As women, we are pretty familiar with how to handle skincare 911’s, blunders with our hair, shaving mishaps, and how to correct makeup mistakes. When it comes to brows, this particular part of our face is a bit more mysterious. Many of us grew up simply waxing, tweezing or leaving them au naturel until brows became the hottest “accessory” on our face with a multitude of options of ways to groom and improve upon them. What happens when you face a brow emergency? There is no better expert to turn to for advice than Umbreen Sheikh, a licensed cosmetologist, and founder + CEO of Wink Brow Bar and Salon in New YorkCity.
Problem: Overplucking your brows-
Almost every woman has gotten too close to that magnifying mirror and been overzealous with a tweezer. Umbreen says, “Don’t fear. You can fake it till you make it with subtle makeup tricks that will help to create the illusion of a fuller, thicker brow. This can be done with Wink’s own Brow Perfecting Quad.” https://winkbrowbar.com/collections/our-products/products/wink-brow-perfecting-quad Brush the two powders through, then brush through again to blend for a natural-looking finish. Finally, use a highlighter to camouflage any random hairs. Umbreen says that “Drawing a straight line under your brow will help minimize the appearance of strays. This will also lighten and brighten the entire eye area, drawing more attention to the eyes.”
Problem: Creating a too wide eyebrow gap
The obvious solution to this is to fill in the points closest to the bridge of the nose to lessen the gap. This can be done via microblading. Microblading is a semi-permanent tattoo technique used to create the illusion of fuller brows. With this method, Umbreen can create almost any look and shape. First, Wink technicians consult with clients about the best brow shape for their face and choose a color that matches the natural hair color and skin undertone. The brow area is then cleaned and numbed for the treatment. Instead of using a tattoo machine, a handheld tool manually draws hair strokes. This all can take up to 30 to 40 minutes. Results can last anywhere from one to three years, depending on your skin type (the ink fades faster on oily skin), products, and lifestyle. It’s also an ideal procedure for women who have lost brow volume due to age, menopause or chemotherapy.
Problem: Unruly Brows-
Bold, feathery brows are in, but messy is an adjective you never want to be associated with your arches. “If your brow hairs are “wonky,” you need a game plan for controlling them,” says Umbreen. If your arches do need a trim, Umbreen suggests brushing your brows up towards the top of your ear with a spooly brush and cutting only the tips off the long hairs pointing the scissors down, (not parallel to the brow). “This gives trimmed brows a natural look, because none of the hairs are exactly the same length,” As a finishing touch, mist a spoolie with hairspray and brush it through brows—directing the hairs up for a lifted look.
Problem: Matching your brow color to your hair exactly
In the case of the hair on your head and your eyebrows, you “don’t want to match the curtains to the carpet,” says Umbreen. Very often, a hair colorist will suggest that you tint your brows much lighter if you are going blonder. Umbreen disagrees with this. “Darker brows will act as a frame for the face and enhance your eye color. Generally, it will give you the appearance of a lot more brow.” If you have gone too light or too dark, “eyebrow tinting is the process of applying semi-permanent dye to enhance, shape, and define your brows. This can be done at salons such as Wink. “It gives the appearance of thicker, more youthful-looking brows,” says Umbreen. An average session takes only about 15 minutes and the color should last anywhere from 3-6 weeks. It’s instant gratification as your new eyebrow color will be immediately apparent.
Mistake: Plucking brows too short
Eyebrows that are too short can make your eyes and nose look too big. If you have plucked them or waxed them so that you look like you have half an eyebrow, of course, you can spend the time to pencil them in every day but that if time-consuming and takes skill to make both brows symmetrical. Or… you could get eyebrow extensions. Similar to eyelash extensions, eyebrow extensions are done with tiny fibers of mink or synthetic hairs. The brow extension fibers are then attached to either bare skin or to existing hairs, giving them a fuller, stronger look. The service is from 25 mins to 90 mins depending on thickness or amount of work required.
The Problem- You’re so squeamish for waxing or you bruise easily
You would be hard-pressed to find a woman who enjoys the tear of a strip of wax against her eyelid to remove tiny eyebrow hairs, but yet we put up with it in the name of beauty. For anyone who has ever deviated from their regular waxer on a vacation or business trip, you have most likely ended up being cut or bruised by overly aggressive waxing. There is a great alternative for everyone called organic threading. As Umbreen explains, “With its origins in Asia centuries ago, eyebrow threading is a simple process that is often considered to be one of the most painless (and least invasive) options for shaping brows. The threading process is simple and typically involves a single piece of cotton thread, After wiping the eyebrow area clean with alcohol, the thread is “twisted and pulled along areas of unwanted hair acting like a mini-lasso, lifting the hair directly from the root without the use of any chemicals or unnecessary tugging on delicate skin. As opposed to waxing, tweezing, or lasers, threading is considered one of the safest and most precise methods of hair removal, especially in the delicate areas surrounding the eye. “Threading allows our specialists to have greater control over which hairs are removed.” The technique is also “100 percent natural,” which means there are no artificial waxes, chemicals, or invasive techniques used during the procedure.
The Problem- You’ve made your brows too big and bold.
Don’t assume you have to wash it all off. Instead, take a cotton swab dipped in makeup remover and carefully trace your brow’s natural outline. Remember, brow product should be applied within the brow’s hairline, not beyond it. Cotton swabs will remove any unwanted shading that has ventured too far outside the lines.
Trying at home to make both eyebrows symmetrical
This is one of the most common mishaps that Umbreen hears from clients who tried to ‘go it alone at home.’ Umbreen offers, “When you obsess over making your eyebrows look exactly the same, you can wind up over-plucking them. Too-thin brows are much worse than ones that are just a tad different. Your eyebrows are supposed to be sisters, not twins.
ABOUT UMBREEN SHEIKH LICENSED COSMETOLOGIST
FOUNDER + CEO OF WINK BROW BAR
For London born Umbreen, beauty is in her blood. Her mother was a huge influence, having attended cosmetology school and owning London Salons that encompassed all areas of beauty in addition to eyebrow threading, which was quite rare at the time. Umbreen learned to “thread” brows at an early age. Umbreen jokes that her mother taught her, “The birds, the bees and the brows.” Growing up, Umbreen spent much of her time in her mother’s salons while also attending University at King’s College London and graduating with a degree in Biomedical Sciences. After marrying in 2003, Umbreen moved to New York where she became PR Director of a niche magazine. In 2005, Umbreen had a son, and in 2011 her daughter was born. After her children were in school, she decided to fulfill her lifelong passion for beauty, brows and product development.
While living in New York, she realized that there were no brow salons that catered to threading and focused on understanding face shapes and how to achieve the perfect brow shape in a way that did not damage the eye area. Although many salons offered waxing, this was not a method Umbreen wished to pursue. She was dismayed by existing salons that offered one size fits all, unhygienic, or painful brow/eyelash treatments.
As someone who learned the reigns of beauty and brows from an entrepreneurial mother, the concept of women’s “Embrowerment” was essential to Umbreen. In 2014, she developed the concept for Wink. Today, her empire includes three Wink Brows Bars in Manhattan, one in Brooklyn and one in London. For those who can’t make it to the salon, Wink has an eponymous line of brow, lash and facial products available for purchase online.
Philanthropic pursuits play a significant role in Umbreen’s life. She is a committee member of “Developments in Literacy” that educates 27,000 girls in Pakistan. She is also a Lotus Circle Advisor for The Asia Foundation a non -profit international organization that works across Asia advancing the rights and opportunities for women through their empowerment program.
Umbreen resides in New York with her financier husband and two children.