Hannah Betts’s Better…not younger: The high brow guide to reshaping your face
- Hannah Betts shares advice for shaping your eyebrows to appear more youthful
- UK-based beauty columnist reveals a selection of heavenly hand creams
- L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Pro Retinol Day Cream is this week’s cosmetic craving
With regard to looking older, we tend to obsess about matters that can be difficult to control: wrinkles, sagging, the collapse of bosom and rear.
And yet, one thing that ages us hugely is entirely self-inflicted — the damage we do to our eyebrows in the name of beauty.
Eyebrow abuse is a sort of generational trauma. Where one cohort lops them all off, so its daughters sport bushes. The too-skinny 1960s and 1970s were countered by the Brooke Shields-browed 1980s. The 1990s and 2000s over-pluckers were seen off by Cara Delevingne.
These days, the scrawny brow is so passe it’s almost back in vogue, with occasional flashes of super-thin brows cropping up in the odd fashion shoot.
Hannah Betts shares advice for shaping your eyebrows to appear more youthful (file image)
However, the big brow continues to reign supreme. This means that midlifers who have over-edited in the past find that it’s our skimpy brows, not our mottled complexions, that date us.
I do not say this from a position of smug superiority, being more akin to some eyebrow Ancient Mariner pleading with people not to make my mistakes.
Until my mid-20s, I boasted vast, virgin, slug-like growths above each eye. The advent of Tweezerman tweezers (from £14, boots.com) saw them morph from slugs to tadpoles, Nike ticks to crescent moons.
Their shape was perfected into the arches they are today. Then I had them tattooed, meaning they transitioned from solid black blocks to lurid satsuma horrors, with brunette pigment fading to an orange shade, and blonde to khaki.
Finally, in 2018, after 15 years of resembling Batman’s Joker, Dr Sach Mohan blasted the tangerine away. He achieved this with an extremely expensive laser — the Cutera Enlighten — which uses acoustic waves to break up pigment without the hair loss, burning and blistering with which laser tattoo removal was once associated (£300 a session, revereclinics.com). It felt like a miracle, and still does.
If you have tattooed or microbladed your way into a disaster, the best product to conceal them is Armani Eye & Brow Maestro (£31, armani beauty.co.uk). It’s rain, pillow and boyfriend-proof, so he never had to view my state of self-harm.
Growing the blighters back after aggressive plucking can present almost as much of a challenge. I’ve been applying the award-winning Revitabrow Advanced Eyebrow Conditioner (£95, revitalash.co.uk), which is full of peptides and botanicals. Applied nightly, it does seem to produce a fresh thatch.
I’ve just started testing the brand’s twice-a-week Lash & Brow Masque (£40), launching on November 1, and will report back.
Hannah (pictured) said colour match is crucial, meaning supermarket options may prove as winning as luxe varieties
In addition, I slather on oils, lip balms, Vaseline — anything to spur on my strands.
I also dye them every few weeks using an Eylure Dybrow Kit (from £5.95, amazon.co.uk). They can look a tad hardcore for the first few hours, but they calm down after a couple of cleanses and a shower.
Beyond this, the key is to do very little. And have what little you do overseen by someone so skilled they have acquired first-name status, such as Vaishaly (Patel, the genius who styled my arches), who offers brow bar treatments from £15 (vaishaly.com); Shavata (Singh, from £28, shavata.co.uk); or — in the U.S. — Anastasia (Soare).
Make-up wise, colour match is crucial, meaning supermarket options may prove as winning as luxe varieties.
And, if you still can’t find The One, then Cosmetics a la Carte can be persuaded to create customised shades for you (from £65, cosmeticsalacarte.com).
If wielding a pencil, make sure it’s slim enough to mimic real hair, such as the ultra-precise Anastasia Brow Wiz (£17.60, anastasiabeverlyhills.com).
Applied with a light touch, powder can look beautiful. My favourite is the BBB Dream Brows Palette (£25, netaporter.com).
However, for a clumsy hand that moves too quickly (mine), brow mascara is best. Glossier’s Boy Brow (£14, glossier.com), Charlotte Tilbury’s Legendary Brows (£19, charlottetilbury.com), and Benefit’s Gimme Brow+ (£22.50, benefitcosmetics.com) are rightly renowned for providing colour, bulk and lift.
Meanwhile, my latest ‘knocker-off of years’ is Anastasia Brow Freeze (£17.60).
Give it a whirl for a full-bodied, feathered uplift that screams ‘millennial abundance’ rather than ‘old-bag bald’.
RACE YOU TO IT
Hand sanitiser is still with us, as much to protect us from colds and flu as Covid. I’m all for turning a chore into a joy, and perfumer Tom Daxon does just this with his Gloved Sanitiser Travel Set. Its cedarwood, iris and lime scent is divine, and it won’t dry out hands.
MY ICON OF THE WEEK
Julianna Margulies, 55, (pictured) uses a facial scrub almost every night, then applies a vitamin C serum and moisturiser
Those of us addicted to hit Apple TV+ series The Morning Show find ourselves fixated with its 55-year-old star’s midlife lustre: realistic expression lines plus enviable skin.
‘If I wasn’t ageing, I wouldn’t be living,’ notes Julianna Margulies. ‘I diligently do a facial scrub almost every night. Then I apply a vitamin C serum and put my moisturiser on.’ She also wears sunscreen all year round.
Sometimes it’s a real joy to get back to basics.
L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Pro Retinol Day Cream SPF30 is my go-to moisturiser when the weather isn’t scorching.
I buy it in bulk from the Superdrug in Sheffield station when I visit my brother. A great base for make-up, its pro-retinol and Fibrelastyl combo leaves middle-aged skin looking firm, springy and healthy.
I add some SPF50 on top of any sunspots to pump up the protection, then I’m not merely ready, but happy to face the day.
HEAVENLY HAND TREATS
Britain’s No. 1 hand salve, as used by Scandinavian fishermen.
This vegan marvel really does live up to its title, Skin Food, working wonders on parched palms.
This rich formula uses hyaluronic acid to nourish hands, cuticles and nails.
Rihanna comes to the rescue with this mask packed with glycerin and pro-vitamin B5.
Designed for rough feet. On autumnal hands, a little goes a long way.
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