Amanda Rey eyebrow makeover

The Secret Language of Brows
Did you know that the shape of your eyebrows might be communicating a false message about what you're feeling? In a study published last year in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, researchers digitally altered a photo of a woman's face to create different eyebrow shapes and showed the pictures to 20 people, asking them to what degree the various photos conveyed emotions like fatigue, surprise, anger, sadness, or fear. "Even subtle variations in the brows had a significant effect on how the woman's mood was perceived," says John Persing, MD, a coauthor of the study and professor of plastic surgery at Yale University School of Medicine. Intrigued by the topic, we decided to conduct our own experiment. We found nine real women whose brows were telling the wrong story, and challenged master eyebrow expert Eliza Petrescu to set things right. With only her tweezers, wax, and pencils, could she help these women look as energetic, outgoing, and poised as they actually were? See for yourself—their radiant faces speak louder than words. 

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Amanda Rey


Amanda Rey, 26
What her brows say: "I'm bewildered."

The round, droopy shape of Amanda's brows created a sad, puzzled expression.
Amanda Rey eyebrow makeover


The real Amanda: Ebullient, secure

By waxing underneath the inner corners and the ends, Eliza made them more angular—and sophisticated. Amanda's dark, full brows didn't need any pencil, but a light coat of gel added a touch of sheen.

Top, Jean Paul Gaultier. Earrings, Rare Vintage. Necklace, Moschino. Ring, Maria Moran @ Supplements N.
Roberta Mathes


Roberta  Mathes, mid-40s
What her brows say: "I'm sad."

Roberta's shaggy brows sloped down at the ends, and had almost no definition in the middle.
Roberta Mathes eyebrow makeover


The real Roberta: Energetic, lively

By simply trimming her brows, Eliza was able to create a more perky, eye-opening shape. She then tweezed a few hairs from underneath the outer corners and on top of the inner corners to further enhance Roberta's arches.

Top, Alberta Ferretti. Earrings, Dana Rebecca. Ring, David Yurman
Catherine Kim

Catherine Kim, 24
What her brows say: "I'm shocked!"

Catherine's brows were too high—and uneven (the right brow was significantly farther up and longer than the left).
Catherine Kim eyebrow makeover

The real Catherine: Confident, eager

After telling Catherine to go cold turkey on tweezing for "at least a month," Eliza used a blonde pencil to even out the length of her brows. She then filled in underneath the overaccentuated arches, and brushed the hairs upward with a light brow gel (like many Asian women, Catherine has brows that tend to grow downward).

Dress, Carmen Marc Valvo. Earrings, Mimi So
Maureen Haley

Maureen Haley, 42
What her brows say: "I'm arrogant." 

"Maureen's brows were too skinny and far apart," said Eliza. One also arched higher than the other, which made her seem disapproving.
Maureen Haley eyebrow makeover

The real Maureen: Gracious, accommodating 

Eliza flattened the arch of Maureen's left brow by waxing underneath the inner corner and on top of the outer edge. She used a blonde pencil (a bit darker than Maureen's haircolor) to bring the inner corners of the brows closer to the bridge of her nose and to elongate their tails. Maureen's new brows—fuller and more balanced—give her a kinder, gentler countenance.
Angela Maria Santana

Angela Maria Santana, 50
What her brows say: "I'm angry!"

Angela's arches were very high and angular, and the inside corners of her brows slanted dramatically down toward her eyes. The result was a permanent scowl.

The real Angela: Serene, kind 

Eliza lifted the inner quarter of Angela's brows by waxing away some of the hair underneath, then softened the arches by thickening the ends with a blonde pencil. Finally, because Angela's dark brows were too severe against her luminous skin and white hair, Eliza lightened them with the same pencil, making short, feathery strokes from beginning to end. "People always complimented my strong brows—I realize now it was because they were the first thing you saw," said Angela. "Now you'll see me."
Lisa Schalk

Lisa Schalk, 52
What her brows say: "I'm exhausted."

