The Brow Dilemma

 

There is nothing more frustrating for redheads than the brow dilemma. Well, at least that’s true for me. My brows are the lovely shade of ‘invisible’ or ‘ghost blonde’ as my sister so lovingly puts it. While my lashes are of a similar shade, the brows present a more intimidating problem. For starters they frame your face. Basically they set the mood for your makeup. If you mess it up, it’s kind of a big deal. It would be like having a Monet and framing it in bright gaudy red with polka dots- it doesn’t matter how beautiful the rest of it is if you can’t look away from a disaster.

The solution for most of my life was ‘don’t touch!' I tried a brow pencil once but penciling them in was like starting with a blank white canvas and I was simply not that talented. Then came Cara Delevingne and the bold and bushy brow revolution. Eyebrows were everywhere- taunting me with their visibility. I was envious. It was the first time I truly disliked my ginger girl features. So in the spirit of the brow I decided to take a bold chance. I decided to dye my eyebrows. At the suggestion of a blog I had read, I bought Just for Men beard dye in light brown. It was all pretty straight forward. Mix a small amount of the tubes so that you had plenty of leftovers for retouches, outline your brows with oil or lotion to prevent dying skin, and then, once applied, let sit for 5 minutes. Easy peasy. It of course didn’t factor in the 20 minutes of rationalizing with myself as to why I was doing this, whether or not it was worth the risk, and what my disaster protocol was (I went with move under a bridge and become the town troll by the way). However, the result was a surprising success. Honestly, I anticipated a disaster. I already had my troll nap sack packed and ready to go. I now had visible eyebrows!! Take that Cara!

Of course the brow dilemma isn’t over. Now I have normal people brow problems. Like “OMG I need to pluck because people can actually see my eyebrows!” And there is the matter of whether to use pencil or gel, or should I shade and then fill, etc. etc.

So down to brass tacks, here are the best brow practices for redheads:

1. Don’t over pluck! I can’t emphasize this enough. We have left the makeup mistakes of the 90’s far behind. Having one string of brow hairs is no longer in. The bigger the better!

2. Try a dye like moi! Choose a shade that is one to two shades darker than your natural color. I personally like using Just for Men because it is about completely faded out after a month. This means that while it lasts a good long while, it isn’t too permanent. You can also get it professionally dyed at a brow bar. 

3. Pencil or wax. This is a great way to shape your brows. Just make sure you find the right shade! For most redheads I would recommend a blonde shade. However, if you have a darker shade of red, try an auburn. 

4. Brush on brows. This is my current favorite brow trick and it is the reason why we added the ‘Brow Love’ Gel with fibers. I like how it gives my brows a naturally full look. I love the no-makeup look and I love easy makeup tricks- hence this being my preferred method. Also, penciling and brushing on your brows are not mutually exclusive. 

5. Bonus: Courtesy a la fellow Redhead Revolutionaries, we discovered that the Genuine Ginger Mascara moonlights as a great brow gel!   

 

How to find the right shade for you? This needed a whole 'nother blog post so read on.




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Comments

Megan January 29 2019

I just found this website and this is the first article I have read from redhead revolution but I already know I will be coming back. I too struggle with the brow problems of a redhead even though I’m only a young teen and now I feel I have many options to end my suffering. Also the language is not that bad. I am like I said a young teen and I’d say the only girls reading this are older than me or a maximum of 3 years younger than me (about 9-11) and I was definitely exposed tho that “language” already by that age so just chill ok/

Ginga Ninja December 9 2018

LOL at the comments complaining over use of the f-word.

Like seriously? Vicki + Becky, y’all need to get a fucking grip.

To the author:
I only just found this website and really love what I have read so far. The fact that you have not edited your original blog post to omit the offending word, despite the multiple complaining comments, actually makes me like your website even more.

Ginga Ninja December 9 2018

Oh my god, girl, I feel your pain. I have naturally 100% white blonde/“translucent” brows and lashes. Literally looked like I did not have eyebrows as a child. As I grew older and got into makeup and started to realize the importance of eyebrows to the overall shape of the face I began looking for a solution. Even if you can find a compatible pencil or brow gel, it is INSANELY difficult to apply when you literally cannot see your brows and subsequently do not have any place to start. It is like if you tried to draw normal looking brows on actual plain parchment paper – no shape to work with!!

