My Benefit Brow Bar experience: It's All Fun and Games Until...

... someone loses their eyebrow skin. 

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I should explain before we get into the raw details, because at least it all went towards a good cause. Benefit ran a charity promotion in May as part of their Bold is Beautiful campaign, where all profits from brow wax services went towards Refuge, who supports women and children experiencing domestic violence, and Look Good Feel Better, who help women going through some of the visible side effects of cancer treatment. The awesome part is that they were committed to donating a minimum of £100000. There is a lot of pink-washing that goes on in the retail sector, so it's nice to see Benefit walking the walk, so to speak. 

As part of the promotion you could also get a free full-sized Gimme Brow. I'd been wanting to try out Gimme Brow for a while now, especially after Liz's post, so this was a nice little bonus! (Reviews and comparisons to come.)

I'd been to a Benefit Brow Bar once before on a trip to Sydney, a few years before they launched in New Zealand. This time around I was at the Benefit Spitalfields boutique, where I presented the brow technician with a full three week's worth of regrowth. This doesn't sound like much, but I'm a hairy gal. My friend was surprised to note that my hairs go all the way down to my eyelid! Yes, yes they do. I'll not subject you to a before shot, but only because I forgot to take one.

The Benefit brow mapping guide (source)

The Benefit brow mapping guide (source)

At the Sydney store they mapped out my brows according to the conventional guidelines -- line the start up with the inner part of your nose, angle out to your iris to pinpoint your arch, and then out to the corner of your eye for the tail. This time the tech just asked, "Shall we just stick to your current shape?" I've been plucking myself, along with the occasional waxing/threading session to maintain the shape, and I am mostly pretty happy with them, so this was fine with me.

The tech first cleansed the brow area, then started brushing up the hairs and trimming them. This is something that I don't do when grooming them myself, and I was surprised at how much of a difference it made -- so much neater! She then started applying the hot wax with wooden tongue depressor/popsicle sticks and removing it with strips. It was a really fast process, and I was pretty impressed with the way they turned out. It even went some way towards evening out my arches. 

I have uneven EVERYTHING. (Pictured: product-less brows.)

I have uneven EVERYTHING. (Pictured: product-less brows.)

You might be wondering, but what of the skin loss? (I want to read about the gore! still others exclaim.) I was given an info sheet to read and sign before we started with the actual waxing. This included questions on whether I'd been using products like retinoids, acids, and certain medications, presumably due to their temporary skin-thinning effects. I told the tech that I use Differin cream and AHAs, but that I thought it would be ok because I only apply to certain areas, and didn't think I took it anywhere near my eyebrows. I may have been wrong about that, because an hour or so later my friend pointed out that I had two patches of raw skin, above and below my right brow! I don't know whether this is due to the products I use -- like I said, I don't really take the chemical exfoliants near the eye area -- or simply because my skin is just thinner in that area.

Lesson: keep in mind that waxing won't be for everyone, depending on your skin and what you use on it. When I get my face threaded the technicians usually opt for a quick wax on certain areas to get the thicker, darker hairs off first, so I was surprised that this happened. If you have sensitive skin, or if you have been on certain medications (including topical chemical exfoliants), it's always good to consult the professionals. Next time I might try a brow tweezing session at Benefit to compare, and to save any potential skin loss.