What part of your makeup routine do you enjoy the least?

I enjoy the FEELING of a clean, makeup-free face, but there are moments where big sighs are heaved knowing I have to take it all off.

— Christine
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Eyebrows. I dislike doing them very much. I used to have pretty nice eyebrows until I had my son, then once postpartum hair loss kicked in, I lost a lot of eyebrow hair and it never grew back.

Definitely brows! Chemo left me without eyebrow tails, which means without brow makeup I look freaky. The most difficult part of my brow routine—other than getting them as close to being twins as possible—is finding the right brow product in the right shade. Since my hair is mostly very dark gray with silver highlights and the brow hairs that I have left are black, brown pencils look too warm and black pencils look too harsh, with one exception: Diorshow Brow Styler in Black is fantastic because it’s not too black and it’s very easy to use (over NYX Proof It Waterproof Eyeshadow Primer). But the Dior pencils are very expensive and wear out way too quickly. So I’m back on the hunt for something that works well without making me go broke! (Anyone ever tried Benefit Ka-Brow?)

I’ve also got sparse brow tails (from hypothyroidism and aging) as well as not much hair on the brows, black brow hairs (with whites coming in more there); S&P (mostly S) on head. I use several products and techniques to achieve a natural looking and fuller brow. To me the key is that these products work well together–basically the colors are different so that as a group, the brows look more natural. I dislike the painted-on brow look even though it seems to be in fashion. Several products I use have been discontinued, but the way I make them work together may give some ideas. Overall result is pretty nice though. Takes me maybe 5 minutes at most to do both brows. Multiple products though mean that it’s not cheap. I buy backups too, which have worked out well as my brow pencil and brow powder shade have been discontinued. I think the backups will last until I’m either dead or I’ll be wanting to try a different technique (or maybe I won’t care LOL).

If you are receiving notifications to your post above and are interested in a detailed description of what I do, reply to this post. It’s too long to describe (will take me longer to write up than it would take for me to do it) so don’t want to clog this subject post otherwise…

How I do my sparse-tailed S&P brows:

I don’t spend too much time or effort to try to make my brows look that alike. I find most people lack symmetry on their faces anyway, and IRL when we’re looked at by others our faces are many times in motion, moving as we talk or turn our heads or whatever, so people don’t look as closely as we may think they do. If a photo is being taken or something similar, then I may spend a bit more time to try to make them look more alike but there are other parts of my face that are also not fully symmetrical, so I think this is pretty much a waste of time. I spend maybe 5 minutes on my brows, if that.

I focus more on how each individual brow looks in relation to the eye below, making the arch rise in the same or similar place on each side and having the inner and outer ends pretty much line up the same in relation to the eye, and have similar thickness at the same spot on each opposite brow. If the brows need help in this regard, that’s where the products come in.

I’ve tried gels, powders, pencils, etc. and think that the best approach is to use whatever works the best in enhancing or masking issues and is the color that is the most flattering. Personally, I think gel is the wrong thing for sparse brows, mainly because it seems most gels look too unnatural. I know many people like gels and the look they create. But to me, they look too much like the brow is painted on, and when they’re used by someone who already has a full brow, I think they make the brow look overdone and a bit off. Again, this is my personal opinion and I don’t mean to offend anyone. I’m not always one to follow fashion or makeup trends so maybe you’ll disagree and choose to use a gel as one of your daily products, and if a gel works for you then go for it.

I’ve given up trying to find the *one* right color for my brow, mainly because my brow hairs are cool-toned, almost black w/some salt in them, yet the hair on my head is S&P leaning more light gray. Just as on natural hair colored heads, brow hairs can be (and frequently are) more than one color. Slapping on just one color of gel or pencil or whatever works great when the hair on the head is the same color all over (such as with artificially colored hair or frequently with very dark or light colored hair), but with many other people one-shade brows look unnatural. I’m in the latter camp. The benefit of this approach is that because it’s hard to find a good cool-toned gray or similar shade in brow colors, using several products at once makes the end result look more natural. The disadvantage of this is there are more products, so that means more cost and a bit more effort.

My current approach, which may change as I age more or discover new techniques or products, is to use a pencil, powder, a waterproof or long-wear liquid eyeliner and a microfiber-based color gel (which is like a colored mascara, with a mascara type wand). I always do my brow work in a magnifying mirror but continually check them in a regular wall mirror from about 2 feet away, which is the average closeup distance that most people would see my brows. This checking ensures I don’t overdo the brows or needlessly stress over tiny details.

I like to start the filling in from the upper part of the brow and on top of the brow (especially the sparser areas) instead of underneath the brow, as this lifts the eyes (which aging eyes need anyway) and looks more natural in my case because I’ve got some nice hairs above my brows especially above the arch. Even lacking the hairs above the arch, I think going higher looks right on many people, but you may need to experiment to see if that works for you.

