Can we all agree, once and for all, that drawn-on eyebrows are not a good look? Achieving gorgeous brows takes commitment and patience, not whatever makeup pencil you happen to have handy. In addition to letting eyebrows grow, brow-savvy beauties know just how to fill in their arches with makeup so that they look natural, not fake. Need a few pro pointers? Makeup artist and beauty expert Jennifer Trotter of Lip Service Makeup is here with the only step-by-step guide to filling in our eyebrows you’ll ever need so they always look seriously stunning–not severe.
1. Access your shape. There is no one universal paradigm for how to fill in your brows. The tools you choose and how you use them all depend on your brow type and the specific issue you want to address. Here are the general rules for different eyebrow types:
– If you have fairly full brows with a well defined shape, you’ll want to fill in the few bare spots for a bit of polish. “Use brow powder–it’s the most natural approach and it’s easy to use. Just apply the brow powder that matches your shade using a small, dense, angled brush and mimic hair-like strokes,” Trotter says.
– If you have full brows with hairs that stand away from your skin, use pencil or powder and experiment first to see which works best, Trotter says. Then follow the same steps as you would for full brows. For added drama, Trotter suggests using a bit of pencil with powder on top.
– If you have very thin brows that need to be filled in and your eyebrow hair is dense and close to your skin, use pomade. “This is the trickiest of all the options, but works well with this brow type,” Trotter says. “Choose a waterproof pomade, apply with a dense, angled brow brush using short and careful strokes. Don’t draw it in a line! Use a concealer brush with a tiny bit of concealer on it to clean up and soften edges.”
– If you have very thin brows with longer brow hairs that stand away from your skin, use a pencil to create hair-like strokes, then a bit of powder on top. “The pencil is needed to create the brow structure and fill in missing spots. Using a thin brow pencil in a shade that matches, draw short hair-like strokes. Once you have the shape in place, apply a bit of brow powder using a small angled brow brush. The powder will cling to the hairs that are there and make it look more natural,” Trotter explains.
2. Perfect your technique. Mimic short, hair-like strokes when applying any brow product.
3. Pick the right product. Choose a brow product that matches the shade of your brows or one shade darker. Additionally, you should choose products made specifically for brows. Eye pencils and eyeshadows can often have the wrong formulation–they’re too creamy or too dry. Products made specifically for brows have more staying power and the control you need.
4. Go slow. Take your time and don’t rush through your brow makeup application. Bad brows will ruin your whole look, so it’s best to go slow instead of piling on product.
5. Use the right tools. Use a brow brush that is small and angled with densely packed bristles for the most control and best results.
6. Prep your brows. Brush your brows up and into place before applying any brow products, and again after you’ve applied them for the most natural look.
7. Correct mistakes. Use a concealer brush with a tiny bit of concealer as an “erasing” tool–it can clean up lines you’ve messed up, soften a line that’s too harsh, and can be used lightly on your entire brow to soften a look that’s too dark.
8. Don’t forget to cleanse! Always remove your brow products when you cleanse your face, and don’t forget to scrub your brows. Pencil, powder and pomade can build up in your brows and create dead skin and a messy look.
Of course, no guide would be complete without a list of no-no’s, so here are 3 things Trotter says you should never do when filling in your eyebrows:
1. Never drastically alter the shape of your natural brows. Just like you shouldn’t over-tweeze a naturally full brow, you don’t want to overdraw naturally thin ones. If they’re naturally thin, it’s okay to fill them in a bit, but don’t overdo it.
2. Never use brow products the way you would a pen or pencil. Don’t draw a line. It’ll never look natural and it’ll look really bad if your line is uneven.
3. Don’t choose brow products in a color different than your own. If your brows are a light brown, a dark chocolate brown brow will look harsh and throw off the balance of your face. The most goof-proof shade is a medium taupe that can work on almost anyone.
For more beauty tips and advice, check out the one thing you should never do when plucking your eyebrows and this woman with four eyebrows.
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