If you have any doubts about how important our eyebrows are to our overall appearance, check out the two pictures below of Anne Hathaway which have been circulating the Internet.

Pretty dramatic evidence that our eyebrows make a difference, isn’t it? Now close your eyes and visualize the evil Maleficent in Disney’s Snow White. In Disney products, eyebrows are definitely drawn to denote ‘good’ or ‘evil’ characters.

So, I think we might all agree that eyebrows are pretty darn important to our overall look.

Although, we all knew that many things would start to change as we got older, we may have been surprised by the disappearing act our eyebrows pulled. Not only do those brow hairs start to get thinner, but also sparser. And, on top of that, they may turn white, gray, grow overly long, or get wiry – or all of the above. And some of us may have jumped aboard the over plucking bandwagon a number of years ago and found that our eyebrows just wouldn’t grow back.

Now, you may ask, why go to all this extra effort to bring our brows back to life? The fact is that beautiful brows not only emphasize and frame our eyes, give our face a lift, and impart instant sophistication, but (dare I say it) they can also make us look years younger. And I mean years..

A recent scientific study holds a key to why eyebrows help us look our best. Published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, this research found out what we’ve certainly come to realize with our eyebrows: facial features tend to stand out less as we get older.

The research also concluded that faces with more contrast were perceived as younger and more attractive. So, taking back the lusher look of our brows that we had in our 20s and 30s, which provided stronger contrast to our skin, can truly help us look our best and feel more confident.

The Good News

You might be surprised, but reclaiming our brows is one of the easiest things we can do to look our best! One caution: before heading to the makeup counter, do head to your doctor to get your thyroid checked. Sparse and thinning brows can signal a thyroid issue. Supplements, diet, and exercise have also been known to help. A good multivitamin that includes biotin and zinc can make a difference.

In general, blondes will probably want to go one shade deeper than their eyebrow color and those with darker brow hair should try to match their hair color or go slightly lighter. When in doubt, taupe can work well for many people. If you have grey brows, you can choose either grey or taupe – it’s up to your personal preference. And at all costs, avoid a harsh, ‘drawn on line’ look!

Whether you end up using a brow powder, gel, pencil, or pomade, always brush the brow with a brow ‘spoolie’ (which looks like a mascara wand and is often at the other end of a brow pencil) after you’ve used a brow product to give your brows the most natural possible look.

Some Additional Tips

Of course, there is more to it, and you can follow the tips below for guidance.

Seek Professional Help

If you feel uncertain of what you should be doing, it’s a good idea to go to a pro brow stylist once to get the perfect shape for your brows.

Use an Outline

Some people find it helpful to ‘outline’ the brow shape they want before filling it in. So, with short strokes to mimic the look of brow hairs, outline the top of the brow and then do the same with the bottom. Then, fill it in. You can also purchase brow stencils if you’d like more guidance.

Tattoos May Not Always Work

Though some people have had good results with eyebrow tattooing, you may want to give some extra thought to this process for two reasons. One, when skin sags, the tattoo will very likely go in a direction you’d prefer it not to go! And, two, tattooed brows can change into interesting colors as the ink fades.

Not a Mirror Image

Your brows are sisters, not twins. One will always be higher, fuller, or arched differently, so don’t aim for perfect symmetry.

It Takes Time to Accept a New Look

When you create a fuller brow with makeup, give yourself some time to adjust to this new look of your face. Any change (think new hair cut) takes some getting used to. Also, adding some mascara and/or eyeliner/eye shadow can help balance the look of a more filled-in brow.

Choose the Option That Works for You

Brow powder applied with an angled brow brush is perhaps the easiest approach. But if your brow hair is sparse, consider using an eyebrow pencil or pomade which can adhere better to skin.

Gels Can Be an Option, but Not Always

Brow gels can be used to control wiry, unruly brow hairs, but most likely you will still need to fill in with a powder or pencil to get adequate color. And here’s a makeup artist tip to save you money: try a little hairspray on a disposable mascara brush to keep those brows tamed.

Beginning to End, It All Matters

Where your brows start and stop is important. Hold a pencil vertically along the outer edge of your nose. Where the pencil ends is where your brow should start.

Now, gently move the pencil so its bottom is at the outside corner of your nose and the top is at the outer corner of your eye. This is where your brow should end. Be careful not to fill the brow in lower than this point to avoid a droopy look.

A Concealer Can Work Magic

For a beautiful, polished look, use concealer to draw a line right above the upper brow line. Then blend out the concealer.

Don’t Hesitate to Get Expert Advice

Since just about every major high-end and drugstore makeup line has brow powders, gels, pencils, pomades, and various brow kits, choosing the right product can prove difficult. That’s why I highly recommend making an appointment or stopping by any one of the department store makeup counters to ask if one of their consultants can recommend the brow product that would work best for you. Don’t hesitate to ask the consultant to put it on for you and teach you how to use it. It’s a good idea to try several different products at several different makeup counters to see which brand, product, and technique looks the most natural and beautiful.

