If you’re a woman of a certain age (ahem), you might remember Kate Moss bursting on the scene and instantly changing the face of fashion and beauty. She was everything the supermodels of the day were not: average height, unaffected, anti-glamorous and painfully thin (the day’s models were thin, Kate brought “waif” and “heroin chic” to the forefront). At one fell CK Obsession campaign swoop, thick, feathery brows became a thing of the past and dramatic, defined, ultra-thin brows were the “it” look.
My, how things have changed. As most fashion and beauty trends come full circle, full brows are de rigueur once again (that’s the sound of Brooke Shields feeling vindicated) and while microblading is a surefire way to get bold brows on demand, there are, like any procedure, some risks involved, including infection or allergic reaction, not to mention less concerning but equally unfortunate mishaps, like spotted fading or shaping gone wrong. Oh, and more than one person has told me, “it hurts like hell!” This isn’t a warning — millions of women have successfully achieved enviable, perfect brows (added bonus: minimal upkeep) with microblading (and I’m still tempted!), but for some, “permanent make-up” is just too much of a commitment. Sometimes it seems like something will be awesome forever but ask someone with a lower back tattoo or Ed Hardy shirt collection how they’re feeling about those decisions today.
That’s where semi-permanent options come in. When I saw Archbeauty in Middletown was introducing henna brow tinting, it literally raised eyebrows (mine, specifically). Benefits of henna brows: it’s a natural dye (that ergo, offers a natural-looking tint), you can basically bid adieu to your brow fill for a bit, and it lasts longer than your typical brow tint. Want to get a feel for the look? Search #browhenna on Instagram and about 870K images will surface. While there are plenty of DIY henna brow kits out there, take these into account: 1. it can be very difficult to color match your natural brow color perfectly, 2. some are laden with chemicals, and 3. if you stain your skin where you didn’t intend to, you’re going to have to wait it out (like self-trimmed bangs — yikes).
Fortunately, I had the chance to have a henna brow treatment with Cathy at Archbeauty before quarantine (she basically has a cult-like following). First, we talked about the best shade for my brows. Then, I laid down and the relaxing process took about 45 minutes (time can depend a little on how the henna takes). Truthfully, it was like a mini-pampering sesh and I almost nodded off. I have (not-so-enviable) super sensitive Irish skin, so there was some mild expected irritation but things returned to normal soon enough and I was delighted with the results — my brows certainly looked and felt fuller, and more defined. After 4-5 weeks, my brows returned to their baseline state (i.e. not so full) and after this lockdown, I’ll be re-booking!
Right now, there are plenty of people anxious to get back to their usual beauty services, but Archbeauty owner Sara Ross, who is hoping to reopen under state guidelines later this month, says to be patient and don’t take matters into your own hands. “We have all been home for a month. This is the perfect opportunity to grow your brows out. I say let’s start our ‘new normal’ with a new brow design,” she advises. “Henna will just enhance your new, lifted brow. Just think — you won’t have to fill in your brows this summer. Now that’s some summer dreaming right there!”