reflections

THE MYSTERY OF PARISIAN EYEBROWS.

Yesterday I took my self in hand.    I had taken a picture of myself in a new hat and was horrified at how haggard I looked!  These past few weeks of stress, rushed convenience meals and lack of exercise,  have taken their toll.

To be fair,  my hairdresser (Michael!)  has been in hospital, so the grey roots were not all my fault.

So I booked a masssge, had a face pack, got my roots done, shaved my legs used a bit of  Dove ” Summer glow”with a subtle, gradual self tanner” and got my eyebrows done.

It occurred to me that Parisian women don’t seem to do eyebrows….or at least it is a big secret how they do them.

In England, brow bars are everywhere.  Threading and tint for £10 done just by walking in,  where a gentle, smiling,  pretty Indian girl will thread and tint your eyebrows,  for just £10  Or tint eyelashes. or add extra eyelashes for you.   I suspect my Indian girl knows not much more English than “Please, what shade would you like?”  “please stretch skin” “Look, OK?”and “now soothing gel”   because every time I try to engage her in conversation I just get a smile and a nod,   although I suppose it IS difficult to talk with one end of the thread between your teeth.

 Last time I was in Paris, my friend Muriel, who has been living there now for several months, was having difficulty finding somewhere to tame her, increasingly invisible and straggly brows for  under 50 euro!…….  and then I started to notice, Parisian women seem to have eyebrows au naturel like everything else,  but like everything else, I am sure this look does not come about naturally.   You do not see Parisian women walking about with bushy eyebrows that meet in the middle of their foreheads or even worse, overplucked bald brow bones!

Where do they go to get their eyebrows done, or do they spend fortunes achieving an “undone” look?

Parisian women also do not seem to have been captivated by the trend we have in England (well the north at least!) for semi permanent false eyelashes, or spray tans either.    I guess French women with their  more latin genes, have naturally darker complexions, so don’t need to tint their skins darker.  Either that or they have no fear of skin cancer.    I theorise that is the reason that French women look better in black than most of my Anglo Saxon contemporaries who’ s natural colour is somewhere between blue and white!

Anyway, this northern English trend for false eyelashes and spray tans,  ( particularly Liverpool) has resulted, in my opinion, of   young  women looking more like drag queens than fresh faced girls  , which I find rather sad.   If there is any time in your life when you CAN be au naturel it is when you are young.

Two Northern girls on Bolton Station

Two northern girls on Bolton station.

With apologies to drag queens, who look very nice.

In my office I have a parade of young women and I often cannot concentrate very well because I am fascinated by the length of their lashes.

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And so to hats..…although Michael will not be able to go, he is keen for me to attend the Prestigious Prix de Diane horse race.   So I needed a hat.

I have favourite hat.

This one I bought on Kensington high st, TK MAX. Unfortunately the peach silk suit I wear with it won’t fit me at the moment! Due to above mentioned, rubbish diet lack of excercise in past few weeks.

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So instead I will wear this linen dress, which some of you might recognise from last year.

I found this hat, also at TKMAX.  which I might also add an orange flower.
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I was tempted to buy this M&S “packable” hat in black, cleverly designed to fold down into a suitcase and comes in lots of different colours.

Marks and Spencer Gem Floral Organza Packable Hat

But on balance I decided to get something smaller on a band that will not crush my hair.

Love Denise

Update on Michael.

Here he is in his own funky hat!

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Michael continues to get well every day he gets stronger.   He tires easily after he has been active but that is only to be expected after such major surgery.

We are told he will need a PET scan and another bone marrow biopsy in a couple of weeks, before a final decision is made whether he needs chemotherapy. But he need to recover fully from the surgery etc.

As for me, well the anxiety levels are reducing and the incredible fatigue and back pain I had,  probably due to the stress,   are gradually getting better.  I continue to cope by trying to focus on  the beauty in things and the good things about our lives.

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32 thoughts on “THE MYSTERY OF PARISIAN EYEBROWS.

    • Wow! that was quick!…..Thanks Dawn, well I got fed up of mooching about looking like a bag lady. The photo really shook me out of it…..life goes on, make the most of it!

      Love Denise

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  1. To be honest, I never heard of anyone who spraytans their skin apart from you – and maybe professional dancers.

