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- There are eight main eyebrow shapes to choose from, including classic brows, back-arched, straight, high-arch, angled, rounded, S-shaped, and ‘fox brow’ shapes.
- It’s recommended to avoid certain outdated brow shapes like too thin, too far apart, blocky, early-arched, and tadpole brows.
- Take your face shape into account when determining the perfect brow shape and thickness for you.
- In addition to tweezing, and using facial razors to shape your brows, you can also turn to professional brow shaping services like brow waxing, threading, tinting, tattooing, microblading, lamination, and brow extension.
Trends for eyebrow shapes used to evolve in a very linear manner. Looking at photos of women throughout history, it’s very easy to trace how different brow shapes and styles changed over time.
Nowadays, things are not so linear. Different eyebrow shapes and trends are coming at us from every direction, with a lot of different looks being popular at once. One brow shape might be more dominant on Instagram, while another rules TikTok, and these are totally different from the eyebrow shapes that actresses and pop stars are sporting. There’s also an international influence, and brow shapes from one end of the globe can impact the brows on the other end.
This happens with makeup all the time, where different makeup looks and techniques are popular concurrently, but with something like eyebrow shapes, it can be a little more complicated.
Committing to an eyebrow trend can lead to permanent problems – just ask all of the women who tweezed their brows into skinny half circles in the ‘90s only to mourn their loss in the mid-2000s when thicker and more angular brows came back in fashion.
Nowadays, it’s important to know how to shape eyebrows in a way that is either classically flattering or (if totally trendy) non-permanent. We’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help you not just figure out how to shape eyebrows in a way that will flatter you, but will also cover the differences between the classy and the trendy and give suggestions for how you can groom your brows in ways that will keep them stylish for the rest of your life.
We start by talking about the best eyebrow shaping products, so you can get your arsenal of must-haves ready. Then we discuss the common eyebrow shapes that are in-style right now, as well as talk about a few outdated ones.
We explain how to alter your eyebrow shape to suit the shape of your face, and finally, give a step-by-step guide for how to actually apply changes to your brows both with hair removal and with makeup. Finally, we cover the different professional services you might want to seek if you want to reshape your eyebrows.
Your Guide to Eyebrow Shapes: Contents
- 13 Best Eyebrow Shaping Products to Buy
- The Parts of the Brow
- The Main Eyebrow Shapes
- Outdated Eyebrow Shapes
- Best Eyebrow Shapes According to Face Shapes
- What About Eyebrow Symmetry?
- How to Shape Eyebrows
- Eyebrow Makeup Styles
- Professional Eyebrow Shaping Services to Try
13 Best Eyebrow Shaping Products to Buy
Whether you’re adding hair or taking it away, we’ve got some suggestions for the best eyebrow shaping products you can use to help your process.
1. Best Brow Pomade: Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade
This is probably the most hyped-up eyebrow product that was ever created. It’s a highly pigmented, waterproof, and long-lasting pomade that gives the user a ton of control. You can apply it with a thin brush for hair-like strokes, or use a slightly larger brush to fill in the brows more completely.
It comes in 11 shades, with options that match all-natural brow colors, though we recommend going one shade down than the color of your brows since the color goes on very saturated. You can also pick up a few shades of varying darkness but with the same undertone to create an ombre brow. You can’t go wrong with the Dipbrow, so get it for yourself from Amazon.
2. Best Brow Pencil: NYX Professional Makeup Micro Brow Pencil
This is one of our favorite eyebrow pencils because it allows for a really precise look. You can use it quickly to fill in gaps, add in precise micro strokes, or rely on it to build the precise outline of your brows. It’s great on its own or in combination with other eyebrow filling products. It comes in 8 colors, so most folks can find a shade match. The end of it is fitted with a brow spoolie that can help you comb the brows or blend colors. You can buy it from Amazon.
3. Best Brow Gel: Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow+ Volumizing Eyebrow Gel
With this product, you can add a bit of color and heft to your brows while also setting them in place. You brush it on to dispense the gel, which is imbued with microfibers that also help bulk up the brows. It’s essential for the “boy brow” look, but you can also use it in conjunction with other brow shaping products for added control. It’s available on Sephora.
4. Best Brow Tweezers: Tweezerman Stainless Steel Mini Slant Tweezer
This is the brand professionals consistently prefer for tweezers. When cleaning up your eyebrows at home, tweezers are the most convenient option, but you might as well have the best tweezers available on the market. They’re made of durable stainless steel, and they have a perfect diagonal edge that allows hairs to come out cleanly and quickly. Should they lose their edge, you can send them to Tweezerman for sharpening. Pick them up from Amazon!
