My eyebrows have never been my favourite feature. Through a twist of genetic gymnastics, I inherited my mother’s fair locks and my father’s dark brown arches, fetching me Sharon Stone comparisons on a good day, Helga from Hey Arnold! on a bad. The colour has begun to fade with age, just in time for wiry white hairs (I actually convinced myself they were platinum blonde) to start spiking out.
A makeup artist once told me that clean, symmetrical, perfectly face-framing arches are the building blocks of beauty; get those right and you’re a giant leap closer to supermodel-dom. Alas, I’ve never been able to get the hang of it. My tweezer-less teens were defined by thick and unkempt strips, prompting a reactionary deforestation project that left me with thin Edith Piaf-esque arcs and a look of constant surprise.
I typically get my brows tidied up about every four weeks and make a daily ham-fisted attempt to fill them in properly with a brow pencil. But I dropped the ball this summer, thanks to a combination of travel, sheer laziness, and the fact that my go-to waxer at the Vietnamese nail salon down the street is days away from giving birth. I haven’t had the time, or the heart.
All of this is to say, I was pretty damn desperate — and rather hirsute — when I heard about the High Definition brows treatment. Available at select salons across London as well as the High Definition Beauty Boutique in Notting Hill, the shaping service promises “bespoke” brows courtesy of a stylist trained in colour, waxing, threading and makeup artistry.
My stylist was Jamie, who welcomed me into a private room at the Karen Betts Clinic on Harley Street. I apologised for my untidy brows — new hairs seemed to be sprouting with every second — but he wasn’t fazed; indeed, many clients struggle with getting any growth at all. Having emerged unscathed from the patch test that must be conducted at least 48 hours before the treatment, my next step was to sign a waiver and create a plan of action. Light or dark? Thick or thin? Angular or curvy? I opted to keep my current colour, requesting angled arches that were full, but not furry.
Jamie popped a bib around my neck as I stretched out on a reclined bed and shut my eyes. After cleansing the area, he applied a tint to the middle section of my brows, where, he noted, the chestnut-brown colour was less rich. Hair loss and colour fading tends to work from the outside in, he noted, pointing out how the ends of my brows had grown sparse. It’s true; I find myself extending them with a pencil each day, but I hadn’t realised this was yet another fun side-effect of ageing.
Once the tint had set, Jamie got to work on hacking away my excess hair. He applied wax, gently ripping it away in small strips. The waxing was key to creating a shape, he told me, pulling out a long sticky black string for the next stage: threading. This process targets the finer, more downy hairs, while a quick round with some tweezers picked up any remaining strays.
The High Definition aesthetic is a brow that’s precise but also natural-looking — not the blocky Scouse style that relies heavily on makeup. As such, Jamie used a light touch for the final portion of the treatment, filling out thinness and adding definition with a Browtec twist-up pencil in Bombshell. I could feel him making faint strokes at the inside edge of my brows, where my hairs tend to fan out at an angle. Not anymore.
After confirming that my brows were symmetrical, brushed and set, Jamie pulled me up and handed me a mirror. The first thing I noticed: No more pesky hairs setting up shop near my eyelids. My brows were clean and trim, yet somehow looked fuller thanks to the fresh tint and pencil work. As requested, they were angular and strong — not quite Cara D., but much better suited to my long, oval face.
The whole thing took about 40 minutes, with results lasting 4-6 weeks. Prices for the treatment start at £25. Sure, that’s significantly more than my £6 monthly wax, but I think of that as maintenance. This is building the framework, creating a shape, doing the landscaping. It’s an investment, not a touch-up.
At long last, I can give good brow. At least until the next rogue white ringlet springs forth.