Eczema Ate My Eyebrows: tips for filling in patchy brows.
Eczema ate my eyebrows. It chewed up my eyelashes. It stole my moustache. Well that last one it can have, but I want the others back! I had such well-shaped and defined eyebrows that I only had to fill them in a bit and while my lashes weren't the best, they could carry a good mascara and look flirty enough.
The scratching and skin-rubbing of weekly flare-ups for the past two years have rubbed those precious hairs away. I had hoped it would be temporary, but my brows don't seem to be growing back - the front is very patchy and the tail has disappeared which makes filling them in a challenge.
I find that it is also difficult to draw and fill my eyebrows on moisturised skin as this causes the brow product to slip. So after applying foundation, I suggest lightly patting your eyebrows with a translucent or skin tone powder to soak up some of the moisture and give the brow pencil something to cling to. For this first step I use MAC Natural Skinfinish in "Medium Dark" on a Real Techniques Setting Brush because it is a baked soft powder that does not feel drying as many others can. I don't currently use setting powder anywhere else on my face other than on my brows and eyelids.
When my eyebrows were naturally quite shapely and full I could get the job done with one product. Nothing beats Anastasia Beverley Hills Brow Wiz (£22) in "Dark Brown" as the perfect shade for my brows and the brand caters so well for all hair colours. It is a skinny self-sharpening retractable pencil which provides precision to draw in individual hairs, outline and fill in. It has great colour pay-off yet looks natural and stays quite well put on its own. Or I would choose Illamasqua's Eye Brow Cake (£18), used wet or dry or a small angled brush. It is a pigmented shadow that comes in less shades than the Anastasia range but is another high-quality product with staying power. If I did feel the need to set my brows, I would reach for the best brow gel I have ever found - the Illamasqua Brow and Lash Gel (£14) which is clear and comes in a mascara-style tube with wand. It sets fantastically without crispiness and is almost always out of stock on their website! Grr!
Given I now need to use a lot more product to achieve a full brow, an expensive product like Brow Wiz doesn't last long. So my routine is to draw the outline of the brow and fill in the tail with NYX Micro Brow Pencil in 'Black' (£8), often touted as a cheaper dupe of the Brow Wiz. It is a thin pencil which allows for precision and it comes in a wide range of colours too but I have not been able to find the perfect shade for me: I am not keen on black for my brows but the next shade up - "Espresso" - is just too warm of a brown. I then fill in the brow with KIKO Infinity Eyeshadow in "240" (£2.50) which is a good shade for me, a greyish-brown, but it doesn't have a strong pigment pay-off or staying-power on its own so I mix it with a drop of Illamasqua Sealing Gel (£12). This gel intensifies the shadow's pigment and really helps set the brows in place. Note that the Sealing Gel will cause your shadow product to harden so choose one patch of the pan to dip your gel-laden brush into. Otherwise put a drop of the Sealing Gel on the back of your hand, pick up the eyeshadow with your brush and then mix.
I finish off my routine with a silent prayer that my eyebrows will grow back. And soon!