5. Best Brow Razor: Schick Silk Touch-Up Multipurpose Eyebrow Razor
If you’re not totally sure about your eyebrow shaping skills, then skip the tweezers, and get yourself some face razors instead. They will allow you to reshape or clean up your brows in a way that doesn’t damage the root. The hairs will grow back faster, but you also won’t have to worry about permanently wrecking your shape. They’re great if you like to experiment with trendier eyebrow shapes, like fox brows or short brows. Purchase the set from Amazon!
6. Best Multipurpose: Urban Decay Brow Blade Waterproof Eyebrow Pencil & Ink Stain
This is another fantastic two-in-one for eyebrow shaping. One end is a pencil that allows you to fill in your brows quickly or to create a precise shape. The other end is an ink stain, much like a liquid liner for the brows. It creates very convincing hair-like strokes that stay put for hours on end. It’s great for those who like to fill in their brows with a combination of techniques. Pick it up at Ulta!
7. Best Brow Powder: Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder Duo
Powder is our favorite medium for creating ombre brows, and this duo makes it easy because it includes two shades of varying darkness. Since it’s an ABH product, the color range is fantastic, with options for all undertones, and the pigmentation is impressive as well. It’s the quickest and easier way to fill in the brows, and the result is soft and diffused. Shop for it on Ulta!
8. Best Budget Brow Pencil: e.l.f. Cosmetics Instant Lift Brow Pencil
This is another great brow pencil, especially for those on a budget. It’s quick and easy to use, giving the brows a bolder look with little effort. One side is a mechanical pencil, and the other is a brush. The pencil can be rubbed into a sharp tip with a tissue, which is great for creating micro strokes, though the best use for it is to just quickly fill in missing spots. It only comes in 5 shades, though they’re neutral and quite versatile. It’s sold at Amazon.
9. Best Brow Brush: Anastasia Beverly Hills Brush #7B
If you prefer to shape your brows with pomades or powders, then a good eyebrow brush is a must. This angle brush is considered the best for filling in the brows. It’s thin enough for hair-like strokes but with enough length to cover space quickly. The fibers are vegan but durable, so it won’t fray even after you wash it dozens of times. The result? Pristine brows again and again. Find it at Sephora!
10. Best Brow Serum: Rapidlash Eyebrow Enhancing Serum
How can you shape eyebrows that are too thin? The easiest way is to let them grow out, but that can be a slow, frustrating process. According to hundreds of users, this eyebrow serum is surprisingly helpful at encouraging faster eyebrow hair growth. There’s a bit more science backing it up than straight-up castor oil, and it’s more affordable than prescription hair growth serums. Grab it from Ulta!
11. Best Brow Palette: Viseart Eyeshadow & Eyebrow Palette
If you’re a professional or just someone who changes their hair color often, this palette from Viseart is a must. It includes nine eyebrow powders and three pomades and allows for some really versatile eyebrow looks. You can use it for almost any eyebrow technique, from ombre to the easy brow, to using the pomades and a thin brush for micro strokes. The powders in here can also double as eyeshadows in a pinch. You can buy it from Sephora.
12. Best Budget Brow Pomade: Milani Stay Put Brow Color
This eyebrow pomade is fantastic if you’re on a budget. It’s similar to Dipbrow, offering long-lasting color, though it’s slightly less pigmented, so it’s also more beginner-friendly. As a bonus, it comes with a thin angled brush that’s surprisingly well-made and even includes a spoolie on the end. Get it in your closest match out five shades at Ulta!
13. Best Brush for Shaded Brows: NYX Professional Makeup Fill & Fluff Eyebrow Pomade Pencil
We’ve recommended a lot of very thin eyebrow pencils, but this one is a little different. This pencil is great for shading in your eyebrows quickly and for filling small gaps. It’s one of the best brow shaping products for achieving the “easy brow” shaping technique we outline later on. The pencil itself is elongated, with a pigmented formula that glides over the brows easily. The other end is a soft brush that’s perfect for blending out shaded brows. It’s available at Amazon.
The Parts of the Brow
In order to understand the different eyebrow shapes, it’s important that we first agree on terminology. Here are the common terms used to describe the different parts of the brow.
The arch is the highest point of the eyebrow. If the eyebrow was split into three parts, the arch would take up the center part of the eyebrows, although it’s usually a little closer to the outer end than to the front.
The front of the brow refers to where the eyebrow starts near the center of the face. The hairs at the front of the brow usually grow upwards. Where the front of the brow starts growing will impact how close the two eyebrows are to each other.
First/ Second/ Third Third
If the brow were split into three parts, the inner third would include the front of the brow as well as a few centimeters away from it. This is the section of the brow that is usually angled straight or on a slightly upward diagonal, and for most, it ends right before the arch. The arch usually takes up the second third, and the tail is at the final third.
The tail is the pointed end of the brow. It starts right where the curve of the arch starts descending, taking up the outer third of the brow.
