How to Shape Your Brows at Home
Eyebrow Shaping & Shading Products
There are two methods for creating the perfect brow, shaping it by removing unwanted hair or filling in a sparse or blonde brow.
Tweezing the Brows
- Which hairs you tweeze and which ones you don't makes the difference between attractively shaped brows and misshapen ones.
- Try using an eyebrow pencil to draw on different shapes over your brow area to see which shape looks the best.
- Use a magnifying mirror, at least a 5X magnification, so you can see each hair.
- Go slowly (one hair at a time) so you don't over-tweeze.
- The beginning of the brow should align with the center of the nostril.
- The arch of the brow should fall at the back third of the eye.
- The eyebrow should follow the length of the eye but it shouldn't extend into the temple area. The basic rule is that the front part of the brow should never drop below the back part of the brow. Allowing this to happen, either with the way you tweeze your eyebrows or the way you draw them on, makes you look like you’re frowning and overemphasizes the downward movement of the back part of the eye.
- Avoid over-tweezing above the brow. A few stray hairs are fine to remove, but too much and it can create an unnatural look.
- Do not overstate the shape of the brow; minimal brow alteration is best.
- Do not pluck brows into a thin line thinking it will make your eyes look larger. It can look dated or give the face a surprised look and this shape is not easy to correct once the damage is done.
The Best Tools for Tweezing
- To shape the brow, tweezing is probably the best option for accuracy and to prevent mistakes.
- We have found the best tweezers are from Revlon or Tweezerman. Which type (both companies offer several options) works best for you is about personal preference.
- Waxing is an option but it's hard to control the wax. You may inadvertently remove the wrong hairs.
- Never shave. This presents too big a risk of removing too many hairs at once, leading to a patchy, overly thin or wildly uneven brow. None of that is attractive!
Perfectly Shaped Eyebrows: The shape of the eyebrow is correct when the beginning of the brow is aligned with the center of the nostril and the arch falls over the back third of the eye.
Problem: The arch is over the front third of the eye.
Solution: Grow in or color in the indicated area.
Problem: The eyebrow has no arch.
Solution: Grow in or color in the indicated area.
Over-Extended Brow (back)
Problem: The back third of the brow is lower than the front third of the brow.
Solution: Grow in or color in the indicated area and tweeze the end of the brow to align it with the front of the brow.
Over-Extended Brow (front)
Problem: The front third of the brow is lower than the back third of the brow.
Solution: Tweeze the front of the brow to align it with the back of the brow.
Tweezing and Trimming to Shape a Perfect Brow
1. Before you start tweezing, use a lip or brow pencil to heavily draw on the shape you want; you can adjust it with makeup remover as you decide on the shape you want to create.
2. Once the shape is drawn on, tweeze any hairs that fall outside the line of the brow.
3. Next, brush the brows straight up with an old toothbrush.
4. Any hairs that are too long and floppy should be trimmed with small scissors. Tweezing long brow hairs rather than trimming them can result in gaps in the eyebrow or create a patchy appearance.
How to Fill in the Brow Using Products
There are many ways to fill in a brow. The easiest to consider are:
Brow Powders or powder eyeshadows in shades that closely match the color of your brow. Choose a soft-textured matte powder and apply with a soft wedge brush or a thin liner brush.
Begin application in the center of the brow and work outward toward the brow tip then back toward the beginning of the brow. Use short, light strokes between the brow hairs, and apply a bit more pressure (for stronger color) when defining the underside of the brow. Use a clean toothbrush (or a brow brush, which is similar but more expensive) to soften the color and groom the brow. For unruly brows, a clear brow gel may be applied to keep hairs in place. Alternately, you may apply a bit of hairspray to the toothbrush, and comb this through the brow for hold and control.
Eyebrow pencils are a standard way to fill in brows but many can produce a greasy, hard look or mat the brow hair, so make sure you use a pencil that has a smooth, light texture and soft, dry finish. If penciling doesn't look absolutely natural, don’t do it.
