Makeup artist and eyebrow stylist extraordinaire Julie Tussey has over 25 years of experience working with women of all ages (not to mention celebs like Christie Brinkley, Billy Joel, Ivanka Trump, Keira Knightley, and Martha Stewart). Known as the “brow whisperer,” she employs her remarkable understanding of symmetry to create the ideal angled brow, which relies on the optimum length frame to flatter the face. Julie is currently the brow guru at Angelo David Salon in New York City where we chatted with her about eyebrow mishaps, what to look for when shopping for tweezers, how to get the perfect brow, and more.
The Fashion Spot: What do you say to people who think that brow maintenance is frivolous or unnecessary?
Julie Tussey: People underestimate the power of the brows. They have the ability to open up your eyes and cheekbones, giving the brows the immense power to make or break a look. A good brow can never let you down, so it is important to maintain your brows.
tFS: Is there such a thing as the perfect brow for a particular face shape?
JT: Absolutely! In an aesthetic sense, there are certain brow shapes that respond well to different face shapes. I do feel, however, that an “angled brow” will work with every face shape. When I see a client, I make the necessary trimming based on their facial features but still create an angled brow for them.
tFS: What are some of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to their brows?
JT: Overtweezing. I feel this habit has become a “rite of passage” for teenage girls to express their identity that they carry over as they grow up. The issue with overtweezing is that it doesn't flatter the face at all.
tFS: What are brow grooming essentials that you think everyone should own?
JT: Start with a nice pair of tweezers, then invest in a good brow pencil and eye powder. Lastly, don’t forget a good clear brow gel to help keep the brow moist and stimulate hair growth.
tFS: What are some things to look for when shopping for tweezers? Any brand recommendations?
JT: Hold the tweezer and test how it grips. You want a tweezer with a good grip which requires minimal effort to pull the hair. Most women like the angled tip, but I much prefer my pointed tweezers because they can lift up hard to reach hair along the brow area. I love the pointed tweezers from Eagle and Fromm because I have been using them forever. I was told, however, that they've been discontinued. The tweezers from Rubis and Tweezerman are also solid options.
tFS: What's your take on tweezing vs. waxing vs. sugaring?
JT: I have been a big proponent of tweezing. Waxing and sugaring breaks the elasticity of the skin. Those two methods are not advisable on the area around the eyebrows where the tissue is delicate. Tweezing also is more successful in discouraging brow growth, because it extracts the root of the hair, giving you more longevity and a better finish.
tFS: Do you have any between-treatment maintenance tips?
JT: My suggestion is to grab the stray hairs in your brows that pop up as soon as you see them. The more you let them grow too long, the more you will get confused, which can ruin the shape of your brow. Also, make sure you fill in your brows with a brow pencil first before tweezing stray hair. Doing so will keep the integrity of the brow’s shape. For those who are looking to nurture their brows, use products like Revitabrow to promote hair growth. Also, try to sleep on a satin pillow case and wear an eye mask to not rough up your brow hair.
tFS: Brow pencil vs. shadow — what's your take? Tips on applying?
JT: It really depends on the needs of the client. For brows where hair is missing, I suggest using the brow pencil to fill in the spaces using repeated hair like strokes to create an illusion of hair. Brow shadow is usually used to boost volume or accentuate your brows.
tFS: What celeb has the best brows? Any that could use a brow makeover?
JT: Best brows is hands down Katie Lee (left) because she embodies the “big beautiful angled brow” aesthetic. For brow makeovers, I say Pamela Anderson just because her brows are an example of what overtweezed brows look like.