The top line of the brow has a huge impact on its overall shape. It’s the part of the brow that’s further away from the eyes and comes in contact with the forehead.
The bottom part of the brows is directly above the eyes. It is where most people tend to concentrate their hair removal efforts. The lower the bottom of the brow, the more shaded the eyes will look.
The length of the brow refers to the distance from the front of the brow to the tail. The greater the distance, the longer the brows, and the shorter the distance, the shorter they are.
Brow thickness refers to the distance from the bottom of the brow to the top. The greater the distance, the thicker the brows, and the smaller the distance, the thinner they are.
Brow density refers to how much hair grows per square millimeter. Dense brows have more hair, while sparse brows have less hair.
The Main Eyebrow Shapes
In 99% of cases, the best eyebrow shape to choose is the one that you naturally have. You can rely on hair removal and brow filling products to tease out a cleaner, more even, and more groomed eyebrow, but ultimately, your best brow shape will be the one decided by your natural musculature and hair growth patterns.
When reading through this section, don’t try to determine which brow shape to force your eyebrows into, but instead consider which one they fall into naturally.
The Classic Brow Shape (i.e. The Golden Ratio)
This is the main brow shape that is taught to makeup artists and aestheticians, and the basic principles for creating or refining it are often transferable to other eyebrow shapes. It’s adaptable and will flatter almost everyone but is also a little old-school. Marilyn Monroe is a great example of a sharply arched version of the classic brows, while Kylie Jenner embodies the modern classic brow.
The classic brow shape consists of a slightly longer front third that is on an upward diagonal, an arch that starts a little after the middle of the brow, and a pointed tail.
Eyebrow shaping professionals of all sorts will use some sort of ruler, especially when first starting out, to figure out the three lines for the classic brow, which is sometimes referred to as “the Golden ratio.”
The first line shows where the front of the brow should start. It should go from the outer part of the nostril straight up, passing above the end of the inner corner of the eye. By starting to fill the brows in at this line or by not tweezing past it, you can avoid having brows that are too far apart. These days, bushy brows are trendy, so many people choose to have their brows start before this line, so they’re a little closer together.
The second line is for the arch, and here different sources suggest slightly different methods for deciding where it should go. When I was in makeup school, the suggestion was to measure a straight line that starts at the end of the nostril and goes over the center of the pupil. Where the line ends should be the highest point of the arch or at least the point where the arch starts even if it’s not the highest point.
Other sources instead suggest using a vertical line that goes from the outer part of the iris straight up to the highest point of the arch, although the problem with this is that it’s very hard to keep any ruler truly vertically straight, so only having one point of reference (the iris) instead of two (the nostril and pupil) makes things difficult.
The final line helps determine where the brow should end. It goes from the end of the nostril to the outer end of the eye, and where it ends is where the brow should end. This is probably the only measurement that hasn’t changed much over the last 60 years.
Back-Arched Brow Shape
Over the last few years, the start point of the arch has moved slightly further back towards the tail, making the Back-Arched Brow even more popular than the Classic Brow. The arch is usually less high, and the brows seem a little less harsh while still preserving an angle. Jessica Alba has back-arched brows of medium thickness, while Cara Delevingne has thick back-arched eyebrows.
Anastasia Soare, the founder of the makeup brand Anastasia Beverly Hills, has her own version of the Golden Ratio that takes this into account and results in a shape that looks a little more pleasing to a modern eye.
The main difference in Soare’s Golden Ratio is that to measure where the arch should be, the line starts at the tip of the nose instead of the end of the nostril. It then goes over the center of the pupil to show the highest point of the arch. This results in an arch that is just a hint closer to the tail than the classic brow.
Note that if the arch starts too far back, especially if it’s coupled with an overly-long tail, it can end up making the face look sad and droopy.
Straight Brow Shape
Straight brows are having a moment right now, concurrently with other eyebrow shapes. The key detail with straight eyebrows is that they’re straight along the bottom line, with no discernable arch. The bottom line can be very straight or slightly curved without any sharpness. However, a slight peak can still exist along the top of the brow, which can add a bit of structure without taking away from the overall “straightness.”
Straight eyebrows tend to make the face look softer and more youthful. They are part of the secret of Natalie Portman’s beauty, and they are also a very prominent eyebrow shape in East Asian beauty.
However, it’s important to note that the lower straight brows sit above the eyes, the more they shadow them, which can make the eyes seem smaller.
High-Arch Brow Shape
A brow with a high arch is usually a variation on the classic brow, though it can also be a variation on a brow with a slight back arch. The higher the arch, the more dramatic the face will look. They tend to give off “don’t mess with me” vibes, which is the reason why every iconic Disney villainess has high arches. Tyra Banks’ fierce eyebrows are a gorgeous example of high arches.
