Get the arches of your dreams with these expert-backed tips.

Claire Harmeyer
Mar 24, 2021 @ 5:29 pm
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how to shape eyebrows
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Eyebrow trends have changed a lot over time. From the pencil-thin lines of the '90s to the full, fluffy soap brows flooding TikTok today, eyebrows frame your face and can say a lot about your personality. We consider eyebrows sacred territory in the beauty world, so when it comes to caring for them, we take the job seriously. To help us learn our natural brow shape, how to shape eyebrows, and the best products for getting the job done, we tapped brow experts for their tips and tricks. Say hello to your best brows ever.

How to find your natural eyebrow shape:

"Whether you're attempting to shape on your own or going to a pro, brows should always be custom built for your individual face," Benefit Cosmetics Global Brow Expert Jared Bailey tells HelloGiggles. "At Benefit, we use a technique called brow mapping to help identify a shape that's going to bring balance and proportion to the face and eyes." Below, Bailey breaks down brow mapping.

  1. Find out where your brow should begin. "Grab a brow pencil and follow a straight line up from the dimple of your nose to the front of the brow," he says. "Make a mark there. This is your start and will help slim your nose and balance your eyes."
  2. Find where your brow is naturally at its highest. "Measure from the outer edge of the nose across the center of the eye and make a mark," Bailey recommends. "Say hello to your arch! This doesn't mean it's going to be angled or sharp—it means that this particular point is going to help open up the eye area."
  3. Find where your brow should end. "Follow a diagonal line from the outside of your nose to the outer corner of your eye," Bailey says. "This will indicate where your brow should end. Length is important because it gives your face proportion—you don't want your brows connecting to your hairline.

"Following these three measurements helps keep your brows in the right proportion with the rest of your face and features," he explains.

How to shape eyebrows:

Okay, you've found your natural brow shape. It's time to fill those babies in and clean them up. Bailey suggests using a micro-lining pencil to mark the desired shape when using the brow mapping technique. Then, connect the points by lightly sketching point to point.

"Think of the outline as a blueprint for your brows," he says. "Any hair that falls outside of the shape can be removed and the hair that falls inside the shape is what stays. Using more curved lines below and above the arch will result in a softer, more delicate-looking brow while using straighter lines that meet at a point will create a more dramatic result."

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However, if filling in your brows freehand seems daunting, CEO and founder of Anastasia Beverly Hills Anastasia Soare recommends using a stencil to help guide you.

"After marking the three main points, hold each of the stencils to your brow, careful to align the stencil's guide marks with the ones you've already measured," Soare says. "The best stencil will most accurately fit the brow length from the front of the brow to the arch. You want to allow most of your natural brow to show through the cutout, leaving the least amount of exposed skin. Using a stencil can be an incredibly clear indication of whether your brow needs to arch further or less, have the tail elongated or shortened."

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As for the artistry of penciling in your eyebrows, Soare has tips: "Be sure to fill in eyebrows ombré, aka lighter at the inner part and darker towards the arch and tail," she advises. "This will help them look their most natural. The Brow Wiz pencil has been a longtime favorite to keep in my purse because it can handle both shading and fine detail while on the go."

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When choosing a brow pencil, Bailey suggests selecting a shade that matches the undertone of your hair but that is either lighter or darker than the natural color of your brows. "This will help you see the brow map you've created and will prevent you from removing one hair too many. If you have lighter brows, lean toward a deeper shade; if you have naturally deeper brows choose a lighter shade," he says. "After you've shaped your brows, you can use the same micro-liner to fill in any sparse areas. Using a shade that isn't a true match in color will help you create layers of dimension."

Best tools for shaping eyebrows:

When cleaning up hairs outside of the guidelines you've marked for your brows, Soare has a suggestion for the specific tool you need. "Since the brow bone is curved, you need a quality pair of slant-tipped tweezers to avoid breaking off the hair close to the base and causing unnecessary pain," she says. "Ideally, tweeze after a shower or apply a hot compress to open up the pores and ease discomfort."

Bailey notes that the most common mistake people make when tweezing is pulling in the wrong direction. "Each hair is connected to a tiny blood vessel (derma vessel) that keeps it healthy and allows it to grow back when the hair is removed," he explains. "Once that vessel is ruptured, the hair never returns. So, to tweeze properly, you must hold the skin taut with one finger and then tweeze the hair in the direction it is growing. Typically, that direction is upward or toward the temple, rather than straight out."

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Next up: trimming. "The most difficult part of brow grooming is the trim, but a good trim job can change your entire look for the better," Bailey says. "For this, you'll need a tiny pair of brow scissors and a flexible brow gel. Start by brushing the hair up toward the hairline and out toward the temple. Next, use the tiny brow scissors to clip just the ends of the hair that extend past the shape. Err on the side of longer hair versus shorter hair; if you cut the hairs too short, the more coarse hairs will stick straight out versus laying flat. Just remember, it's a trim, not a haircut."

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"When it comes to finding a brow gel to help assist in trimming the brows, you need to look for a gel with major 'flex appeal,' meaning you want to still have a little bit of movement in the hair versus being hard and stiff," Bailey says. "If the gel is super viscus with an ultra-strong hold, you can easily over-trim the brows if they're brushed up too high. Flexible gels allow the hair to be redirected but still maintain its natural bounce and bend. Using a gel like this will allow you to see the wispy pieces that need to be trimmed away but still leave enough length to lay flat when finished."

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If you're looking for a brow gel that has some color, Soare recommends the Anastasia Beverly Hills tinted brow gel or the Dipbrow Pomade. "Tinted Brow Gel is light and wonderful for those looking to boost the color of their brow hair," Soare says. "Dipbrow Pomade can create melt-proof brows and disguise areas of sparseness."

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When shaping your eyebrows, make sure to use a mirror that allows you to see your face as a whole rather than focusing on one brow at a time. "Brows bring balance and proportion to your face and eyes, so it's important you use a mirror where you can see both of them at once," Bailey adds.

Follow these tips and you'll have the brows of your dreams in no time.