The Ultimate Guide to Getting Perfect Brows


The basic rule is that your arch should line up with the outer edge of your pupil. How high, how long, and how thick you go depends on your face shape.

If you have a square face...

A strong jawline calls for one thing: even stronger eyebrows. Go ahead and start filling, because if you don't have bold, well-defined eyebrows, it puts more focus on your jawline, says New York City–based brow groomer Jo-Anna Lynn.

If you have a round face...

Eyebrows with sharp, angular lines "give the face structure," says Lynn. To achieve them, swap your tweezers for brow scissors. "Usually I advise against trimming because that extra heft gives softness, but in this case it's OK to go precise and severe," Lynn says.

If you have a long face...

Elongating brows horizontally—not vertically, duh—balances a long face. If the tails of your brows are sparse (they thin with age), use a powder to extend them just past the outer corners of your eyes.

If you have a heart-shaped face...

Congratulations, you and Reese Witherspoon have the trickiest face shape for eyebrows! The solution: Since your face comes to a sharp point at the chin, your eyebrows should look soft, with a low, straightish arch that hugs the brow bone. And go easy with the brow pencil. "In this case, less weight is a good thing," says Lynn.


With sleight of hand (and a few key products), you can plump up sparse brows in a matter of minutes.


Fill in obvious bald spots. Grab a pencil two shades lighter than your hair (if you're a brunette) or a taupe pencil (if you're a blonde or a redhead) and make short, angled strokes in the direction of your brow's hair growth. Stay within your natural line—you aren't fooling anyone by drawing on bigger brows.


Bulk them up. If your brows are sparse or you have fine hair, skip ahead to step three. Otherwise, lightly sweep a tinted brow gel (tissue off the applicator tip first) in the opposite direction of the hair's growth, from the tail to the inner corner. Then, using just what's left on the brush, sweep the wand through your brows in the direction of hair growth. "Covering the fronts and backs of the hairs makes them look fuller," says New York City–based brow groomer and makeup artist Maribeth Madron. Go straight to step four.


With a small angled brush, apply a brow powder (it should be somewhere between the color of your skin and the color of your brows, or taupe if you are blonde), going over the pencil. This does three things: helps set the pencil, blends the pigment, and adds natural-looking dimension to your brows (pencils have a slight sheen while powders have a matte finish).


Sweep a clean spooley brush upward through the hair to remove the excess pigment and soften the edges and lines. It's a simple—but essential—step that makes a big difference, according to makeup artist Pat McGrath.


Blend with two shades.

To make brows look longer, Madron suggests using a pencil or powder slightly lighter than your hair color on the inside corners and one the same color as your hair through the arch and tail. Most brow powders come in duos—one light shade, one dark—for this reason.

Add highlights.

Take a contrasting cream shadow (like a soft gold) and trace it over the brow with a soft shadow brush. "You are glazing the brow with a highlight color, same as if you had highlights in your hair," says makeup artist Dick Page. Always comb through with a clean spooley brush.

Resist the urge to tweeze.

Nine times out of ten, all you need to do is trim. Comb your brows straight up with a spooley brush, then lightly snip only the longest hairs with eyebrow scissors. Now put down the scissors to keep your eyebrows from looking like they got a buzz cut.

Fake a higher arch.

If you highlight right above the arch (in addition to below), it gives the illusion of raised brows (think Karlie Kloss). Use a highlighter or cream eye shadow that's one shade lighter than your foundation to "draw an arch directly above your arch," says Madron. Blend with your finger until the product fades but doesn't disappear.



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