We are in an age of eyebrow enlightenment. Lately, the full brow has been cropping up everywhere, and we couldn’t be happier about it. There’s just something so refreshingly chic about an eyebrow that’s been minimally altered. Of course, a little cleaning up still goes a long way. And while we urge you to grow your brows out as much as possible, that doesn’t mean you should just let them go on forever. Think of it as “no-shaping shaping,”—which, like “no makeup makeup,” will make you look polished without ever coming close to being overdone.
Perfect brows start with the smallest modifications. “Your eyebrows should only be altered slightly from their natural shape,” explains esthetician Lisa Taylor of Stark Waxing Studio, “From there, you can make adjustments or trim, but they just suit your face better if they're adjusted, and not completely changed. You have to be careful to not over–tweeze, over wax, and go too thin. When eyebrows are too thin, they are extremely noticeable.”
Waxing and tweezing, however, are only part of the process. Filling them in is an art in itself. “One of the first steps I always do is to brush up the brow hairs with a nylon brow twirler brush,” says celebrity makeup artist (and founder of Senna Cosmetics) Eugenia Weston, “This places the hairs in a way that they take on their natural shape.”
As for the desired shape? “I love a full natural brow. Fuller, natural brows frame the eyes and balance the face. They make the eyes look bigger and can take years off. Children’s faces have untouched brows, so having fuller, natural looking brows makes you look young. As we age we lose hair brow hairs and they also fade in color, which is why thin brows are aging.” For celebrity inspiration, she points to Angelina Jolie for her “high classic brow arch.” And for the ultimate in full brows, she loves Emma Watson, Keira Knightly, and of course, Cara Delevingne.
Once you have a good idea of your desired outline, it’s time to shade in your brows. Weston recommends powders for beginners, applied “with a firm angle brush work best for getting a soft velvety effect.” Once you’re comfortable with application, branch out and try one (or both!) of the following: “Gel colors are great for long-wear filling in. They dry fast, so one has to be sure of where to apply as there is little play time until it dries. Pro makeup artists work best with this type of formula. Pencils are one of my favorite tools because I like to sketch in hair like strokes to imitate real hairs.”
Weston’s final pro tip: Try mixing a wax or pomade with your brow powder “to create texture where there are bald or sparse areas.” And don’t forget to set your hard work with fixing gels or sealers. To get you started, we’ve shopped out all your brow essentials in our slideshow above, along with Weston’s five point diagram for the ideal brow shape. “It works for virtually everyone,” she promises. We give you our permission to put that theory into practice.