Discovering the best shape for your eyebrows without sacrificing their natural appearance is what you want to accomplish when shaping your brows. Pencil thin or overly bushy eyebrows are dated looks that can be distracting rather than enhancing.
How to Fill in the Brow Using Products
There are many ways to fill in a brow. The easiest to consider are:
Brow Powders or powder eyeshadows in shades that closely match the color of your brow. Choose a soft-textured matte powder and apply with a soft wedge brush or a thin liner brush.
Begin application in the center of the brow and work outward toward the brow tip then back toward the beginning of the brow. Use short, light strokes between the brow hairs, and apply a bit more pressure (for stronger color) when defining the underside of the brow. Use a clean toothbrush (or a brow brush, which is similar but more expensive) to soften the color and groom the brow. For unruly brows, a clear brow gel may be applied to keep hairs in place. Alternately, you may apply a bit of hairspray to the toothbrush, and comb this through the brow for hold and control.
Eyebrow pencils are a standard way to fill in brows but many can produce a greasy, hard look or mat the brow hair, so make sure you use a pencil that has a smooth, light texture and soft, dry finish. If penciling doesn't look absolutely natural, don’t do it.
Follow the same application technique described under brow powders when using an eyebrow pencil. Keep in mind that most brow pencils deposit stronger color than a powder, so take care to use a light touch. If you apply too much color, soften the effect with a Q-Tip that has been dipped in makeup remover. Do not apply eyebrow pencil too close to the inner brow (near the nose). Adding more than a bit of color here tends to create a too-strong or angry-looking brow.
Colored eyebrow gels and brow tints work well for making the most of sparse, light-colored eyebrows or for giving a thicker look to most other eyebrows. These products look like mascara but they have a much lighter consistency and are less pigmented. At first, you might have trouble controlling the amount of gel or tint you apply to your brow, but once you get the hang of it, brow gel or tint can make sparse brows look full and more natural.
When applying eyebrow gels and tints, follow the basic instructions for powder eyebrow colors and eyeshadows listed above, but concentrate on the brow hair and not applying any on the skin. Be patient, it requires practice before you can easily shape and shade the brows without getting it on the skin. If the brush of your brow gel or tint is dual-sided (most are), know that the longer bristles are great for combing through the brows when hairs are normal to long in length. The short-bristled side is for more detailed work or for use on shorter, thin, or over-tweezed brows.
A combination approach, using a pencil with powder, can give you the control and delineation of a pencil, and the softer, shaded look of a powder. You can also use powder with a brow gel or tint; this can create a full softly shaped brow. You can try shaping the brow with the powder first and then finish the detail work with the pencil or brow gel. This is especially helpful if you have bald spots in your eyebrow or need to slightly extend the end of your brows so they frame your eyes better.
- Use an eyebrow pencil or powder that matches the color of your own eyebrows. Exception: If you have pale or blonde eyebrows, you'll need to use a color that's one or two shades deeper than your natural brow color—this prevents blonde brows from looking washed out, especially when other eye makeup is worn.
- Brush the brow up with a brow comb or toothbrush.
- Whether you are using a pencil or powder, follow the basic shape of the existing brow, using the tweezing guidelines above.
- Apply the color by filling in the shape of the brow between the hairs where needed.
- As much as possible, work only with the hair that is there. The idea is to shade rather than draw on eyebrows.
- Fill in only at the front or underneath the brow, or through the brow itself.
- Do not place your brow color, whether it is pencil or powder, more than one-quarter inch away from where the natural hair growth stops. This would accentuate the fact that there is no brow there in the first place!
- Do not forget that eyebrow color should look shaded and soft, not like a straight, hard line.
- When applying brow gel, brush the color through the brow in much the same fashion as you apply mascara to the eyelashes. Brush the wand through your brows, being careful not to get the product on the skin and not to leave the brows standing straight up. It will probably take you a few applications to get the hang of it.