If you didn’t overpluck your brows in the aughts, you probably tried your hand at perfectly filling them in during the Instagram Brow era—and now, perhaps you’re simply trying to pull back and make them look simple and clean, in essence returning them back to a more natural state in 2019.
Pending any eyebrow issues that may have arisen during your over-plucking stage, you can probably start putting down the fancy wax, tint, and the like (if you want to, of course). The truth is, in most cases, the only thing you need for good brows is tweezers, which you probably already have in your vanity drawer, to get the brows of your dreams—you just need to know what to do with them. That’s why we tapped Joey Healy, eyebrow stylist to the stars, to give us the intel and expert tips on how to pluck eyebrows perfectly, below.
Meet the Expert
Joey Healy is the founder of his namesake brow products, Joey Healy Eyebrow Collection, and his flagship Fifth Avenue Joey Healy Eyebrow Studio. He works with many celebrity clients, including Kyra Sedgwick.
Start with the right tweezers—and setting.
It should go without saying that you need a mirror and good lighting, but believe it or not, it’s best to avoid a magnifying mirror. A regular mirror is actually preferred, since you can get a little distance and see the “big picture,” according to Healy. (Feel like you’ve been doing it wrong this whole time? Us, too.)
“[With a magnifying mirror], you can’t see the forest before the trees because you get too close to the brow,” says Healy. “You get lost, and you inevitably end up overdoing it.”
To avoid falling for the trap of staring at your brows too hard and overworking them to death as a result, simply use a regular mirror with good lighting; your bathroom mirror, for example, should do the trick.
Identify the structure of your brows.
Your brows have a head, an arch, and a tail. In short, the head begins at the bridge of your nose, and the arch should be two-thirds of the way out towards the tail of your brow. (Healy suggests avoiding a centered arch.)
To find the head of your brows, vertically place a tweezer against the bone of your nose, which is where the head should begin. (It usually hits anywhere between the corner of your nose bridge and the corner of your eye.) Suggests Healy, “You can extend slightly longer than that, as long as the tail doesn’t go lower than the head underneath."
Start with the obvious strays first.
If you have some stray hairs here and there, including little sprigs on your eyelids or forehead, don't fret—this is super common, and there’s nothing wrong with that! Obviously, those are the easiest "strays" to identify—the hairs between your brows and the ones on your forehead, temple, and eyelids can go first. From there, take your time, and don’t rush the process (as in, definitely don’t pull up this article and whip out the tweezers just before a big event).
Get to work on the brows themselves—without going overboard.
Once the obvious hairs are gone, work with your natural shape from there (or from the shape a recent professional has given you) to tweeze your actual brows. And remember: The direction in which you pluck is important.
“Pull the hairs in the direction of hair growth with firm, confident pulls,” Healy says. “You don’t want to break the hair, and pulling at the direction of hair growth ensures you get the hair out at the root.” (How anticlimactic is it to have a hair break mid-pluck?)
Most importantly: Use discretion. If you’re not sure, do not pluck. “If you come across a hair and you’re having an internal battle as to whether it belongs there or not,” says Healy, “leave it! That’s always your best bet if you’re on the fence.”
Put the tweezers down.
Yes, this is a step we’re including, because this is essential: We’re all a little bit guilty of going too far to make our brows perfectly even. (keep in mind that they’re not twins, they’re sisters.)
If you feel like you messed up, just stop—and don’t try to overcorrect with tweezers. “If you overworked the left one, for example, don’t go overworking the right one to compensate,” Healy says. “Sometimes we panic when we do our own brows, and we attempt to correct our mistakes by taking more, and more, and more.” Instead, simply let it grow out and you’ll have a second chance to get it right next time. Promise.