As you might know, we freaking love brows. The frames of the face, the halos of the eyes – we’re here for them! So, in honor of all things brows, we sat down with brow guru & Clean Beauty MUA, Kendra Springer to chat everything arches. Keep reading to learn all the brow tea from Kendra:
- How to choose your perfect brow shade
- How to apply the pencil and pomade: step-by-step
- How to make brows appear fuller + ALL. Of. The. Pro-tips!
- Her journey to clean & how she chooses products
How did you get into the makeup artistry world?
My mom was a Product Developer for a natural skincare and cosmetics brand so I’ve been around cosmetics basically since I was born! When I turned 18, I became a Makeup Artist at Mac where I stayed for 6 years. Back then, Mac gave some of the best, most comprehensive training in the industry – and you learned to turn a fierce look fast!
While I was in school, my freelancing business starting to blow up and I set out on my own. I’ve been doing makeup for 14 years now. Ugh, that makes me feel old!
What’s your favourite kind of makeup to do?
I love editorial looks and elevated beauty looks – it’s so fun to create a completely new look and push the boundaries of what’s been done. Whether editorial or with clients, everything I do looks natural and skin-like in-person. It should translate both on and off camera.
What’s your favourite makeup you ever did?
Last year, I did a photoshoot with Lucy’s magazine – it was lots of oranges and blues – even some orange freckles! It was very retro-inspired and I loved it. That was before my transition to clean beauty however, so I’m excited to recreate those looks with only totally clean products.
Speaking of clean, what made you make the switch?
I switched to clean beauty a year ago after being diagnosed with endometriosis and a whole host of other hormone-related issues. With more testing, I discovered I had very high levels of heavy metals in my body. When the Hormone Specialist saw the results, she suggested I look into cleaner beauty products since there are so many heavy metals in conventional cosmetics. And for a Makeup Artist, when you’re layering these products on every day for years, the contaminants build up in your system and can create all sorts of long-term health issues.
Was it hard to make the switch as a Makeup Artist?
It was definitely scary at first, I mean this was my profession, my livelihood – and having to build my kit from scratch with products I had never used was daunting for sure. Plus, I wasn't sure clean products could perform the way I needed to.
And the truth is, 10 years ago I wouldn’t have been able to switch. Clean products just weren't there yet in terms of performance, payoff, and longevity.
Thankfully though, clean beauty has transformed so much. I’m so grateful for products like Plume that perform just like their conventional counterparts – except without the scary health/skin effects.
How did you find the clean products you now use and love?
It took me 7 months to research and find clean products that would perform as I hoped, and I haven’t gone back since. Initially, I was so nervous with my editorial projects - that using clean beauty would limit my looks. But the truth is, the switch has reignited my passion for beauty. It’s been such a fun challenge to try and create exciting, striking looks with only clean beauty.
And the best part is being able to help other women make the switch. So many ladies are scared to give up their conventional beauty faves, and I love showing them all that can be done with clean beauty. You truly don’t have to give up the looks you love!
Plus, so many of these small indie clean brands are woman-owned which I am all about supporting.
What are your criteria for selecting clean products?
I start with clean beauty standards at retailers like Detox Market and Credo Beauty and then I individually research all ingredients I haven’t heard of. I especially avoid all endocrine-disruptors because of my condition, but overall I avoid any ingredient with potential health effects. You only have one bod – honor it girl!
I like Skin Deep and Think Dirty too as ingredient references. Also, my mom’s Product Development expertise really comes in handy whenever I have an ingredient question!
How do you choose the perfect pomade or pencil shade?
To create the most natural brow, you want some depth and dimension. For that, I use two shades. First, I choose one shade lighter than the brow hairs, which I use to create an outline for depth and shadow underneath the brow. The second shade is the same color as your natural brow hairs, which I use to draw individual hairs where they're sparse.
If you don’t want to invest in two shades, here’s how I pick just one:
- If you are planning to draw individual hairs in sparse areas, choose the darker shade the matches your brow color.
- If you’re just looking to create natural shading, choose one shade lighter than your natural brows.
What I love about Plume brow products: the cool toned colors actually stay cool once applied! It’s so hard to find cool shades that stay true to form, so congrats on that.
How to choose between pencil vs pomade
I think the pencil is a really great starter product – you can get comfortable with mapping everything out, giving yourself natural shading and color, and even drawing individual brow hairs. It’s so great for beginners – you won’t look like a Lady of the Night, I promise! Plus, it’s perfect for those 5-minute face days.
Once you’re comfortable and want more versatility, you can build your brow repertoire and work with the pomade. Also if you have non-existent or incredibly thin brows, a pomade is the answer.
