Eyebrows 101: Exactly How To Nail The Hardest Part Of Your Makeup Routine

We see so many makeup tips all over the internet telling us how to contour our faces, apply eyeshadow, find the perfect foundation shade, and everything in between. But all that focus on other areas of the face makes it all too easy to forget about something in your daily makeup routine: eyebrows. We say, no more! It's time to stop neglecting this important feature on our faces, as your brows can have more of an effect on your overall look than you probably realize.


"Brows are such a framing feature to your face. If I don't do any other makeup, I always do my brows. If you're in a really big hurry, don't skip that step," makeup artist Mary Kathryn told StyleBlueprint. And it sounds like that's a sentiment shared by multiple makeup experts. "Eyebrows add shape to your entire face — they accentuate your eyes, create dimension within your bone structure and contour your features naturally," explained Kate Somerville Clinic celebrity brow artist Stevi Christine to TZR. "Lately, my clients have been telling me they feel younger, prettier, sexier, and edgier after overhauling their brows. It can really do a lot for your confidence level." Consider us sold!

But focusing on the brows can actually be more difficult than you realize, and trying to perfect the area above your eyes can actually end up becoming the trickiest part of your makeup routine. That's why Women.com has all the tips and tricks you need to know.


Choose your color based on your brows, not your head hair

It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that if you have light hair, you need a super light brow product. But that's not always the case. Some people's eyebrows are naturally a slightly different color to the hair that grows from their head, and, of course, if you dye your locks, that will make your brows different too. When it comes to choosing your perfect brow product color, celebrity makeup artist Carissa Ferreri had a few suggestions for Byrdie. Those who want to add some definition should go for a color that's around a half or one shade darker than the natural brow color, while anyone with dark brows should go one or two shades lighter to avoid anything too severe.


But don't think you only need one shade. In fact, it's recommended you use two; a lighter shade for the inner brow and a darker shade for the tail. You'll find a lot of brow powders actually come with two shades to take out the guesswork. "I like using different shades to give the brow natural dimension," makeup artist Leslie Moore told StyleBlueprint, sharing that she often uses eyeshadows (even shimmery ones) on the brows.

When it comes to colors for keeping the brows in place though through waxes or pomades, we'd recommend starting clear. This will keep your look more natural at first. Then, once you've mastered things a little more, graduate to a colored product.

Learn how to shape your eyebrows

One of the hardest parts of doing your brows is knowing exactly how to shape them. But there's a hack to make sure you're not extending your eyebrow line too far down or starting them too close above the nose. As brow artist Stevi Christine told TZR, "To find where your brow should start, place a pencil vertically next to your nose and follow it up to your brow line. To know where the arch should reach its highest point, position the pencil diagonally from the edge of your nose through the pupil of the eye: wherever it meets the brow should be the peak."


Also, remember that the start of your eyebrow line should be in line with the inner corner of your eye and you'll want to follow your natural shape when it comes to filling out the ends. Although there are exceptions to every rule and personal preference should always play a part, the ideal place for the brow's arch should start at the third quarter of your brow.

Aside from makeup, you'll want to invest in a good pair of sharp tweezers to maintain your brows and remove any stray hair. Equally, when you're just starting to learn about your brows, trusting an expert to shape them for you is rarely a bad idea if you can afford it. They'll be able to give you personalized tips and tricks you may be able to carry on at home by yourself.


Don't ignore your natural brow shape

It can be easy to fall into the trap of modeling your eyebrows based on someone else's, but the most important thing you can do when it comes to eyebrow makeup is to work with what you're given and embrace your natural brow shape. "I don't believe in one basic shape for everyone but as a general rule of thumb, I always say: Work with what you were naturally given," celebrity brow artist Stevi Christine explained to TZR. After all, though one eyebrow shape might work for someone else, that doesn't necessarily mean it's going to work for you. Brow expert and owner of Sania's Brow Bar seconded that motion to Elle. "People are trying to figure out shapes too much, and the best bet is stick close to what you have. Just a cleaner, tidier version of it. Make sure you like the shape, and then tweeze just a few strays outside of the shape. Less is more," she said.


The best way to enhance your natural brow shape, according to makeup artist Leslie Moore, is to start by brushing the hair upwards in whatever direction it's naturally growing. "Only fill in the spaces you see. That's going to lead to the most natural-looking brow," she told StyleBlueprint, "And then, if you want something more elevated, you can get a little bit more elaborate. You use more pressure and more detail when you want to elevate a brow."

