Do you have a favorite way to fill in eyebrows? Do you prefer feathery and bushy eyebrows like in the eighties, or do you like your eyebrows groomed and trimmed? No matter your preference, we can all agree that filling in eyebrows correctly is super-important, especially for the makeup lover.
Eyebrows, after all, are the most important facial feature. They express our most complex emotions: surprise, anger, sadness, and confusion. We all remember how weird those photos are of celebrities without eyebrows! Eyebrows bring balance to the face, by framing our eyes and creating cohesion between our face and our hair.
Unfortunately, it’s really easy to mess up filling in eyebrows: getting that perfectly flattering shape, and looking symmetrical takes practice and a bit of know-how.
In this article, I will help you figure out what kind of brow shape is right for you, how to actually fill in eyebrows, which color you should use when filling in eyebrows, and how to tell the difference between different kinds of eyebrow products. Oh, and lastly, I have some reviews of the best eyebrow products for filling in brows, so you can find the perfect product for you.
How to Fill In Eyebrows: Contents
• How to Choose the Perfect Shape For Filling in Eyebrows
• How to Choose Between Powder, Pomade, or Pencil Eyebrow Products for Filling In Brows
• How to Choose the Perfect Brow Color for Filling in Eyebrows
• How to Fill in Eyebrows: Steps
• Best Eyebrow Products for Filling In and Thickening Your Brows!
Before you actually start going at ‘em with your eyebrow pencil, it is important to map out your brows and decide what kind of shape you are aiming for. While some might tell you there are strict rules to how eyebrows must look, and where they should start, I strongly disagree.
The rules you normally hear for filling in eyebrows are the following:
• The eyebrows should start directly above the nostrils.
• The eyebrow arch should happen right along an imaginary diagonal line drawn from the nostrils, to the center of the iris, to the brow.
• The eyebrows should end along an imaginary diagonal line drawn from the nostril, to the end of the eye, to the brow.
Now, to be fair, these rules will lead to an eyebrow shape that will be almost universally flattering, and if you are not sure where to start, it’s a great guideline.
However, there are other examples of eyebrow looks that are just as beautiful, that do not follow these guidelines, and instead lead to a unique and memorable look.
In order to pick the best shape for your eyebrows, first examine your face and your eyebrows. Do your eyebrows seem to overpower the rest of your features, or do they blend in? Is your face more broad or narrow? Are your features very angled, or more rounded?
Next, consider what kind of image you would like to portray with your eyebrows. Do you want to look softer and more feminine, or do you want a fiercer look? Do you love the boyish eyebrows of the ‘80s, or do you prefer an ultra-clean Instagram brow? Do you like a thick brow, a medium brow, or a thin brow? Look to your favorite celebrities for inspiration, as well.
Now that you’ve clarified your desires, here are some different eyebrow shape ideas that will have a different impact on your face:
• Medium Thickness: Of all of the eyebrow sizes, this one is the likeliest to flatter. It is balanced and will work with most makeup looks.
• Thin Eyebrows: Thin eyebrows are not in style right now, and for a reason. They are not very flattering, since they do not effectively frame the face. Those with very narrow faces and small features are the exception, and thin eyebrows may suit them.
• Thick Eyebrows: Going thicker when filling in eyebrows is very much in style right now. If you have big eyes, and a penchant for perfected makeup, feel free to opt for thicker brows. They tend to look more youthful, but not always in a good way. Those who have very little eyelid space should avoid thick brows, since they can create a shadowy look.
• Bushy Brows: You too can achieve that Cara Delevingne brow, with an eyebrow spoolie and some clear mascara. This look is boyish and natural, and is best suited as a contrast for very refined features.
• On-Fleek Instabrows: These ultra-groomed brows can still be thick, but they’re brushed down, no hair out of place, with a rim of concealer all around keeping the edges sharp. This look says that you are meticulous, and is perfect with some sharp eyeliner wings.
• Eyebrows with Short Ends: There is something boyish and a little elfen about eyebrows that cut off soon after they arch. This is a unique look that really stands out, and works better on those with narrow, delicate features. However, once you shorten your brows, you can’t guarantee they’ll grow back.
• Straight Brows: This feminine and youthful eyebrow trend is big in Korea right now, but there are also some North American celebs rocking it (Natalie Portman and Jennifer Lawrence, I’m looking at you!). If your eyebrows are naturally straight, feel free to embrace it, and you can also give it a spin by filling in the space below your arch.
• Eyebrows with a Rounded Arch: I’m not talking about Ronald McDonald arches, but about rounded, softened arches. It’s a good look if you’re trying to soften very severe features, although for most people it is not very flattering.
• Eyebrows with a Sharp Arch: Keep the haters away with a fierce glare, made all the more striking by sharp-arched eyebrows. Sharp arches look a little meaner, and they definitely age the face some. You can save filling in your eyebrows like this for your Halloween vampire costume, or for a situation when you have to intimidate your opposition.
• Arch That Begins Further Back: To imagine what this looks like, look up a picture of Emma Watson. This twist on the softly arched brow has some of the femininity of a straight brow, but it still frames the face well.
