The eyes are the window to the soul. But even the loveliest window needs a good, pretty frame. Beautifully shaped eyebrows can enhance your eyes, balancing your features and flattering your facial shape. On the other end, badly shaped brows can completely ruin your look.
No one knows this better than Elke Von Freudenberg. With over twenty-five years in the beauty industry, she has firmly established her reputation as the Queen of Brows. The German born, LA raised specialist has shaped the brows of countless of celebrities and created her own line to help every woman achieve the perfect brow.
In this interview, Elke talks about her fascinating with makeup and what inspired her to create her own line. She also shares lots of tips on how to take care of and groom your eyebrows:
1. When did your fascination with makeup, and eyebrows in particular, begin?
My love of faces started pretty young. My mom told me she found me with her Vogue and Bazaar magazines around me, trying to copy their makeup with watercolor on their face, and being very upset that it didn’t look anything like it.
But I’ve always been fascinated with faces. Going to a museum or a foreign country, I was looking at the people, rather than the scenery. Eyebrows became fascinating when I started doing photography makeup and realized how uneven eyebrows and shapes could ruin a photo. Photographers would ask me to fix uneven eyebrows on models all the time since I was licensed in high school. So analyzing brows became a study for me.
2. How do you figure out what eyebrow shape works best for your face?
I personally believe the brow you are born with is the best brow for you. You can always tweak and improve on it, but if you steer too far away from the natural shape, it will not work for you eye and bone structure. The majority of my clients are trying to grow their eyebrows in so we work and keeping hairs as they grow and cleaning up what’s needed so they get thicker, fuller, faster.
3. Pencils vs powders: which one works best to fill in eyebrows?
Both actually do the same thing, fill in a brow and make it look thicker and/or darker.
Shadows are softer in color, pencils are a little more obvious. Shadows are great for creating a better overall color for the brow, while pencils are good for filling in sparse areas.
4. What should we look for when shopping for eyebrow products?
Bottom line, with all the brow products out there, it should be the 1 product that is the easiest for you to use and work with. I’m tired of hearing you have to use 8 different products to create a brow, from concealers, to gels to shadows to pencils. It can be too much. Pick the one item you need and leave it at that. Need hairs to stand out more and appear darker? Use a brow mascara. Have sparse areas? Fill in with a brow pencil. Need a better color through the brow? Use a shadow. Then, if needed, slowly add 1 or 2 more things for definition, like a brow wax to tame thick brows and a clear brow gel to tame thin, fine brows. Keep it simple. I personally use my waterproof brow pencil. Swipe on, blend, done. Lasts all day and I never need to touch up. Plus I love that I get compliments on my brows, NOT my brow makeup.
5. What are the most common mistakes women makeup with their eyebrows and how can they fix them?
The most common mistake is using a brow makeup that’s way too dark. The trend is a soft, natural looking brow, not a stenciled drawn on fake one. Trend wise, that look’s been over for years. Always blend your eyebrow makeup like you would your foundation, blush, anything else. Blend with a spoolie brush to soften the color and blend into the skin so it looks soft, not drawn on. Too dark colors can easily be softened by blending. If not, the color is too dark for you, go 1 shade lighter. Another mistake is trimming the brows straight across. Brow hairs are not a blunt cut. They taper at the ends. so cutting them across makes them look cut up and choppy. Have a pro reshape and trim correctly so it will grow out softer and look better in the process.
6. You have created your own collection, elke™The Brow Collection. What inspired you to do that?
Mostly from seeing other brow colors that just didn’t work. Brown shadows that were too gray, red or orange. Blondes that were too gray or green. All my colors have no undertones in them so they blend with a wide variety of brow shades. You want a more true color for the brows. You’re putting a color in a color (your brow) so you want the color to blend in, not stick out. Undertones can do that, especially in photo. So I made sure colors for brows are more wearable, adaptable.
7. The collection features three products, the Brow Scrub, Brow Serum, Brow Smooth. Can you tell us more about them? How they do work?
The Brow Scrub was my first product that I discovered by accident. Tweezing client’s brow, I’d notice the skin under the brow would flake and clog up my tweezers. So I would scrub first so I could do a better job. Tweezing was easier and clients noticed their brows growing faster from the added circulation. It’s made strong to help exfoliate dead skin cells as well as stimulate circulation in the root. Facial scrubs are not strong enough. The Brow Serum uses DMAE to get grows growing in more and the Brow Smooth is great for coarser, thicker hairs that need maintaining. It softens them so they lie better and makes them more manageable.
8. And, finally, do you have any great tips you can share?
If you’re growing your brows in, avoid waxing or threading and find someone that tweezes. With tweezing I can keep a lot of the hairs growing in around the brow that are growing in and you get a thicker brow faster. You have to stop taking all the hairs out, because you’ll never get there. Also, longer hairs in the brows will be in look for next spring/summer, so stop trimming them and let them grow longer. And a perfect brow line is on the way out. A more slightly messy brow line is in, ala Brooke Shields.
Thank you so much for taking the time do this interview, Elke!