The Complete Guide to Brows
Eyebrows. They can be a little daunting at times for a many reasons. They are such a game changer, but we usually ignore eyebrows or think they're too tough to handle. I get it and have been there, but pleaseohplease don't let them be the forgotten part of your face. Here is the lowdown on brows, and how you can up your game.
BROAD GUIDELINES BEFORE YOU START. Before you buy that brow product or pick up a tweezer, let's talk broad basics.
- Go forth to a professional. I don't tell you to do many things, but this is one where I'll get a little bossy. Go to a licensed esthetician in your area, or someone who has great recommendations from people who have great brows. Here's the thing: shaping is CRUCIAL SAUCE. It is really hard to figure that out if you are not trained in the artistry of brows. This is not a joke. It is well worth the $15 to get that shape that's right for your face, and a little clean up. You can easily maintain that shape for a few months if you don't want to get your brows done on the reg or the budget doesn't allow that.
- Map your brows. Before you start plucking, filling in, etc. you need to map out your eyebrows. This tells you where they should start and where they should end. Take your tweezers or a thin make up brush and hold it vertically up against the outermost part of your nostril. Where it lands is where the head of your eyebrow should begin. Place the tweezer diagonally from your nostril to the outermost part of your eye. Where it lands is where the tail of the eyebrow should end. Finally, hold it horizontally at the top of your brows to make sure they’re the same height. If they aren’t, you can fill in the lower one to match the higher one. Mapping is really helpful because you feel more confident knowing where they’re supposed to be.
- Every hair counts. Trim and pluck with care. If you take away one hair, it can completely change the shape of your brows. I know, it's intense. Because of this, don't pluck with your nose up against a mirror. You stay truer to your shape if you aren't zoomed in. If you have to use a magnification mirror to see, just check in with a regular mirror periodically.
- Brush the eyebrows in the direction of growth. When you brush, use the proper tool. It's called a spoolie, and it looks like a clean mascara wand. In the head of the eyebrow, brush the hairs straight up (that's how the tend to grow). Trim across the top as to not mess up the shape. Be super careful trimming the middle to the tail of the eyebrow, because this can create sparse areas super fast.
- If you are unsure if you should pluck or trim something, FORTHELOVE leave it be. A lack of confidence with is what causes over-plucking, over-trimming, your eyebrows land in your sink and you wished you had kept them on your face.
ENHANCING AND FILLING IN. Let's talk how to enhance or fill in those pretty brows on your pretty face, and the different ways you can make it happen. Regardless of what you use, go 1-2 shades lighter than your hair color if you have darker hair. Blondes or grays, go one shade darker. This guarantees the most natural look, but knock yourself out if you want to go super dark for contrast.
- Pencils. This is what the brow game started with, and it works for beginners (and experts) because the product goes directly on your skin. You'll know exactly where the product will show up, and this is a good method for patchy areas since you are trying to draw individual hairs with the pencil.
- Recommendations: $$ - Benefit Cosmetics Goof Proof Eyebrow Pencil and Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer are great pencils, and they have spoolies on the end which are crucial for your brow game. $ - Maybelline Brow Precise Shaping Pencil also comes with a spoolie on the end and comes in a variety of shades (which most budget options don't offer).
- Powders. These are great for fairly dense brows with some patchy areas, or people that have good brow shapes but want a little more jazz fingers. It gives you uniformity with color and you can go darker by layering the powder. Use a powder over other brow products to intensify color ever more, or to help set other products.
- Brow gels. These guys can either be tinted or clear, and help provide shape, keeping things in place, or a little bit of tint. Tinted gels shouldn't deposit color on your skin, but it will add color to the brow hairs and keep it in place. Control the shape of your brows by applying it in upward motions, then bringing them back down where they need to be - this creates and keeps their shape. Clear gels can be applied over powders and pencil work without messing it up.
- Pomades/creams/cream-gels. These look fancy because they're commonly found in a little pot, and you apply with a brush. Use a skinny eyeliner brush because its easier to draw on little hairs, and use a stiff angled brush for thicker lines if you want to be bold. This stuff doesn't mess around, so its good for filling in really sparse areas (or the entire brow) if pencils and powders aren't cutting it.
- Recommendations: $$: You guessed it, Anastasia Beverly Hills gets the win with their DipBrow Pomade. There's a reason normals and professionals swear by it. It is also waterproof and comes in 11 shades. Praise. $: NYX Cosmetics Tame & Frame Brow Pomade (it is also waterproof!) and the even cheaper e.l.f. Cosmetics Lock On Liner & Brow Enhancer Cream (don't jump in the pool with this!) are solid options to try.
- Waxes. Waxes are sort of a hybrid of pomades and brow gels. They can be used in pencil form to keep brows in place (like a gel), but they can serve up some serious filling-in action. A word of caution with waxes because I love you and want you to succeed: you can overdo it with waxes and it can take matting to a new level. Don't take the ride to Crunchy Town, and use a light hand so you can avoid build up. When waxes come in palette form, they usually bring a friend in the powder family. That's called a "finisher", and it is supposed to keep that look happy all day.
- Recommendations: $$: Benefit Cosmetics Brow Zings Brow Shaping Kit provides multiple shades from platinum blonde to black, and includes mini tweezers and a double ended brush. They seriously want you to succeed. $: e.l.f. Cosmetics Eyebrow Kit is a great place to start with filling in brows. Use a light hand, because the wax can be pretty waxy, but for $3 it is pretty fantastic.
Well. Now that we've gone through that, feeling a little overwhelmed? You guys, I get it. My motto, start small. If you're feeling weird about everything might work, you aren't alone. You are adding definition to two large objects on your face. Go with a light application, stick with it for a day, and if you hate it just don't worry about it. You do you. Ask your friend who will always tell you that spinach is in your teeth, "Hey, so how do my brows look now that you can see them?" It helps to have someone speak into that. Don't have a friend that will tell you your brows look great or not so great? Please. I'm here for you. Shoot me an email with your eyebrow picture. Remember, eyebrows really are a game changer. Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone with these guys. They deserve some consideration.