For a high arch to be effective, it’s important that there be a dramatic rise or angle from the front of the brow to the top of the arch. Many women try to tweeze their brows from below to achieve that dramatic curve, but unfortunately, that’s not how true drama is achieved.
A high arch depends on having more hair along the top of the brow, not on having less hair at the bottom. In fact, the thickness of the brow at the arch should be about the same or just a hint thinner than the front.
Angled Arch Brow Shape
This is more of a subcategory of classic or back-arched brows, where the angles are sharper, and the lines are straighter. The front third of the brow and the tail are both straight, while the arch comes to a point like a triangle. The bottom and top usually match each other, though it’s also possible to have a compound brow where the top is sharp, and the bottom of the arch is a little straighter.
This is the kind of brow that comes off as more severe, though this also depends on how high the arch is and exactly how sharp the angles are.
Rounded Arch Brow Shape
On the opposite side from the angled arch, we have the rounded arch. In this brow shape, the front can be straighter or rounded, but what stands out is that the arch swoops up in a soft, round shape. It can be high or low, classic or back-arched, but no matter what, this brow shape has a lovely, softening effect on the face.
S-Shaped Brow Shape
This is a naturally occurring brow shape that is surprisingly charming, even though it sounds like it breaks all the rules. With S-shaped brows, there is a small dip after the front of the brow but before the arch, somewhere in the center of the first third of the brow.
Emilia Clarke has such eyebrows, and they help her be more expressive in her acting roles, although on the red carpet, her makeup artists often fill them in to make them look more traditionally shaped.
‘Fox Brow’ Brow Shape
The fox brow is a brow that instead of tapering downwards at the tail keeps going straight up or out from the arch. Fox brows are often a little shorter than more classic styles, and they give the illusion that the face is more lifted.
In some photos, Audrey Hepburn had this brow shape, though, for most films and red carpets, they were actually filled in to look more traditional. These days, Kendall Jenner is famous for having this eyebrow shape.
A variation on this brow shape has been very popular in Iran for the last decade or so, but it’s recently been popularized in the West where it has been dubbed “the fox brow,” where it pairs with “the fox eye” makeup look, which relies on a soft, angled cat eye to give the illusion that the eyes are more upturned and sultrier.
While fox brows are very trendy right now, there is no telling how long that will last, so if you’re tempted to remove the tail of your brow and redraw it into a “fox brow,” do yourself a favor and remove the hair with a razor rather than tweezers to avoid irreparable damage.
Outdated Eyebrow Shapes
When watching old movies, it’s sometimes difficult not to get distracted by the outdated eyebrow shapes the actors are rocking. For those of us who have lived through multiple, radically different eyebrow shape eras, sometimes those outdated brows are still stamped on our face! Thankfully, the brow trends these days have mostly moved away from shapes that are hard to undo, but here’s a reminder of what’s to be avoided.
The ‘90s were not a good decade for eyebrows. While eyebrows kept in both more angular and rounded shapes, what they all had in common during that decade is extreme thinness. Just look at old photos of the Spice Girls (especially Geri a.k.a. Ginger Spice) or Drew Barrymore (for whom it’s particularly tragic since her eyebrows were so gorgeous in the ‘80s!).
Overly thin brows don’t frame the face well, and they usually have an unbalanced effect that doesn’t flatter most features. Consider this a warning: many women who are now in their 30s, 40s, and 50s tweezed their brows to death in the ‘90s, and now they cannot grow the hair back. Don’t succumb to brow trends that rely on a lot of tweezing, waxing, or anything else that could be made permanent, lest you suffer the same fate.
We’re calling them ‘70s brows, but the more apt name might be “sperm brows.” I hate them even more than I hate the ‘90s brows! This is a brow style where the front third is the thickest part of the brow, with the tail and arch significantly thinner. If the front is also rounded, which was an unfortunate commonality, the result is eyebrows shaped a little bit like a tadpole or, yes, a sperm.
The late Sharon Tate’s eyebrows looked like this for some part of her career, but she was the only woman beautiful enough to pull them off.
Early arch is the more sinister cousin of the ‘70s brows. This is what happens when the arch starts way too early, usually in the front third of the brow. By following the Golden Ratio, this mistake can be avoided, since few people have a naturally early arch.
The early arch is usually paired with very thin or overly rounded brows, and it can look even worse if the front is significantly thicker than the early arch. Donna Summer sported such eyebrows in the ‘70s, though she was able to grow them out to a much fuller shape when trends changed in the ‘80s.
This is an eyebrow shape that started showing up with the advent of eyebrow tattoos, as it’s never a problem with regular eyebrow hair. Permanent makeup techs didn’t have a way to create color or shade variation when tattooing eyebrows, which resulted in a really straight and stark line of demarcation that didn’t resemble natural hair at all.
The worst part was usually the front, which simply looked like a block or solid square. This can also be a common issue when filling the brows in with pomade or powder, but at least then it’s not permanent.
