Real Girl Beauty

For every girl who's imagined herself as Lucky Magazine's "Lucky Girl." Or who's conquered her addiction to the bitchier-than-thou forums. Or who reacts every day to her Daily Candy email with the same: "Who can afford that?" Here are some heartfelt health and beauty tips from one Real Girl to another.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Brow Sugar

For those of you who know Real Girl in her real (lower case!) life, I must ask you a question. Do you realize what her actual eyebrows look like? The sparse, scraggly, barely darkened, slender swoop? Or do you think those lovely brown arches you see are the real deal?

In other words, do you know that my eyebrows are a sham?
They are the work, in fact, of my Benefit Brow Zings.

Allow me a story. Or skip to the end if I bore you. That's fine too.
Let's rewind all the way back to 1997, if you will. Young, fresh Real Girl has just returned to New York after six months of living in London, where--finally!--she has left her teenaged hairstyle behind (thank you, British hairstylist people. Now I know why Vidal Sassoon was created here at your sal-on). Now (meaning then), Real Girl has a fabu new 'do that's flippy at the ends, layered, and entirely appropriate for the dawn of her twenties. She will later realize with the benefit (ha! pun!) of hindsight that she has been given a short version of the "Rachel." That's right. A "Rachel." She did not ask for a Rachel, you supposedly fashion-savvy English hair people who I have just praised, but whatever.

Back in New York, Real Girl cannot trust her trendy new tresses to her childhood hair dresser. Ohhhhh no. She must go to the guy in Chelsea whose phone number is not even listed. Mr. Hear of Me By Word of Mouth or Don't Hear of Me at All. I'll call him Stephen G. Not because I'm hiding his identity, but because that was his name. He was hiding his identity.

Anway, this story has a point, Real Girl promises. Stephen G. took one look at my brows, and his eyes narrowed. He focused on one, then moved to the other. Closer, narrower, as if he were a dermatologist, and I was presenting a mole shaped like Emilio Estevez's tank-top in The Breakfast Club.

Finally his mouth opened. As wide as it could while frowning in disgust. What he said was, "Do you pluck?"

And it hurts me physically to write this (ouch), but I confess. It's the truth. Real Girl did not pluck her eyebrows until she was past the age of 20. (Ouch, ouch ouch.) Stephen G. took out his handy tweezers and took my plucking virginity. There wasn't much to do, just some clean up under what's already a narrow line. But when Mr. G. and I were done plucking, he whipped out his trusty eye shadow palette (the largest I have ever seen, clearly kept on hand for clueless young faint-brows like myself) and filled in my barely there brows with shadow. My eyes looked greener! My forehead looked smaller! Finally, Real Girl was a woman.

Here's the part to skip to, by the way, if you've been bored by the story. From 1997 to 2003, Real Girl continued to line her brows with eye shadow every day. She kept in mind Stephen G.'s warning, the way his face had creased with foreboding: "Never use pencil." (You story skippers are intrigued now, aren't you?) But today, Real Girl knows something that Mr. Word of Mouth Stephen G. did not know. The powder works better when brushed over a wax. And it passes the line into glorious when it's paired with a pigmented wax. Benefit Brow Zings gives you these two wildly compatible products in one little compact.

It also gives you a baby tweezer (actually kind of useless), an angled brush for the wax (for my slender brow at least, it's the perfect width, but boy is it tiny, so get your fingers ready), and another brush for the shadow (also of the wee variety). The product costs $26, but so far, it has lasted me over a year, and I use it every day.

Here are two very important facts about Brow Zings.
1) I use Brow Zings 02, for blondes. I am not blonde. I just play one in my highlights. But Real Girl is still notably brunette, and this is the perfect, perfect shade for her brows. I am skeptical, then, that it would be the same perfect shade for She With Actual Fair Hair. Make no mistake, the pigmented "02-blonde" wax is brown. You Redheads (01), brunettes (03) and Dark Browns (04) needn't worry, however.

2) There must be finger swiping involved in the Brow Zings process. After Real Girl applies her wax with the teeny angled brush, and then covers it with the stroke of lighter shadow, she may as well be holding up a sign: Obviously Wearing Make-up. No one will be fooled. She must then take her first two fingers on each hand and swipe them over her brows once or twice, wiping away the excess and leaving her with what look like the most natural eyebrows in the world.

Or so she thinks.
Remember--you're supposed to tell Real Girl if you've known all along that this part of her is not...*whispers*...real.

You are also asked to please include your own brow wonder stories. Because your comments make Real Girl so happy, she can feel her forehead actively repelling fine lines.

Real Girl