Brow Business: We Interviewed "That Brow Girl"

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Written By: Taylor Rao

Fatima Hussain, Owner & Stylist, Fatima Hussain Brow Studio

Fatima Hussain, Owner & Stylist, Fatima Hussain Brow Studio

Let’s face it --there has never been a better time for eyebrows than right now. They’re the hottest accessory we’re born with, but keeping up with them can feel as hard as keeping up with the Kardashians sometimes.

From the traditional eyebrow wax to trendy new techniques like threading, microblading and more, nearly every woman out there is wondering how they can keep their brow game strong.

And when you need the best brow advice, why not go directly to the source?

Fatima Hussain is “That Brow Girl,” a self-taught eyebrow expert based in Upstate New York, with over 21,000 followers on Instagram and an equally strong following of clients who travel near and far (like, really far) to have her work her eyebrow magic on them. We sat down with the Fatima to get the 411 on our what’s hot in the world of eyebrows right now.

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Explain the "eyebrow craze" in your own words --how have eyebrows come into the forefront (literally) of the beauty world?

A: If you go back in time and look at how much eyebrows have played a massive role in the history of beauty, you’d be shocked to see the differences from many centuries ago and today. As an eyebrow professional, it’s important to know how eyebrows have evolved over time, and how often beauty trends change.

Brows have always had different trends --Cleopatra liked her carbon-lined brows, then there’s the pencil-like styles of Marlene Dietrich in the 1930s, Audrey Hepburn’s thick and straight eyebrows in the 1950s, glossy brows on Marie Helvin in the 1970s, and bushy brows like Brooke Shields in the 1980s. In the 1990s, the pencil-thin look was all anyone wanted.

Eyebrows contribute to facial harmony; they create a balance and structure. Even when it comes to shaping, I have to pay attention to where your eyes and nose are positioned to find your key points. In my line of work, I’ve seen the drastic change in a very clean and manicured eyebrow to now, a very feathered look (no trimming and minimal shaping). Eyebrow favoritism ranges throughout the world. They are preferred a bit dramatic in the Middle East, a bit straighter in East Asia and with a soft, natural look in the United States.

How did you get involved in the industry?

A: As a kid, I was always around this craft as it’s very popular in my culture. I learned how to thread when I was 13 years old, and have been actively threading since. I developed a passion for eyebrows and wanted to make sure that I was able to provide for everyone’s eyebrow needs, which is why today I have multiple brow-related services at my studio.

I’ve been asked to offer different services such as body waxing, eyelash services, facials, etc. but I believed I’d stand out more if I was specialized in one area. Earlier this year, I opened the first-ever specified “brow studio” in the Capital Region, where I only offer eyebrow services.

You have a HUGE Instagram following of girls who admire your work and seek you out from different cities and states to have you do their brows. What’s it been like using social media to grow your business?

A: I have to give thanks to social media, especially Instagram, for helping me find my clientele and create an online, visual portfolio at no cost. I have many clients that follow me, as well as friends and many local business owners, but the most amazing thing is being able to connect with different brow artists all over the world. I’m in a group message with quite a few brow artists scattered all over the world where we suggest certain products or new techniques, and it’s been so nice to be able to lift each other up and watch our careers grow.

Instagram also allows me to show photos of my work for current and prospective clients to see what I’m capable of doing for them. I’m proud to say that although I have a majority of my clients from local surrounding areas, I have quite a few that travel from New York City, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Chicago, and Atlanta to have their brows done by me.

These are clients that trust my vision and my work, and feel comfortable coming to me because I stay consistent and I take my time. For this reason, I require appointments and don’t accept walk-ins. I don’t think I can deliver my best to each client if I had a walk-in type of business with lines of people waiting, because I would have to rush and you absolutely can't rush perfection!

What is one of the biggest misconceptions or myths about eyebrow maintenance and the different methods of getting them done?

A: I think professionally, the biggest misconception is that you can grow your brows to get the specific shape you’d like to have. Natural growth, facial muscles, and bone structure play a huge role in the shape of your brows --but that’s why we have brow henna, microblading, and powder effect techniques to achieve the different shapes and looks people desire.

Another misconception is that eyebrow threading hurts too much. One compliment I receive most often (other than the shape being well-liked), is that it doesn’t hurt when I thread because I’m allowed to take my time and not put so much pressure on the face when I’m removing hair, so I’m only gently touching the skin enough to grab some hair when I go to pull it with the thread. Threading is also so much better for your skin than Waxing. I try not to be biased, but you can’t really argue the facts. Threading is just a string of cotton thread. There’s no chemicals, no worry about getting burned, no heat, etc. Also, threading is 100 percent safe for those on Accutane or using Retina/Retinoids.

What are the different methods you use with your clients?

A: I offer a wide range of brow services: eyebrow threading, eyebrow waxing, eyebrow henna, and semi-permanent makeup such as microblading and powder effect. I always explain to my clients what the pros and cons are with each service, and allow them to decide what works best for them.

What products do you recommend for girls who are working on their brows or filling them in at home?

A: I personally love to use multiple brow products when doing by brows --  a brow bone highlight, brow powder and a brow gel. My absolute favorite is powder because it delivers a natural finish and it is buildable. I’m not the biggest fan of pomades if you are using it to apply over your entire eyebrow, because it is an overly drying product that masks over your eyebrows. Pomade is safe to use with a very small tip brush to mimic hair like strokes but not for your entire brow, but you have to scrub quite hard to remove it, which causes damage to your brow hairs.

How often should someone get their eyebrows done professionally, and what’s the best way to maintain them in between sessions?

A: Everyone’s hair grows very differently, so what I advise my clients do is if they would like to have a very clean and manicured the look, then every 3-4 weeks is recommended, but if you can go longer, that’s even better. When I have clients that are growing their eyebrows out, I tell them, “Come back when you look in the mirror and say,  “YIKES!”

Who’s your brow-spiration—locally or in the world of beauty?

A: Hands down Nadia Afanaseva. She is a world renowned Celebrity Artist from Russia, but based in New York City. She has been my eyebrow idol for the past five years now. And I have been fortunate enough to have taken two classes with her and learn her techniques.

What are your favorite brow products?

1: Briogeo organic + cold-pressed 100% castor oil: If you’re working on growing out your eyebrows, this is the product for you. It’s rich in humectants, Vitamin E and Omega fatty acids that nourish the hair follicles and skin encouraging healthy, eyebrows & eyelashes + another benefit is hydrated, glowing skin.

2. West Barn Co. Brow Saver Kit: All of their products are handmade in England from natural organic ingredients. The kit includes Brow Boost: active ingredients stimulate the hair follicle promoting growth. Soap Brows: a brow styling product designed to give groomed, fuller looking, natural brows. And Coconut Dew: The mist helps to set makeup adding a radiant dewy finish for lasting hold.

3: Glossier Boy Brow: This all in one product helps to thicken, fill in, and groom brows into place. 

4. KyBrow Powders: In love with the entire collection, I bought all of the products to use on my clients! Powders are my favorite because it’s buildable, pomades i’m not a huge fan of because it’s overly drying and can damage the brow hair when you remove it.