Simply Too Far Apart
Having eyebrows that are too far apart is always to be avoided. It totally throws off the balance of the face, making the forehead and nose look bigger and causing the eyes to appear too far apart. People often end up over-tweezing in such a way out of the fear of having a unibrow, but I’d say having hair between your brows is preferred to too much space – just look at Frieda Kahlo or Sophia Hadjipanteli.
One of the best things about the Golden Ratio is that it helps restrain tweezer-happy people from removing too much hair from the front of their brows.
Best Eyebrow Shapes According to Face Shapes
The shape and thickness of your eyebrows can have a major impact on your face shape and overall features. Now that we’ve covered all of the major brow shapes, as well as brow errors, let’s talk about how you can make sure that your brows suit your face!
Determining the Right Thickness
Before getting into the different face shapes, let’s talk about how thick or thin your eyebrows should be, which has less to do with the shape of your face and more to do with the size of it and your features. The Golden Ratio already helps to determine the best length by using the eyes and nose as measuring points to guarantee that the brows are at a length that will flatter the features.
In general, the smaller your face and the more delicate your features, the thinner your brows should be, while the bigger your face and the more prominent your features are, the thicker they need to be.
However, it’s always better to err on the side of having thicker brows, especially these days when delicate features with bold brows allow so many models to stand out.
Eyebrow Shapes for Oval Face
Oval is probably the most common face shape for women. The face is slightly longer than it is wide, with a rounded jaw and forehead and a bit of cheekbone.
Those with oval faces have a lot of room to experiment with softer, more rounded brows as well as with more arched and angular brows. This is because oval faces are already quite balanced. Different brow styles can create different effects, but in ways that are still flattering.
Eyebrow Shapes for Round Face
A round face is about as wide as it is long, with softer features. For those with round faces, the right brow shape can help add a hint of sharpness to the face, though it’s important not to overdo it. A slightly higher and more angular arch is a fantastic choice, and a fox brow or a combination of a fox brow with a back-arched brow can be super flattering.
With a round face, it’s very important not to let the tail of the brow get too long since this can pull the face downwards in a way that emphasizes its roundness. Additionally, it’s better to keep the brows at medium thickness since thin brows will disappear, while thick ones might be a little overwhelming.
Eyebrow Shapes for Square Face
A square face is also as wide as it is long, much like a round face, but the key difference is that the features are a little sharper and more angular – especially the jawline, though also the cheekbones and the perimeter of the forehead.
Those with square face shapes often opt for eyebrow shapes that will soften their features, with arches that are slightly more rounded or that peak at the top but stay fuller at the bottom. However, it’s still important to keep an arch in the brow in order to help lengthen the face. Once again, a medium thickness is best for the brow. If you’d like inspiration, look at Olivia Wilde, who has gorgeous, classic brows with a soft arch that perfectly matches her square face.
Eyebrow Shapes for Rectangular Face
A rectangular face has the same straight lines and sharp angles as a square face, but it’s a little longer than it is wide, more like an oval. Because of that, the brows should still be kept softer, and it’s important to avoid very sharp angles or overly straight lines.
However, since a rectangular face is a little longer, there is more room to play with the height of the arch. Both straighter brows and slightly arched brows can look great. As for the size, brows can be either medium or thick, depending on your preference.
Eyebrow Shapes for Diamond Face
Diamond-shaped faces are angular with sharp, high cheekbones, a small forehead, and a narrow and pointed chin. Because a diamond face is already so sharp, it’s better to keep the eyebrows looking softer with slightly rounded shapes instead of very sharp or angled ones.
Because those with a diamond face have a slightly smaller forehead, it’s also best to avoid overly arched or high eyebrow shapes. Straight, slightly rounded, and back-arched brows tend to be the most flattering.
Those with diamond faces can get away with thin brows since their face tends to be a little smaller, but medium thickness is probably a safer choice.
Eyebrow Shapes for Heart Face
A heart-shaped face has the same narrow jawline, pointy chin, and high cheekbones as a diamond face, but with a larger forehead. As a result, those with heart-shaped faces need a bit of an arch to balance out the forehead, but it shouldn’t be too round or too angular. A classic arch is sometimes too high, so a back-arched brow might be the better choice. Brows with medium thickness tend to be the most flattering.
What About Eyebrow Symmetry?
You may have heard the old phrase, “eyebrows should be sisters, not twins.” It might be a cliché, but it’s still 100% true. The sad fact is that very few people have totally symmetrical faces, although, to be honest, I’m not sure total facial symmetry would be a good thing.
On close examination, even the two most celebrated sets of eyebrows in the world right now, belonging to Bella Hadid and Cara Delevingne, aren’t symmetrical. Hadid’s left brow is slightly more angular than her right one, while Delevingne’s left arch is slightly higher and further towards the tail than her right one. This doesn’t take away from either woman’s beauty.
