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    Photo by Allef Vinicius

    Throughout the decades, brow looks come and go. Full, bushy brows evoke 80s-era Brooke Shields. Super skinny brows scream late 90s. Recently, the perfectly painted “Insta Brow” has been having a major moment.

    For 2019, a more easy-going, lower-maintenance, natural brow is trending. To achieve this look, I tapped brow guru Umbreen Sheikh for her best tips. As a licensed cosmetologist and Founder + CEO of Wink Brow Bar, Umbreen is a bonafide brow savant. Here’s how she – and her teams at Wink’s multiple locations in New York City, Brooklyn and London – are helping clients live their best brow lives…


    Photo by Rune Enstad

    Umbreen Sheikh’s Top 6 Brow Tricks 

    1. Assume the position

    While you might think you need to park yourself thisclose to the mirror to precision-groom your brows, that isn’t actually the case. “Standing too close can throw-off your brow proportions, and make you lose perspective on the overall shape,” says Umbreen. “For best results, stand at least one foot away.”

    2. Break out the brush

    Short on time? At the very least, give your brows a thorough brushing. Stroke up and over, and then anchor your arches with a dab of brow gel or clear mascara. (More on brow gel shade-selection below.) FYI, the Wink tool of choice has an angled side and a spoolie on one end, so consider investing in a brow brush of similar quality. You’ll be using it every day, so it will pay for itself in no time.

    3. Select your ideal shade 

    Picking the perfect, slam-dunk shade of gel, pencil or powder is crucial, so this is where you need to spend real quality time. As a general rule, you’ll want to match your hair roots, which are typically one shade lighter than your brows. “Most women want their brows to add definition to their face, and not ‘read’ as harsh or aggressive,” says Umbreen. “Matching your brows to your roots does that.” With one exception, Umbreen cautions. “If you’re blonde, go a shade darker than your roots. Otherwise, you’ll look washed-out.” NOTE: If you opt for professional brow tinting, which lasts for up to four weeks and is among Wink’s most popular services, you can skip this shade-selection tip altogether. How easy is that?



    4. Get a little nosey

    One of the very best things about next-level brow grooming, whether you master it yourself or pop by Wink for professional assistance, is that it allows you to visually alter the shape of your nose. Thinner, wider – whatever nose look you’re after, beautiful brows can help you get there. If you’re opting for thinner, Umbreen recommends drawing an imaginary vertical line from the tip of your nose to the beginning of your brow, and then focusing your shade-filling right there at the start. To make your nose appear wider, do the opposite and focus your shade-filling at the end of your brow, not the beginning.

    5. Pencil (or powder) it in 

    Whichever shade format you choose, the absolute key to success is to follow the basic shape of your existing brow. Go easy, and only add color between hairs, as needed. “The idea is to shade, not ‘draw’ your brows on from scratch,” says Umbreen. “The goal is a soft, subtle look that lends definition. Straight, hard lines are to be avoided at all costs.” 

    6. Between brow appointments, “cheat” with concealer
    Pressed for time? If you can’t make it into Wink or carve-out 15 minutes to do a thorough DIY bathroom brow-grooming sesh, Umbreen recommends adding a dab of concealer on the most unruly hairs. “Whatever you do, resist the temptation to just yank them out,” she says. “Brows add so much structure and personality to your face that you really want to take your time, and groom properly. Or better yet, head to Wink, and let us help.”


    Photo by Carol Oliver

    As with most features on our face, our eyebrows change as we age, and not always for the better. One could say they become our “arch enemy” without the proper arsenal of tools and tricks.  They can become sparse, droop, turn grey, change color, length and thickness. To add insult to injury, aging eyebrows often cease to regrow, so a single overzealous tweezer session can leave you with almost nonexistent brows. The good news is, “all of these “ills” can be reversed with some skilled brow work, the right products and at home tips,” says Umbreen Sheikh. 


    Umbreen says that, “Brows can visually lift or droop the face—they are defining attributes that complement not only your face but the way you want the world to see you. The shape of your brows plays a big part in the appearance of your overall look. You can appear younger by having a fuller brow. Thin brows typically age the face, so opt for fuller brow shapes and use makeup to make the brows appear fuller.”

    Eyebrow Threading

    Threading is the easiest way to shape your brows by a professional. They will help determine the best shape for your face and also make your brows defined and crisp. Threading is the best way to do your brows if you have sensitive skin or allergies to waxing products. Threading is also fast, so you will be in and out of your appointment in no time.


    If you have naturally thinner brows with less hair, consider filling in your brows to create a fuller look. Pencil is a better choice over other makeup such as pomades or waxes because pencil looks very natural and you can achieve a precise shape to the brow. Make sure to keep the pencil tip sharpened so that you can have complete control over your application.

    Take the Tweezers out of your Hands 

    We’re all guilty of doing this at times. We’ll try to get the perfect arch and end up with eyebrows that are way too thin. The best thing to do is to hide your tweezers and leave the plucking to the professionals. I know, it’s hard to do especially in-between salon appointments, but your brows will thank you in the end.


    The eyebrow makeup color should match your brows and not the hair on your head. Matching the makeup color to your existing brow hairs will keep a youthful appearance. Don’t go too dark in color for the brows because darker colors will age you if you don’t have naturally dark brown hair.


    Another trick to use for your brows to help you appear younger is to highlight them. Use a lighter colored pencil or eyeshadow that’s ivory or beige to highlight the arch of your brow. This will make your brow appear lifted for a younger look. Also consider highlighting on top of the brow arch to further define the arch shape.

    When Brow “Tails Fade at the Edges

    Brows naturally thin at the outer edges (by your temples) first, but fading can also be the result of overplucking. “The tail of the brow is the part that sets off the arch, which makes eyes look youthful” says Umbreen. “Without it, eyes seem droopy and tired.” The Solution: Lengthen your brow tails with a pencil.


    If your brow hairs are long in some spots, try to trim them with brow scissors. Trimming the brows will further enhance the shape and keep the brow hairs looking very groomed and in place for a youthful appearance.

    Avoid Wax

    In my opinion, threading is best for your brows, not waxing. I see a lot of people make a mistake with waxing. You shouldn’t be stripping your skin so close to the eyebrow with wax. It can make your skin soften earlier and make your skin wrinkle sooner.

    Brush Out Your Brows

    I don’t know why people don’t do this. Just brushing your brows changes the shape and stimulates growth. There’s [nothing] more stimulating than brushing your brows.

    Lash Serums

    If you have sparse or thin brow hairs, consider using a lash serum to help grow more hair for a fuller and younger style. All-natural castor oil or protein packed serums sold in stores can help strengthen your eyebrow hair. It may take a few months of daily application, but the results will be worth it. Stronger & fuller brow hairs mean less time filling in the brows with makeup for a fuller look!


    The #BossLady of Brows, London-born / New York-based Umbreen Sheikh is on a mission to embrower every woman she comes in contact with.

    A second-generation cosmetologist, Umbreen learned the ancient technique of threading from her mother, who owned several London salons. In transferring this centuries-old knowledge to her curious, capable daughter, little did Umbreen’s mother know that she was setting the stage for a brow-centric beauty empire. Umbreen resides with her family in New York City.

    Thank you for reading our latest post in The Badass Writer! Glad to have you accompany me in this blogging journey. Look forward to book reviews and travel stories. I have reviews coming up as well. Subscribe so you don’t miss a thing!