Though eyebrows might seem like a small part of your hair and beauty routine, a perfectly manicured brow makes all the difference. When eyebrows start, end, and arch in the right places, it makes your nose look thinner, your eyes look bigger, and your cheekbones look higher. The trick is learning how to do eyebrows right to achieve this look without over-plucking or looking like Cruella De Vil.
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Common Eyebrow Problems
Whether you have full or sparse eyebrows, everyone faces obstacles with their brows. Knowing your problem areas can help you determine the best way to shape your eyebrows.
- Sparse eyebrows: These eyebrows have patches without hair, which can be from over-plucking, or naturally thin eyebrow hair. The best way to style sparse brows is to fill in the areas without hair as naturally as possible: use a sharpened eyebrow pencil to draw defined, hair-like lines.
- Thin eyebrows: This can occur naturally or from plucking too far above or below the eyebrow. Most people with thin eyebrows use a combination of a sharp eyebrow pencil and either a brow pomade or powder to create a fuller shape.
- Short eyebrows: This can be a result of aging or overplucking. The best way to extend the tail of the brow is with a brow pomade or powder and an angled brush.
- Long eyebrows: Extending your eyebrows might be tempting, but it can cause a drooping effect. The way to create eyebrows the right length is to know exactly what your eyebrow shape is.
Everyone experiences some or even all of these challenges at some point. Luckily, eyebrows can be groomed and shaped to overcome problems. These four steps outline how to do eyebrows and how to make eyebrows thicker in the best way for your unique eyebrow and face shape.
1. Determine Your Eyebrow Shape
There’s a simple trick beauty gurus and brow experts use to determine how to shape eyebrows, and it’s easy to do at home. All you will need is a makeup brush or pencil.
- To find the natural start of your eyebrow, line the brush or pencil up with the outside of your nostril and the inside of your eye. This is where your eyebrow should start.
- To find the end of your eyebrow, line up the pencil with your nostril and your brow bone. The place where the pencil touches your brow bone is where your eyebrow should end.
- To find your arch, line the pencil up with your nostril and the center of your pupil while looking forward. The part where the pencil hits is where your eyebrow should arch.
Another important aspect of eyebrow shape is the shape itself. There are three main types of eyebrow shapes:
- Arched: This is where the eyebrow has a sharp incline and decline.
- Curved: With this shape, the eyebrow curves in a soft and slow way, without a sharp arch or incline.
- Straight: This sounds just like it is; there is no arch and the brow is level with your eye.
Once you know where your eyebrows start, end, and arch (and their natural shape), you can determine the best way to do your eyebrows. A general rule is that your natural shape of eyebrow is what will look best with your face shape, so it’s easiest to achieve a good look by working with what you have. Of course, people change their eyebrows all the time, and you can certainly experiment with new eyebrow shapes.
2. Groom Your Eyebrows
Once you know what shape your eyebrows should be, you can groom your eyebrows to fit that. If you’re worried about the pain of removing hair, try applying some baby teething gel and letting it sit for 20 minutes before plucking. You may also want to consider filling in your eyebrows before grooming to avoid over-plucking. You’ll be less likely to over-pluck if your eyebrows look fuller, and this trick will help you avoid sparse eyebrows later.
Once you’re prepped, there are three main methods to remove excess hair:
- Tweezers: This is the go-to for most women. Pluck the hairs that fall outside your ideal brow line and maintain the shape regularly.
- Wax: This is what many brow experts will use if you go get your eyebrows done professionally, and it’s highly effective in removing hairs. You can also do it at home with a little practice by using facial wax, coating the unwanted areas of hair, applying the wax strip, letting it sit for 30 seconds, and pulling off the hair.
- Threading: Threading is a highly effective and less painful way to remove hair. It has origins in the Middle East (dating back to the 1700s!) and is so swift and precise it’s practically an art form. While there are some DIYs on the internet, it’s better to leave this technique to the professionals. Find a local salon with good reviews and, for best results, let your brows grow out for four to six days ahead of the appointment.
After you’ve tweezed, waxed, or threaded, you can use a spoolie to brush all the hair upwards. Then take a small pair of nail scissors and trim any hairs that stick up above your ideal brow line. Once you’ve finished grooming, apply some witch hazel to soothe any pain or inflammation.
You can groom your eyebrows on your own at home, or you can visit a brow specialist to get help. Getting professional help can be ideal for the first time or after long periods of no maintenance. Remember there’s no shame in getting your eyebrows done professionally. It’s similar to getting a haircut.
3. Choose the Right Makeup
Once your eyebrows are groomed, it’s time to enhance them with makeup. There are a couple of tips to choose the right color for your brows:
- In general, if you have brown or black hair, choose makeup — usually a brow powder or pomade — that is one to two shades lighter than your hair. If you have light hair, choose makeup that is one to two shades darker than your hair. For colored hair, you may have to neutralize a darker brow color with pigmented white cream and then apply your new color. Remember to judge your hair color from the roots, not the ends.
- Choose a cool-toned color. Though most eyebrow products are warm-toned, eyebrows are naturally cool-toned, so choosing a cool-toned product will help create a more natural look.
- Try using two colors. Often it’s hard to find the ideal shade for your brows, so you might try mixing products or using two colors to create that perfect shade.
After choosing a makeup color, you need to find the right kind of pencil or brush for you. A thin pencil helps mimic actual hairs, which can help for sparse eyebrows. On the other hand, a thick pencil or a brush doesn’t look as sharp or harsh, which can help create a more natural and smooth look.
In addition to a pencil, there are a couple of other kinds of eyebrow makeup and tools to consider:
- A spoolie. This is a special eyebrow brush that can help you comb the hair.
- Brow gel. Gel can set the makeup and help keep your eyebrows tamed.
- Waterproof brow wax. Nothing is more frustrating than creating the perfect brow and having it come off in the rain. Apply a little waterproof brow wax to help it last all day.
- Highlighter or concealer. One of the forgotten aspects of perfect eyebrows is using a highlighter or even concealer underneath the brow to accentuate your arch. A concealer one shade lighter than your skin will brighten the whole area.
4. Style Your Eyebrows
Now it’s time for the fun part: styling. You’ll want to mark your ideal brow shape found earlier, so you know where to fill and extend. The goal is to mimic natural hair and blend it all together for the perfect look. Here are the top tips to effectively styling your eyebrows:
- Don’t fill your eyebrows in with one big swoop of product. Try using a flicking motion to create tiny hairs. Make sure to go the direction the hair grows to help keep it looking natural.
- Use a spoolie to smooth out any hard lines and blend. Leaving your product as is can make your eyebrows look drawn-on, but by taking a spoolie through your brows, you can smooth out the harsh lines and blend the makeup into the natural brow look you want.
- Use the largest amount of product right at the arch, not at the start of the eyebrow. Start working at your arch and move toward your nose, so that you’re using the least amount of product where the hair is naturally darkest. Don’t forget to add some color to the tail though.
- Try filling your brows by drawing an angled line underneath the start of your eyebrow with a brow pencil. Then use a spoolie to brush the product up into your brow. Make sure to blend with the spoolie as well, so it looks natural.
- For thin eyebrows, you can use a slanted brow brush and powder to draw the ideal brow shape. Then use the slanted brush to blend the product throughout.