EYEBROW-SHAPING INNOVATION

The science and art of microblading

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Brooke Shields, Cara Delevingne, Kim Kardashian —these are just but three of the many celebrities whose bold and perfect arches have been the envy of women all over the world.

Some men, who also pay more attention to their grooming nowadays, also have their own list of eyebrows to copy from Ian Somerhalder, David Beckham and Zac Efron, among others.

Truly, more than just a patch of hair that prevents sweat, water and debris from reaching the eyes, eyebrows have become one of the most prominent features of the face.

“We can leave the home without mascara but without eyebrows done, we just cannot! Eyebrows are the first thing that we notice in a person,” international eyebrow artist Dovile Zilinskaite imparted to The Manila Times in an intimate press gathering during her visit to the capital.


Women who wish to have Brooke Shields’ arches (inset) but are not born with them can achieve their own iconic eyebrows with microblading

As such, more and more people are investing on products and procedures that will enhance their eyebrows. In the UK alone, The Financial Times reported in 2016, that the brow business was valued at £20 million or around P1.39 billion.

Besides its aesthetic purpose, eyebrows are also believed to be an effective tool in communication.

“Eyes can just go up, or go bigger or smaller but your brows can give away your expression—whether you are upset, surprised and so much more,” Filipina make-up artist and eyebrow specialist Ron Peña, who joined Zilinskaite in the gathering, imparted.

“Just by looking at the brows, you already know what the person is feeling. So that’s how essential the brows are in terms of expressing one’s self,” Zilinskaite added.

More interestingly, eyebrows were used as a facial identifier. In a 2003 study, professor Javid Sadr and his colleagues at Massachussetts Institute of Technology showed 25 images of celebrities without eyebrows, and then another 25 snapshots of famous personalities without their eyes to participants. When they were asked to identity the celebrities, the results published in the journal Perception, showed 56 percent of the participants able to identify those only with their eyebrows, while 46 percent correctly guessed those with only their eyes.

The golden ratio
With the importance of eyebrows in communication and recognition established, the question now is how to achieve the perfect arch.

Zilinskaite and Peña both agree that eyebrows are not a one-shape-fits-all stamp, which they can hand out to everyone.

“What works for Cara Delevigne may not work for me or for another woman. That’s because an individual’s face morphology and natural skin palate should be considered in determining the perfect shape, shade and length of one’s eyebrows,” Ron explained to The Manila Times.

Enter microblading, a semi-permanent eyebrow tattoo that mimics natural hair.

“Microblading is a very superficial treatment, and a sophisticated technique that creates hair-like impressions on the skin,” Peña simplified.

Peña is a pioneer eyebrow artist in the Philippines who trained under PhiBrows—a UK-based cosmetics company that specializes in this innovation.

As for Zilinskaite, a PhiBrows master who has trained 41 artists in the Philippines as of press time, eyebrows can easily enhance or destroy one’s natural beauty. [Certified artists for the technique are listed on www.phibrows.com].

“No one really likes to have this block stamp eyebrow. Everyone wants to be beautiful without covering their natural features. That’s why microblading is now number one in enhancement because it creates hyper-realistic eyebrows,” Dovile expressed, citing Middle East and Europe as the top microblading markets in the world, while the Philippines rules in Southeast Asia.

Hyper-realism in eyebrows is achieved by blending natural hair using PhiBrows’ tools, skills and their principle of using “phi” or the golden ratio to create beautiful eyebrows that complements one’s inborn face morphology.

“We have to follow as close as possible the natural features and the morphology of the face. We all have eyebrow bone, which dictates to us the proper place of the brows. We cannot put it too high because we don’t want to keep our face always looking surprised or too low, which will make our eyes look sad all the time,” Zilinskaite explained.

In addition, Peña explained that finding the “golden ratio” in eyebrows has its own science: they calculate the ideal distance between the brows by measuring the sclera or the white outer layer of the eyeballs.

“Think of it this way: for the brows there are facial landscapes that you need, the most prominent of which is the ocular bone, to determine the eyebrow shape, the proper arch and the right length,” Peña detailed.

As human eyes cannot see the perfect symmetry right away, PhiBrows artists use what they call the “phi compass.” Much like the ancient Greeks who had to find the perfect ratio in their artworks and architecture, PhiBrows believes humans must follow their natural facial proportions to enhance their beauty.

As for the pigments, both artists said the intensity depends on the person’s natural skin palette.

Besides the science and art of perfectly shaped eyebrows, Zilinskaite said that microblading offers, foremost, convenience that busy men and women seek today.

“Microblading will definitely save a lot of time and makeup. So instead of spending hours in front of the mirror to achieve perfect eyebrows, people can enjoy more time say with their family or the work on the day’s agenda,” Zilinskaite finally noted.

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