• Darker Brows: Filling your eyebrows in with a darker color will help balance out darker eye makeup and will call attention to your eyes. A darker brow ages a person, which may or may not be what you might be going for.
• Lighter Brows: This softer choice is more youthful, but it can quickly veer towards the dreaded invisi-brow. It works better with lighter eye makeup.
The fun thing about filling in eyebrows is that you can make them thicker or thinner, rounder or sharper, darker or lighter, depending on your mood, the occasion, and the way the rest of your makeup is looking. Embrace the changes!
With so many eyebrow products out there on the market for you to use to fill in brows, it can be tough to settle on that perfect product. Ultimately, choose what will be most comfortable for you to apply, and that will give you the effect you want!
You can even combine different kinds of eyebrow products, in order to get longer lasting bushy eyebrows, and to create some really complex yet nuanced effects.
This classic choice for filling in brows is easy and versatile. It can give an ultra-clean eyebrow, or a more boyish one, depending on your application technique.
With an eyebrow pencil, the lighter your strokes the more natural the filled in eyebrows will look, whereas heavier strokes will have a more defined effect. You can use a spoolie after applying pencil eyebrow filler, to soften harsh lines.
This is my personal favorite choice for filling in brows. A powder has to be applied with a thin angled brush, but it makes for a very quick and easy application that can give a softer brow.
Dipping the brush in some water before filling in the brows will give a pomade-like effect. Most eyebrow powder palettes come with two shades, so you can give yourself an ombre brow as well.
If your skin gets sweaty or greasy easily, you can use eyebrow powder to set a pencil or a pomade, for a longer-lasting filled-in brow.
The longest-lasting, and possibly biggest bang for the buck eyebrow filling option is the pomade. Like a powder, it also must be applied with a thin angled brush.
It can give a very defined shape, but probably isn’t worth the fuss if you prefer more boyish and bushy eyebrows. With pomade, a tiny bit of product goes a loooong way. Some gels (like the MUFE one I’ll be recommending) behave very similarly.
Mascara-Style Eyebrow Gel
This is the perfect product to achieve those high-fashion boy brows. You can use it in addition to a pencil, pomade, or powder, because this kind of product, instead of filling in the gaps between your eyebrow hairs, is actually applied to the brows themselves, both darkening them, thickening them, and helping brush them up for a boyish look, or downwards for a more groomed look.
For those who have naturally full brows, an eyebrow gel can be a great option.
Choosing the perfect shade for filling in eyebrows is more complicated than just choosing a “dark brown” or “light brown”. Too often, people fill in their eyebrows with a color that has a different undertone from their hair, and the effect is very jarring.
The same way that we need to know our undertone when choosing face makeup, we must also know the undertone of our hair when choosing the best eyebrow products for us. What is almost universally true is that you should choose an eyebrow product that is about one shade lighter than your natural hair color, because it will create depth and prevent your brows from looking too dark or harsh.
If you want to create an ombre brow, simply choose two or three eyebrow products that have the same undertones, but are different levels of darkness. Apply the lightest in the front, the medium tone in the center, and the darkest just at the tip of the eyebrow.
• Brow Colors for Black & Dark Brown Hair: Usually, darker hair colors have cooler undertones, so you want to choose a shade of brown that has very little red or yellow tones to it – in other words, a brown that is almost a dark gray. For dark brown hair, a neutral brown will likely also work.
• Brow Colors for Strawberry Blonde, Auburn, & Red Hair: If there are a lot of red and orange tones to your hair, you also want to match them when filling in your brows. Even if you’re a redhead, avoid a straight up orange. Instead, opt for light browns (medium browns if your hair is auburn) that have a hint of an orange/ red tint. This will look more natural with your red hair, and will beautifully harmonize your face.
• Brow Colors for Cool Blondes: If you’re a fan of purple toner, and have more platinum blonde hair, opt for a gray brown, also known as taupe, when filling in eyebrows.
• Brow Colors for Dark Blonde & Light Brown Hair: Usually, your hair will have a bit of a yellow undertone. You can use both warmer browns that have a bit of a yellow tint, as well as very neutral browns, which are sometimes easier to find.
• As always, start with a clean face. You may choose to fill in your eyebrows after already doing your foundation, or you can wait until after, especially if you like those pristine edges to your brows that you can create with concealer.
• Start mapping out the outline of your eyebrows with your chosen product. If you are aiming for maximum longevity, begin with either a pencil or a pomade, to be set with powder later.
• This is an optional step for a more precise brow, or for those who need to correct the symmetry of their eyebrows. Draw two clean lines, one on the top and the other along the bottom of your brow, starting at the arch and meeting in a point where you would like your eyebrows to end. Next, draw two similar lines on top and bottom that begin just above the tear duct, and reach the arch.
• Check for symmetry, and ensure that your brows are of equal thickness.
• Next, in light strokes that go in the same direction as your hair, fill in the space between the hairs along the rest of the brow.
• Since the hairs at the front of the brow usually grow upwards, use light vertical strokes to fill in that area in a natural way. You want the front of the brows to be filled in more lightly than the rest of the eyebrow. You can use a lighter shade when filling in the front, to achieve an ombre eyebrow.
