Tonya Crooks: How To Fake Beautiful Brows + The Best Shape For Your Face
The BrowGal studio in West Hollywood is where brow specialist and makeup artist, Tonya Crooks (who creates gorgeous brows for Megan Fox, Gwen Stefani, Molly Sims and more), works her magic. We finally had the opportunity to sit down with her and learn more about the technique that goes into the perfect shape for each individual person. She is the absolute best in the business and she provided a ton tips you can use at home to get on the right track.
INTERVIEW WITH TONYA CROOKS:
The BrowGal offers a variety of great one-on-one services, what all is available to clients?
A. We do brows, tailor-made products, microblading, lash tint and lift, and also make-up lessons.
When a client comes in for brows specifically, how do you access them?
A. I first look at what they are bringing me, and I would have to say probably 90% of the people who come to me, I have to do corrective work on. Meaning, I have to correct what went wrong either by what they did themselves or what happened at some other place.
What is it you do that’s special to create the perfect brow?
A. When you come to see me, you’re coming to have your brows shaped. Which means, I find the natural shape that you are born with, that works with your face and then I match the brows to each other. The reason why I have a lot of return business is because the brows keep getting better and when they get better, they match more.
“The important thing with brow shaping is that there is a difference between brow shaping and brow waxing, threading or tweezing. They’re completely different.”
No two brows are the same on anybody. I’m known for my consistency and it’s so important to have as a brow shaper. If you go a person who does brows and there’s no real method to their madness, you will come out with inconsistent eyebrows and then you’re shaping on top of a poorly shaped eyebrow next time, and then a poor shape again and the brows get really out of whack.
What are the best tips for self-grooming brows?
A. Less is more, definitely. You want to not do anything to your brows for at least three weeks. Leave them alone and let them grow. Lay off tweezing. After they start to grow in, be very careful when you do tweeze your own brows. You want to use the right scissors, the scissors from my line have very short blades and that’s what you want, so you can get real good detail.
Short blades are easier to control. Go very carefully, you don’t want to cut a lot or cut a chunk because then you cut a hole in your brow. These are products I designed, the rest of the line will be introduced later this year. I really saw a hole in the market and these are things I saw a need for and use myself.
Always tweeze when you do it yourself. Don’t wax and take it real slowly and remove the hairs in a line, kind of like how a sewing machine sews. Brow hairs grow in lines, so you want to remove in lines going across and not in clumps or areas at a time.
You fill-in the brows before you start to work on a client, do you recommend people do that?
A. Yes. Fill your brows in before you begin to tweeze. When you do your makeup, the best way to fill-in brows is to fill-in the underneath first with a brow pencil and brush it through. You always want to brush the product through and then do the top and brush it through.
Are there certain types of brows? How do you find the best shape for one’s face?
A. The brow texture and growth is different based on genetics, which create the color and texture of the hair. How to create the brow shape comes from the way the muscles move in the face.
“Whenever I shape a brow; I’m moving it and touching it all the time because I’m seeing where the muscles move.”
When I manually move it I see where your muscles move and where the natural shapes are and that’s why I design brows for your face and I enhance what you’re born with. Usually one of three shapes of eyebrows, or a variation of them, a person falls into. An arch, an arc and a straighter brow. An arch would be more like Megan Fox, an arc would be more like Madonna and a straight brow would be like Natalie Portman but those are extreme examples of the three and people have variations within each category.
What you don’t want to do is try to make an Arch an Arc or Arc an Arch or a Straight an Arch. You have to go with what you’re given if you want to have success and look natural. My whole thing is I like to make people look better and create brows that look natural, like they’re born with them.
Is it a good idea to take a photo out of a magazine of brows that a person likes and wants to emulate?
A. That’s not going to be so successful, that’s kind of like taking a photo of someone’s smile to a dentist and saying, “I want my teeth to look like this.” There’s an art behind eyebrows that’s why you’ll never see me designing or promoting stencils. Eyebrow stencils are like putting all the women of the world into four shades of foundations, everyone’s skin tone is so different it wouldn’t work. Everyone’s eyebrows are so different, even more different than the variations of skin tones, I feel.
So what’s the best way to find one’s individual shape?
A. The best thing is to look at your natural shape.
“Look at a picture of yourself when you were a kid. What do the brows look like? Are they an arch, an arc, are they straight?”
Before anyone got their hands on them and tried to turn them into something they aren’t, or if you tried yourself. Figure out your shape from the photo and start to follow that.
What are your thoughts on threading and are the results different than tweezing or waxing?
A. Threading is extremely painful and from my point of view, it’s tearing the hair follicle as it pulls the hair out. Waxing is not nearly as painful and especially when I do a pre-wax treatment that lubricants the hair follicle and the warm wax dilates the hair follicle so it opens and the hair comes out. With threading, when you’re wrapping the thread around and yanking it so vigorously, it’s pulling it out in any kind of direction and tearing the follicle, that’s why it hurts so badly. When you do that you’re damaging the follicle and run the risk of never having hair there again. I have a lot of clients that come in who are trying to repair their brows and having a really hard time growing hair back because they threaded for so long.
“One, two, three hairs matter dramatically in an eyebrow.”
Also, there is no way possible, although some people would argue with me, to get the kind of precision with a thread that I get with wax, and for me precision is everything for the eyebrows.
Who should tint their brows, is it just people with blonde hair?
A. No, actually anyone with fine hairs can tint their brows and it will make the brow look more polished and bulked up, because a lot of the time if you have a finer hair, as opposed to a coarse hair you will have superficial hairs that you don’t really see unless you darken them and then when you do, it makes the brow look thicker. More or less, the brow should always match the color of the hair at the roots and not just lightness or darkness but tone. So for example, if you have ash hair but your natural color is warm brown and you have brown/red eyebrows and ash hair, it doesn’t match even though they are both brown. You have to change it so the tones match. The tone is more important than the lightness or darkness matching. Go to a professional or a brow studio to have your brows tinted.
What’s the best way to find someone reputable in an area?
A. The internet is a great tool to find someone who is great in your area that does brows well. Allure magazine is also a great reference where they recommend people all over the country and they really do their homework, so that’s another place to look.
What about someone who can’t come to you regularly but wants to come to you to begin shaping their brows?
A. I have people from all over who come in to get their shape and who call me when I’ve traveling. I put their shape in and then they can maintain their brows between appointments. You run a better chance once you have a great shape to be able to keep it up. The shape is paramount. It’s like the foundation of a house, you have to start with a good foundation, and with brows you have to start with a good shape.
What are three products you swear by?
A. The BrowGal Skinny Eyebrow Pencil comes in six colors, including an ash brow, which is very hard to find. The formula is denser so you’re able to do light strokes and fill in the brows without it looking fake or powdery. It also has a brush on one side to sweep the product through and a sharpener on the other. If you want perfect brows, you have to sharpen your pencil every time you fill-in them in. This makes it easy.
To regrow your brows, what I recommend to clients is RevitaBrow Advanced Serum. If you already have Revitalash it can be used for brows and if you don’t, buy Revitabrow. It really works, it honestly does. (Tonya also came out with her own product, The BrowGal Second Chance Enhancement Serum, to regrow brows.)
The BrowGal Highlighter Duo Pencils I designed with a shimmer on one side and a light matte color on the other. You can use the matte color to cover hairs in between brow appointments and these give a more sophisticated highlight under the brow than the bright white shimmer that is sometimes used.
Tonya Crooks has been one of the country’s top eyebrow and make-up specialists for the last 15 years. While studying at various European beauty schools, Tonya was able to take her background in art and apply it to the beauty world.