    Why would you “need to tint your skin darker” ? Especially these days when solarium brown is so out of fashion due to the skin cancer risk.

    Scarlett Johansson and Nicole Kidman wear their pearly-milky skin and look both ravishing and healthy, right ?

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    • Maybe it is an English thing. Or a northern English thing…… Gitte, have you ever seen me looking like a ballroom dancer?

      Scarlett Johansson and Nicloe Kidaman (who is Australian by the way and looks awful IMO) do not achieve that look naturally. Scarlett Johnasson looks like she has a subtle “glow” to her skin which is all I try to achieve.

      I am not talking about permatans here, like Ballroom dancers, but just a little help to look more healthy. Most of the women I know in England use them from time to time in some form or another, especially before a big occasion. Spray tan salons are available on every high street just like brow bars and just as cheap. Because of the skin cancer risk sunbeds are really out of fashion except for the truly addicted or the young who think they are immune to illness.

      Love Denise

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  2. I’m glad to hear that Michael is doing well and getting stronger.
    As for your questions : I never heard of semi-permanent false eyelashes. And most women pluck their eyebrows at home with tweezers, although some of my friends go from time to time to an esthéticienne (mostly because their close-up vision is deteriorating, so their plucking is getting a bit erratic …) . You can also have your eyebrows tinted at esthéticiennes’ but it is not a common thing to do and I don’t know the price .

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    • Oh Anne, it is like an epidemic here. All the young ones have them it is a bit of a competition who can have the longest! Often older ladies have them too, , my friends amongst them , although they are more subtle and look more natural.

      So far I have resisted the eyelashes.. Thanks for your explanation of French eyebrows.

      Love denise

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  3. Maybe it is an English thing. Or a northern English thing…… Gitte, have you ever seen me looking like a ballroom dancer?

    Scarlett Johansson and Nicloe Kidaman (who is Australian by the way and looks awful IMO) do not achieve that look naturally. Scarlett Johnasson looks like she has a subtle “glow” to her skin which is all I try to achieve.

    I am not talking about permatans here, like Ballroom dancers, but just a little help to look more healthy. Most of the women I know in England use them from time to time in some form or another, especially before a big occasion. Spray tan salons are available on every high street just like brow bars and just as cheap. Because of the skin cancer risk sunbeds are really out of fashion except for the truly addicted or the young who think they are immune to illness.

    Love Denise

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  4. I am also struggling to decide weather to keep my natural thick eye brows or plug them a bit more and let them be impeccably shaped. Having read your post, I think I would leave them the way they are now 🙂

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    • Well Iva, only you can decide, but personally I prefer threading, especially by my nice Indian girl who knows what she is doing. Threading lasts for ages and they don’t grow back as quick. Love Denise

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  5. Spray tanning and tanning beds are VERY popular in the US – especially among the younger adults!! Actually, there are more and more who go to spray tanning because of the scare of getting skin cancer from tanning beds. I do not do either (especially not the tanning beds because I have had skin cancer) as the end result of any treatment for me is just more freckles!!! Happy to know that Michael is getting better/stronger as time goes by – and nice that he wants you to go to the races even though he can’t – like your hat and it will look nice with that dress which looks so good on you!

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  6. Glad to see you are taking yourself in hand, lol! Seriously, I am so pleased that you are able to go to Paris after all that has happened, and pleased that Michael is happy for you to go and that he continues to get stronger. You will look lovely in that dress and your new hat.

    I thought the only person I know who fake tans is the Princess ( and she does her own), but in Belfast at the weekend it was one of the main topics of conversation especially among the 20s to 30s age range, both men and women. Hate getting my eyebrows done, used to get them waxed, changed to threading, back to waxing and now I’m thinking threading is better after all!

    Love Janet

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  7. Well it is only for the weekend Janet, still, better than losing the cost of the tickets and hopefully a nice break.

    After having threading for about a year, I now much prefer it to the other methods and the hair doesn’t grow back as fast as with the other methods.

    Love Denise

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  8. Really glad to hear Michael is improving and you are able to go on your trip. Funny about the fashion for false eyelashes – there was a fashion for them in my youth in the ‘sixties’ and I even glued individual ones on my lower eyelids! (I still have a ‘bald’ patch in my lower eyelashes, caused by ripping out the false ones with the careless assumption I could treat my eyes as roughly as I liked, as I would NEVER be old and live to regret it, ha ha!)

