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Retail Therapy: Plucked, tweezed, waxed or raised in horror?

THE latest look from the catwalk is bad news for women with Brooke Shields-type eyebrows. Fashion dictates that fine arches and practically non-existent eyebrows are the new style, marking the return of the eyebrow pencil and the dreaded tweezers.

Many women have gone through the teenage agonies of plucking, never getting it quite right. Those over 17 will almost certainly feel they are beyond such vanities: it is not worth the pain and the look is ageing.

Jo Karsberg, a make-up artist, believes that those who want the look are better off going to professionals, if only to get the initial shape right; the outline can then be followed at home. But if you do insist on complete DIY, do it slowly. Take one hair at a time from underneath, stick to the natural line and try tweezing straight after a bath when the pores are open.

Given that the high street is never far behind the catwalk, it is suprising to find very few cosmetics for the eyebrows beyond tweezers (Boots, pounds 1.01) and pencils.

Providing an innovative alternative to painful heavy tweezing is the Body Shop's clear new Brow and Lash Gel ( pounds 2.75, in the shops from June), created to add shape to the brow and hold it in place. Its Eyebrow Make-up is the first product of its kind, a waxy powder to give a softer definition than a pencil will allow ( pounds 3.50). Christian Dior has a pencil in blonde, pounds 8, for those with fair hair.

The waxing option is a less excruciating experience. A beautician whips off the hairs in a couple of minutes, leaving the tweezers for the stragglers - much less painful than hours spent in front of a steamed-up bathroom mirror.

Here are some London beauticians who will transform eyebrows; salons throughout the country will generally do it for around pounds 5:

Harvey Nichols (Glenby) charges pounds 7 for an eyebrow shape (or pounds 9 using hot wax). Its customers tend to go for the traditional shape.

The Green Room charges pounds 6 for shaping. It does not use wax. Course of six sessions for price of five, pounds 30. Most of its customers want to follow the natural line. For details phone Alison Roberts: 071-243 8211.

Fenwick of Bond Street (Glenby) charges pounds 5.50 for tweezers or wax.

(Photograph omitted)