• Elise Marquam-Jahns

The Case of the Missing Brow

Updated: May 19, 2018

The Case of the Missing Brow may not be a top priority among Sherlock’s cases, but it’s near the top of the list for most of us who are 50+.


Who knew that one morning we’d wake up and discover that the tails of our eyebrows had gone the way of the VHS tape? Or that our once gloriously full and dark brows could now only be described (at best) as gray and “sparse.” And how about those white, wiry hairs that pop out over night? I’m rather glad my mother never shared some of these “benefits” of hitting retirement age. But hey, let’s look at the bright side; we rarely have to hunt for those tweezers anymore!











Since brows after 50 are made, not born, let’s take a deep breath and take back our brows. 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 we say it) they can also make us look years younger. And I mean years. So, let’s get to it.


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. And supplements and diet and exercise have also been known to help. A good multivitamin that includes biotin and zinc can also make a difference.


In general, those with blonde hair will probably want to go one shade deeper than their hair 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. And at all costs, avoid a harsh, “drawn on line” look! And whether you end up using a brow powder, gel, pencil or pomade, always brush the brow with a brow “spoolie” (which is often at the other end of a brow pencil) to give your brows the most natural look.


And here are a few other general hints and thoughts:

  • You may want to go to a pro brow stylist once to get the perfect shape for your brows.


  • 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 where you’d like it to be and do the same with the bottom of the brow. Then, fill it in.


  • You may want to give a second thought to eyebrow “tattooing” since when skin sags, the tattoo will perhaps go in a direction you’d prefer it not go!


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


  • When you create a new brow with makeup, give yourself some time to adjust to the look of your face with more brow definition. And when you add other eye makeup, the tones will mesh.


  • Brow “gel” can be used to control wiry, unruly brow hairs, but most likely you will still need to fill in with a powder or pencil. And here’s an additional tip: if you have hairspray, you can put it on a disposable mascara wand or another spoolie to tame those unruly brows.


  • For a beautiful, polished look, use concealer to draw a line right above and below your brow line and blend out the concealer.


Since just about every major high end and drugstore makeup line has brow powders, gels, pencils and various brow kits, I highly recommend making an appointment or stopping in at any one of the department store makeup counters to ask if one of their associates can recommend the brow product that would work best, help you pick the right color, try it out on you and teach you how to use it. And you may want to try several different products at several different makeup counters to see which brand, product, color 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 rather than trying them out on your own, experiencing 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? Time together checking out brow options and a little extra socializing, laughter and camaraderie can not only benefit your brows but also (and more importantly) your overall well-being!


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