While I certainly have an affinity for beautiful things, I’ve never been a big beauty girl. I appreciate makeup that takes 5-minutes or less. I was in my late 20’s before I finally got control of my out-of-control skin. My hair remains a constant battle (what is a cool mom haircut these days? If someone knows please tell me cuz I need some fresh ideas). But I digress. As low maintenance as my beauty routine has always been, I’ve come to learn that attention to key details reaps great reward. Case in point, your eyebrows. I am probably one of many brow victims in the world who succumbed to the pressure to pluck and pluck and pluck sometime in high school or college. Then there were the years of waxing, trying to manufacture the perfect line. Then two things happened simultaneously. I had a baby and suddenly had no time for any salon appointment and happened upon Michele Holmes when Goop graced San Francisco with its presence. In a simple 15 minute consultation, I swear she changed my face. So along with her beautiful new studio, I thought I’d share a few tips I’ve learned from Michele along the way.

the secrets to great brows on apartment 34the secrets to great brows on apartment 34

Hello, welcome to an up close and personal look at my face. But I wanted to give you a real sense of what attention to your brows can do. But let me be clear; this is about a very specific type of attention. At Michele Holmes Studio they believe that eyebrows should look soft, natural and be low-maintenance (I can agree with all that!). Michele and her team doesn’t use stencils, gimmicks or tricks. Her natural brow shape is achieved with a tweezer only approach. NO WAX. What you see in my before photo above is about eight weeks of me doing absolutely nothing to my brows. As you can tell from my roots, I tent to stretch my time between beauty appointments as long as humanly possible.

But Michele takes great care to make your brows work for you, not give you “the brow” regardless of your face. Every session is personalized according to your eye shape, bone structure and hair-growth pattern. She discusses brow history, goals and current brow situation before touching a single hair. You might feel a bit like she’s staring into your soul as she intently studies your face. I always wonder what she’s noticing.

And as I mentioned, Michele only uses tweezers. Why, pray tell? This is the #1 question asked. Tweezers = control so she can carefully remove 1 hair at a time. Michele creates soft borders around your brow making the look natural but also polished from any angle. Naturally soft, fluffy (but tidy) brows make everyone look fresh and youthful. Overly shaped brows feel forced, look harsh and are difficult to maintain. Waxing and threading can give the appearance of straight lines and sharp angles. Bonus – I think tweezing hurts a lot less.

the secret to great brows on apartment 34the secrets to great brows on apartment 34

After my first consultation with Michele she convinced me to do two things. Not touch my brows for six months (SIX!) and to tint. Why tint? There are baby hairs under the dominant hair in your brows. Those little hairs love to absorb tint which can instantly make your brows look fuller. A customized brow tint can also make your skin look less dull and your eyes appear bright! Even if you don’t think you “need” tint, it is great for those looking for a boost of color or a shorter makeup routine. Tint is like a 4-5 week brow makeup application. Sold me there. We also to loose pigment in our brows as we age (wah!). Grey and white hair can cause the appearance of holes or gaps in the brows. Michele explained that she’s had clients come in and say “my brows have fallen out”, when really they had just lost color.

So I decided to jump onto the tint bandwagon and couldn’t be happier I did.

the secrets to great brows on apartment 34the secrets to great brows on apartment 34

When tweezing and tinting isn’t enough, Michele also teaches you how to fill in your brows. Brow makeup should look as natural as possible. More of a “fill where you need” to enhance what you have. She was kind of enough to share her top brow makeup tips with me, to share with you!

Here is how to fill your brows:

1. Brush brows up with a spoolie brush to expose sparse areas.

2. Use a super skinny pencil to fill the brows with hair-like strokes. Don’t press too hard and don’t over fill. We like the Surratt Expressioniste pencil. They are retractable, refillable, have an attached brush and are great for all skin types.

3. Brush the pencil strokes to soften the makeup. The lines from the brush create a hair like pattern in the makeup.

4. Groom and set your brows with a clear or tinted brow gel. Our current favorite is the Bobbi Brown Natural Brow Shaper which comes in multiple shades and makes your brows look twice as thick!

the secrets to great brows on apartment 34

Et voila. There’s the after! Three things I love about Michele’s magic. I look more awake. I look less tired. My eyes really pop. Most days I know do a little brow fill in, a touch of mascara and lipgloss and call it good.

Not all are blessed with full brows. If you are having a hard time growing your brows on your own, there are some alternative options. Michele recommends trying a growth serum if you are having a hard time with re-growth. She offers hormone based or all-natural growth serums depending on your preference. If all else fails, Michele will offer customized microblading (launching January 2018). Not everyone is a good candidate. She requires a consultation along with a series of regular brow appointments to be considered for microblading.

But whether you’ve been addicted to tweezing what you think are unruly brows or you think you have no brows with which to do anything I swear Michele Holmes Studio can fix your situation. If you don’t live in the Bay Area – I do apologize that she’s not at your disposal. Even if you do, I believe her wait list is a tad long. But learning about brows was an eye-opening (ha!) experience for me. I hope this post might have offered some new insight for you too!

For my entire beauty archive (yes, there is one) CLICK HERE.

original photography for apartment 34 by andrea posadas

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  1. If you live in the NYC area I recommend the below
    Boom Boom Brow bar is great too, in the Village. Their tint lasts ages!

    But if you need a full workup – like a help! What do I do with my brows, Elke is the guru.
    Elke Von Freudenberg | Eyebrow Expert NYC

    1. Oooh, thank you !! I think I will treat myself to this!

  2. You look great! Love Michele’s brow philosophy and frankly feel it’s quite refreshing. And dang, she has killer style! You’re lucky to have such a gem in your backyard. 🙂

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