Lesson Learned! Or How I Learned To Never Use Depilatory On My Brows



_To avoid makeup mistakes, sometimes you have to learn the hard way. Even the pros have been there, as we discover in this new series that offers experts' insightful (and often hilarious) memories of those beauty growing pains—along with tips on how to avoid them yourself. _

As told by James Vincent

Growing up I had a lot of eyebrow trauma. My mom is Italian so I was basically born with a unibrow and dark features. My friends said I looked like Bert from Sesame Street. Naturally, I wanted to look more like a member of Duran Duran. What can I say?—It was the ’80s and I was a teen. I would try things like Sun-In to get frosted tips or bleach my whole head with peroxide. At one point, I even tried to use peroxide on my eyebrows, but when that didn’t help, I turned to more drastic measures.

I started with Nair because my mom already had some and the commercials made it look easy. It seemed like a quick alternative to tweezing. What I didn’t realize at the time is that Nair burns the skin on your face. So I smeared it on—and blistered. My eighth-grade self had to endure burn marks for a few weeks. Still upset and wanting to fix my one-eyebrow situation, I tried to shave them down, but the more I tried, the more I cut off. It just so happened that I was invited to my first teen birthday party in the midst of all of the havoc. And being the young, fat, gay kid trying to make a good impression, the hairless scabs on my face didn’t get me the attention I had wanted.

Thankfully, during my freshman year of high school, I met one of my (now) best friends, Dawn. She introduced me to a different world of The Smiths, pegged jeans, and yes, tweezing. In college, Dawn waxed my back and was the first person to let me do her makeup (even though she wasn’t impressed, punched me, and told me I should never do makeup again).

Often, while growing up, boys don’t get the same facial hair lesson that girls do, because it seems so feminine. I now understand that it’s important to leave things like eyebrows to the professionals. Investing a few dollars to let a pro shape your brows is worth every penny. Once the shape is there, it’s easier to maintain with tweezers. Just don’t attempt to do it the first time yourself, you’ll get an over-tweezed Jersey Shore look. And trust me, that doesn’t work on anyone.

_What beauty lessons have you learned the hard way? _

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