As someone who once agonized over which eye shadow “correctly” complemented my eye color and what kind of haircut would make my face look slimmer, I’m pleased to make an announcement: There are no rules in beauty anymore. Call it the Euphoria effect or Gen Z’s TikTok influence, but beauty—and makeup, in particular—seems to be moving away from judgmental rights and wrongs and more toward joy, playfulness, and self-expression.
And one playful new trend that fills my cup every time is decorating my eyebrows. Sure, I love the way it looks. But more than that, I love what it stands for—and what it means for where the beauty industry is trending. Putting silly little gems and flecks of unexpected color in my brows defies everything I have been told about beauty before (blend in, make yourself smaller, and downplay your flaws at all costs). Instead, it’s all about getting messy with color and appliques; drawing attention in unexpected ways; and frankly, doing whatever you want with your body.
"Brow makeup, adornment, and bleaching are pretty much the most modern and of-the-moment makeup trends," says Euphoria makeup artist and Half Magic Beauty founder Donni Davy. "I think people are ready to embrace a little more experimentation with their looks, and eyebrows are kind of uncharted territory. For a while, we treated our brows a precious things that needed to be groomed and look perfectly full, but I think people are getting way less precious about their brows."
So if you’re ready to get in on the browscaping trend, look no further. Ahead, brow pioneers Davy and Jared Bailey break down exactly how to try some of the most popular spins on the trend.
Meet the Expert
- Jared Bailey is an esthetician and the global brow expert at Benefit Cosmetics.
- Donni Davy is a makeup artist known for her work on Euphoria, as well as the founder of Half Magic Beauty.
For the brow-art beginner, a swipe of colorful eye shadow or gel liner is a great way to get your feet wet. Just as you might accentuate the structure of your brows with a pop of highlight under the arch of your brow, Bailey says a splash of unexpected color is an exciting way to take your look to the next level (while simultaneously drawing attention to your brows). “Underlining the brow can be an unexpected way to bring focus to the eyes and accentuate the eye color,” says Bailey. And while you can certainly use colors that complement your natural eye color, there are truly no rules. “The color is totally up to you,” says Bailey. “There are really no rules other than that you have to like the way it looks.”
Get the Look
- Begin by filling and sculpting your brow as you normally would.
- Choose a colorful gel liner or eye shadow (with a hard-angled brush) to pull the color along the base of the brow, being careful not to move into the brow hair.
- Next, clean up the underline or adjust the weight by using a pointed cotton swab dipped in micellar water or makeup remover. The pointed cotton swab is important for precision cleanup.
Lastly, make the color pop by outlining below your highlight with a matte concealer in a true match to your skin tone (try Benefit's Boi-ing Cakeless Concealer). This will tighten up the underline and make the line look ultrasharp and clean. “The matte finish of the concealer will also create a nice contrast to any shimmer from the shadow and really make the brows and eyes pop,” suggests Bailey.
If you’re looking for a shade to complement your eye color, look for complementary colors using a color wheel and pick shades of shadows with those same undertones
"Anyone and everyone can rock a brow adornment moment.," says Davy. "The most simple, easy, and subtle way to try it is to place tiny rhinestones around your brows. This look is just perfection— especially for a party, concert, or trip to the grocery store, even. I love how fun makeup can be a conversation starter and inspire others."
As Davy notes, brows that look like they’ve been sprinkled with a dash of diamonds are one of the most popular ways to try out the brow-art trend—and also one of the easiest. The beauty of this trend is that the less calculated you are with the gem placement, the better the outcome is. “Bling in the brows can be a showstopping way to play in the creative brow space,” says Bailey, noting that you can use adhesive gems of any color, shape, or size. (I like the self-adhesive Face Gems by Half Magic Beauty, which stay on only until you’re ready to take them off.)
Get the Look
- Shape and fill your brows as you normally would (or, for a bolder effect, play down your natural brow color with concealer to create more contrast).
- Have your gems of choice readily available in front of you; self-adhesive gems with a tacky back will adhere to your brows on their own, but loose gems will require a small dot of lash glue, which can be applied with the end of a bobby pin.
- “For the easiest and most uniform application, use a pair of slanted tweezers to pick up the gem and place one at the start, arch, and end of each brow,” says Bailey. “These stones will be your guide for spacing.”
- Then simply follow your brow shape and place an equal amount of gems on both brows. Try experimenting with larger gems at the start of the brow and smaller gems at the tail of the brow.
Playing with the shape of your brows is another way to get creative beyond the traditional canvas of the eyes. And the good news is that different shapes—like this trippy, wavy look by makeup artist @hydroniuum—can be played with without touching the tweezers. “To build a look like this, you’ll just need an invisible styling wax with a flexible finish,” recommends Bailey. I’m personally a fan of Benefit’s Fluff Up Brow Wax because it effortlessly slicks my brows into place but comes off easily with makeup remover so I can keep practicing until I achieve my desired result.
Get the Look
- Start by backcombing your brows with brow wax to distribute the product evenly. Start at the tail of the brow and work your way toward the start.
- Then, re-dip the wand into the product and apply another coat of brow wax from the start of the brow to the tail. This will ensure your brow is fully coated in wax and ready to be manipulated into a new shape.
- “Once your brow hairs are fully coated, begin to gently brush the start of your brows downward, angling them softly toward the base of your arch,” says Bailey. “Next, begin brushing the rest of your brow hairs along the natural shape of your brow. The natural lift in your arch will then become the largest wave in your brow.”
String of Pearls
Whether it’s on your nails or your brows, pearly accents are one of the most popular beauty trends taking over for summertime. And fortunately, this is one of those trends that’s far easier to accomplish than it may seem. "My favorite way to decorate brows is to bleach and then color the brows with sheer, shimmery, light pink eyeshadow," says Davy.
And while you can certainly pearlize your brows as they are, we love the way Davy’s slightly bleached brows give the effect that the tail of her brow is made up of pastel yellow and pearls. But if you’re not ready to full send on bleached brows, you can neutralize your color with full-coverage concealer and a bit of setting powder.
Get the Look
- Prep and fill in your brows as you normally would or cover with concealer for a bleached effect.
- Create a wavy line with a long-wear gel liner that curls from the inner corner of the eye to the tail of the brow.
- Once your liner has dried, it’s time to add the pearls. Use a pair of precision tweezers to add a single pearl to the very start of your brow, the arch, and the tail. Be sure to place the pearls along the line you created with your gel liner for that “string of pearls” effect.
Oftentimes, we put makeup into boxes, such as eye shadow being only for your eyelids, but I love to think of the entire face as a canvas for any makeup medium. Here, Davy has extended powdery blue eye shadow from the lids into the lashes and brows for a modern, monochromatic effect that almost anyone can achieve on their own. She's topped the look with half-moon appliques that almost resemble a brow piercing: "A new favorite look of mine (and this was all over Coachella using our Half Magic stick-on silver studs) is to do faux eyebrow piercings," says Davy, noting that you can create a hoop effect as she has done here, or a studded effect. "You place one stud above your eyebrow tail and one below on the brow bone," she continues. "Half Magic stick-on face adornments are made with medical-grade adhesive, so their staying power is amazing."
Get the Look
- Start by working a small amount of concealer through your brows with a spoolie brush,
- Next, saturate a clean spoolie with setting spray, which will intensify the pigment you run through your brows.
- Drag the pigment through your eye shadow of choice, being sure to completely cover the spoolie in powder.
- Spritz the spoolie with setting spray one more time.
- Drag the spoolie through your brows in an upward motion like you would with a normal brow gel.