Lisa's brows were so close to her lids that they cast dark shadows over them.
Lisa Schalk eyebrow makeover

The real Lisa: Warm, outgoing 

"I need to give her brows height and let the light into her eyes," said Eliza, as she waxed away any hairs that fell beneath Lisa's browbones. She also created a more prominent arch to make the lids appear lifted. "I look like the younger, more glamorous sister I never had," exclaimed Lisa when she saw her reflection. "Now I need a whole new wardrobe!"
Daisy Montanez

Daisy Montanez, 37
What her brows say: "I'm harsh."

The space between Daisy's eyes and her brows is perfectly proportioned—the same width as her eyes—but she tweezed way too much hair from the top, making her brows incredibly thin," said Eliza, who entreats her clients to "never ever pluck above the brows—it's too easy to overdo it." And when brows become as skinny as Daisy's, they not only add years to your face but also create a pinched, severe expression.
Daisy Montanez brow makeover

The real Daisy: Sweet, soft-spoken 

Eliza thinks it will be a good while before Daisy's brows grow back; in the meantime, she bulked them up by tracing a brunette pencil along their upper edges, then brushed through them with a clean spoolie to ensure soft, natural lines that mirror Daisy's delicate features—and gentle personality.

Michelle Falchenberg, 35
What her brows say: "I'm anxious." 

Michelle had overplucked her brows at both the inner corners and the ends, so they were only about half the length of her eyes.
Michelle Falchenberg eyebrow makeover

The real Michelle: Open, relaxed 

"Short brows make all your features seem closer together, which creates a tense expression," said Eliza, who waxed away a little bit of hair underneath Michelle's brows to make a soft arch before using a blonde pencil to fill the inside corners (lining them up with the outer edges of her nostrils). Eliza used the same pencil to elongate the tail ends, tapering them about a quarter inch past Michelle's eyes and lifting them up a bit "to make her face look more open and alive."
Catherine Baker

Catherine Baker, 53
What her brows say: "I'm surprised."

After years of tweezing, Catherine's brows had become thin and were positioned too high. "When you have a lot of space between your eyelids and your brows, not only do you look surprised but your eyes seem smaller than they are," explained Eliza. And because the color of Catherine's brows had faded, she also looked a bit washed-out.
Catherine Baker eyebrow makeover

The real Catherine: Easygoing, unaffected 

"All I have to do is wax away the light peach fuzz above and below Catherine's brows, and they'll instantly stand out more," said Eliza. She then used a blonde pencil to fill them in underneath, lengthen the ends, and even out patchy areas. The pencil also darkened Catherine's brows enough to define them without making them too harsh against her pale skin.
Shareefah Mapp

Shareefah Mapp, 30
What her brows say: "I'm confused."

The most flattering arches peak above the outer edges of the irises. "Shareefah's arches were too close to her temples, which gave her a dazed expression," said Eliza. "They also weren't doing anything to complement her gorgeous almond-shaped eyes."
Shareefah Mapp eyebrow makeover

The real Shareefah: Laid-back, capable 

To move the arches inward, Eliza waxed hair from underneath the inner half of her brows and filled in the ends with a brunette pencil. The result brings a beautiful symmetry and confidence to Shareefah's face.
Maria Ramos

Maria Ramos, 48
What her brows say: "I'm bored." 

Maria's brows were too thick at the inside corners and overplucked everywhere else—an unfortunate shape that Eliza gives an equally unfortunate name: "the sperm." When brows are so unbalanced, it creates a sullen appearance.

The real Maria: Thoughtful, considerate 

To make Maria's brows—and her perceived mood—softer and more even, Eliza thinned the inner area with wax and a little trimming. She then used a blonde pencil to bulk them up, both on top and under the arch. She went over a few stray white hairs with a thicker, slightly darker pencil—and warned Maria not to start plucking them: "If you do, eventually you'll have no brows left."
Aurelie Barthaux

Aurelie Barthaux, 31
What her brows say: "I'm depressed." 

Aurelie retired her tweezers about a year ago, after noticing that her brows had become too thin. Lucky for her, they grew back thick and lush—but also became a bit too boxy, with a downward slant at the ends that made her eyes look sad and droopy.
Aurelie Barthaux eyebrow makeover

The real Aurelie: Calm, poised

"Raising those tails will instantly take the sad look away," said Eliza, as she waxed just beneath them. She also thinned the inner corners a bit from underneath to create gentle arches that brightened Aurelie's eyes even more. 

Get solutions to 6 common brow problems right here