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Your Stylist: Bringing back your eyebrows and the right shoes for a red dress

March 8, 2010 |  8:00 am

Resident Image stylist and market editor Melissa Magsaysay soothes your style woes in the weekly "Your Stylist" blog column

EyebrowsI inherited naturally sparse eyebrows. I want to find a pencil or powder to shade them in, but when I consulted a cosmetic salesperson, she suggested a too-dark color that scared me away (and would probably scare others, too). How do I find a color to complement my hair and skin tone that doesn’t look really fake? K.R., Los Angeles

Whether you inherently have sparse eyebrows or took matters into your own hands and tweezed them out when you were 16 (because Kate Moss did), a lack of hair up there leaves us with either no natural frame for the face or perhaps worse, an artificial bunch of streaky lines that tends to smudge or disappear throughout the day.

I personally lose about half of my left brow by 4 p.m. everyday, and I’ve got to re-apply and fill in the blank space, so the fact that I have to draw in about 50% of them isn’t glaringly obvious (thank you very much Kate Moss).

Thankfully there are so many eyebrow aids out there that the standard brown pencil, which always goes on too dark, is totally obsolete. Eyebrowtools

Just like Latisse and other eyelash enhancers, there are a couple products that claim to do the same for the eyebrows. So if you want to actually try and get some hair to sprout, these gels help the hair you have stay put, while possibly stimulating more to grow.

But if, like me, the words “patent pending” on the side of a beauty product (that you put on your eye) has you a little wary, Trish McEvoy makes an eyebrow gel that has subtle color as well as tiny fibers that stick to your brows and fill in the missing volume and texture.

Pencils will always make a harder line, try a powder applied with an angled brush for something softer and also easier to use. The color should be several shades lighter than your hair color to look natural and not so obvious that you’ve got product in there.  I have black hair and actually use a pencil from Anastasia made for medium blonds. For the amount of brow bald spots I have to fill in to make a whole eyebrow, a much lighter shade ends up looking just right by the time I’m done.

When actually applying the pencil or powder, remember to stay within the natural line in which your eyebrows grow. Drawing your arches too high or extending the line too low will leave you looking like an evil Disney queen or some kind of weird mime. Brows are super important to frame your face shape and define the eye area, but don’t go overboard. Keep a light hand and stay away from super bushy, artificially dark, Groucho Marx brows.

Your-stylist Dear Your Stylist,
This lovely dress was an impulse buy at an end-of-season BCBG sale. As you can tell from the wrinkles, it quickly went to the back of my closet as I could not find a pair of shoes to wear with it. I have a wedding to attend in a few weeks. Do you think it’s appropriate to wear to that event? And can you tell me which shoes to wear with it so that I don’t go barefoot before the dancing starts? Thanks, Cinderella

I love this crimson color and appliqué detail at the neckline, and assuming the dress code for the wedding is “cocktail attire”, I would say this little frock would work just fine.

Red is always a hard color to find shoes and accessories for. So let’s just go over the two colors you most often should NOT wear with red hues – black and red. Black shoes with a red dress should be decided on a case by case basis, but unless you’re a 1980s bridesmaid getting dye-able pumps from David’s Bridal, a red on red combo is a significant no-no.Shoesforreddress

I always think a beige or light gold strappy shoe looks best with a red dress. The color doesn’t interfere or compete with the red dress (which in your case is a sac-style dress, so there’s more material) and it also elongates the leg.

Something with a slight gold shimmer will be dressier and versatile to wear with plenty of other ensembles in the future. My favorite is the champagne-colored "Lace" peep-toe pump from Jimmy Choo. The heel isn’t too high or spiky, and the color teeters between dressy and every day, so chances are you can get away wearing it with a nice suit for a serious work meeting and also a cocktail dress in a variety of colors.

For a less expensive version of the "Lace" style, Nine West makes a shoe called "Jib Jab" that isn’t as versatile as the Jimmy Choo, but works with the dress without you having to take out a second mortgage on your house.

Melissa Magsaysay

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Photos: Top, Ringo H.A. Chiu/Los Angeles Times

Eyebrow tools, from left, Beauty Society's "Brow Doctor" $28/Nordstrom, Trish McEvoy Brow Builder $32/Nordstrom, Anastasia Brow Enhancer gel $36/Anastasia, Anastasia Brow Pen $21/Anastasia.

Shoes, clockwise from top left: Jimmy Choo "Lace" shoe $525/Jimmy Choo, Nine West "Every" shoe $79/Nine West, Jimmy Choo "Private" shoe $950/Jimmy Choo, Nine West "Jib Jab" shoe $79/Nine West.