My pencil is more of a cool dirty gray dark brown; I use that first to give the overall framework to the brow, not to completely fill in all of the brow. I use the pencil to make a rough line from the arch to the tail, being careful to not go too thick or too dark, and to fill in here and there on the rest of the brow. I don’t use the pencil to fill in everything needed and so move on to the other products. I then take some brow powder I’ve got in a dark grayish brown and use a nice brow brush to enhance and slightly expand the line I’ve made with my pencil. The powder is a darker gray than the pencil and looks more noticeable so I try to use a light touch with it. I then follow this with a fiber-based colored brow gel mascara that is dark brown and not only colors the hairs more but adds volume with the fibers. The fiber-based gel mascara really does the trick—it’s critical because it not only makes me look like I’ve got more brow hairs by having the fibers cling to the (few) hairs I’ve got, giving a 3-D look to the brow enhancements I’ve made, but also colors most of the white hairs.

A final/recent step I’ve added is to use a dark brown long-wear liquid eyeliner in a careful and conservative manner for two purposes only. First, I use it to color any white hairs that were too stubborn to accept the colored brow gel—if you don’t have this issue, skip this task of course. Second, after wiping off what first comes out, I use the liner brush to make lightly applied tiny dots or specks in the very bald areas of my brows. I don’t draw too many of these specs because I don’t want my brows to look like a pointillistic painting—rather, the specks serve to give some color grounding to those bald areas that have only pencil and powder. This is one step that really requires checking up on the magnifying work in a wall mirror, because up close it may seem that the specks will be very noticeable and unnatural. But from the arms-length distance of a wall mirror, the bald spots seem to disappear. You may find that using a darker colored gel like Ka-Brow with a liner brush that has a small pointed tip may work just as well as liquid eyeliner for this purpose.

I can list the products I use personally but as I mentioned above, the pencil brand and color seem to be discontinued and the powder color has also been discontinued. Color wise, as long as you stay within in cool or warm family that is your natural hair coloring, you can create a look that will work for you. If you can skip using either a pencil or a powder, go for it. (I used to use just powder—no pencil—but adding a pencil in slightly different/lighter color allowed for making a stronger tail line than using just one or the other.) For the fiber-based gel mascara, I see at least five or six brands in a cursory search online, which is pretty encouraging; two brands I’ve used are Blinc and LashFood.

I hope that this write-up gives you some ideas for your brows and apologize for its length.

Have you tried the IT Cosmetics pencil? It’s pricey, but lasts me a while. I also use the NYX Micropencil in Black, as it isn’t as harsh as most other black pencils on the market. They also have a deep taupe shade.

Hi Seraphine, I received a sample of the Ka-Brow a few months ago, I’ve been using it ever since. It works beautifully, I need to use a primer on my brow where I have a bald spot to have it adhere to that spot for some stupid reason. The sample is lasting a super long time, it is nicely pigmented and lasts all day. I don’t have anything negative to say about it. The sample came with a medium and dark brown. I have medium brown hair and I use both the colors.

I totally agree with you regarding the feeling of wiping my face off after a long day. I think the part i find most satisfying is probably putting on mascara and/or lipgloss. They both just make such a difference and I usually feel naked without both.

I know brows are a critical part of an overall defined and balanced look, but filling them in daily and getting them symmetrical and even is a tedious task.

Applying the transition shade (can’t be too high or too low). I have slightly hooded eyes and if the transition isn’t applied perfectly on my left eye, the entire eye look suffers. I have to build and blend a lot, and it gets old to have to be so precise and so patient. Everything else I can speed through pretty quickly.

It’s a tie … uneven brows and an uneven upper lip … resulting from a nerve block in my neck late last year. I sweat it out each day, never knowing if my brows are going to look like they both belong on the same face, and learning how to even out my upper lip is requiring a huge learning curve. The brows were problematical to begin with, but I probably need to change the order in which I apply my makeup because doing my lips at the end sometimes ruins earlier efforts. Chronic pain sucks in unintended ways.

Mascara; although I have very dark lashes, that are full & long enough, I just don’t think eye makeup looks “complete” without it, like it was forgotten… However, I absolutely hate the way it feels, with few exceptions… I’ve also stopped curling my lashes about 20 years ago, LOL!

Mascara and brows! But *especially* MASCARA… ugh. Very tedious and not particularly exciting, but very necessary. My lashes are straight, sparse and need all the help they can get!

