Shaping Your Eyebrows + How to Do Eyebrow Makeup

How to shape your eyebrows:

   Get good tweezers. Good ones have thin and precise edges that meet perfectly (here is an example of what I mean). They grab even short or thin the hair on the first try, and make your job much faster and easier. You can't go wrong with Tweezerman, but there are many cheaper alternatives out there. It is really worth it paying a bit more for a good pair of tweezers. 
     Good lighting is also crucial! Place your mirror near a table lamp if you have too (or the other way around).
   First, remove the stragglers: brows that are obviously way outside the eyebrow area. I hear you're not supposed to pluck above the brows because of some nerve, but I do it because I like living on the edge.
     Brushing the hair up really helps to get an even line at the bottom.
   Pluck in the direction of your hair growth, otherwise the hairs might regrow at weird angles. You might have heard of that trick where you draw a line from the outside of your nostrils through the corner of the eye and above, to find out how wide apart your eyebrows should be. It doesn't work on all faces, so I suggest that tip with a pinch of salt

    If you have naturally full eyebrows, you need to avoid the scruffy look. Not everyone can pull of a messy brow, and the models who do it well are usually otherwise perfectly styled, with sleek hair and immaculate skin. To make the look intentional, first meticulously clean up any hair outside the line of the brows. It also helps to keep a part of the brow line precisely shaped: either a clean, angular beginning, or a thinner second half. Or even keeping the top outline clean while allowing a bit of wilder growth below. Brushing the brows upwards lifts the features and looks neater and current. I like the clear eyebrow and lash gel from Alverde but you can also use a clean mascara brush and clear lip balm or chapstick, or a natural butter or even hairspray.

    Filling in the brows is not just for those with thin sparse brows, it can also make fuller brows look more groomed. Personally, I find that with my black mascara and my reddish hair tones my natural eyebrow colour can look a tad too light and yellowish, and darkening my eyebrows a little pulls the whole look together.

Eyebrow makeup

There are three ways to fill in the brows: powder, pencil and mascara.

   Eyebrow gel / mascara is the easiest and looks very natural since it colours only the hair and not the skin. It can also be applied after powder or pencil for a more 3D effect and to keep unruly hair in place. Pick a shade close to your original brow shade, or your hair shade if you dyed your hair darker. A brown eye mascara can also work. Run the wand lightly on the brows, repeat if necessary. Finish by brushing the hair upward with an eyebrow brush.

   Pencil / marker: These can give a really nice effect, especially if you have very sparse eyebrows or bold patches. They are not as opaque as you might think, and can give a nice natural effect. The markers are usually waterproof, perfect for parties or day trips. Use small, short strokes to fill in your brows.

   Powder: This is actually really easy. You can use matte eyeshadow if you don't have an eyebrow product. You also need a good brush, I use a flat eyeshadow brush, but an angles brush would be much better. The brushes that come in eyebrow kits are usually really bad and should be tossed asap. First draw the outline of the brow, then fill in the center. Again, remember that a too-perfect eyebrows look unnatural and draw attention to themselves. Catrice and Essence have nice eyebrow kits at the moment.

Brushing the brows: Most brow products seem to have a brush of some kind. Brushing the brows up really lifts and opens up the eye area. Sometimes simply brushing your brows up with a clear gel is all you need.

   Here is a comparison between powder + tinted brow gel, vs only brow gel. Same makeup, different lighting on the top and bottom photos. This is the eyebrow shape that I am sporting at the moment. Keeping the outer ends thinner and arched helps to balance out the fullness of the inner halves, an insight I got when I saw these brows. Before that I had been going back-and-forth between strong heavy brows (they looked a bit too much) and light arches (that were too light for my face).

The shade:

   To pick the right shade of pencil or shadow, you need a simple understanding of warm and cool tones. You often get told to match the product to your hair or eyebrow colour, and in result women pick products that are dark / light enough, but too warm or too cool. Check your hair: do you see gold/honey tones? Or reds and chestnuts? Or cooler greyish/blueish notes? In doubt try a neutral brown, like a dark chocolate colour.

Don't overdo it: 
  While I do love a full, dark brow; I often see ones that are way too dark and too defined, especially on the internets. This kind of look works only for those with winter colouring. Makeup needs to be strong to register on camera, so if these brows look harsh in photos they are definitely too much in real life. A too-perfect brow can look severe and artificial, especially if paired with severe and formal hair, clothes or makeup. We will be laughing at them in ten years time.

   Over to you: do you brush your brows up? Do you prefer powder, pencils or gel? And who is your eyebrow idol?

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