Expert advice on how to frame your face with the best brows
It can be confusing and intimidating. One wrong move can throw the whole thing off—literally, by a hair. That’s why, if you never touch another cosmetic or beauty tool again, buy a good pair of tweezers and learn how to use them. Because no makeup trick on the planet will make you look better than a pair of beautifully shaped brows.
More than a new lipstick or haircut, a change, however slight, in the shape of your brows, can lift your entire look—and your attitude, too. There’s an insouciance and sophistication about a well-shaped brow that is nonpareil. But first, it helps to be aware of a few foolproof secrets that will help avoid pitfalls like spotty or overarching brows.
Whether you decide to go for threading (best for naturally thicker, fuller brows, which is why it is the gold standard for so many Indian and Middle Eastern women) or tweezing and waxing (best for most, especially naturally thinner brows), it’s smart to start with this trick: Use a small brush to fill in brows with eyeshadow first, to design the shape. Once you start tweezing, stop while you’re ahead. That last hair you’re going for is the one you should leave alone.
“With tweezing, I can control every hair that is removed,” says Shawnelle Prestidge, celebrity makeup artist and founder of Prestidge Beauté Active Organics, a Reiki-activated, small-batch, organic skincare line. “Too often, the wrong one or two hairs taken out in error by an inexperienced brow shaper or waxer can completely diminish someone’s overall appearance.”
Suzie Moldavon, CEO and Founder of Flybrow, shares a simple but important piece of advice, to use as a guideline. “We try to give clients practical things to measure their brows by, like their nose and their eyes, because they will always have those to use as measurement tools on their face! In between the brows we usually use our index finger. If it’s under the finger, they can tweeze it, if it’s wider than that finger, they should leave it!”
If you’re waiting for your brows to grow in so that you can give them a new shape, and don’t like to look at stragglers in the meantime, dab cream concealer on stray hairs to cover them. To help define brows, try a brow wax that comes in a compact—it’s natural-looking, and easy to apply. If your brows are thin or spotty, try eye shadow or a pencil to fill in, but start lightly, don’t add too much and blend with a spoolie (a mascara wand without color) or a baby toothbrush.
If you have holes and spaces in your brows, or if your brows are very light and just need more fullness and definition, Moldavon says, “Powder is good, too, but is a softer tool and is better at adding fullness behind the hairs rather than editing for missing hairs. Tinted brow gels are a great product for someone with light hair or full brows that could use a little definition that can be achieved by brushing a tinted gel through their well-shaped and full brows,” she continues. “Mostly best for blondes and light-colored hair.”
Vegetable tints or dyes are a fantastic and natural way to make the brows stand out. “We use vegetable tints from Germany,” says Moldavon. “Mixed with a developer, they add a natural depth to the brow. We love them, but we advise using them with a professional’s guidance.” According to Prestidge, “Vegetable dyes are far more natural and subtle than the chemical variety. I have used vegetable color on clients and myself for ages. And they are very inexpensive.”
The ultimate secret to beautiful brows is to figure out what works best with your eye shape and bone structure. For those who are hesitant to shape their own brows, get them done by a professional makeup artist or brow expert who can create a shape for you, and then all you need to do is maintain it. Trends come and go, but according to Moldavon, “Everyone has an ideal brow shape for their face; if you follow nature and shape around what you have naturally, you’ll always be happier.”
BEST BROW TOOLKIT
Some of our favorites for beautifully groomed brows
Ecobrow Defining Wax
This wax is lightweight, blends easily and doesn’t smudge. Layer it on for a fuller effect, or use lightly for touch-ups. With vitamin E for hydration and silica to absorb excess oil. detoxmarket.com
Honeybee Gardens Effortless Eye Liner
These pencils are some of the best we’ve seen. They enhance and define the eyes, and do double-duty on brows (Belgian Chocolate is the best color ever for brunettes, and we also use it as a lip pencil!). Rely on it for a smooth, long-wearing and gorgeous application. honeybeegardens.com
Plume Nourish & Define Brow Pomade
Available in five shades, with a beautiful texture, this pomade adds fullness to thin or spotty brows, and adds richness and color. detoxmarket.com
Alima Pure Natural Definition Brow Pencil
For a smooth application that is easily blendable, and will not cake or dry, this helps define brows and lasts all day. detoxmarket.com