Hands down, eye brows. I haven’t looked at any comments before answering this question but I am going to bet that eye brows will be a prominent answer. They are so time consuming, never turn out the same way twice, never match side to side and require more patience than I have. I also struggle with the issues related both to loss of hair in my brows, mostly do to chemotherapy, although might have happened anyway. My brow hairs are a mixture of light brown, medium brown and grey hairs so getting any semblance of uniform or ombre’d effect is a joke. I have gaping holes where there are no hairs at all. Don’t even get me started on brow products. I am currently using a technique that someone here on the blog reported. Forgive me if I am wrong but I want to say it was either Seraphine or Mariella. It is using Dior eye brow palette and NYX . I do like this the best of any technique or product I have used in the past and this is one area of makeup that I think DS makes just as good products as HE.
Now, I am off to read comments and see if I am right about the brows!!!

The moment where I’m holding a liquid eye liner, staring at my carefully layered and blended eye shadow, going… “Am I about to *$%# this all up?” SIGH.

As a side note… man, reading all the comments has me feeling super grateful for my eyebrows. Or rather my acceptance of my eyebrows. They’re asymmetrical (three distinct scars!) and I love them. I might apply a tiny bit of brow pencil to even out the tone and slightly darken, if I’m feeling fancy, and that is it.

The eyeliner. Yes, exactly that.

Also, applying a really pigmented lip color and trying to clean up the inevitable wobbles without messing up the surrounding foundation.

All the waiting on products to set/absorb! The long struggle for an even, smooth base. I guess it’s part of skincare too, but the time it takes just to get a decent base on is annoying. eye cream… moisturizer (wait for some absorption)… sunscreen (wait to let it set)… concealer… setting powder on the eyes… foundation (wait to let it set)… contour & highlight….powder… ugh. The waiting is the annoying part. I may do my eyes or hair while waiting for stuff to happen, but it’s just kind of annoying in and of itself.

Cleansing my makeup off for me as well. I am handicapped, and bending over the sink kills my back, so I either have to crawl in the bathtub and bathe to do it, or use the arsenal of products I have accumulated in a basket by my recliner for this purpose.

I don’t need to do my eyebrows at all (aside from the usual tweezing underneath) and I’ve become an expert at using the eyeliner. But I’m a disaster when it come to applying liquid foundation. Probably you will laugh at me, but each day is a challenge for me. How come using the same skincare products underneath and the same foundation, the outcome is different from one day to another? Thank God for the Beauty Blender because using a brush is not working. Either the foundation separates right away on some areas (between the eyebrows, on the nose) or it looks streaky or patchy, or all of the above. I get the best results with the BB Creams or with Bare Minerals the Original Mineral Foundation (powder version), but the powder is too drying in winter.

I’m with the majority on the eye brows. My brows sometimes look too fake if I don’t go real slow applying little hair strokes. And concealer is a close second. I have a tough time covering my dark circles despite trying so many concealers and powders.

I leave my eyebrows until the last because it’s tedious to try and get them to even look similar. The left one usually looks perfect. The right, ugh! My sister had her’s tattooed on and they look good but they turned orange a few months ago so she had to have them fixed, they don’t last forever so she will have to have them done again. The healing time was about a week I think and it wasn’t pretty.

I, too take issue with the whole eyebrow process. Getting them to look like sisters is hard enough, forget about making them look like twins.

Definitely mascara………like we all know its a must………i am homebound from an alergic reaction to a lash serum……and my eyes are puffy red and itchy……thank god for dermatologists…….i so wanted thick long lashes……..nope not worth it ill take my barely there ones any day………please make this rash go soon…..no makeup for me for 7 days……..anyhow…….before my serum adventure i liked the chanel inimitable……i got the review on here i believe…..anyway not clumpy at all…..i always love trying new ones for sure……hoping something will give me va va voom….lol

Covering circles under my eye. Combined with wrinkled lines I’m always trying to find the right concealer. They all look pasty and crease on me so if I’m in a rush I just leave this part of my routine out.

I see the pain of eyebrows is real.
I was so tired of helping mine along (from 90s over-plucking), I had them done by a woman who has been doing cosmetic tattooing for two decades. It sounds terrifying (I know), but her work is so precise, each line as fine as my own eyebrow hair. It takes hours of time to do, and a lot of preparation to get them perfect (to suit your face and natural brow colouring) in advance of the actual work, but worth it. You have to pay up for the quality tho.
I don’t have to do anything anymore!

The worst for me, eyeliner. Liquid formulas and in a wing, done without it creasing up weirdly in fine age lines. I generally avoid doing it for that reason.

Hmph. I guess I have to say cleaning also, since there’s really nothing about putting my makeup on that I don’t enjoy (other than when it doesn’t go the way I want, but that’s not a specific step, just a bad day).

LOL! I too sigh thinking about removing my eyeshadow after an hour of work. 😉 Sometimes I even want to jump right back into another look, as I really enjoy finding new combinations. Other than makeup removal, the part of my routine I like the least is doing my brows. As I’m older and my brows are parse, I have to do them in order to have a nice overall look, but I don’t really care to do them. I’d prefer someone did them for me and let me do my eyeshadow application. 😉

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