As a fairly dark brunette, it’s fairly unfortunate that my natural brows are blonde. Plus, weirdly, they’ve only ever grown half way across, meaning I have to draw the tail on entirely freehand. Over the years, I’ve spent a long time sourcing the very best hacks to bush up my brows, define each hair and shape them to best suit my face and counterbalance my natural deficiencies. I like to think I’ve become pretty good at it too, helped of course, by the six years I’ve been a beauty editor, with access to the world’s best makeup artists and all the latest brow makeup to test out. Here are the best hacks I’ve heard…
1. Stop trying to make your brows symmetrical
We all know what it’s like with winged eyeliner– it’s an endless struggle for symmetry. Many of us carry this pursuit of perfection over to our brows, doubling the morning makeup frustrations. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve drawn on my brows, only to have to keep adding to each side every time I notice a slight imbalance.
It wasn’t until I went backstage one fashion week and heard makeup artist Lisa Potter-Dixon explain that eyebrows “are sisters, not twins”, that I realised I had been labouring under a misapprehension. Just as faces aren’t symmetrical in reality, eyebrows don’t need to be either. In fact, it’s better to accentuate the natural shape of each eyebrow so that it best fits the structure of your face.
2. Nothing beats bar soap
Soap brows have hit mainstream in the past couple of years, helped by the feathered eyebrow trend that saw an ultra-brushed up, almost owl-like brow look – and with the new trend has come a throng of new products to create the look.
However, the pros have been on to soap brows for years – the original soap brows. “I swear by Pears Soap, straight from the bar,” says makeup artist Naoko Scintu, who regularly works with celebrities like Jodie Comer and Priyanka Chopra. “I just add a little water and brush into brows and it stays perfectly all day.”
3. When drawing on hairs, draw up, not across
When it comes to filling in your brows, think vertical (or at a 45 degree angle at the very most), never horizontal. If you study the direction of your natural brow hairs, you’ll see that they don’t grow across, so if you draw a line that goes against the natural grain, it will look artificial. Trust me, it’s the difference between a natural looking, fluffy brow and a full-on caterpillars.
4. If you’re doing a DIY shape up, fill your brows in beforehand
As someone who has always done my own eyebrows (contrary to expert advice), I only wish I came across this tip sooner. For years, I’ve plucked without much planning, only to wind up with too-thin brows on too many occasions.
Warren Dowdall, Senior Pro Artist of Bobbi Brown, explains, “if you must reshape your brows at home, fill in your brows as normal first and then see exactly which hairs need to go. Remember less is definitely more.”