Work out what products work best for you

It seems like there's an endless supply of different brow products out there, which can all seem pretty daunting when you're just starting out manicuring your brows. From pomades to gels, waxes, mousses, pencils, and powders ... how do you know where to start? Well, pencils tend to be useful for filling in sparse spots, while powders will help you more with shaping and are often used before a wax or a gel, which then holds things in place. As for pomades, they'll give a more intense effect and can sometimes double as a wax or gel. Knowing your brow texture will help here. "Brows will often mimic the hair on your head. If you have fine hair, brows will typically be fine. If you have curly, thick hair, chances are you have thick, bushy brows," makeup artist Leslie Moore told StyleBlueprint. Thinner brows may only need a powder, while thicker brow hair may require a thicker gel to keep them in place.


Brow artist Stevi Christine recommended starting with a powder and applying it with an angled brush to TZR. "Always start at the arch — the brush tends to pick up a lot of pigment, so you want to deposit it most heavily from the arch to the tail to really accentuate that area," she said, doubling down on the idea of using the lighter shade on the first half and the darker on the second.

Remember your eyebrows don't have to match

Though we're led to believe that our eyebrows should be totally identical, that's actually not the case. Maybe one of your brows has more of an arch, while another may need a little more filling in. And that's all okay. Once you take the pressure off yourself to make them look exactly the same and instead focus on what each brow actually needs to make it look its best, you're more likely to have a natural and flattering finish. "Eyebrows are sisters, not twins, so try not to worry too much about making them perfectly symmetrical," explained HD Brows' lead brow stylist, Jamie Long.


But if uneven brows are something you're worried about, to get them the way you want them we'd recommend leaving that in the hands of a professional so you don't end up over-tweezing and causing irreversible damage to your brow hair growth. "If brows are asymmetrical, I generally advise growing them in untouched for four to six weeks before consulting a professional for an initial reshaping," Joey Healy, eyebrow specialist, and Joey Healy Eyebrow Studio owner explained to Byrdie. "Fixing uneven brows can take several sessions and depends on clients' ability to grow hair, which can depend on age, ethnicity, etc."

Always have a spoolie on hand

While it's a good idea to try a few different products to find out what works for you, one thing we'd always recommend having in your brow arsenal is a spoolie brush. That's one of those brushes with small bristles on the end that looks similar to a mascara wand.


A brush like this has plenty of uses when it comes to applying makeup to your brows. First off, it's great for just giving them a brush through to ensure each hair is lying flat, instantly giving your brows a more manicured appearance. You can also use it to apply a brow gel or pomade to keep the hairs in place. A spoolie brush will also help hide any makeup mistakes, as brushing your brows through after applying a product will soften any harsh lines and, just like brushing your lashes after applying mascara, remove any clumps or excess product.

If need be, you can also use a spoolie instead of investing in another product with a wand to keep those hairs in place. "Even a strong-hold hair gel with a disposable wand works wonders," makeup artist Mary Kathryn confessed to StyleBlueprint, noting that most brows will benefit from some kind of hold product."


Learn how to highlight your brows the right way

Eyebrow makeup isn't only about the products that go directly onto your brows, nay nay. It's also about what you put underneath them. If you've ever seen a makeup tutorial, you've probably seen makeup artists often put a little highlight on the brow bone. Not only does this draw attention to the area and help create a more angled and contoured face, but it can also help the eyebrow look more arched. If you want to give this trick a go though, it's important you do it in a way that will work for you instead of just copying what's on social media.


"If you're going to highlight underneath the brow, it needs to be a gentle highlight. If you are doing a highlight with concealer, it can't be too white," explained makeup artist and Mally Beauty founder Mally Roncal to Self. "My general rule is that the concealer should be one shade lighter than your skin tone. Especially if you're doing a strong highlight on the cheekbone, you don't want that to compete with the brow bone," she added. One way to avoid going too far is to opt for a concealer just a little lighter than your foundation on the brow bone rather than a full-on, shimmery highlighter product.

Consider permanent brow makeup

If you have sparser brows you want to fill but the thought of doing your eyebrows every day fills you with dread, you may want to consider a more permanent way of defining those brows. There are a number of different methods you can achieve a more manicured look with, including brow tinting, where a semi-permanent dye is put over the hairs to make them darker and appear fuller. This usually lasts for around three to six weeks. If you want to go one step further than that though, there's even the option of a microblading session. Microblading is kind of like a semi-permanent tattoo and tends to last a little longer than a tint, usually staying on your skin for between one and three years. That's because a degradable ink is used and it isn't injected into the skin quite as deep as a regular tattoo would be. But don't get microblading confused with microshading, which is another method of getting semi-permanent brows. That method uses small dots of pigmentation to give the brow a more powdered look. The pigment also stays above the skin, unlike microblading which penetrates the skin.


These aren't your only options, though! If you really want to go hardcore, of course, there's always the option of a full-on eyebrow tattoo. Just as it sounds and just as it would be on any other part of the skin, an eyebrow tattoo is permanent and will last forever.