Tecbnique: Basic eyebrow shaping and finishing

Now, eyebrows are always a chore in and of themselves. I don’t consider mine to be a particularly great example of impeccably groomed brows, but I can give a few pointers in making yours look the best.   It’s time for me to do a quick overhaul of my brows anyways, so we’ll photograph the process.  Start out in the BEST lighting you can find.  If a light on one side of your vanity is out, that side will look considerably different and you’ll find yourself shaping that side differently, especially over time.  If you don’t feel especially confident in your handiwork, I recommend seeing a professional for your shaping method of choice(Waxing, threading, etc.) every few months, just to get a fresh set of eyes on the shape. It’s much easier to keep to an existing shape than it is to design a new one.

There’s a few overall pointers on determining the best shape to balance out your face.


I’ve generally found stencils to be next to useless.   Anastasia has some nice ones, and this site has some nice information on finding the right shape for your face, as well as stencils.   It takes a LOT of work to find a stencil that suits your face size and shape.  It’s FAR faster to just plan out your points using a straightedge.  Plus, if you slip with a stencil while applying it, it can be hard to get a clean line.  Especially if you re applying it OVER the hair, instead of shaving your brows completely off and applying over bare skin.I’ve generally found that it’s better to use the brow shaping technique coming up.

The most common method of plotting your brows curve uses a straight edge(pencil, brush handle, etc.).  Place it on the side of your nose. It should travel up past your inner eye corner, to meet your brow bone.  This is(generally speaking) where your brows should start and separate.  Remove any excess hairs around here, and leave a tiny mark to show the designated “starting point.”

Next, turn  your pencil so that it angles past the edge of your pupil.  The point where it hits your main brow should be the peak of your arch.  Mark this.

Turn the pencil further, so it passes the outer edge of your eye.    This will determine the outer edge of the eyebrow.  Mark it.  Remove any hairs obviously outside that edge.

Remember the old adage “Your eyebrows are sisters… NOT twins”. Very few peoples faces are EXACTLY symmetrical. Your brows are no different.  If you pay close attention, you’ll notice that one may grow thicker, or arch higher….  While you want a level of uniformity of the shape, don’t worry too much about making them EXACTLY even.  Keep the general shape the same, and leave the specifics to the brows growth patterns.

Always trim your brows before plucking shaving, or waxing.  You’d be surprised how many hairs may not ruin the overall shape EXCEPT when they are long enough to poke outside it.  To trim brows, comb the hairs upward, and trim everything that falls outside the main brow line.  I use small manicure scissors, for more maneuverability.

Once you have your marks in place, plot out the specific curve you want.  You can use your normal brow filler(if you can separate it from the look of hairs OUTSIDE the line)  If that doesn’t have enough contrast, you can use white eyeliner, black eyeliner, whatever shows up the best.  If you have sensitivity while tweezing, you may want to ice your brows first,  maybe take a mild painkiller.  I don’t usually bother, but I really have an absurd pain tolerance.  There’s a few schools of thought that say that using a small razor to cut hairs outside the browline close to the skin is healthier on the hair follicles than tweezing or waxing.  I’ve done this, but found it difficult to have PRECISE control over the shape.  Plus, my hairs are a bit coarse, and the razors don’t seem to be terribly effective.  I think a good amount of it comes down to your personal preference.  Try to remove as LITTLE from the area above your arch/browline as possible.  Trust me–no one told me that,and for YEARS I had brows with almost NO arch, because so much of what I plucked from the top didn’t grow back evenly.  Just tweeze the ones fairly far outside your edge.

They still may not look that great(mine sure don’t!  My brows are very sparse, and grow unevenly).  So finishing it will help finalize that perfect shape.

Your brows can be a little bit darker than your hair, but choose the color carefully.  I’ve had difficulties finding a nice NATURAL auburn color for mine—not too brown, and not henna hair-dye red.  Blond hairs in particular can be hard to find matches for.

I like the Maybelline Define-a-brow pencils(I believe I used Light brown) but I gave them up because I used them WAY too fast.  Nowadays, I prefer MUFE Brow Correctors. Sadly the shade range may not suite blond skin tones.  Even 0-the palest color, has strong red tones.

A matte brown eyeshadow like MAC Charcoal, or Browning, can also be used to fill in the brows, for a more subtle look.

I like to start at the peak of the arch, and define the outer corner.  I find  on my brows, this can be a bit uneven. So if I start with it, I can tweak it without destroying any other makeup, or smudging the brow color.  Use a flat angled brow brush(I like a dense, thin one for the sharpest curve) , start at the arch, and pull the brush outward to your outer edge.  Repeat on the other side, back up and compare the sides.  If needed, use makeup remover to remove, and redo any areas that don’t match.

Next, start at the inner corner.  I like to start at the bottom edge of the brow, pull the brush towards the arch.

Match these two sides with each other.

And then, pull the brush up, and then down, to smooth the top edge of the arch.  Repeat as needed to match the brows fairly closely even with each other.

Then, turn the brush flat to fill in the inner corner.  I’m lucky in that the width of my brush is almost exactly the same as the width of my brow.  Fill in the middle to make sure the color is even, now that your shape is totally set.

If needed, use Brow wax or brow gel to set any hairs that may fall out of alignment.  Comb through it with a bare mascara wand(if needed).  This will remove excess color, smooth hairs into place, and make coverage appear more natural.

Although shaping your brows thinner can open up your eyes, if there’s limited eyelid space, and can emphasize some face shapes, be careful not to go too far.  Plucking it too much can make it difficult to reshape brows in the future, and can make you appear older.  Thicker brows generally look more natural, and youthful.  When touching your shape up, NEVER pluck more than five hairs from one side or spot, before comparing it with the other side, and backing up.  Alternating sides can make sure that if you DO have uneven lighting, or slightly asymmetrical growth, you will catch any resulting errors soon, rather than discovering that while the brows look nice up close, from a distance they don’t match at all!

It’s kind of an ongoing process, but finishing your brows, even with no other makeup, will ALWAYS make you look more put together.   Every so often, I get lazy and apply makeup without finishing the eyebrows, and it just looks unbalanced.  With a little practice, it’ll only take about five minutes to add that polish.  Well worth it.



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Aneela
    Feb 04, 2011 @ 00:06:35

    Nice post


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 249 other followers

%d bloggers like this: