Styling: Stella Pak
On a recent trip to the Atelier Beauté Chanel—a slice of heaven where beauty dreams are made of—I met Jimena Garcia, Chanel’s newly appointed Brow Specialist. We talked about everything brows, from shapes, textures, and colors. I even picked her thoughts on the ever so tempting…microblading which we realized is similar to a nose job. But like all things big and small, it’s about acceptance, patience, manifestation, and a really good brow gel to give you dimension.
What do you consider when you have a new client, a new set of brows?
You can say a New York brow, LA brow, a European brow. It really goes with the character of the person. Someone can be super laid back and they want fluffy brows, but they have to be taken care of. Out of all of these characters, I have to read what they want. I like to tailor the brow for that person. The sharper the brow, that changes the character someway. You can have shabby chic, the, “I don’t care” look…
Shabby chic is a tough one.
There’s a major art with it. Because to be able to clean up a very huge brow, very shaggy brow, you have to know every little hair that’s coming out. It’s like taking care of a bonsai tree.
That’s so true! I see these models, it’s bushy, but very well kept. There’s an art form to it.
You have to be an artist and understand proportion. It’s not a formula where the arch should be here and the brow should be here, because every face is different. So every structure is different.
What are some of the nuances you notice on someone’s face?
One thing to consider is how you open your eyes. Your movement. We’re never still. We see ourselves still when we’re taking selfies and when we look in the mirror. We look at ourselves as flat. But we’re not flat. From the minute we wake up, we open our eyes, we’re in movement. What does the face movement do? Do you raise your right brow all the time and what does that do? Because the objective is to balance it out as much as possible to have that symmetry.
Everyone talks about shape, but not texture. Does that change how we should groom our brows?
One of the ways to shape the brows is how you trim the brows. A lot of people have difficulty shaping curly brows because you create holes when you trim. It’s about layering, so it fills in the brow, and when the hair falls, you’re not creating a hole. With texture, like a hairdresser, you use different scissors. Sometimes they use razors to thin out the hair. It’s the same thing with the brow. A lot of people don’t think like that when they’re doing brows.
Does Castor Oil help to smooth out the texture?
Castor oil softens and conditions the brows. If someone has really coarse hair, they use castor oil to condition. So when you fluff up the hair everyday when you put makeup on, it’s leaner, it’s thinner, it’s not as coarse so it starts to fall a certain way. It’s all in those little tricks.
I was hoping it would help my brows grow thicker.
On some people. These oils are from ancient Egyptian traditions. This goes way back. I really believe it has to do with the chemistry of the person, the chemistry of the products. Like your origin. But you know what works? Manifest your brows. Talk to your brows. Tell them you love them. It’ll grow. It’s like when you love a plant. When you love a plant, everything is alive. It’s wellness and manifestation
So when I have a sparse brow spot, I’ll whisper, “I love you. Come Out. Don’t be shy, baby.”
I’m telling you. If you want to get woo woo about the situation we can go there. But it’s like telling your body not to get sick. Your body listens. Oh my god. I need to do a brow meditation. Like the third eye.
YES! The mental temple! Can we do that?
It’s all about having fun.
Give me some short-cuts. Give me some tricks.
What you want to do is bring out the texture and shine in the hair. You want to put the gel (Le Gel Sourcils) on because our hair has a natural tendency to be kind of gray. When you put the gel through the hair, it thickens the hair so the makeup below it looks like a shadow and the hairs below it brings the texture out. So it looks 3 dimensional.
You’re using the mascara wand.
Because it has all these bristles. When it coats it, it makes the hair shinier and it gives texture so it doesn’t look as flat. So it’s 3 dimensional. It doesn’t look like you have a tattooed eyebrow. It’s natural. The Chanel brow gel is excellent for everyday to bring out the texture and to hold it up.
Thoughts on microblading?
Some things to take into consideration. What inks are they using? What machinery are they using? What tools? The technology is different but it’s a newer way of saying eyebrow tattoos. So let’s start there. The tools that are used are different from the machine. Kind of like you can get different lasers. That’s important to take into consideration if you’re thinking about it. The other thing to take into consideration is the aesthetic the technician is using. Who are you going to? If you don’t have your own sense of style, you’re putting your hands into someone who will create their vision.
Also, think about the ingredients. We’re susceptible and allergic to a lot of these things. The chemicals we’re consuming. The ingredients are really important. All of this goes into the bloodstream. It’s intrusive. This isn’t “Oh I’m pulling out a hair. This is a procedure. It’s something that could be permanent. It’s like getting a tattoo. The other thing is, it’s a beautiful process, depending on the face, the texture of the hair and who you are. For example. When you think about when you create those lines, you can create an all around shadow or you can create streaks that mimic hair. At all times, it’s gonna be flat. Sometimes it can be beautiful if you have a wide brow and a lot of hair with a lot of spaces. If you create streaks within that, it could be really beautiful, But it’s really beautiful because you have the texture to go over it like if you have makeup on. Also, take into consideration the tone. Will you be changing your hair color? It’s something you need to think about. It’s like getting a haircut.
Just as you were considering shadows and all these other aesthetic variables while doing my brows.
Right. Go for a consultation. Then thereafter, with makeup, you can try that brow for a while to see if you like it. You can rarely try a design of a tattoo on and keep a fake tattoo on for a month. So that’s something cool.
I’ve seen eyebrow tattoos on a lot of aunties from 15 years ago and they turn green!
This is what I’m saying. This is also the danger of microblading. You’re creating a shape of a trend. Huge eyebrows are in, and then arched brows are in. And then fluffy brows are in. And then thin brows are in. One of the things we are going through in this era as women is perfectionism. I think it’s beautiful to create the best with what you have. That’s with your fashion or where you are financially. This philosophy carries on with everything. It’s a very superficial thing to check off your list to have the “perfect” eyebrows.
I totally agree. But you know, it’s become a thing.
It’s a game changer for some people, but it literally changes your face. It’s like a nose job. You lose your character.
Yes. Yes. Sometimes our imperfections make us endearing and who we are.
It’s the beauty that makes us different. Microblading is cool… but there’s just no character.
I think some can look at it like, microblading cuts down on my getting ready time. “I don’t have to draw in my eyebrows” Not that they’re lazy, but if they get microbladed, it’s something they don’t have to think about and leave. My mom was thinking of getting a permanent lip liner and I would not allow it.
So she can just get up and go?
I kind of have to meet her.
She’s just said to me one day, I don’t want to do this anymore. I just wanna wake up and go.
What if they mess it up? I mean, I’m sure she’ll go somewhere amazing… but… I don’t know.
Are we being lazy? Or are we trying something new? Two different camps of people. People who don’t have time for this and those who want to be ahead of the curve.
You’re right. I have so many clients who think of getting microbladed. And asking me, “Do I need it?” They’re asking me! So what’s interesting is that I can give it to people. I tell them, “No.” You look really cool. It’s cooler to find your own beauty first.
Jimena Garcia is CHANEL’s first-ever Brow Artist for the U.S. Beginning October 23rd, she will commence her brow residency at Atelier Beauté CHANEL located at 120.5 Wooster Street in New York City. Making an appearance for three consecutive days once a month, Garcia will offer eyebrow shaping services, which can be booked by via Atelier Beauté.