• If you’ve used a less rigid product like an eyebrow pencil or powder, use a clean spoolie brush to blend out any harsh lines. Run it in the same direction of your hair growth as many times as necessary.
• If necessary, fill in your eyebrows more until you reach desired opaqueness/ intensity. You can also adjust the symmetry of the brow at this point.
• To enhance an ombre brow, you can sharpen your ends with a thin point of a color one or two shades darker than the rest of your brow.
• If you’ve used an eyebrow pencil or cream to fill in the brows, you can now set them with a powder. If you want to increase opacity, use an eyebrow powder that is the same shade as your first layer. To avoid changing the color, use a translucent powder, and to soften the brow use a lighter eyebrow powder.
• Using a Q-tip or a brush dipped in concealer, you can clean up your edges and fix any mistakes.
• Finish off with a layer of clear mascara or wax to set your eyebrow hairs in place. Brush the hairs sideways and downwards for a clean look, or brush them straight up to achieve ‘80s bushy brows.
Since you already know how to fill in eyebrows right, discover the best eyebrow products to practice and make it perfect!
1. Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade
This eyebrow pomade is a cult item, with endless jokes having been told about it in makeup forums on Reddit. It’s a classic choice if you like a very clean brow.
It comes in a huge range of colors, so you can easily find your perfect match – just remember that it is highly pigmented, so it is better to buy one shade lighter than you think. As long as you keep the lid tightly sealed, the tiny jar will last your many moons. You can purchase it at Nordstrom.
2. Benefit Cosmetics Goof Proof Brows
Whether you’re a beginner at filling in eyebrows, or a pro, you’ll love this unique take on eyebrow pencils. Instead of coming to a point, this pencil ends in a teardrop shape, making it easy to get both thin lines from the tip or thicker from the flat top.
The color selection is sure to please, and the creamy formula is easy to blend and soften with the attached spoolie. You can buy this eyebrow pencil from Sephora.
3. Glossier Boy Brow
This gel is a game changer, because it’s a great product for filling in brows, but in a totally different way than what we’re used to. This gel darkens, sets, and volumizes eyebrow hairs, giving more boyish and natural bushy eyebrows. You can pick it up from Glossier.
4. Make Up For Ever Aqua Brow Waterproof Eyebrow Corrector
This tiny tube packs a punch, with an incredible self-setting eyebrow gel that truly stays put. You need to work fast with this eyebrow product, or it’ll set fast, which also means it is hard to blend once applied.
It is definitely better for a more pristine eyebrow style, and if you find most makeup products don’t stay that way on you, look no further. You can pick up the eyebrow corrector at Sephora.
5. Clinique Brow Shaper
Always trust that Clinique will deliver a simple and elegant product, like this eyebrow powder. This pressed powder comes in a variety of wearable colors, with an angled brush included.
The container itself is lovely and rectangular, with space for the brush, while the powder itself is simply the platonic ideal of what an eyebrow powder needs to be. You can find it at Nordstrom.
6. Urban Decay Brow Box
So personally, I prefer the two-shade eyebrow palettes, because they give you more room for artistry. You can create an ombre brow, or change how dark or how light you wear your brows from day to night all with one product.
This brow palette from Urban Decay features creamy, blendable eyebrow shadows in perfect shades, a setting wax, a brush, a mirror, and even a pair of mini tweezers, so you can perfect your eyebrows on the go. You can find the box at Sephora.
7. Black Up Perfect Eyebrows
This gel stick from Black Up, a product line dedicated to women of color, is like an eyebrow pomade in the form of a stick. It is creamy, with an almost powder-like finish that looks oh-so-natural, and the tapered stick form is very easy to use.
This water-resistant and long-lasting eyebrow filler is one of the best eyebrow products on the market for people of color, and really anyone with darker hair. You can find it at Sephora.
8. The Body Shop Brow and Liner Kit
This eyebrow powder duo delivers great, multi-use results without breaking the bank. You can create sophisticated brows with the tiny angled brush and two shades, and then you can use the darker shade as an eyeliner with the thin eyeliner brush that’s included. This eyebrow palette is available through The Body Shop.
9. NYX Professional Micro Brow Pencil
Whether it is thin brows you are struggling with, or you enjoy creating hyper realistic strokes of hair when filling in your eyebrows, this eyebrow product is that unique ultra-pointed pencil you wanted. It comes with a spoolie on the end for blending, and you have 8 shades to choose from.
NYX also carries more traditional products for filling in eyebrows, like a thicker pencil and eyebrow pomades, and those are all phenomenal as well. You can pick up the micro brow pencil at Ulta.
10. Milk Makeup Gel Brow
This is the only sharpenable, old school eyebrow pencil on the list, but it comes from the modern and ultra cool brand Milk. This wax-based formula does not budge, and while the color range is small, the colors themselves are very natural and are a good fit for most. This eyebrow pencil is available at Sephora.
Which is your eyebrow of choice? Do you like bushy brows, or precise brows? What is your favorite eyebrow product for filling in brows? Let us know!