The most important thing is that your eyebrows be balanced in relation to the rest of your features, which means that if one eye is slightly higher (which is extremely common and usually imperceptible for anyone but you), it’s better to have both eyebrows be an equal distance above the eyes rather than to have them sitting on the same horizontal line, which would lead to one eye looking more shadowed than the other.
When shaping your eyebrows, check symmetry not with a mirror held close to the face, but with a larger mirror that shows you the entire picture. As you tweeze or fill in your brows, check them in the far away mirror every so often to see both how they compare to each other and how they impact the overall balance of your face, and I guarantee the result will be much more pleasing. Your face will seem more symmetrical than it would if you turned your brows into twins.
How to Shape Eyebrows
Now that you’ve hopefully figured out what eyebrow shape you would like to attempt, let’s talk about how to actually shape eyebrows. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide for mapping, hair removal, and filling in your brows.
Step 1: Map out Your Brows
Start out by coming up with a plan for what kind of eyebrow shape you are hoping to achieve with the help of the Golden Ratio and some measuring.
• Use a makeup brush, eyebrow pencil, or any thin, straight object to start mapping out your brows.
• First, measure where your brows should start by lining up your stick with the end of your nostril and the inner corner of your eye. Where the stick ends up landing on your brows is where they should start, although if you’d rather keep the front extra bushy, more power to you. Draw a little mark where the stick landed to make sure you don’t tweeze after that point, lest your brows end up too far apart.
• Next, move the stick over a bit, so it goes from your nostril to the outer corner of your eye. Where it falls this time will be where your eyebrows should end. Make a mark at that point as well.
• When it comes to figuring out your arch, it’s generally best to let it stay where it naturally wants to be. Measure your brows with the stick starting at the of the nostril and passing over the center of your eye – if you land on the highest point of your brow with this method, you have a more classic eyebrow shape.
• If the arch is a little behind the stick and closer to the tail, you have more of a back-arched brow, and you can measure again in the same way but starting at the tip of the nose.
• If you wish for your brows to appear more arched when you fill them in, draw a mark slightly above where your arch naturally peaks. Otherwise, just draw a little dot right where your arch peaks. We don’t recommend ever removing hair from the top arch.
• Then, do the same with your other brow and compare the little points from a distance to try and judge symmetry. You can use your stick to check that the dots of the arch are on the same level, although it’s more important that they be the same distance from each eye.
• If you tend to over-tweeze your brows, use the little marks you drew to draw an outline around your brows or even just fill them in completely. Make sure to fill them in based on how thick you hope they will become. This way, you will only remove hair from outside the outline and allow your brows to grow thicker eventually.
• If your plan is to thin out your brows, err on the side of caution with your markings and keep the outline a touch thicker than what you think you may like.
Step 2: Hair Removal
With your brows mapped out and an action plan in place, it’s time to get rid of those stray hairs. If your eyebrows are too thin (and especially if it’s by your own doing), then skip hair removal altogether and give your brows a few months to recuperate.
• Before starting out, make sure that your skin is clean, especially if you’ll be removing hair. Freshly tweezed skin is more prone to breakouts as well as worse infections. If you’ve filled in your brows, use a cotton bud or pad dipped in micellar water to gently clean around the brows without taking off your markings or just make sure to clean your skin before mapping things out.
• If you’re going to try a riskier eyebrow shape, still follow these instructions and work according to your markings, but use an eyebrow razor instead of tweezers to guarantee that the hair will grow back.
• To ease your way in, start by tweezing between the brows where the process is less painful. Make sure to grab each hair as close to the base as you can and pull with the direction of its growth in order to get it from the root. Be very careful to only remove hair that’s outside your dots.
• Next, start tweezing below the brows. Get rid of all of the obvious strays that are far outside your markings and slowly work your way closer. If you’re uncertain at any point, pull out your measurement tool and re-check your dots.
• As you get closer to the brow, you’ll notice that hairs tend to grow in rows. As you start working on thinning out the brows, remove just one row of hairs at a time and check consistently in the mirror. If you’re nervous about throwing off the symmetry of your brows, go from one brow to the next while checking symmetry from afar.
• You might be surprised to discover that you like the look of your brows before thinning them out as much as you initially planned! If that’s the case, stop here.
• To clean up the tail, remove any of the hairs that start growing after your marks. If there are hairs that start growing before the mark but are so long that they grow past it, trim them shorter with scissors or an eyebrow razor instead of tweezing them out.
• For the top of the brow, be very careful to only clean up the obvious strays and avoid reshaping from above.
• If your skin is a little red and irritated after hair removal, use a facecloth soaked in cold water to help bring down some of the irritation and finish off with a layer of aloe gel or a gentle moisturizer.
