Arches done right can make eyes seem bigger and brighter, visually lift sagging lids, rev up hair color and give you an all-over gorgeous look. “Eyebrows are so important, they really help shape and define your face,” notes Hollywood brow expert Anastasia Soare, who does brow shape-ups for celebrities like Penelope Cruz, Jennifer Lopez and Jennifer Garner. Get pretty arches that are perfect for you with these tips.
Eyebrow Shaping Tools
What you’ll need: slant tip tweezers, a spiral brow brush (it looks like a clean mascara wand), and a stencil with brow powder and a brow brush.
Step-by-step Eyebrow Shaping
“The idea is to find balance between your brows and other features,” says Soare. “Take your time and step back from the mirror as you pluck every few hairs, to make sure you’re creating as much symmetry in your brows as possible.”
- Look into a regular mirror (a magnifying mirror will make it look like there’s more hair to remove than there really is) and gently brush brows up and outward with the spiral brush to get a sense of your natural brow shape.
- Brow stencils are a foolproof way to maintain your brows. Align the stencil over your brow (choose one that allows the most hair to come through). As you hold it there, use the brow brush to fill in your brow with brow powder. When you’re done, remove the stencil and tweeze the stray hairs beneath the powdered area for a clean, shaped line.
- While you can clean up the fuzz between your brows, don’t tweeze from the actual brow itself or you risk over-widening the space between the eyebrows. Leave tweezing above the brow to a pro. “It’s a tricky area and can lead to a flattened arch if not done perfectly,” says Soare. An expert knows how to brush the brows up and trim just the very tips of the tiny hairs, but it’s hard to do it yourself, and a mistake can lead to bald patches.
- Follow these steps every four weeks and try not to over-pluck — brows with a more natural look are in.
Day-to-day Eyebrow Grooming
Blessed with full brows? Just use a little brow gel (waxy lip balm works in a pinch) to fix them in place and impart a healthy sheen. If your brows are sparse in spots, you may want to fill them in regularly with brow powder or pencil. Choose powder or pencil one shade lighter than your brows (unless they’re very pale) and use feathery strokes. Or consider a tinted brow gel as a one-step color-and-taming option.
Short brows can be extended carefully with a brow pencil. Draw a line that’s just long enough to accentuate the arch. Making the line too long can close in your eyes or make a heart-shaped face appear top-heavy, and a thin tail will leave your eyes looking droopy. Go half as far as you think you should and step back to survey; you’ll know when it looks right.
Gone Too Far?
If you’ve repeatedly tweezed too aggressively, the bad news is that some of the hairs may not grow back. “Plucking exerts a traction force on the hair follicle that can scar the follicle over time,” says Manhattan dermatologist Francesca Fusco. The good news is that some of those absent hairs may simply be in their rest cycle. Fusco adds that certain ingredients in brow serums, like peptides, can nudge skimpy arches back into the growth cycle. Look for a serum that also contains saw palmetto — small studies have indicated it may inhibit an enzyme that contributes to hair loss. Paint the serum on brows twice a day and give it about two months to do its magic.
Wendy Schmid spent eight years at Vogue magazine where she became beauty editor. Now freelance, she continues to write for numerous magazines, including Vogue, InStyle, Glamour and Marie Claire.