pull off her quite severe brows because she has strong features, including piercing eyes, and impeccable skin.”
Pro vs DIY. “If budget is an issue, just see a pro once in your life. Make sure you have grown your brows out so they know what they’re working with. After this, tweeze every few days, when regrowth is short and stumpy. If the regrowth becomes too long, it will be too hard to differentiate between brows and regrowth and you could alter the line of your brows.”
So, there you go, Primpettes. Did you pick up any great new brow tips?
Or want to share any of your own?
What about celebrity inspiration – who do you think has the best set of arches?
Posted by: Katrina Lawrence