by Gloria Omoruyi
BLACK women have naturally well-shaped and correctly defined eyebrows. The hair is soft and easy to control. We should not be at all anxious to try to radically alter the brows we were born with. Because the eyebrow hair is shorter and more fibrous than elsewhere on the body, it has a much slower growth cycle-about three months. This is one good reason to consider carefully before adopting an extreme eyebrow style. If it involves removing part or all of the eyebrow, it will take a long time to regrow. Also, since you will not (or at least should not) be wearing make-up at all times, you must imagine what your altered brows will look like without make up. You may look quite ridiculous with half-shaven eyebrows. We must definitely avoid the high-arch, half-moon styles that are very old-fashioned and perfectly unbecoming; they are guaranteed to make the youngest face age ten years. This is also true of half-brows, pencil-thin brows, and no brows at all. We have strong, shapely, distinctive eyebrows. Let’s keep them. If you indulge in extreme alterations of your eyebrow shape, they may never return to their original, appropriate shape.
The eyebrow should not extend past the inner corner of the eye nor more than 1/4 inch beyond the outer corners. It should rest atop the bony promontory protecting the eye. The texture should be soft and fluffy with no exaggerated growth or loss. All you need for this is petroleum jelly and a pair of clean-slant or blunt-ended tweezers. These are the easiest to use since they allow a firm grasp on each hair. You do not need a razor or scissors. The only safe and sure method of shaping brows is by plucking. Scissors never cut close enough and should not be wielded that close to the eye. A razor alters the shape of the growth pattern, creates stubble, and removes too much at a time. By plucking you remove only what you want, very slowly, and regrowth is natural. Do not try to bleach the brows. Brow bleaches lighten our skin and turn the brow hair yellow.
Shape one brow at a time, using your magnifying mirror:
I) Massage a thick coat of petroleum jelly into the brow. This opens the pores to minimize pain while plucking. This is even more effective if you apply while in a hot bath; the steam also opens the pores.
2) Petroleum jelly must remain for thirty minutes.
3) Wipe off excess.
4) Moisten a cotton swab and roll the end in a small quantity of soap. Using swab as a pencil, draw on your brow the shape and size of the brow you require, careful to draw in the direction of hair growth. The soap will dry white and indicate area NOT to be plucked.
5) With another cotton swab, apply petroleum jelly again to hairs you wish to remove.
6) Commencing with the lower hairs, pluck out singly, puffing in direction of growth. Move toward the bridge of the nose and leave to the last the hairs on top of the brow. Pluck both brows before removing soap so that an easy comparison can be made. If you feel a mistake has been made, do not increase the problem by plucking haphazardly but wash the brows and start these instructions over again.
7) Dab brows with witch hazel to close the pores. Your brows will remain sore and bumpy for thirty minutes. Do not apply color until swelling has declined.
8) Our brows do not match, so it is futile and quite unnecessary to attempt a perfect pair.
If you are satisfied with the shape and length of your eyebrows but the hairs are too curly or grow in the wrong direction, you will need an eyebrow brush-comb. This is a small instrument with a comb and brush on either side of one end and is available in any cosmetics store. In addition to this, it is useful to have a medium-hard bristle toothbrush with a fiat face.
I) Apply a moderate amount of petroleum jelly to the brows. Substitute moisturizer if about to put on make-up.
2) Comb for at least one minute in desired direction.
3) Brush with toothbrush for at least five minutes.

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