Yes, this will take a little time, but it’s far better to invest time upfront to ‘test drive’ various products and techniques than to try them out on your own and experience the frustration of a product that doesn’t work well for you, returning it, and then starting all over again.

And hey, why not take a friend along and go on an eyebrow adventure together! A little extra socializing, laughter, and camaraderie can not only benefit your brows but also (and more importantly) your well-being!

What kinds of changes have you noticed with your eyebrows? If you’ve tried some eyebrow products, what type of product do you prefer using? Have you found that using eyebrow products can really make a difference in your appearance?

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By any chance do you, like me, have an image of your mom in red lipstick applying powder to her nose? This image is indelibly printed in my brain. . . along with another image that actually makes me squeamish: remember the fox stoles of the 1950s? I can’t even go there.

Not surprisingly, I grew up thinking powder was the requisite product for calming down that ever-present shine which seemed—on my nose at least—to be akin to a car headlight. It apparently was part of my nose’s DNA. . . despite the fact that the rest of my skin kept getting drier!

Over the years, I tried and discarded many powders since none seemed to work on my nose for more than 10 minutes. But a few months ago, I discovered the ultimate fix for the shine. If you, like me, seem to be blessed with a permanently shiny nose—stay tuned for this tip—along with other tips for your face, cheeks and lips.

Who knew there were relatively easy fixes for a few of the consistently pesky makeup challenges out there that many of us have faced in the past few years? Though I wish I’d known some of these sooner . . . the old axiom holds true: better late than never.

Tip # 1: Solving the Shiny Nose Dilemma

Avoid putting moisturizer on your nose. Instead, put an eye primer that matches your skin tone on your nose! One of the purposes of eye primers is to form a protective barrier which keeps the oil on our eyelid area from causing creases and smudges when we wear eye shadow This protective barrier works just as well on our nose and on our entire T-zone area where many of us have oilier skin.

Tip #2: Creating a Flawless, Natural Foundation Look

For many years I’ve applied foundation with my fingers . . . and more recently a buffing brush (a densely packed, soft brush with a flat top). I was sold on how much more natural my foundation looked when using a buffing brush . . . until about six months ago. I finally broke down and tried a product I’d been avoiding for several years because I thought it would take too much time. The product I’d been avoiding was the makeup sponge.

After trying the sponge for the first time, I stared at the reflection in the mirror with what I can only describe as a dumbfounded look. Even with my less than perfect eyesight, I could absolutely see a difference. When applied with a sponge, the foundation made my skin look like my skin, but definitely better!

Start by either putting a dot of foundation on your cheeks, forehead, nose and chin or putting some foundation on the back of one hand. Then wet the sponge thoroughly. Next, squeeze out the water and then give the sponge a final squeeze with a paper towel. Then pick up the foundation on one area of your face with the sponge—or dip the sponge into the makeup you’ve put on the back of your hand—and then gently press the sponge onto each area of your face.

It’s important to gently “bounce” the sponge and not rub since the bouncing motion presses the foundation into the skin. Somehow the moisture on the sponge combined with the sponge’s texture in addition to the bouncing motion, produces a flawless finish. And by the way, once you get the hang of it, it doesn’t take more time than using a brush or your fingers!

Tip #3: Applying Blush While Creating a Beautiful, Natural Glow to The Skin

As we know, most of us need to add more moisture to our skin to combat the two

“d’s” our skin experiences as we accumulate a few more years of life and laughter: dryness and dullness. And, since we also lose pigmentation in our skin over the years, adding a soft, natural flush of blush can truly help us look more radiant and vital.

So, here’s a quick tip to add both color and radiance. A cream blush can go on smoothly and flawlessly and add more moisture to the skin. Many of these blushes come in a “stick” formulation. Instead of applying the blush stick directly to your cheeks, dip one of your fingers into a small amount of moisturizer and then rub the moisturizer onto the top of the stick so you’re picking up some of the color of the blush. Then apply the blush in an upward sweep from the middle of your cheekbones (starting at the outer corner of your pupil) upward toward your cheekbone. The moisturizer will enable the blush to go on more smoothly while adding more moisture and a lovely glow to your skin.

Tip #4: Keeping Your Lipstick from Feathering Into Lip Lines

Oh how easily lipstick can seem to “migrate” into those vertical lines above and below our lips! There are a few simple “fixes” you may want to try. First stretch your lips so they expand horizontally. Then apply face primer or concealer along the bottom and top of your lip line so the primer and/or concealer “fills in” those lines. A number of makeup lines also make a somewhat waxy lip line filler which can also be used. Since I really have an issue with feathering, I use both a lip line filler and a concealer. You may also want to put a very light application of powder on your lips as well (also with your lips stretched out). This helps lipstick adhere to your lips better. Using a lip liner will also keep lipstick from migrating.