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  9. Hi Bossy,, I well remember the fashion for sticking false individual lashes on the lower lids in the sixties, II did it myself. A la Twiggy! I also used to draw eyelashes on my lower lids, as I am sure you did too!

    Ah those were the days, when I had long luxurious eyelashes!

    Love Denise

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  10. A funny entry, Denise.
    Even in the land of sunshine, spray tanning is very popular here. Natural tans are normally frowned upon due to cancer worries and as a result many of us (me included) are now Vitamin D deficient. You just can’t win.
    We are also very much into brow bars, although threading exists, it isn’t as popular. I assume it’s because our Indian population is not as large.
    Glad to hear Michael is doing well.

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    • Hi Mez. I am very surprised at the response to this post. Just shows you can never judge what will interest people.

      I have always stayed away from the sun too, even before the knowledge about skin cancer. It makes me feel ill and frankly I never had the patience to sunbathe. Later I think the fear of wrinkles also kept me in the shade. I am also vitamin D deficient, like most women and take supplements.

      The threading brow bars are relatively recent, I think they are franchises and invariably run by Indian ladies who have the traditional skill of threading. Consequently the tinted eyebrows are sort of “indian” too and just looking around most young English girls now have quite pronounced brows sort of painted on. I suppose it is fashion and availability.

      Incidentally, I have also seen men having their eyebrows tidied. Especially in the big department stores.

      THanks for dropping by.
      Love Denise

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  11. I’ve always done my own eyebrows and have never been sprayed tan…I’m so low maintenance sometimes it’s ridiculous LOL!
    I used to get a very nice dark tan when I was younger, now I can’t stand being in the sun and as you know, I shouldn’t either. Living in South Florida is close to impossible but I’m trying.

    Your husband looks very good Denise!

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  12. Dear Denise, when we were planning our first trip to Paris a few years ago I was so engaged by your wonderful, warm personality and enthusiasm for Life. We’re planning another trip and you know how it is…clicking on every link, looking at every photo…and somehow something led me to your Blog. So glad my boss was away this afternoon, and it had settled down at work because I spent quite a few of the company’s hours with YOU! Your writing is so charming and interesting and full of intimacy. I was so upset to hear about Michael’s illness and am so glad to hear he’s doing so much better. I’ve only had time to go back in the archives for about 6 months and am excited to read everything … from the beginning. Maybe we’ll meet up at the !! meeting in the 5th some time. Fondly, Laurel from L.A.

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  13. Hi Lauren, so nice to see you. I’m amazed you had the patience to go back so far. Thanks for the kind words and good wishes for Michael.

    It will be the first time, next week, I am going to Paris without having another trip planned. We have to live our lives one day at a time at the moment.

    So maybe , yes we may meet one day at a meeting in Paris. Let me know here when you go. I am hoping to go for the vendange(wine harvest) party on 21st September at Ms Melacs wine bar in the 11th in September. A strange choice for a recovering alcoholic, but at’s about fun and meeting people not the wine.

    Love Denise

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  14. At my wedding, this was actually one of the comments some of my American friends had about the French woman our age. None of them fussed over eyebrow maintenance and to our plucked, threaded and very much manicured landscapes, it stood out . I have offered to take a French girlfriend to a threading salon with me and she looked at me like I was insane. It’s just not part of the culture, I suppose…

    You spray tan?? You diva, you! Love it.

    Happy Sunday!

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  15. I just wrote some ad campaigns for French brow pencils. The French say brows are in! But not in the “keep ’em trim” way, rather as a bold expression. They are considered the frame of your face and brows with character are a good thing.
    However, not everyone in Paris is Parisian and Muriel can get an affordable brow wax at any of the BodyMinute waxing salons at very little expense!
    Wish I was around this weekend to join you at the races!!!

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  16. That was a very intriguing title! I haven’t looked at prices for eyebrows, I just wax the strays myself and don’t bother with shaping really. But I know the cost of getting your nails done is huge here, so I imagine it’s the same. Glad you did some pampering anyway!

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