Samantha McElrath, 22, student
Fair-haired Samantha McElrath’s goal for her brows: “I just want to be able to see them.” Rachel Gangemi at Valery Joseph first tinted McElrath’s brows two shades darker with a semipermanent vegetable dye. Then she trimmed McElrath’s unshaped brows with a scissor, and tweezed for a more sculpted look. The effect: McElrath’s face has more definition, and she doesn’t look like a little girl ($65, tinting $20 extra, at Valery Joseph Salon, 820 Madison Ave., nr. 68th St., second fl.; 212-517-7377).
Elinor Carucci, 36, photographer
Israel-born Elinor Carucci didn’t have a problem with her naturally thick brows and was concerned that a professional might give her an anonymous, cookie-cutter shape; at the same time, she wanted some cleanup. Sania Vucetaj is conservative by nature and respected Carucci’s desire for minimal interference. She carefully removed the fine excess hair that makes Carucci’s brows so full. Then Vucetaj touched them up slightly with pencil and powder for a neater version of wild ($55 at Sania’s Brow Bar, 18 W. 56th St., nr. Fifth Ave., third fl.; 212-247-1129).
The Misguided Penciler
Rebecca Hochman, 45, nonprofit director
Rebecca Hochman was using a red-toned pencil to fill in brows that she’d plucked to a thin line years ago and that hadn’t ever fully grown back. She didn’t want to get a guilt trip from a stylist, but she knew she needed expert advice. At their initial appointment, Lucia Soare at Frédéric Fekkai told Hochman not to touch her brows for three weeks, then showed her how to measure where her arch should begin; arch, more than brow thickness, sculpts the face. “The arch should lift the eye area, which makes eyes appear larger,” Soare says. To choose a pencil, Soare says, match it to your hair color ($40 for waxing at Frédéric Fekkai, 394 West Broadway, nr. Spring St., second fl.; 212-888-2600).
Tiffany Townsend, 28, communications director
Tiffany Townsend had been tweezing and had long since lost all sense of shape for her brows. The challenge for Soul Lee was to create a natural look with a pencil that would mask the growing-in process. Lee gazed hard at Townsend to determine the best shape and arch. Then she used an X-Acto knife to sharpen a Shu Uemura H9 Formula eyebrow pencil in Stone Grey 05. Why not just use a regular twisting sharpener? “A blade gives you the exact shape—thin and slanted. This makes it easier to fill the brows without their looking artificial and drawn on.” Lee also put Townsend on a strict six-month “no plucking” regimen ($65 at the Shu Uemura counter at Barneys New York, 660 Madison Ave., nr. 61st St.; 212-833-2525).