If you’ve ever been in awe of the eyebrows of Kourtney and Khloé Kardashian, Ariana Grande or Zendaya, odds are you’ve seen the work of “arch artist”Kelley Baker. During her decade-plus as a makeup and brow artist, the single mother and salon owner in Los Angeles’ Venice has built a dedicated roster of celebrity clients, a burgeoning beauty product empire and a following of more than 620,000 on Instagram, where she shares mesmerizing before-and-after videos of her upper-face masterpieces. We took notes at Baker’s June 27 Master Class at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino so you can get the 411 on how to achieve those red-carpet-ready brows for yourself.
“Brows are sisters, not twins.” Baker reminds us that even a professional brow artist can only work with what nature provides, and symmetrical brows are not a given. To shape as evenly as possible, follow each step on one brow, then the other.
1) Trim hairs one at a time. The best brows take time! Baker says she begins every transformation by brushing the brows upwards, then trimming individual hairs that poke out above the brow bone. To prevent nicks, Baker places the index finger of her opposite hand between the scissors and face as she trims.
2) Know your skin type and how to treat it. Baker works only with soft waxes and suggests honey wax for oily skin and coarse hair and zinc oxide wax for dry skin. Feeling sensitive? Apply azulene oil (also used to clean wax off the skin) or tea tree ointment prior to waxing.
3) Tweeze for definition. While Baker said that some of her clients prefer not to wax (Fifth Harmony’s Normani Kordei, for example), she routinely plucks hairs on every client to achieve a more precise shape. For the smoothest result, Baker recommends pulling hairs from mid-shaft in the direction of hair growth.
4) Build your own brow coverage. Why are full brows such a huge trend? “The fuller the brow, the softer the face and the younger you look,” Baker says. How you fill is up to you. Brow pencils are the quickest method. Brow powder applied with an angled brush takes a little more coordination but allows for buildable color. Tinted gels should be used carefully—these are made to stain the skin and come loaded with pigment. Baker recommends using one shade lighter than you think you need, and wiping excess gel from the applicator before use.
5) Try a little trick that makes a big difference. Whether you’re hitting the club or the carpool lane, Baker suggests always highlighting under the brow. (Her preferred technique is to use highlighter pencil and blend with a smudge brush.) “Never highlight above the brow,” she says. “Then you’re not lifting!”