It’s all about the brows for Stacey El-Broche

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sydneyember90BY SYDNEY EMBER

In a city where actresses and tanned beauties strut on palm-tree lined avenues, primping for a day on the town is a well-oiled business.  But look closer — past the tousled locks streaked with golden highlights, past the plum-varnished nails and vampire-red lips, past the darkened shades. Ask Stacey El-Broche, a makeup and eyebrow-shaping expert, and she’ll tell you to look above the lashes to the perfectly sculpted brows.  That, she’ll tell you, is the mark of a polished woman.  And that is her domain.  If the client is a man, no matter —  she’ll take care of him too.

Watching El-Broche with a client is watching an artist, expertly sculpting and flittering with deft fingers, lightly brushing stray hairs from rosy cheeks.


Stacy El-Broche Photo: Sydney Ember

“I don’t base the brow shape on trends,” she said. “I base it on whatever will look the best because everyone is so different.”

After a brief consultation, she offers her opinion, only starting to tweeze the brows into a perfect shape after discussing the look with her new client. “I’m very meticulous and very passionate,” she said.

But El-Broche didn’t start out shaping brows.  She started her career as a makeup artist.

El-Broche came to Los Angeles in 1989 after getting a makeup license in Arizona, where she attended the University of Arizona before deciding what she really wanted to do was create and enhance a woman’s natural beauty.

“I’ve been obsessed with makeup since I was 13,” El-Broche said. “I’m definitely a perfectionist.”  In Los Angeles, she started doing makeup for television, film and print, catering to both San Fernando Valley elite and everyday women.

But eight years ago, El-Broche said she was getting nervous about the state of the movie industry.  Afraid that she would have to support herself and her daughter, Alexa, without a robust clientele, she started learning how to shape eyebrows, quickly generating a wish list of celebrities while working at Sweet Dreams Salon in Sherman Oaks. At the wood paneled beauty bar, she honed her craft while continuing to offer her makeup artistry for special events such as weddings and proms.

“I love doing beauty makeup,” she said. “I enjoy doing weddings, making the brides feel really beautiful.”

As for proms, she said she has learned over the years — and from having her own teenager — that less is more.  “Clients are extremely particular,” she said, adding that she highlights a client’s best features to create a subtle, glamorous appearance.

In 2005, El-Broche briefly left the Valley for Chicago, a move that had many of her clients scrambling to find another artist in her absence.

But as a testament to the devotion her expertise inspires, most of her clients came back immediately when she returned, this time to the Beauty Closet on Ventura Boulevard.

“People came in looking crazy,” she said after she moved back to the Valley, but her business began to thrive again in the new pink and white salon, where she stayed for three and a half years.

Recently, El-Broche moved further west on Ventura Boulevard to Eddy James Salon, a lush space filled with velvet couches and gold-plated mirrors.  And despite the economic downturn, she said she is continuing to get new clients and referrals.  Her skill is intoxicating as she doles out beauty advice and cheerful stories about her daughter and her life.

And that is true beauty.

Stacey El-Broche at Eddy James Salon 12522 Ventura Blvd Studio City, CA 91604-2412 (818) 505-0086‎ (salon)/Eyebrow shaping (tweezing  or waxing) $30 Stacey’s direct line is: (818) 522-6544.

Sydney Ember is a student at Brown University, where she is a senior staff writer for The Brown Daily Herald. She is studying cognitive neuroscience and maybe literary arts or philosophy. She is a graduate of Harvard-Westlake in Studio City. Check out her media blog

About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.