Two days before he walks down the aisle this fall, Ali Pourvasei intends to walk into a salon to have his eyebrows waxed. “For my wedding, it’s a no-brainer,” said Pourvasei, 38, of Los Angeles. “I’m doing a custom suit from scratch, so everything at my wedding has to look good. Eyebrows are just another piece of the puzzle.”
Pourvasei didn’t really care about the state of his brows until about two and a half years ago, when his fiancée, Lizzie Renee, 30, began encouraging him to have them tidied at Anastasia Beverly Hills Salon in Beverly Hills, California. “She brought it up a few times,” he said. “In the beginning, I was like, ‘Hell no.’ ”
Pourvasei, a founder of LAD Solutions, an online marketing services agency, eventually gave in. “I was like, ‘OK, fine,’ just for her to leave me alone,” he said. He had the little hairs above and below his brows removed. “When I saw the results, I was like, ‘Damn, why didn’t I do this from the beginning?’ It was super clean.”
For the past couple of years, Pourvasei has scheduled regular 15 to 20-minute eyebrow-shaping appointments, at $50 per session. Although his wedding at Brandview Ballroom in Glendale, California, isn’t until Nov. 17, he already has the touch-up for his big day on his calendar.
Many more brides and grooms are seeking to improve their eyebrows, either by commissioning full makeovers or adopting slight changes. Styles are shaped by clients’ personal preferences. Waxing, tweezing, threading, applying pigment, utilizing injectables and other methods, have varied techniques, results, costs and timelines.
“You get your dress a year or six months in advance — eyebrows are kind of the same,” said Anastasia Soare, the founder and chief executive of Anastasia Beverly Hills. She patented an eyebrow-shaping method called the Golden Ratio, inspired by balance and symmetry. Yoli Cotray, a makeup, brow and lash artist at Hourglass Crosby in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood, said, “Eyebrows are the No one thing that creates symmetry on the face. It balances things out, especially if you have the right brow based on your bone structure and your hair texture. The makeup will look so much better.”
For scheduling wedding-specific brow appointments, Cotray advises “the sooner, the better,” designating six months out as a good marker. The Hourglass stores in New York and Venice, California, offer a 30-minute brow-sculpting service using tweezers and vegetable wax, for $55. A prescribed brow regimen may involve growing out hairs, so Cotray advises that clients refrain from plucking or waxing their eyebrows before seeing a specialist. Transitional sessions are scheduled in between, depending on how fast the client’s hairs grow. The final appointment should occur four or five days before the wedding day, she says.
Nicole Shotto, the owner of Bonded by Brows at Halo Salon in Dickson City, Pennsylvania, oversees the eyebrows of about five grooms and 25 brides each year. Men typically come in for “brow cleanups” she said, while women opt for more involved services. One of those services is threading, which uses thread to shape brows by removing hairs one at a time. The 10-minute process should be conducted one week before the wedding and can last between one month and six weeks, Shotto said. The cost is $18.
Not all brow treatments remove follicles. Some solutions imitate the appearance of hairs. Microblading involves small blade strokes, cutting the skin in the shape of individual hairs, while pigment is applied. The blade is made of 14 tiny needles. “It causes a three-dimensional effect that looks like eyebrows,” Shotto said, noting that a topical anesthetic is applied before the treatment and after the skin is broken.
The semi-permanent addition, usually lasting six months to two years, requires two sessions. The first includes a consultation to discuss size, shape and color, followed by application. The second takes place four weeks later, at which time pigment is retouched for one hour. Shotto suggests that the follow-up appointment occur at least one month before the wedding. The total cost is $400 to $600.
Powder brows are a less-natural look, similar to microblading, Shotto said. “It’s a more solid brow opposed to a 3D brow that looks like hair,” she said. They are created when a singular needle slides across the skin, manually or using a tattoo-like machine. Although the same time span and dual appointments apply, a solid powder brow costs $600.
Injectables are another option. Dr. Debra Jaliman, a board certified dermatologist on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, says she sees 100 brides each year. More than half of them, typically in their early 20s and late 40s, receive Botox. “The frown is the most common area,” she said, referencing the space between the eyebrows. The Food and Drug Administration approves the use of Botox for smoothing frown lines ($500 at Jaliman’s office) and crow’s-feet (lines around the outer eye area, $500). Botox is not approved by the FDA for use in the lateral brow (the outer third of the eyebrow, $250), where injections facilitate an extra millimeter of height. “We put it underneath the brow to give it an extra lift,” Jaliman said. The treatments are not covered by insurance and last three to four months. It takes a week to 10 days to see the full effects.
Hyaluronic acid fillers like Juvederm or Restylane can be used in the lateral brow to lift and accentuate the brow bone, Jaliman said. Neither indication is FDA approved or covered by insurance, and the effects last up to eight months. Because brows typically use 0.2 of a cubic centimeter of filler, most of Jaliman’s patients use the remaining portions in their lips or smile lines. Her office charges $850 to $950 for a cubic centimeter syringe, depending on the brand.
Those looking for a needle-free lift can opt for noninvasive radio frequency therapy. The Thermage system is FDA-approved for smoothing, tightening and contouring skin. Jaliman operates an apparatus with a pencil eraser-size tip under the brow to raise it 1 millimeter. The treatment uses precise shallow heating and results can last one to two years. A 45-minute session costs Jaliman’s patients $3,500.
There are far less expensive options also available. At-home products like Tweezerman Rose Gold Slant Tweezer ($20.70 at Target), R+Co Magic Wand Brow Gel ($20 at Randco.com) and IT Cosmetics Brow Power Universal Brow Pencil ($24 at Sephora) can sculpt, tame and fill brows, as needed.
Glamsquad, an on-demand beauty service, offers wedding day makeup application and wedding makeup trials in six markets, including Boston, New York, San Francisco and Washington. Each 90-minute session costs $150 to $220.
A makeup trial should be completed a month or two before the wedding, said Janeena Billera, a senior global makeup artist at Glo Skin Beauty, a Denver-based skin care and mineral makeup brand. To save time (and money on multiple consultations), clients should decide on style preferences beforehand.
Billera recommends brides and grooms bring model or celebrity photos showcasing eyebrows they most desire and also dislike. “Everyone has a different brow and hair type, shape and preference,” said Billera, who suggests a classic and timeless look. “You want to look like yourself, just a better version of yourself.”