Sunday, 14 October 2012

Review: My HD Brows Experience

Image courtesy of HD Brows
Eyebrows are one of the things I totally obsess about, because they really can make or break the way your entire face looks. A good eyebrow shape can totally frame your face and in some cases, be as good as a facelift for freshening up your look.

Celebrities have long been aware of the power of a good eyebrow, and I've often wondered what magical process they undergo as soon as they hit the bigtime that seems to transform their eyebrows (along with their teeth, hair,style etc) to give their looks that extra touch of stardust.

And yet funnily enough, I had never heard of HD Brows until last week. Quite how this phenomenom bypassed such a beauty junkie as myself, I will never know. In fact, I feel a bit betrayed by Vogue, InStyle, Grazia etc for never seeming to mention it. I found out by chance when I was telling a colleague about my eyebrow obsession, and they mentioned it. Then when I googled it...wow...I fell in love with those images of perfectly defined arches. I had to get some of this HD action for myself! I literally phoned up the salon the same day and got an appointment for the next weekend!

Introducing HD Brows


So, what are HD Brows? Well, they are a specific brow-shaping technique (and a big range of branded products) involving seven separate steps, that can only be performed by an accredited professional therapist. There doesn't tend to be that many practitioners, but most big cities are now catching on. Luckily, I knew of NKD, a specialist waxing boutique based in Nottingham with a very good reputation, that has just branched into lashes and brows.

They provided a great service, booking me in easily. You pop in for a patch test at least 24 hours before the appointment, to make sure you aren't allergic to the dye used. When I arrived, I filled in a 'new customer' form to make sure I wasn't going to drop dead at any point in the process, and I also had a chance to look through a book they had from HD which showed some of the products, some celebrity testimonials ( "From Hollyoaks to Hollywood!", the book proudly boasted), and some before and after pictures that got me really excited as they all looked amazing! The magical transformation then takes place in the seven aforementioned steps:


Preparation and Assessment

Your beauty therapist will work out a shape that suits your face, consult with you on the type of brow you're hoping to achieve, what shade will suit your hair and skin colour etc

Tinting

This is the step that requires the patch test- your brows are tinted using a coloured dye to the correct shade. This can darken or lighten the brows, and help to create a stronger shape by helping to get rid of any sparse areas.

Waxing

This takes care of the major hair removal in one easy swoop.

Trimming

Any denser or longer hair is trimmed to keep brows a very neat, uniform length

Threading

Threading then creates a very sharp, defined look, and takes care of those wispy baby hairs that grow above the arch

Tweezing

To finish off  the shaping process by hand and take care of any stray hairs

Completion

The experience is completed with the application of products and some advice on how best to maintain your new brow look.


I'm extremely fussy with my brows. I have never had them professionally shaped, although I have thought about it many times. I've always been too scared that they'd make a mess of it and I'd be stuck with odd, skinny brows that weren't to my liking, or thick, darkly dyed ones. Either would be a complete horror show. So I've relied on my own efforts with the tweezers, a good brow mascara, and a brown powder shadow applied with an angled brush for them to look half-decent. So I was excited but a little nervous to have them re-done.

I was hoping for more defination, a slightly higher and more defined arch, and just a more groomed overall appearance and....ta-dah!!
My new brows, courtesy of NKD Nottingham

 The Experience at NKD


I want to say that, overall, I am so happy with the way my brows turned out. I think the therapist did a great job of creating a cleaner, more defined shape that still suited my face.

Before, and after,the finished effect!
Side angle



However, the process could have been improved slightly. I thought the advice/consultation aspect was a bit lacking. She did ask me (breifly) what I was hoping for, but she didn't explain much about what could be achieved, about my existing brow shape and challenges, or any of the 'science' about it, which, as a beauty junkie, I would have been really interested in. When I called up I was told the appointment lasted an hour, but it only took 40 minutes and I can't help thinking that's because the much-vaunted 'consultation' element was missing here.

Similarly, she didn't discuss much in the way of maintenance with me, only saying that I should continue to fill in my brows with the powder I use to fill in the sparse areas, and that it should last 5-6 weeks before I needed to come back in.

However, treatment was quick and-importantly-not painful! I was a bit apprehensive about the threading (I've heard stories varying from 'didn't hurt at all' to 'surprisingly painful' from friends, and I'm a total wuss for pain). I found it a bit of a odd sensation- a bit like a serrated bread knife was cutting at the tops of my brows, but it wasn't too bad and I loved the really clean finish it gave to my brows. In fact, I'm a total convert to threading as a process.

After the hair removal, the therapist used a mineral powder to conceal any redness or irritation, and used what I assume must have been the HD Brow palette to fill my brows in and give the complete look straight away. This really gave a great effect and it would mean that if you were getting ready to go out, you'd be ready to go right away, which I liked. It also gave far more of a transformed look.

I know HD Brows also have a big range of products, from powder palettes to growth serums, but I don't know if NKD just don't sell them, because they weren't discussed with me at all. I did hear them say on the phone when I was booking in that one of therapists would be 'gone by then', so I don't know if a more experienced therapist had left, which would explain why the consultation element was slightly lacking- but that's literally my only reservation, the rest of the treatment and the overall look is great.

I was quite wowed by how good the brows looked -  and in fact, I visited a beauty counter afterwards to pick up a new lipstick and they actually commented on how nice my brows looked without me saying anything, which was a boost.

I paid £35 for my initial appointment, which I would say is fair considering the amount of different procedures that went into creating my 'brow look'. NKD then offer 10% off if you return within 6 weeks and a loyalty card that means every 10th treatment is free, which is pretty good.

The salon is really nice and well-designed, and I wouldn't hesitate to go back there (I'm already thinking about eyelash extensions there for the Christmas party season).


Although it would be fairly easy to maintain the look yourself at home once the inital treatment has established a shape, for you, I would definately return to the pros. And if you haven't tried HD Brows, I would urge you to make the small investment and look into it, because it really does change your face for the better!

And finally...be inspired by these amazing celebrity brow transformations!



Cheryl Cole: from council estate princess to the nation's sweetheart
Megan Fox is an arched icon
Liz Hurley: used to be seriously caterpillar browed
Cher Lloyd, looking frankly bat-shit crazy before her brow transformation, and groomed & gorgeous afterwards
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