“You HAVE TO make me a pencil. I don’t trust anyone else to do my eyebrows when you’re not around.”
I hear you, Megan Fox. After a trip to The BrowGal by Tonya Crooks bar in Selfridges, I wouldn’t let anyone else touch my brows either. And it wasn’t even Tonya herself (Megan’s eyebrow artist) who did my brows. Danielle, a lovely brow artist who trained under Tonya, did.
And OMG, my brows have never looked this good before. Tonya Crooks has done the impossible and solved every brow problem every girl ever had in one good stroke.
Who The Heck Is Tonya Crooks?
A true artist.
Tonya started her career as a painter. She studied fine arts at The Royal Academy of Art in London, where she became fascinated with colour.
As she was struggling to pay the bills, a friend suggested she worked as a makeup artist on photo shoots. If you can paint a canvas, you can paint a face, right?
Pretty soon, Tonya realised her true passion wasn’t painting or makeup. It was eyebrows. She became obsessed with creating the perfect eyebrows to suit every shape. She was so good, when she returned to the States, she quickly became the go-to brow artist for celebrities.
Celebs are demanding. They need to look their best 24/7. Tonya couldn’t be there every day to do their eyebrows, so they starting asking her to create her own makeup line.
I thank the heavens above she said yes.
The Tonya Crooks’ Brow Philosophy
Tonya’s secret? She does everything differently:
- Work with your shape: Tonya doesn’t believe every girl should strive for an arch. Some have straight eyebrows, while others an arc (a cross between straight and arch) shape. Go with the shape that suits your face, not the one that’s in atm. Whatever you do, don’t use stencils!
- One shade doesn’t fit all: Tonya wanted to create 12 pencil shades, but then thought that may overwhelm her customers. So, she settled on 6. When picking the right one for the client, she takes into consideration both the temperature and colour of her eyebrows. That’s where you can see the influence of her art background the most.
- Fill, then wax: Tonya believes you’re gonna create a better shape if you start filling in your brows first and wax away stray hairs later. That’ll give you a better idea of what eyebrows hairs really shouldn’t be there so you don’t end up plucking away too much.
- Wax, don’t thread: threading removes too many eyebrow hairs than necessary. Instead, use hot wax and then tweeze away any stray hairs left behind. You get more precise results that way.
- Details matter: her eyebrow line has everything you needed and didn’t think you needed for your eyebrows, including a brow pencil in 6 shades, a dual-ended highlighter pencil in 3 colour combinations, eyebrows palettes in 3 colour combos, a brow enhancement serum, sharp scissors, precise tweezers and even sharpeners for said tweezers! I’ve never seen such a comprehensive eyebrow line before. My mind was blown!
The BrowGal Bar Experience
I was invited to try the BrowGal experience at Selfridges, the only UK counter they have atm. Rumour has it, if it’s successful , they’ll expand. I can’t imagine how they would NOT be successful when they are this good.
After taking a good look at my eyebrows, Danielle declared I was a Medium Brown. That’s shade #4 in the Skinny Eyebrow Pencil. It’s a medium brown with ashy undertones. It has a stiff, but non-scratchy, tip and a sheer colour payoff that’s perfect to fill in the brows and create natural-looking eyebrow hairs where there weren’t none before. And, it lasts all day. All day. On the other side of the pencil, you’ll find a sharpener to keep it pointed and, just underneath it, a spoolie brush to brush trough your hair when you’ve finished filling them in.
Danielle used the pencil to start filling in my sparse brows. A pencil alone isn’t enough to do the job for me, so Danielle also used The Convertible Brow Kit in #2 Brown Hair. This eyebrow palette features three eyebrow powder/pomade shades that can be used wet or dry to fill your brows. Dry, they act as powders. Wet, they act as pomades. As they become dry again, they go back to their powdery consistency, so you don’t have to worry about ruining the shades. Each palette (there are three) has a warm tone, a neutral tone and an ashy tone that you can mix and match to create your own custom colour that perfectly matches your eyebrows.
As Danielle filled in my brows, she stopped every now and then to tweeze a stray hair here and there. Their Selfridges space is still small so they don’t have the waxing machine Tonya uses yet, so she removed all stray hairs with tweezers. They are so pointed and precise, each stray hair came away in one go, so I didn’t have to suffer more than was necessary.
She also never stopped looking for stray hairs. Even towards the end, when my brows were almost done, she would still pull out the tweezers and pull out an hair that had been trying to escape its sorry fate. I like this attention to detail. Danielle wasn’t in a rush to do my brows. She was more interested in getting them done perfectly.
Danielle used the Eyebrow Gel, a clear, water-resistant formula, to set the powder in place. It’s so lightweight, it doesn’t disturb the pencil and powder underneath and doesn’t turn your eyebrow all crispy.
Finally, Danielle used the Highlighter Pencil to clean up my brows and emphasise their shape. The pencil is available in three shades. Mine is #1, Cherub/Champagne. On one side, it has a matte pale peachy-pink shade that you can use to conceal any hair regrowth in between tweezing or cover imperfections. On the other side, it has a shimmering champagne shade to highlight the arc and browbone. The texture is so buttery cream and it glides on so smoothly.
The Final Look
Once Danielle had worked her magic, I could barely recognize myself. It wasn’t the first time I had my eyebrows done, but they had never looked this good. I know I’m repeating myself but it doesn’t happen often that a beauty treatment has impressed me this much.
The colour was spot on. It wasn’t too dark or too light or too ashy or too whatever. The shape was just right. Danielle didn’t try to give me an arch, which wouldn’t suit my face. All stray hairs had disappeared. Now when I’m at home and have to do my brows by myself, I don’t have to guess at my shape anymore. I just have to follow Danielle’s guidelines.
There’s only one thing I didn’t like. I had nowhere to go that evening! Boo hoo! I had the best eyebrows ever and was heading home.
I have the Skinny Eyebrow Pencil and Highlighter Pencil at home, so I can still recreate the look. It’s not 100% the same without the powder, though. Me thinks I’ll have to book another visit soon. 😉
Who do you trust with your eyebrows? Let me know in the comments below.