When approching the quirky treatments I have devoted (a small part) of my life to, I'm always at ease when I entrust my face or body to an expert, a pioneer in their chosen field. When a business opts to brand itself around a particular offering, I always reckon it comfortingly implies expertise and experience. For example, you won't get a better wax in Glasgow outside of The Waxing Rooms on Bath Street. This is why I trusted the all-important mid-section of my face to The Brow Studio.
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Most youthful dabbles into the world of beauty have no lasting legacy - I'll take my MySpace password to the grave with me - but over-plucking your eyebrows as a tween can result some in seriously scant brows in later life. More Dele-mean than Delevingne. Being blonde, and an early experimenter with the tweezers has left me with a particularly pitiful pair. It's fine if 90s Drew Barrymore brows come back in, but not when everyone is on a Brooke Shields hype.
I'd already attended The Brow Studio for their Billion Dollar Brows, and chatted to the owner Louise about the expanding brow-iverse outside of a bog-standard tint and wax (I'll probably return again for "Funky Brows': the coloured brow tint - I fancy my chances in Glasgow with green brows). I was most intrigued about the eyebrow extension treatment, Sleek Brows. It seemed both unbelievable and entirely plausible, the next logical step after the explosion of eyelash extensions.
The lovely Lynsey was tasked with turning my skinny brows into a pair with a bit more clout. She started by tinting my brows, and then tweezing and trimming them. You can't wax the skin as the final stage involves a stronger dye that can't be applied to sensitive freshly waxed skin. Then came the part I'd been most excited about. Lynsey painstakingly applied tiny colour-matched extensions onto my existing brow hairs. The key is applying them to hair, like you would a semi-permanent lash extension, because if you apply it to the skin it would have nothing to stick to and would fall out pretty quickly.
The final stage was softly scraping a 'paint' onto the skin under my brows with a soft, blunt pin. This creates the illusion of thicker brows by filling in the gaps and helping to blend the newly added hairs. The whole process took about 90 minutes and I was surprised at how natural my 'new' brows looked. I purposely didn't look until they were done, and I don't know if I was expecting to look like a Thunderbirds puppet, but after long deliberations in front of the mirror I concluded they looked like what my own eyebrows might have looked like if they had more volume and definition. My eyebrows only grow to a certain width, so now that I know what to expect and how natural the finished product looks I'd definitely be tempted to come back and see what I'd look like with a much thicker brow.
While I was at the Studio I caught up with owner Louise. She really knows her stuff. The first to bring a range of emerging brow and lash treatments to Scotland (a typically 'safe' marketplace) and an exclusive trainer and distributor for several of these treatments, she's also been working hard to develop her own products and treatments. The Brow Studio's Powdershot (think a small lipgloss tube with wand applicator full of powder) will be released in the next week or so, and she's excited to bring a portable, natural mineral brow product to the market, and the subtle results mean she's doing her bit in the war against Scotland's harsh eyebrows (eyeliner brow amnesty please troops?).
She was also excited to have three women coming in for brow treatments a few days later - all with a medical reason for having thinned or no brows. Both Sleek Brows and also the just-introduced Epibrow treatment are great for restoring the confidence of women suffering from alopecia, trichotillomania and cancer. The Epibrow works similarly to semi-permanent make up but the pigment only penetrates the epidermis, not the dermis, so the results last for 12 months as opposed to the three year lifespan of a good set of semi-permanent brows, making the treatment more affordable. The before and after pictures she showed me of previous clients with no brows were really impressive. To lose your brows must be psychologically quite difficult. They are slap-bang in the middle of your face, so when people are talking to you and making eye contact there's always that paranoia they could be looking at your brows.
I did jokingly say "whatever next, eyebrow wigs?", and Louise casually replied that these were already on the market. Her passion for what she does is inspiring and infectious. The aftercare she recommended for my Sleek Brows was washing my face around them, which I duly did. The brows can last up to a month, I'd say after about two and a half weeks my extensions had come out but most of the tint lasted the full four weeks. It's at this stage you become distressed at the return of your natural brows. It's easy to see why The Brow Studio has so many loyal customers that book in religiously for their preferred treatment. Even with no make up on, in pyjamas of questionable cleanliness, I still felt like I looked OK, all thanks to two hairy lines on my face. Pretty mental, eh?
Sleek Brows from The Brow Studio cost £50 and are available from their Glasgow Brow Bar, studio in Kinning Park and shortly from their franchise in East Kilbride and London. 0141 440 0404,www.thebrowstudiogroup.com