Two More Important Rules of Eyebrow Styling

There are TWO important, never-to-be broken, rules in eyebrow styling.  Now please repeat after me:

1. Never over-tweeze before an event! I would hasten to add, that it is better to allow your brows to grow “free” than to over-tweeze and be left with a two upside-down parenthesize marks to deal with.  If you can’t control your hands, then tweeze only the hairs UNDER your brow and only those not touching your brow.

2. Never try to “even out” your brows! For the innocent, this means that if you over-tweezed one eye brow NEVER try to even-out the brows by tweezing the other brow.  Use a combination of eye shadow and eye brow pencil to draw in/fill in the missing brow section, so that this brow matches (as best as possible) the 'whole' brow over the other eye.  Do not compound the error by ruining both brows!

Want to learn how to style and groom your own brows in a one-on-one lesson? Contact me today!

Ashes, Ayin Harah and the Jewish Groom

The Jewish wedding is actually a series of small ceremonies strung together like a string of pearls.  From the bedeken and the bride circling the groom under the chuppah, to the breaking of the glass and so many others, each ceremony is infused with tradition and meaning, as they have been included, embellished and developed through the centuries and within the Jewish communities around the world. 

Many of these traditions involve commemorating the destruction of Jerusalem and both Batay Ha’Mikdash.  One of these traditions, especially amongst Ahskenazi Jews, is to put a small dot of ashes on the forehead of the groom (where the Tefilin is placed), just before the chuppah.  Some put on the ashes and then gently wipe them off, so that just a smudge of the ashes is left.

I have also heard that there is a minhag to place ashes on the forehead of the bride, but I have never seen this.  I guess the idea of ruining a very expensive wedding dress (not to mention makeup), has discouraged the widespread acceptance of this minhag.

As the ashes are put on the groom’s forehead, some recite the line:

If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither

 אם אשכחך ירושלים תשכח ימיני

The use of ashes embraces an interesting use of a kind of dual symbolism. On one hand, the use of ashes has always represented an open expression of sadness and loss. This is the reason for the minhag that some people place ashes on their foreheads to signify the death of a relative or even at the time of a community disaster (see Migilat Esther).  This minhag was then brought into the wedding traditions to symbolize the destruction of Jerusalem.

On the other hand, another interesting aspect of the ashes minhag at weddings is the idea of “counteracting” the Ayin Harah or not casting an evil eye.  In fact, many of the minhagim of mourning were ‘borrowed’ for the wedding celebration in an effort to “confuse” the evil spirits into thinking that the wedding was really a funeral and so prevent them for ruining the happiness of the occasion.  

There is even a minhag of the bride and groom emptying out their pockets before the chuppah; reminiscent of the pocket-less kitel or shroud worn by the dead.  The kitel itself was brought into the wedding traditions and worn by the groom, which is yet again another example of this dual symbolism.

Interestingly, the Sephardi Jews took the idea of sadness or bitterness in another direction.  They used to place a wreath of olive branches on the groom’s head (and sometimes the bride’s head, as well).  The bitterness of the olives, once again, represented the bitterness of the destruction of the Batay Ha’Mikdash.

No matter what the minhag, the central idea is always the same: even during our happiest moments, there is always sadness.

As the New Year approaches may we all be zoche to see the rebuilding of the Beit Ha’Mikdash in our generation.

שיבנה בית המקדש במהרה בימינו

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Coloring your eyebrows: When and Why

I don’t have to tell you that your eyebrows are an important part of your face.  They give a frame to your features and help others “read” your expression and therefore your mood.

Our eyebrows talk, just as much as our smiles!

Through the years we may change the color of our hair (many times!) or we may just cover the grey or we may allow the grey to show and wear our grey/white hair with pride. 

Whatever our choice, our brows don’t always follow our hair color choices and this is the time when we should think about coloring our brows.

As with all color choices, fashion and personal style influence the way we will deal with our brow color.  Amongst the fashion trends, we have seen the 'brow color should be the opposite color of your hair'; for instance dark brows with light hair or (you guessed it) light brows with dark hair. And of course, there are women who want their brows to match their hair exactly.

Whatever you choose, the color should enhance your beauty. In addition, I firmly believe that women with very light hair should have brows that are a bit darker than the natural color (no matter what the fashion trend), so the brows can still serve the purpose of framing the face.

Whatever color choice you decide, there is an easy, at-home method to color your own brows. 

Whether your use the same dye color you use on your head or a different color, the process is the same.

1.  Make sure your brows are clean and dry.  It is best to have your brows styled BEFORE you begin the coloring process.  If you wax your brows, make sure they are wax-free and clean before you begin. If you have any wax, oil or cream on your brows, the color will not 'take'.

2.  If you wish to dye your brows the same color as your hair, save a bit of dye once you have colored your hair.

3.  Use a clean, dry mascara brush (you can also buy a package of one-use mascara brushes in a variety of stores) and dip it in the dye.  Wipe off any excess dye from the bristles and then gently brush separate hairs throughout the brow.  I like to create a more natural look by not dyeing EVERY hair, so I gently color brow hairs as I brush.

4.  In general I do not leave the dye on for more than 20 minutes.

5.  If you are dyeing your hair at the same time, use a wet towelette and wipe the dye off the brow BEFORE you wash the dye out of your hair, so you do not risk dye dripping into your eyes.

6.  Warning: if the dye causes an allergic reaction to the brow/eye area, wipe off the dye immediately and gently wash the area.

Want to learn how to style and groom your own brows in a one-on-one lesson? Contact me today!