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Much to my discontent, I’ve always had very short, light eyelashes and sparse brows. A few years ago I made it my mission to defy nature: I tried growth serums, tinting, castor oil and everything else under the sun to grow them. Nothing worked, and eventually, I accepted that those things were for people who had viciously overplucked in the '90s and 2000s, not for those of us who were never blessed with bold brows and lashes in the first place.
I adopted an extensive makeup routine to compensate for my measly eyebrows. I began to incorporate pomades, powders, tinted and clear gels — this got old fast. I then resorted to microblading, turning to Shaughnessy Otsuji, one of the pioneers of the practice, to give me realistic, fluffy-looking tattooed brows. You can see my before and after photos on her Instagram below.
Microblading was great for me, and I would never trust anybody other than Shaughnessy with tattooing my face. It knocked precious time off of my morning routine and made me feel like I could confidently leave the house without makeup. Unfortunately for me, Shaughnessy is based in Vancouver, which makes the recommended yearly touchup difficult for someone who lives in New York.
A few years later, my microblading had mostly faded, and while I hadn’t returned to my exhaustive makeup routine of pre-microblading times, I was back to filling in my brows every day. Below you can see a photo of my brows and lashes at this point (after applying a brow growth serum that gave me some irritation).
Then, last summer, one of my friends with enviably bushy brows and long lashes visited New York — her lashes looking even longer than normal. She credited GrandeLash serum with the new growth, which at first glance I thought must be extensions. I ordered a tube that day.
I was diligent about applying the product along my top lash line every night, and about two months later, people started to notice. Come the three-month mark, everybody thought I’d gotten extensions, too.
I apply GrandeBrow below the front of my brows near my nose, above the tail of my brows at my outer eye, and use whatever is left in the brush throughout my entire brow, dipping into the tube once in between each brow. My methodical application is intended to create a straighter brow effect, which I think gives my eyes a lifted look. It’s now been two months since I started using GrandeBrow, and I’m seeing plenty of new growth in the areas where I apply it most. Below see my lashes after using GrandeLash regularly, and my brows after using GrandeBrow for two months.
The only drawback? I find that it’s hard to tell when you’re running low on either product, but I reordered it when I noticed my lashes weren’t looking quite as bold. I now tint both my brows and my lashes using Intensive Lash & Brow Tint in Dark Brown ($17, was $20) with Intensive Cream Developer ($18, was $23), which I leave on my brows for about two minutes and on my lashes for 15. This way I barely need to wear any makeup at all, and most days I just brush up my brow hairs with Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel ($22), which I find holds them in place without the flaky effect that many clear gels have. And when the dye starts to fade, I use Benefit Gimme Brow ($17) tinted gel to maintain a bold look before the next time I dye them.
While I am still very happy with my microblading experience, it’s nice to have more control over how full my brows are, adding some depth and boldness on days that I want it and keeping my brows a bit more sparse and natural with clear gel most days. I’ve now practically become a Grande spokesperson — I got my mom, my sister, and several of my friends hooked, and they’ve all seen similar growth
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