• Finally, use a clean mascara wand to brush up the hairs, and if necessary, trim the overly long ones. You can leave the hairs long if you’re a fan of the “boy brow” look.
Step 3: Filling in
Whether you’re doing it after tweezing, before tweezing, or instead of it, here’s our guide to shaping your brows with makeup. This section focuses on the process of creating a shape, while the section that follows talks more about specific makeup styles.
• After mapping out your brows, use your markings as your guide for how you will fill in your brows.
• Start by creating an outline for the tail. Using your makeup product of choice, fill in a line or micro strokes going from the highest point of your arch down to the tip, and then another line going from the bottom of your arch to the same tip, making sure it looks sharp.
• After outlining, you can fill in the outer third of your brow or leave the filling for the end.
• Next, work on the outline of the curve or angle of your arch. Start with the bottom part. If you’re aiming for slightly thicker brows with a softer, friendlier arch, fill that area in so it is thicker and less curved than the top. If you’re aiming for a sharper arch, create more of a triangular shape with downward strokes connecting the highest part of the arch to the tail and upward strokes connecting the front of the brow to the high point of the arch.
• Next, fill in the top of the arch. For more angled brows, create the same triangular shape as you did on the bottom, while for rounded brows, keep the shape curved. It might be a given, but the higher up you draw your arch, the higher it’ll be.
• You can also adjust things and give yourself more of a back-arched look by going from the natural peak of your arch and pulling the line further back so that your peak ends up a little higher and a little further back. You’ll then want to connect that new peak to your tail, which will now seem a little shorter.
• Fill in the front of your brow if necessary. Keep the front looking softer and slowly thicken up the color towards the end of that front third, where it connects to the arch.
• Finally, fill in within the brow, making sure to focus on any sparse areas. Then use a spoolie or an eyebrow brush to soften your strokes and brush the hairs into place either upwards or on a diagonal.
Eyebrow Makeup Styles
While the previous sections covered eyebrow shaping, there are also a lot of different styles for how to fill in eyebrows. In addition to determining your shape, you also need to settle on your favorite style for grooming and filling in the eyebrows.
From the highly Instagrammed ombre eyebrow to the high fashion boy brow, we cover the main styles, which can be paired with most eyebrow shapes.
I’m calling this the “easy brow” because it requires the least effort, and it’s also the most casual. You don’t need 3 or 4 different brow products, a steady hand, or 20 minutes to get it done. It takes just a minute or two and can be done with nearly any kind of brow product.
The secret to the easy brow is that it’s not meant to change the shape of the brow at all – just to slightly enhance it, so if your brows are extremely sparse or uneven (or if you just like drama), it might not be for you. It’s best for light or natural makeup days, and it’s a great choice for anyone who enjoys makeup casually.
With this technique, you just use whatever powder, pencil, or pomade you have on hand to very lightly fill in and thicken up the brows, using tiny strokes and focusing on sparse or light areas as well as on the arch and tail of the brow. The result should be somewhere between a micro stroke and shading.
After very lightly filling in only where necessary, you can blend the color and brush the brows with a clean spoolie. It’s quick, easy, timeless, and looks good even when you don’t have other makeup on.
Boy brows are fluffy, fanned out, and oh-so-thick. The key detail of the boy brow is that the hairs are brushed upwards, which gives a fuzzy appearance to the top of the brow while also increasing their overall thickness.
Boy brows can be achieved with brow gel, eyebrow lamination, or even just a bit of soap. This technique is great when combined with micro strokes, and also works with the Easy Brow and a light Ombre Brow, though it doesn’t work with outlined brows.
The ombre brow is a very cool technique for filling in eyebrows that is especially popular in drag, although it’s also marvelous in real life. It’s a great way of avoiding blocky-looking brows while still filling the brows in more solidly. For this technique, the brows should be filled in with two or three shades, the lightest one at the front, the middle shade at the center (i.e. the arch), and the darker filling in the tail.
Brow powder is great for this, but pomades and pencils can work as well. The transition between the shades should be seamless, so the colors should be blended together with a cotton bud or a clean spoolie. This technique can be combined with micro strokes, an outline, or even with the boy brow grooming style.
The Outlined Brow
The outlined brow (sometimes referred to as a carved-out brow or Instagram brow) is a technique that focuses on creating a strong outline for the brows before filling them in. It can be done with nearly any eyebrow product, but pencils or pomades are usually best.
The steps are simple: first, you draw one line to carve out the bottom shape from the front of the brow all the way to the tail, then you draw another line along the top that starts out at the front and goes down to the tail where it connects with the bottom line in a point. Then the inner part of the brow can be filled in with a more shaded technique, while the front can be filled in with micro strokes or with an ombre shade.