The formula of lipstick you choose can also make a difference. But here’s the conundrum: matte lipstick doesn’t migrate into our lip lines as easily as a more luminous formula lipstick. But matte lipsticks can also dry out our lips and–since they are “flat” and don’t reflect light—can make us look more severe and older.

On the other hand, more luminous lipstick formulas bring more light to our lips which can help us look our best but can migrate into fine lines more easily.

So what’s a woman to do? I recommend using a matte lipstick formula to help prevent feathering but applying a light coat of gloss (only in the middle part of your lips) over the matte lipstick to give your lips beautiful light and glow.

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Margaret Manning on recently focused on a topic that deeply resonated with many of us: “Are You Living Where Your Soul Feels at Home.”

As she and blogger Elizabeth Dunkel pointed out, many of us have lived in a place for career or family reasons. Or perhaps we lived in a place we once loved but which no longer speaks to us. Perhaps we now yearn to be near mountains or oceans or forests or farmland. What we crave is not only different for each of us—it can be different at different points along our life journey.

As I thought about this topic, a memory flooded back to me of an exercise I often included in a stress management class I taught for many years. Since the process of exploring and completing this exercise often resulted in some powerful insights and “aha” moments for many in the room, I thought you might find it interesting—and fun—to do. It’s from a wonderful book called Wishcraft: How To Get What You Really Want written by Barbara Sher. Barbara is a career/lifestyle coach and author whose books have sold millions of copies. (By the way, another one of her really wonderful books—with a great title—is I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was).

For this exercise, give yourself some time—and a location—where you can sit undisturbed for 20-30 minutes with either a pen and piece of paper or “screen” in front of you . . . whatever you want to use to make it easiest for you to write out your thoughts.

Your Ideal Day

The title of this exercise is “My Ideal Day.” Barbara suggests we write out in present tense and in exquisite detail a description of our ideal day. This isn’t a vacation day, but a picture of a day—from the time you get up in the morning to the time you go to bed--that would exactly fit who you are—your wants, desires, temperament and personality. Don’t limit yourself to what you think is possible. . . unleash your imagination and describe this day as if you had absolutely no limitations of any kind: all the time, money or other resources and talents you might desire. I realize this is difficult for most of us to do, but please give yourself total permission and freedom to create this perfect day just for you.

What’s the first thing you’ll do when you get up? Where, how and what will you have for breakfast? Are you alone or with someone? What are you doing between breakfast and lunch? Again this is your fantasy and no one else is going to see it . . . so curb in that tendency to censor yourself! Where are you for lunch and what do you have? (And by the way, you may want to have breakfast in Paris and lunch in Morocco. That’s fine . . . remember you have unlimited power and resources!)

As you think through the hours of your ideal/fantasy day, keep three helpful things in mind: Where are you? What are you doing? Who are you with?

Your Next Step

Hopefully you felt more and more relaxed as you wrote out the elements of your day. Often as I watched people work on this exercise in my class I’d also see lots of smiles on people’s faces. And I hope this happened to you as well. Give yourself some time to fully relax and enjoy all the parts of your ideal day.

What’s Absolutely Essential For You?

Next, look over what you’ve written and highlight or underline those things which are absolutely essential to your happiness. . . .What things are absolutely indispensable for your happiness as you move forward? Then note what things are optional, but desirable and finally what things are just frills.

One woman who completed this exercise found—much to her surprise—that the first thing she’d wanted to do in the morning was to go horseback riding. As she told us about this, she had tears streaming down her cheeks. She hadn’t ridden a horse since she was a young child and realized how much she missed it. Even though her circumstances didn’t allow her to own a horse, she vowed to figure out a way to find a way to go riding on a regular basis.

Another student realized that no matter where she went during her ideal day—whether indoors or outdoors—she found herself surrounded by flowers. She realized what a difference it would make for her to have at least one flower on her desk each day.

Someone else realized that she’d been attracted to travel locations and activities where she enjoyed bright, joyful colors: an outdoor bazaar, a fabric store and a jewelry shop. But her house and clothing were primarily composed of dark or neutral colors. She decided to go shopping for some bright throw pillows for her couch!

What’s Your Goal?

What’s the one thing from your ideal day exercise that really seems indispensable to your happiness and well-being? It can be anything . . . big or small. What else is important to your happiness? Can you do some brainstorming and plan some steps to eventually get these things into your life? If you’re not sure how you can do it, get together with a friend to brainstorm together. You may even want to get together with a group of friends to do this exercise and then brainstorm about how you might each reach one of your ideal day goals.

How did you feel as you worked through this exercise? Did anything pop up that surprised you? Is there one thing you know you will do—as a result of this exercise—to bring more happiness into your life?

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