Eyebrows are both the bane and love of my existence.
I’m obsessed with cultivating the perfect frame for my face. I can’t tell you the number of hours I’ve spent hunting down tips and tricks; how many times I’ve stared in the mirror wondering which hairs to pluck or ignore, with the stress of someone disabling a bomb.
For all this researching and debating, plucking and pruning, you would think my brows would be impeccable. Yet, like Captain Ahab and his white whale, satisfaction eludes me.
(TBH: I’ve never read Moby Dick, my understanding of the white whale reference is based off of a Seinfeld episode.)
I collect tips and tricks on growing the best eyebrows, and then have zero follow-through, like a squirrel hoarding nuts and forgetting where they are.
Recently though, I tried this new, radical thing: I tried leaving my eyebrows alone.
For the first time since I was an adolescent, I practiced some restraint. (Granted, that adolescent curtailment was largely due to thinking tweezers were only for removing slivers.) My restraint was not to the point where they grew back into the wild, unruly, rectangular brows I used to have. I simply didn’t obsess over every little hair.
You can say all you want that “brows should be sisters and not twins”; I’ve always struggled to actualize that attitude. I can’t leave well enough alone, so I’m perpetually checking and re-checking in the mirror to see what I can change.
That’s how I’ve sporadically ended up with sparse, pencil-thin brows. I stand too close to the mirror, breath fogging it up as I attack my eyebrows from all angles. Before you know it, I’ve trimmed and plucked them out of existence. I’ve waffled between growing them out too much (the aforementioned rectangular eyebrows) and removing them almost entirely (the aforementioned nonexistent eyebrows). I’m somewhat amazed my partner stuck with me, during the year or so that I (over-)filled my eyebrows with pencil for that straight-up painted on look. My approach to covering these eyebrow errors was to keep my bangs strategically arranged across my forehead and brow.
My brows only ever looked perfect when I got a “brow arch” at the local spa; but I don’t want to dedicate $20/month of disposable income to two little strips of hair on my face. That’s beer money, y’all.
Practicing restraint is hard. In the month or so that I’ve been trying it though, I’ve found that not only do my eyebrows look a bit better, I also don’t care as much as I used to. My brows might not be on fleek, but goddammit I am tired of trying to be perfect. It seems the title of this blog, the Minimalist, perks up in all corners of my life: a minimalist, laissez-faire attitude is one I should practice more.
Skip the perfection, and give yourself a break. Flawlessness is overrated, and “on fleek” is so passé.
Photos by Heart and Synapse Photography.