by Kimberly Rae Miller
Gina Daddona is New York’s brow goddess, which is pretty remarkable because she only charges $50 for her services. A makeup artist by trade, Daddona was recently featured in Allure Magazine as the must-see brow stylist in New York City. She sat down with me, while simultaneously cleaning up my brow line, to share the do’s and don’ts of brow maintenance.
If your brows are in need of salvation, Daddona is located at the swanky Stephen Knoll Salon on Madison Avenue
When a client comes in what is the first thing you do?
The first thing I do, especially if they’re a new client, is inquire as to whether they usually tweeze, wax, [take care of the eyebrows] themselves, or go somewhere professionally. I’ll also ask how they like their eyebrows to look; are they looking to give their eyebrows a certain shape or size?
Are there any trends in eyebrow maintenance that you wish would disappear?
I never follow eyebrow trends, first of all. It’s all about the woman’s natural brow. They’re there for a reason; they go with the rest of your features, so I work with that. If the brows are out of proportion with the rest of the face, then that’s something to consider, otherwise I’ll work with the natural shape of the brow and just keep them as groomed as possible. That’s all most women need.
I’m not a fan of very thin eyebrows on anybody. In general, a fuller brow is a more youthful look. I’m also not a fan of tattooed eyebrows; I really wish they wouldn’t do that. As the face ages things will fall, but the brows will remain where they were tattooed and they can end up looking unnatural and out of place. In addition, the colors often change or are not right to begin with and can make them look off.
I see you use tweezers, what do you think of waxing and threading as options for brow grooming?
Personally, I prefer tweezing. It’s the most precise method. I can really pinpoint each hair exactly and it’s much gentler to the skin.
What kind of things can we do at home to maintain our brows?
Try and stick with only removing excess hair that is away from the natural brow shape. It gets tricky when you start removing hair from the actual brow area; even one or two hairs being removed from the brow can mess up the line. My advice for someone who has never shaped their brows before is to go get it done professionally first, and then you can always follow up from there.
What about brow makeup? Do you have any tips on doing it correctly?
I get asked that question a lot. I’m a fan of pencil myself, but I have no problem with powder—it’s a little softer and easier to use. In general you want to go with a very soft hand; you don’t apply it like you would a shadow or eyeliner. You want to mimic your hair; use short strokes, filling in the areas of the brow that are sparser, and it is only meant to give a little bit more definition but not to be overwhelming to the face. Always go with less at first, you can always add more later, and like with all makeup, blend it in after.
What about very young women/girls in regard to maintenance?
As I said, we associate a full brow with youth. I like to keep young girls looking as youthful as possible. I tell parents that if they’re going to take their daughter somewhere for brow shaping, take them somewhere that they’ll do something subtle. Don’t take them somewhere where they’re going to take half the brows off.
For those that may have thinning eyebrows, do you have any suggestions for them?
The product that’s on the market, Latisse that is geared toward the lashes, some people have said that it helps with the brows—I don’t know that I’ve actually seen any full results with that yet. Some people have tried Rogain as well, I haven’t really seen any results with that either.
Honestly, makeup is your best bet. It’s easily done and inexpensive.
What are some of the biggest mistakes people come to you with?
The most common thing I see is over-waxed brows, by far. Many people aren’t really focused on shape; they’re primarily aiming to remove excess hair. I see a lot of cut off ends or beginnings of the brow, or brows with too much taken off. Or people who over-tweeze themselves, leaving hardly anything left of the underside.
Favorite Five in the Five Boroughs?
Zeze Flowers: They have the most beautiful arrangements
Cire Trudon (54 Bond Street): Theworld’s oldest candle company, from Paris. My favorite scent is odalisque.
Bergdorf Goodman: They have the best selection of contemporary designers. I love Alexander Wang, Elizabeth and James, Jason Wu, and Catherine Malandrino…and great for makeup!
Archivia Books: They specialize in art and design books.
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Spa: The ultimate in luxury and massage.