Golden Arches


They say that the eyes are the window to the soul. But if Irina Krupnik had her way, the saying might go a little differently.

“The eyebrows are the most important aspect of someone’s face,” the Russian import tells me while spreading a sweet smelling blue-green wax around my eyebrows. “I see the brows like a picture frame. If you have a beautiful picture without a frame, the picture doesn’t stand out as much”. A makeup artist at the ultra glam John Barrett Salon in Bergdorf Goodman, the blonde bombshell has been sculpting perfectly arched brows for 7 years. She found the transition to doing brows from makeup to be a natural one: “you can’t start applying makeup if the person doesn’t have good eyebrows first”.

Krupnik specializes in lifting eyebrows and making them appear longer without looking artificial. This is no small feat considering how easy it is to mess up and over-pluck, which she says is the most common mistake she sees her customers make. “There is a fine line between angled and natural looking brows,” she says. “If a brow becomes too angled, it can make a person look angry. Everyone messes up with where they think the arch should be.”

The secret to the perfect brows, Krupnik tells me, is to stay as close as possible to the natural shape while subtly increasing the arch. She is adamant that the best way to achieve such perfection is to stick to tweezers for shaping the brows and to use wax only to clean up stray hairs.

The eyebrow design process starts with the application of the aforementioned blue-green wax, a fast drying, self-peeling variety that is imported from France. While the mixture left me looking a bit ridiculous, it allowed for a precision that Krupnik insists would not be possible with regular wax.

Next, Krupnik uses tweezers to carefully shape the brows. She recommends pointy tweezers, as opposed to ones with flat edges like the Tweezerman Slant™, because they allow for more control. “Pointy tweezers make it easier to grab just one hair at a time, which is what you should be doing when shaping the brows,” she says. “One hair can make a huge difference to the way the brows look.”

Because my face is rounder, Krupnik focused on elongating my eyebrows by creating arches further out along them. “A full face needs longer eyebrows,” she explains. “Longer brows make the eyes look bigger while exaggerating the cheekbones.” Narrow faces, on the other hand, look best with shorter brows. “If a person has a super narrow face with eyebrows that are too long, it makes them look mousy,” Krupnik says.

Krupnik completes the process by using an eyebrow pencil to slightly darken the brows and fill in wherever necessary. Like many of her clients, it seemed that I, too, had fallen victim to over-tweezing, and so Krupnik carefully worked to correct my mistakes with her pencil. She recommends that her clients come to see her about every three weeks, which is the average time that it takes for the hair follicles to grow back, and strongly cautions against them trying to shape their own brows between visits. “If you have to tweeze,” she says, “do it only when it’s necessary, and only on random hairs that are very noticeable. Stay away from the line of the brows for as long as possible.”

At $70 per visit, however, not everyone can afford to visit the John Barrett salon quite so often, and Krupnik knows that we’re bound to makes mistakes and advises, “If you make a mistake – if your brows are a little uneven or are simply not dark enough – I recommend using a pencil a shade lighter in taupe or ashy tones to help fill your brows in and make them look fuller”. Krupnik cautions against using pencils in brown tones, which she says turn red on the skin. Her personal favorite is Le Métier De Beauté’s Brow Bound eyebrow pencil in Fawn ($36), which she swears goes with everyone’s skin tone and which comes with a convenient grooming brush tip.

“Eyebrows are really so important,” Krupnik reiterates before I leave. “They open up the whole face.”

Finally, golden arches a girl doesn’t have to feel guilty about.

To learn more about Irina Krupnik, the John Barrett Salon, or to book an appointment, go to John Barrett Salon or call 212-872-2700.

John Barrett Salon
754 Fifth Avenue
9th Floor
New York, NY 10019

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