How to create the ultimate defined, yet natural brow with the pomade
1. First, brush your brow hairs into position using the spoolie end of the brush.
2. Using a shade lighter than natural brow hairs (you can use pencil or pomade for this step), draw an outline to map out the final shape of the brows.
3. Then, using the ultra-thin Plume brush, focus on creating hairs near the front of the brow and along the tail. Don’t devour your brush in product – scrape the edges on the pot so you don’t get a huge chunk of pomade on the brush.
4. Draw hairs in the same direction as your brow hairs naturally grow - and press super gently! If you want that brushed-up brows look, brush the hairs up before applying product and follow that upright shape.
- Don’t go past your brow hair length when creating faux hairs – it won’t look natural.
- If you have close-set eyes, don’t bring your brows too close together. A rule: your brow should begin at inner corner of the eye and the arch should start where the pupil is.
- Light pressure makes a huge difference. Hold the brush farther back – this helps stop you from putting too much weight on your brush and creates the thinnest line possible.
Pro-tips for doing brows with the Pencil
1. Start by brushing the brow hairs into the shape you want them
2. Build the outline of the brow along the bottom edge of the arch
3. Use really light pressure and build the color in layers
4. Brush gently through brows with spoolie to blend
A few people have found our pencils don’t last super long – can you share your tips to make the pencil last?
I’ve had my Plume brow pencils for 4 – 5 months and they’re still going strong. Usually when I hear people going through brow pencils too quickly, it’s for a couple potential reasons:
- They’re applying too much – start with a very small amount and build from there. Especially with these pencils – a little goes a long way!
- Too much pressure – you only need a very light touch to impart color.
- Twisting the pencil up too high – this can cause any pencil to break which means wasted product.
Also, replace the cap after every use so air doesn’t get in there and dry it out. A dry product doesn’t perform as well and you’ll have to use more product to get the same effect. That’s actually what I love about both the pomade and pencil packaging – the lids click on and stay in place which helps to keep the product’s integrity.
Why do you like Plume brow products?
I love their color payoff – it’s the perfect amount of pigment for that balance of usability and performance. Also, I love that the color stays true – it doesn’t change color when it touches the heat from the skin. A lot of brow products change dramatically from the pot to the skin.
I also find the shade selection very easy to match and work with. Plus, I have very oily skin and Plume brow products keep their hold and last all day.
Your pencils remind me so much of the Anastasia Brow Wiz pencil, except better. The brow wiz packaging was very flimsy and the pencils would break on me so easily. Yours is very sturdy, which I love.
Overall, I love that it’s high performance AND clean, and there’s no other brow products on the market that also promote brow growth. It’s treatment and color all in one, which is really all you can ask for!
Kendra wears our Nourish & Define Brow Pencil in Cinnamon Cashmere & Endless Midnight
When do you do brows? Is there any specific order in terms of the rest of the makeup?
I usually do it at the end - eyes first, then complexion and brows. However, if you’re new at eyeshadow and you don’t know where to start and end the color, do your brows first to use as an anchor point. Also, if you get really oil while doing makeup, you may want to do brows last so you can blot them before applying color.
How to balance brows with the rest of the makeup?
Brows can really lift the eyes and face – especially for hooded or deep-set eyes. So, honestly, there’s never a bad time for a bold brow! But a couple of things to keep in mind:
- Anytime you wear a full face of makeup, you need a bold brow – that’s where you would use the individual brow hair drawing technique!
- For a quick, subdued brow look, you can just shade the brows lightly and blend in with the spoolie.
- Pop a little highlighter under the brow for extra lift for the eyes on every makeup look.
How to make brows appear fuller?
Besides growing more brow hairs (hello, Plume brow products) you can try the brushed-up brows look. Just brush your brows the opposite way of their growth and upwards. It’s like when you blow-dry your hair in the opposite direction to create volume.
Do this before applying color. For even more impact, try the soap brows look:
- Wet your brush, sweep it along a clear bar of soap, and brush upward through your brows.
- The clearer the soap, the better.
- Apply in thin layers to build up the effect.
- Apply brow color once you've created the shape with soap.
Umm we hear you were on the TV show, American Beauty Star?! What was that like?
Yes! I was one of the contestants on the show - It was a great experience but also the most manic, chaotic time ever. We had to create all these crazy dramatic beauty looks + HAIR, and clothing & accessories in such a short time limit – it really pushes you as an artist and just as a person.
I got pretty far, and enjoyed it overall though I can’t say I would voluntarily go through it all again! Sir John (Beyonce’s MUA) was so sweet and Christie Brinkley is awesome too.
Kendra on the set of TV show American Beauty Star
- All the <3 to you from Plume