Eyebrow Makeup: How to Get Your Brows in Shape

Eyebrow makeup is thriving. How to get your brows in shape

Maintenance Musts: (Clockwise, from top) Fill in spotty patches with the Ramy perfect brow wand ($28). Never color outside the lines. MAC’s longwear waterproof brow set ($26) will keep the look in place. Keep stray hairs tamed with this Too Faced brow brush ($26).
Photograph by David Brandon Geeting for Bloomberg Businessweek

Inspired by the bold, thick brows of supermodels such as Cara Delevingne and Hilary Rhoda, U.S. sales of eyebrow makeup—including pencils, gels, and powders—are up 33 percent this year, to $132 million. Here, a primer to arches that will get you noticed (in a good way).

Five Steps to Perfect Arches
From eyebrow expert and makeup entrepreneur Ramy Gafni

1. Tweeze conservatively. When in doubt, don’t pluck it out: You can always take hair away, but you can’t add it back. Only remove obvious strands, and work in the direction of growth. Stand 2 to 3 feet away from the mirror, so you don’t see every little hair.

2. Cut just a bit. When trimming, take an even more restrained approach. Brush brows upward; if there’s too much length, cut as if you were trimming split ends, removing as little as possible.

3. Don’t fight what you have. Eyebrows that follow your bone structure will always be flattering. If you’re not sure where your brow should begin, hold an eyebrow brush vertically against the side of your nose: Where the brush lands is where they should start; tweeze in between.

4. Smooth it out. Always brush filler, regardless of formula, through brows to blend in product and remove excess. Not sure what color to use? Taupe is a safe bet.

5. Add emphasis. As a finishing touch, place highlighter under the arch to give extra definition.

Grooming Tools
Sharp tweezers and easy-to-hold brow scissors are crucial. Fine tweezers are better for tiny hairs under the brow; flat work best for curbing a unibrow.

Clockwise, from top: Ramy brow scissor, $18; Tweezerman mini tweezers, $15 each; Japonesque artisan tweezers, $20

Pencils & Liners
The most basic eyebrow makeup: Use straight, firm strokes to fill out sparse areas, and choose a color that’s one or two shades lighter than your hair.

From top: Estée Lauder stay-in-place brow lift duo, $26; Guerlain eyebrow pencil, $30; Eyeko liquid brow liner, $19

Gels & Powders
If you want more staying power, these products, applied with a small brush, are often waterproof. Beware of going overboard with gels, which can become shiny.

Clockwise, from left: Ramy Miracle Brow! all-in-one brow filler, $28; Too Faced bulletproof brows, $30; Laura Geller baked brow tones, $29; Votre Vu Arch de Triumphe brow definer, $24; Kryolan eyebrow powder, $14.50

Brow Mascaras
Sold in colored and clear varieties, these are good if you have particularly unruly brows. Brush on a couple of coats to hold hairs in place all day.

From top: Palladio herbal brow gel, $6; Jane Iredale pure brow gel, $16.50

Ancient Egyptian women favored heavy, prominent brows.

Photograph by Shutterstock

Market Editor: Aja Mangum; Hair and Makeup: Laura Shelley (Exclusive Artists); Manicurist: Yuko Tsuchihashi; Products: Aveda Hair and Tarte Cosmetics; Timeline: Getty Images (6), Shutterstock (1); Data: NPD Group
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