The final step is to use a concealer or foundation along the perimeter to clean up the outline of the eyebrow, which results in a very crisp and stark look. This looks amazing in photos (especially eye makeup close-ups), but it can be a little over-the-top in real life.
Micro Stroke Brow
Saving the best for last! This is by far the most popular technique for filling in eyebrows right now because it’s reminiscent of microblading and just looks fierce yet natural. The amazing thing about the micro stroke brow is that it allows for both filling in sparse areas and reshaping in a way that doesn’t look like makeup. The only drawback to it is that it requires more practice and work than the Easy Brow, Boy Brow, or even the Ombre Brow.
Micro strokes can be achieved with a pomade or dampened powder and a very thin brush, a fine-tipped pencil, or an eyebrow gel pen. The key to the technique is to create tiny strokes that go with the direction of the hair wherever you wish you had more hair.
It’s like trying to create a bunch of extra-small eyeliner wings all over your brow when it’s often difficult enough to create just those two bigger wings over the eyes! However, the impeccable results are totally worth it, so if you’re intrigued, then get practicing.
Professional Eyebrow Shaping Services to Try
There are a lot of professional eyebrow shaping services that can give you impeccable brows. From the most basic brow wax to something more intense like microblading, it’s important to be picky when deciding where to get your service done.
Make sure to read reviews and look at before and after photos online before booking your appointment. Also, ask whether a consultation is included in the service, so you can have a chance to discuss and plan ahead with your eyebrow stylist or technician.
Professional Hair Removal
If you’re not keen to tweeze your eyebrows by yourself at home, going to an experienced professional is a great idea. Some people have their eyebrows groomed professionally once a month or so, while others only come in for a shaping a few times a year and then maintain the results with tweezing at home.
• Most salons offer eyebrow waxing, where wax is used to remove errant hairs and to shape the brows. Waxing is fast and easy, although it can leave the skin around the brows red and irritated for up to a day after the service.
• Another popular option is threading, though there are fewer places that offer it. In this service, a twisted thread is used to pull hairs out from the root. This process takes a little bit longer and can be a touch more painful, but it’s less irritating to the skin, and because of the straightness of the thread, it often gives a much crisper shape.
• Finally, you can also ask a professional eyebrow shaper to use tweezers instead of wax or thread. If your skin is extremely sensitive, professional tweezing might be the best option, although it takes the longest.
Brow Tinting and Henna
Eyebrow tinting is great if your brows are a little lighter than you’d like them to be or if you have a few gray hairs in your brows. With tinting, the aesthetician will choose a special, eye-safe hair dye in the color that will suit you best and apply it to the brows usually before or after a hair removal service. At first, tinting might stain the skin a bit, so it looks a little as though the brows had been filled in, although the stain usually disappears after a day or two.
Using henna instead of tint has become very popular in recent years, as well. Much like the tint, henna dyes the brow hairs, making them a little darker. The difference is that henna stains the skin more, so it also acts a bit like semi-permanent brow shading.
It’s a great choice for those who need both color and shape, although, keep in mind that it leaves a more shadow-like wash of color. The henna stays in the brows for a little longer than a normal tint, while the color on the skin can last for up to three weeks.
Tattooing, Shading & Microblading
If you’re after more permanent results, you might want to have your eyebrows tattooed or microbladed. We recommend staying away from old-school eyebrow tattooing, which leads to very blocky-looking eyebrows. Instead, opt for shading/ ombre brows, feather strokes, or microblading.
• Powder or ombre brow tattooing is a lot like traditional tattooing, but it creates a diffused-looking ombre brow. The result is brows that look softly made-up as though they were filled in with powder or well-blended pencil.
• Microblading is a technique that uses a handheld, blade-like tool to create micro strokes over the skin. The result is very natural-looking brows. The pigment isn’t embedded very deeply in the skin, so it’s sort of a semi-permanent tattoo that can last from 6 months up to two years, depending on your age and skin type.
• Then there is feather stroke tattooing. It uses a high-powered machine and gives results that are similar to microblading, though the strokes are a little less tight and close together. Its major benefit is that it tends to last longer than microblading. This technique can be combined with ombre brows for a really gorgeous look.
Eyebrow lamination is an eyebrow grooming technique that makes the brows appear fluffier and more fanned out. It’s a semi-permanent way of achieving the “boy brow,” and it can last for up to 8 weeks. With lamination, a perm-like solution is applied to the brows, which straightens out the hairs and also fixes them in place as though they had been brushed up with gel. It makes the arches appear higher and increases the width of the brows from top to bottom.
Finally, if you’d like your eyebrows reshaped in the most natural-looking way, you can try eyebrow extensions. Like with lash extensions, the technician glues little hair-like fibers to your skin, where you would like to have more eyebrow hair. This usually lasts for up to 2 weeks, but while you have eyebrow extensions in, you cannot touch your brows or apply makeup.
Photos via Instagram