The students were put into groups of twos and threes (I was in a pair) and each given the same task (allocated time 1 week). The task was to block out eyebrows with each group using different mediums and my partner and I were instructed to use spirit gum. Our main objectives were to list the tools and products required, provide a step by step instruction guide of how to apply them and finally evaluate our work. Any extra information would be a bonus. This was quite a daunting task for me as not only have I not tried blocking out eyebrows (apart from using a bald cap and greasepaint in a previous task) I have never tried it on myself.
My task began with thorough research, giving a good description of the product before listing the appropriate information in each category needed. I found this surprisingly difficult as not a great deal of information was available apart from one YouTube tutorial. My partner and I were also unfortunate in that we were unable to get hold of spirit gum after visiting local fancy dress shops in the area and knew that due to time constraints we had no time to order online. After discussion with our tutor, we came to the agreement that as long as we had sufficient information then that would be fine. Furthermore, we attempted to try another method of blocking out eyebrows namely using a pritt stick as most people have one of these tucked away in their pencil case!!
Unfortunately, my partner had to go home so I carried on with the task as a sole project.
Working hard to get as much done as I could, I researched the pritt stick method, finding much more information than the spirit gum which clearly showed that this must be a much more popular way to do it. After getting the information I needed, I followed YouTube tutorials plus blog posts of similar step by step guides and tried this myself. It was nerve-racking as I am an eyebrow lover and I always want to perfect mine, so putting glue on them was not pleasing! However, I had to complete this mandatory task and thought positively, if it worked for others then why would it not work for me? My first attempt at it was not successful and I felt it was much harder than it looked. On the internet it can look easy like someone just applies a product with instant results, whereas the reality for me was that as soon as I applied my first layer of glue it started to dry out and crumble. Having started off disastrously I knew that the end result would not be good. To conceal, I used a liquid concealer stick as I thought this would give a natural, moisturising finish which was applied with a brush. The image below shows my eyebrow to start with and the end result and as you can see, the hairs have not been flattened at all, the glue is lumpy and obvious, and the hair colour is obviously showing therefore the concealer was not suitable.
My second attempt was not much better and again it looked quite patchy and the hair colour had not been covered very well. However, I did get the hairs much flatter this time by allowing drying time between each layer of glue. I used the same concealer stick as in my first attempt but with a liquid foundation mixed in to see if this would give a heavier but natural coverage which again was applied with a brush. The image below shows this.
By my third and final attempt, I perfected the skill by simply changing my glue stick to a fresh, slightly smoother top which definitely did not crumble like before. In addition I decided to use my matte concealer palette which is fantastic for covering blemishes on the face and instead of applying with a brush, I dabbed on small amounts with my finger as advised in a tutorial I had watched before attempting this task. The tutor said using a brush only softens the glue. The image below shows how it now looked.
Coupled with bringing the completed task into our next lesson, we also had to give a demonstration in our groups to the rest of the class so that we could learn techniques from each other. Some of the other mediums used were:
- Latex: This was not very effective and it did not manage to cover the hairs well. The durability is also quite poor as it starts to peel soon after application. This would most definitely not be appropriate for television or film (HD). This technique or using a latex patch could work for theatre.
- Soap: This was also not very effective and the hairs were not kept flat. The group found that by using a Pritt stick combined with soap, it worked much better. Soap is not waterproof, therefore it may not be suitable for the industry of television or film. This is most suitable for theatre makeup.
- Derma Wax: The coverage is good, therefore this would be great for theatre, however it is very obvious close-up.
- A Pritt Stick (another group were doing this instead of pros-aide as they couldn’t use this): The orange blocked out the hair colour and a great coverage was provided. This would work great in photographic as you can work to the best of your ability and then Photoshop can be used to fix it up.
- Brush the hairs upwards.
- Apply the glue against the direction of the hair growth.
- Press the hairs down towards the direction of the hair growth, flattening as much as possible.
- Apply the glue down towards the direction of the hair growth, flattening again. Apply three layers of glue.
- Powder (translucent) with a sponge on top of the glue to set it.
- Apply another layer of glue, making it as flat as possible.
- Add powder to absorb the moisture.
- Dab on concealer (do NOT brush as this softens the glue).
- Powder to finish.
There are many other ways in which it can be applied as every artist works differently, whether it is brushing the hairs in the opposite direction or applying a different amount of layers of glue.
At the end of each demonstration, we all decided that the most successful method was in fact the pritt stick, however not just the way in which my partner and I applied it. The other group who performed this same procedure, had a very similar version but they used colour theory (complimentary colours) to camouflage the hairs before concealing the eyebrow (applying an orange greasepaint as there were blue tints in the hair). I had never thought of or seen any people using colour theory to block out the colour of the hair before concealing it and thought that it was a brilliant idea for a perfect result. Their model just like me had particularly dark eyebrows and therefore without using colour theory, it would have been hard to block them out.
My tutor then gave a demonstration of how she likes to block out the eyebrows by using derma wax using the following steps:
- Brush the hairs outwards (the direction is whichever the hairs lay flatter)
- Collect a small amount of derma wax on half a spatula, warm it on the skin (on the back of the hand) and then pick it back up on the spatula
- Drag the derma wax over the hairs, starting from where the hairs start and drag towards the end in one motion (this should look clear, smooth and flat)
- Apply moisturiser around the eyebrow to get rid of any edges
- Camouflage the hairs out with a mix of orange and red greasepaint (do not brush, but dab on)
- Powder this and then dust off the excess
- Dab on foundation to match the skin shade
- Press powder over again
- This can be removed by scraping off the excess with a spatula and emulsifying with cream
This lesson was an excellent opportunity to build on our skills and knowledge, particularly for me as I have not much experience in blocking eyebrows. The areas of the industry that it would be used in are theatre/performance most definitely, photographic and possibly for television and film or indeed anywhere else that may specifically request it for a particular or unique look/s.