The Importance of Good Eyebrows - The Ideal - A Harmless and Home-made Cosmetic - Beautiful Eyebrows Can be Cultivated - Lotion for Inflamed Eyelids - How to Make the Eyebrows and Eyelashes Shapely and Luxuriant
Probably the woman who wishes for good looks has as many anxious moments concerning her eyebrows as any other feature. If they are light or badly marked she tries every device to give them more importance and comeliness. And she is right. The basis of beauty culture is certainly character, and often unconsciously the onlooker will be attracted or repelled by the appearance of features which seem to tell their own story of the mind behind them.
To match these eyebrows should be long, silky eyelashes just curling at the tips.
There is another reason why the beauty of the eyebrows is important. " The eyebrows give form in a certain degree to the eyes," says Quintilian. "By them the forehead is contracted, raised, or lowered. Anger is manifested by the contraction of the brows, sorrow by their depression, and cheerfulness by their relaxation." The expression of the face depends a good deal upon the eyebrows. All of us are acquainted with the "beetling brows" of a discontent that is certainly not divine, as well as with the note of foolish interrogation imparted by the exaggerated regularity of too highly arched eyebrows.
With regard to methods of improving the eyebrows and eyelashes there are many "don'ts," all applying to artificial means of altering their natural appearance. To begin with, if you dye the eyebrows you must also do the same to the eyelashes, and the danger to the sight thus incurred far overwhelms any passing - and doubtful - advantage you may get as to appearance.
There is one make-up, however, which is employed regularly by Frenchwomen, and which, if used with the greatest discrimination - as the slightest particle is sufficient to darken the brows, whilst the least touch too much is palpable - is harmless enough, as well as efficient.
The basis is simply burnt cork. To make it, get four or five corks and put them on a hot fire, where they will immediately flare up. When the flame has died down, lift up the light black remains carefully with an old spoon and place them on a piece of paper. Press into powder with the tip of the fingers, carefully searching for and casting aside the least suspicion of grit.
Place the resulting powder in a little ointment-pot and add one drop of glycerine and then one drop of rosewater to mix into a soft paste. Of course, add another drop of glycerine if necessary. Apply as described above, very sparingly, and an artistic and natural effect is obtained.
This recipe is given because the culture of beauty in the eyebrows requires time and patience, but it is possible to obtain the real thing by natural means. Dr. Anna Kingsford advised the cutting of eyelashes in childhood to make them long and luxuriant. The points are to be clipped carefully once in every month or six weeks. This should, for greater safety, be carried out when the child is asleep. It is probable, however, that what the eyelashes gain in luxuriance they lose in beauty, for the writer saw eyelashes thus treated lose their pretty upward curve so characteristic of childhood and so beautiful if retained to mature years.
If the eyes are healthy, the edges of the eyelids will be so, too, and the lashes, which are likely to become scarce should the eyelids be inflamed, will require little care. For inflamed eyelids there are several good home treatments which may be efficacious if the malady is not serious. One is a lotion of weak warm milk gruel; another a boracic acid lotion, which a chemist will put up. A third, grateful and comforting to the eye, is warm elder-flower water.
There are many lotions recommended to promote the growth and beauty of eyelashes and eyebrows, but perhaps the best is petro-vaseline. See that this is in liquid form, clear and colourless. Apply with a small, soft brush at night.
It is important to train the eyebrows into a good shape, should the hairs lie irregularly. Brush every morning after the toilet with a small, soft brush dipped in glycerine and rosewater, or, if the glycerine be objected to, water to which a few drops of eau-de-cologne have been added in order to make a milky fluid. But the glycerine and the petro-vaseline have a special value in that they both tend to darken the hair as well as promote growth. The use of the glycerine in the morning is advisable where the hair is refractory, as glycerine, being sticky, acts as a cosmetic.
There is no harm in the use of pliers, used judiciously to the eyebrows, in order to trim them. The removal of a straggly hair here and there will make a great difference to the appearance. But nothing of an irritating nature can be done to the lashes, and these will become, also, more scarce still as time goes on, if darkening pencils are habitually used.
Some time ago there was a method of replacing the loss of natural eyelashes by artificial ones. To do this, one long hair was taken and sewn, loop fashion, to the eyelid; the loops were then cut. The operation must have been very painful, but as this would not discount the idea in the mind of many women anxious for beauty, that nothing is heard of the method now must be attributed to its failure to give the desired effect. For one thing, the hair could not have the fine tapering to the ends natural to the real eyelash, nor could it have the upward curve necessary for beauty.
There is a harmless little device practised by some who wish to give or retain this curve of the eyelashes. They are trained for a few minutes daily with the finger and a lead pencil. To do this, hold the pencil over the lash with the right hand, and curl round and upward with the first finger of the left. Perseverance will be necessary for success, but at least the experiment will be unattended with danger. The same may be 'said of all conscientious attempts to improve facial beauty by stern avoidance of, frequently involuntary, facial tricks. All such bad habits as frowning, constant wrinkling of the brows, and screwing up of the eyes will do more to " uglify " a face in a few weeks than will avail the beautifying efforts of months. Very often, the permanent shape of the eyebrow is affected - and not for the better - by these pernicious tricks, of which the perpetrators are often quite unconscious.