There needs to be a word to describe the day when you master your brows. Some people have their brow routine down to a science and make it look so easy, but for most of us, there’s no overnight success—it takes time, patience, and a whole lot of practice.
Whether you were born with bushy brows à la Cara Delevingne or if you have naturally sparse hairs, you can create a perfectly arched brow with the help of some key products and pro-approved tips. For better brows for all, we tapped experts Jared Bailey and Neil Scibelli for their advice on getting brows so perfect, they’d make a Kardashian-Jenner do a double-take. Here's a step-by-step breakdown of how to ace those arches.
Meet the Expert
- Jared Bailey is a celebrity brow artist with over six years of professional experience. He is Benefit Cosmetics's international spokesperson and has been working with the brand for over a decade.
- Neil Scibelli is a leading fashion and celebrity makeup artist. He has worked with Drew Barrymore and Elle Macpherson, among others, and is based in New York.
Map Out Your Shape
Before you go to town with any tweezers or pomade, it's important to know that your perfect arch depends on your individual features, like your eyes and nose, says Bailey. Map out your brow shape by figuring out exactly where it should start, arch, and end. Follow a line straight up from the outside of your nose to see where your brow should begin, then "find where your brow is naturally at its highest by following a diagonal line from the outside of your nose across the middle of your eye,” advises Bailey. And where should your brow end? “Follow a diagonal line from the outside of your nose to the outer corner of your eye,” he says. “Length is important because it gives your face proportion.” Sound like geometry you didn't sign up for? Snag some brow stencils for a little help.
Brush and Tweeze Your Hairs
Next, it's time to get all those straggler hairs into formation. "Define your arch by brushing your brow hairs upward from start to arch, and in the direction of your hair growth from arch to end," says Bailey. If you've got plenty of hair to spare, you can further define your arch with some tweezer action (the tweezer from Benefit has a built-in brush—hello, one-stop-shop). "Have your brow grooming person (or yourself, if you do your own) take off just a few hairs in the lowest, center area of your brows. This will definitely give you an arch," says Scibelli.
Scibelli recommends starting with a light hand when grooming your brows—there's no going back once they're plucked.
Choose Your Product
If your brows are super sparse or barely there, Bailey recommends using a skinny-tip brow pencil to fake fullness. “A micro-lining pencil like Benefit’s Precisely, My Brow Pencil is your sparse brow’s best friend,” he says. Scibelli recommends using a brow powder or brow pomade for sparse eyebrows. “It’ll instantly give the brows a fuller, fluffier look,” he says. He recommends Anastasia Beverly Hills DIPBROW Pomade ($21) because “it stays on with long wear, and gives a realistic look.” For a powder alternative, try something like the MAC Cosmetics Great Brow Kit ($30). Bonus: it offers multiple brow products for a full look and tiny tools to use.
Fill in Sparse Areas
“When filling in your brows, measure from the outer portion of the nose, across the center of the eye, and that will show you where your brow is naturally the highest,” says Bailey, referencing the brow mapping technique we mentioned earlier. “Simply take your pencil and begin making a few strokes slightly above that natural hairline. Remember to leave space in between each stroke to create the illusion of real hair. Working above that hairline will add height to the arch.”
“To create the arch, you want to keep the product slightly higher in the center of the brow, and then return down into your brow line towards the end of it,” echoes Scibelli. If you're happy with your shape and are after more fullness, Bailey recommends a fiber-based brow gel like Benefit's Gimme Brow, which will plump up existing brow hairs for a more volumized arch.
Add Some Dimension
You might be tempted to brush off your hands and call it a day after filling your brows in, but there's a couple of important steps left. “After you’ve filled and sketched in the shape that you desire, your last step is to add texture to make it three-dimensional,” Bailey says. A brow gel (it can be tinted, but we also like ModelCo's clear option) will come in handy for this.
“Begin by backcombing the gel through your brow from the end to the start. This is just like teasing your hair and gives you a full base to work with. Then, moving in the opposite direction, define your arch by brushing your brow hairs upward from start to arch, and in the direction of your hair growth from arch to end.” The separation of hairs the gel provides keeps your brows from looking stamped on.
Pop on a Highlight
For those who want to take it to the next brow level, welcome a highlighter into your brow routine as the finishing touch. “Highlighting under the brows gives that instant lift to the brows and can add that extra sparkle to the eyes, too,” says Scibelli. Try his go-to powder Nars Highlighting Blush in Albatross ($15) or Maybelline's pencil style for a creamier, more matte finish.