For whatever reason, it is very difficult to find good brow dye (“tint”) in the US. I did a lot of research and ended up ordering a European product. The brand is called “Refectocil” and they make a huge variety of colors. The dye comes in little tubes like travel size toothpaste tubes.

I use the Refectocil red-brown and the red dyes. I mix them together but only apply a teeny tiny bit of the red because even though it is lighter it seriously overpowers the red-brown.

Anyways, I squeeze the dyes out into the cap of an old prescription bottle and then add a very liberal amount of the oxidant Refectocil makes. Be prepared to play around with how to blend it all together, sometimes the product gets clumpy so mix using “dotting” motions and not traditional stirring motions. I then apply it very liberally to my brows with an angled brush.

Once the brows are fulling saturated (literally glob the dye thickly onto the brows) then take a damp Q-tip and use this to shape the dye into the shape you want for your brows. Run it along the edges to remove the excess product. This is literally the single upside to having invisible eyebrows; you do NOT need to pluck in order to shape your brows! The dye will also temporarily leave a light stain on the skin. This is a definite perk because you do not have to really do anything makeup-wise to your brows for about a week until the dye fades on the skin.

I leave the dye on for at least an hour – until it is dry and fully oxidized. By the time I go to remove it, it nearly looks black in color.

The directions say to leave it on for only like 15 minutes, but for me that is not long enough. I think it is because my brow starting color is SO light. For the vast majority of eyebrows, I imagine the wait time is more around what the directions suggest. The dye is not harsh on the skin so that is not why. I have super sensitive skin and that is an issue I encountered using other products.

Melina November 16 2018

I can so relate to the brow dilemma, even though I’m not a natural redhead (but have been a redhead by choice for years) :) I actually have it even weirder, since my brows are two-toned – the inner half of my brows is kind of ashy brown, while the outer half is the mentioned “lovely shade of ‘invisible” ;) Needless to say, I can’t usually leave my brows just as they are… I’ve found pencils by far the best way to deal with this, for me at least (and a brand called Catrice makes my favourite shades).

But I’d just like to caution that dyes like “Just For Men” (and the same issue with dyes for women ;)), are full of toxic chemicals, and on dyeing eyebrows they have prolonged contact with skin, so I really wouldn’t recommend them. And the same with designated eyebrow & lash dyes – they all have PPD (too), known to cause serious allergic reactions!

Kate August 16 2018

Hey! In response to Amanda- when I first tried to dye my brows I used a light brown. Which on blonde brows like mine is a pretty intense change. For most redheads, especially those of your coloring, I recommend an ash/blonde shade as it will add color and definition but not be a completely different look.

Amanda Schulz August 16 2018

Wait a sec you said you used light brown but recommend using an ash/blonde shade. So which is it? Light brown or ash/blonde?? I’m blue eyed red head with translucent eyebrows..

Renee' K-H June 29 2018

This is hilarious! Yes, since I’ve “gained age”, I’ve dealt with them all…
I used to have brows that were thick & perfectly shaped (never needed plucking), & the same shade as my natural medium auburn locks. I used to have an amazing multi-dimensional hair color of medium auburn with light strawberry golden highlights & ashier low lights…
Now it’s all mouses, with a frame of fine white hairs, vice the light blonde frame I used to have….and my eyebrows have thinned & turned the light blonde my frame uses to be – essentially the “ghost blonde” that I used to always thank God I never had, like other blondes & redheads! Ugh!
The last 4 years I’ve been using the same Matrix demi color in “copper-gold” on my brows as I have on my hair (except one shade darker) – which has worked out vet well (we’ll, for color – nothing to do about thinning brows except fill-in with a faint auburn pencil), but I’ve been looking for all animal-testing-free products to replace all my health & beauty products with….. Any suggestions?

who cares June 22 2018

get over yourself vicki

China Clemmons May 17 2018

“If you fuck it up, it’s kind of a big deal. It would be like having a Monet and framing it in bright gaudy red with polka dots- it doesn’t matter how beautiful the rest of it is if you can’t look away from a disaster.” A constant struggle!!! Love this post, and the insight about the Genuine Ginger Mascara moonlighting as a great brow gel!!