Follow the same application technique described under brow powders when using an eyebrow pencil. Keep in mind that most brow pencils deposit stronger color than a powder, so take care to use a light touch. If you apply too much color, soften the effect with a Q-Tip that has been dipped in makeup remover. Do not apply eyebrow pencil too close to the inner brow (near the nose). Adding more than a bit of color here tends to create a too-strong or angry-looking brow.
Colored eyebrow gels and brow tints work well for making the most of sparse, light-colored eyebrows or for giving a thicker look to most other eyebrows. These products look like mascara but they have a much lighter consistency and are less pigmented. At first, you might have trouble controlling the amount of gel or tint you apply to your brow, but once you get the hang of it, brow gel or tint can make sparse brows look full and more natural.
When applying eyebrow gels and tints, follow the basic instructions for powder eyebrow colors and eyeshadows listed above, but concentrate on the brow hair and not applying any on the skin. Be patient, it requires practice before you can easily shape and shade the brows without getting it on the skin. If the brush of your brow gel or tint is dual-sided (most are), know that the longer bristles are great for combing through the brows when hairs are normal to long in length. The short-bristled side is for more detailed work or for use on shorter, thin, or over-tweezed brows.
A combination approach, using a pencil with powder, can give you the control and delineation of a pencil, and the softer, shaded look of a powder. You can also use powder with a brow gel or tint; this can create a full softly shaped brow. You can try shaping the brow with the powder first and then finish the detail work with the pencil or brow gel. This is especially helpful if you have bald spots in your eyebrow or need to slightly extend the end of your brows so they frame your eyes better.
- Use an eyebrow pencil or powder that matches the color of your own eyebrows. Exception: If you have pale or blonde eyebrows, you'll need to use a color that's one or two shades deeper than your natural brow color—this prevents blonde brows from looking washed out, especially when other eye makeup is worn.
- Brush the brow up with a brow comb or toothbrush.
- Whether you are using a pencil or powder, follow the basic shape of the existing brow, using the tweezing guidelines above.
- Apply the color by filling in the shape of the brow between the hairs where needed.
- As much as possible, work only with the hair that is there. The idea is to shade rather than draw on eyebrows.
- Fill in only at the front or underneath the brow, or through the brow itself.
- Do not place your brow color, whether it is pencil or powder, more than one-quarter inch away from where the natural hair growth stops. This would accentuate the fact that there is no brow there in the first place!
- Do not forget that eyebrow color should look shaded and soft, not like a straight, hard line.
- When applying brow gel, brush the color through the brow in much the same fashion as you apply mascara to the eyelashes. Brush the wand through your brows, being careful not to get the product on the skin and not to leave the brows standing straight up. It will probably take you a few applications to get the hang of it.
Do Tweezed Hairs Grow Back?
The answer is yes and no. Tweezed eyebrow hairs can grow back but this doesn’t happen overnight. Hairs on different parts of the body have variable rates of growth. It takes about 64 days for eyebrow hair to grow in after it is plucked. However, the length of time can be longer if the hair or hairs you want to grow back are in their resting phase.
At any given time, 90% of the hair on your body is in a resting phase where it has stops growing, falls out, and then starts growing again. If that's the case (and there is no way to know which hairs are in the resting phase and which aren't), then the length of time can be far greater, so you need to be patient.
There is an exception to this: If you have been tweezing the same area for a long time it may be too late. Eyebrow hair is very sensitive to injury. Repeated plucking can permanently damage the hair root, which will prevent the hair from ever growing back (Sources: www.keratin.com and Archives of Facial and Plastic Surgery, July-September 1999, pages 223-224).
An interesting bit of information: The average number of days it takes for hair to fully grow back after being plucked from various parts of the body are 129 days for the scalp, 123 for under arm, 121 for the thigh, 92 for the chin, and 64 for the eyebrows. Unfortunately for women, hairs of the scalp regenerate more quickly for males than females, but hairs of the under arm and thigh regenerate more quickly in females than males (Source: www.keratin.com).
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- Tomc CM, Malouf PJ.Eyebrow restoration: the approach, considerations, and technique in follicular unit transplantation. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2015;14(4):310-4.