Stylebook Snapshot: Bold brows are back in the spotlight

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Eyebrows are bringing in big bucks these days for the beauty business, according to an NPD Group report released this month.

In the 12 months ending in March, eyebrow makeup was the fastest-growing category of eye makeup, up 28 percent. It‘‍s responsible for about $122 million in sales and represents about 11 percent of total prestige eye makeup purchases in the U.S.

But why all the buzz about brows? Many attribute it to the “Cara Effect,” a nod to supermodel Cara Delevingne whose own bushy brows have elevated the look from bland to glam in fashion and pop culture. (Actress Lily Collins also is often cited as a contributor to the eyebrow bonanza.) Now more and more women are trying to unleash their inner supermodel, too, by being bold with their brows with makeup targeting the area. Growth in the number of women seeking brow transplant procedures also has been detected.

Despite the rising interest, fewer than 80 percent of prestige makeup retailers carry brow-specific beauty products. But women don’‍t need lots of cosmetics -- or cosmetic surgery -- to make their eyebrows pop. Pittsburgh Makeup‘‍s Julie Marckisotto, a makeup artist with more than 20 years of experience in the industry, shares tips for how to easily wow with your brows:

Start simply: If new to filling in brows, try a brow powder (her favorite: Vanitymark). Pick one that matches your normal brow color (don’‍t go too dark!) and use an eyebrow brush to apply the product in short strokes. This will provide a softer look than using a brow pencil.

Make it last: Set the look with a clear gel to keep the brows in place. Ms. Marckisotto recommends a couple coats of Maybelline’‍s clear mascara to accomplish this.

Get a good shape: Makeup works best on eyebrows that are shaped well. But think twice before you tweeze. Over-tweezing is a common mistake and sometimes the removed hair doesn‘‍t grow back. Also, when letting the brows grow out a bit, it can be tough to resist going for the tweezers. Work with a brow specialist at a salon to help you determine when and what to pluck. Growing out your brows is like growing out your bangs -- it takes patience.

Be your own trendsetter: You might crave the “Cara Effect,” but brows like hers might not be best for you. Brow shape and color should look balanced and natural. (For example, those with a petite frame like an oval face shape can pull off thinner brows that might not flatter those with a fuller face.) Try varying eyeshadow colors or lipsticks (less permanent things!) if you want to dabble in trends.

Do you have a favorite eyebrow grooming tip or trick? Tweet it to @SaraB_PG for a chance to have it featured on the PG fashion blog Stylebook at or email PG style editor Sara Bauknecht:

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