Halfway through our conversation, Jimena Garcia—most recently named Chanel’s first-ever Brow Artist—turns the tables to ask me about my brows. I happily oblige, as do most people who flock to the brow pro whose expertise is coveted on both coasts. Garcia, who’s been in the brow business for almost two decades, has never been interested in pursuing perfection nor chasing trends. Instead, she believes in focusing on the craft and taking a personalized approach for each client. Now, Garcia (who possesses an enviable set of arches of her own) is bringing her unique point of view to the storied French fashion house. She spoke with S/ Magazine about her brow philosophy, makeup kit essentials, and more.
How did you get your start in the industry?
“It wasn’t that I said I wanted to be a brow specialist. It basically found me. I was taking a continuing education class for makeup artistry at Parsons. At the time, I was also taking some art history classes at the Metropolitan Museum. When I was taking makeup artistry, I was thinking to myself, I love art, I’m very good at it, but it would be amazing to be able to focus on one thing. I became my teacher’s assistant and started to do people’s brows before I did their makeup. This was about 18 years ago. I said to myself, wouldn’t it be so cool to just specialize in one thing and be able to master it? And why not start doing brows, do it well, and understand every little intricate detail that would go in that process?”
How has studying fine art and history informed your approach to brows?
“I went to aesthetic school as well, and when you study cosmetology, they go through the process of how to do something, but they don’t really teach you the art form. When I studied art, I studied about shape, form, and structure. I started to see how history informs art. Whatever the artist sees influences what they’re creating. When I see a client, everything goes through my head—their structure, shape, and form.”
How would you describe your brow philosophy?
“I take each person as an individual and I try to look at who they are, their style, and what shape works best with that. The fact that we can create any type of expression and style with the shape of brows is incredible. You can really change your face or expression. If you want to be powerful, if you want to be soft, if you want to be free. Basically my philosophy is ‘who do you want to be?’ And everybody is really different. I don’t really go with trends. I go with what’s right for the individual.”
You don’t believe in an ideal shape. What do you look for when you’re shaping or sculpting a brow?
“One thing I focus on is hair texture. Do you have straight or curly hair? What scissors am I going to use? Not only taking everything into consideration aesthetically, but also the process of the craft itself. Am I going to use wax? Does the person have sensitive skin? We live in a time where products are really intrusive and there’s a lot of exfoliation going on. Am I going to thread? Am I going to tweeze? It’s like a painter trying to create a certain landscape and using certain brushes.”
You believe in nurturing your brows to encourage brow health and growth. Can you tell me more about that?
“I believe in energy and I believe that anything you put love into, you can make [it] grow. It’s kind of like having a green thumb. It’s nurturing the brow itself. What brushes are you using? What oils do you want to use? It’s all about the details. If you want something to look beautiful, you’re going to care for it.”
What brow products or tools do you carry in your makeup bag?
“I love the Chanel Baume Essentiel that has a glow to it, which is incredible to put below your brows to give it a highlighter [effect] or on your brow hairs to make them a little shiny. I started using Le Base Mascara, which is a primer and has a thicker consistency than the brow gel. It makes the hair thicker and creates a more sculpted look. Chanel also has an amazing spoolie for brows, and the [bristles] on it are coarse and stiff so you can brush through your brows. If you’re someone who doesn’t like to use a lot of products, Chanel has a beautiful mist. It’s hydrating on the hair and skin. I mist it over my eyes and brush my brows. Of course, I have my gold tweezers and couture scissors. I collect tools from couture houses in Paris that they use on dresses.”
Where do you see brow trends headed in 2020?
“We’re in a generation of ‘why not?’, so anything goes. I think the trend is being yourself and that is going to create originality. What’s the best brow for you? Why not bring the unibrow back? Who said it was ugly? We’re living in a time where there are so many amazing beauty products to create what we want, so why not use it and why not play?”