If you ask Jimena Garcia who her favorite clients are, her answer might surprise you.
“I had a famous heart surgeon come in the other day, and she said, ‘Your precision is incredible.’ And I thought, ‘I’m done. I’m going home,’” Garcia says, marveling. “Brows are all about shape and texture and form, so every individual I work on is different and unique. It’s like sculpting, or working on a bonsai tree. Hearing her say that was the highest compliment to me.”
I met Garcia at Atelier Beauté Chanel, the brand’s concept store in Soho, on a muggy September afternoon. Garcia, who was recently named the brand’s first-ever U.S. brow artist, was situated in a brightly mirrored corner, her long, dark hair edging near her waist and a pair of chunky Chanel eyeglasses resting on her nose.
As soon as I sit in her chair, I start right in on my brows, apologizing for their lack of arch, but she will have none of it.
“We tend to examine our features separately, especially our eyebrows, and that’s wrong,” she explains. “Every feature is part of a whole, and we should look at them together within the context of the face. When I first meet someone, I observe how their face moves to get a sense of their character. That — and, of course, the natural movement and growth of their hair — influences the shape I’m going to create for their brow.”
She holds a mirror up to my face.
“You have these beautiful round and aware eyes,” she says. “Not giving you too much of an arch will create an edgy and sexy feel.”
The cynic in me doesn’t necessarily fall for her pitch, but her relaxed, friendly demeanor keeps me there, along with those eyeglasses, which I covet despite their making me look like Charles Nelson Reilly when she lets me try them on.
“Glasses are great to hide behind if you’re growing your brows out,” she says. “If you don’t wear glasses, a bold red lip is also good. It’s all about distraction.”
Garcia got into brows after taking a makeup application course at the New School, then studied fine art and art history at Parsons. She soon started doing makeup at a boutique in Bronxville and found her calendar was quickly booked up for eyebrow shaping.
“That’s when I realized there was a need, so I decided to specialize in it,” she says. “It was a hard skill to master, but I loved the challenge. I also love that I don’t have to lug a heavy kit around!”
Instead, she carries only a few items: the obvious tweezers, scissors, brow brush, and waxing strips, plus Chanel Huile de Jasmin to condition brow hairs and a mini-razor.
“Mini-razors are great if you don’t happen to have scissors. And don’t shave against the growth, because that’s too harsh. Go with the growth, and go gently over them. If you’re growing out your eyebrows, they’re brilliant.”
Garcia will be taking clients at Chanel’s Atelier three days a month while continuing to also spread her gospel via the brand and her own Instagram feed. Along with individuality, she is also a strong proponent of nurturing your brow growth with daily affirmations and a dry brow brush.
“I know this sounds funny, but when you do it, tell them you love them. Make up a mantra,” she says, laughing. “And if you have a 10x magnifying mirror, throw that thing away! Let them grow!”
“Tom Ford! Oh my God. I’m obsessed with that man. I would die.”
When I suggest that his brows are probably so perfect he doesn’t have anything to pluck, she demurs. “I don’t care, I would do it,” she says. “Even if it’s just one hair.”