TFMA: Brow Technique

There are about a dozen categories of makeup (foundation, powder, lipliner, etc.) — and we all have categories we skip. For a long time, I ignored brow stuff. I didn’t really have any complaints about my brows, so I paid no attention to pencils, waxes, gels, and powders.

One day (curiosity killed the cat), I decided to dip my toe into the world of brow products. I wish I could say this event was safely in my past, beyond the statute of limitations for embarrassment… but this was probably in the last three years or so.

I acquired a dark brown brow pencil at random, and colored it exactly over my brow. Good grief! It was too much! Too dark! Suddenly my brow shape looked all wrong. The result looked sort of manly.

My immediate question was “how do I undo this?” but my second question was “how do I do this right next time?” The answer to the first question: run a spoolie (a clean mascara wand) through your brows to brush out the product — I like to brush them up, then front to back. If you’ve drawn the tail out too long, you can rub it away with your fingers.

I’m still really just at the novice level of brow enhancing: I don’t color my brows every day, I use a pencil (because they’re easy), and I just use one color.

I’m not really trying to change the shape of my brow; for me (right now), brow correction means filling in spots that might be a little sparse (I have a thin patch at the arch of one brow). Some days perhaps one eyebrow looks a bit narrower than the other. The most important thing is to take a step back from the mirror to evaluate how your brows look relative to one another, and relative to the rest of your face.

Advanced Studies

For those of you interested in more advanced brow techniques, I talked with two local makeup artists (and brow gurus) about how to step up my game. Jeanette Pantoja said she likes to use a deeper color to define the bottom edge of the brow, and a second, lighter color to fill. She finishes with a brow gel (to set the powder).

Victoria Hines concurred (she has thin brows herself, but you’d never know it if you’d only met her with her makeup on). She said the darker shade should be the color of your roots or lowlights. Victoria creates a thin shape with the darker shade, then fills in the rest with feather strokes of a lighter color.

Victoria loves this technique because she says it’s less harsh than using just one brow color. On days when she’s feeling fancy, Victoria sets her powder with a gel, too, but she’s been using Diorshow Maximizer Lash Plumping Serumicon. She says it dries completely clear and softens the effect of coloring in the brows. She also believes its helping her brows grow.

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5 Responses to “TFMA: Brow Technique”

  • Eileen says:

    I was blessed with thick, black brows with natural high arches. I do get the occasional bald spot when one too many hairs decide to shed at the same time. Ava (a delightlful blog reader and frequent commenter) persuaded me to try Tom Ford’s brow pencil and there’s been no going back. The shape is perfect for filling in sparse areas and for coloring the occasional gray hair that creeps into my brows.

    The best brow advice I was ever given is that brows are sisters, but they aren’t twins. Groom them so as to bring balance to your features. Don’t force them to be identical. Since the two sides of the face are slightly different, forcing the brows to be identical will probably not give the most flattering look.

  • xiao says:

    Brows are the HARDEST things to get right when it comes to makeup. I’ve been filling mine in since I started wearing makeup and still can’t do it right sometimes. And every couple of months or so I look at old pictures and think I got “right” wrong.

  • Reena says:

    I have thin brows that’s why I cant live the house without putting on I liner. I recommend MAC easy to use and stays longer.

  • Sandra says:

    I love using a disposable spoolie to brush a tinted wax through my brows first. I then follow with a custom-colored loose brow powder I mixed myself. As I go along, I brush my brows with a clean spoolie to fix any mistakes or to make things less harsh looking. To apply my colored brow powder, I use a flat/straight edged, stiff, natural hair brush, as well as one of my MAC angled brushes. After that, I just use a clear brow gel to set in place. Essence makes a ridiculously cheap one that’s really great. The combination of the wax and the gel helps hold them in place all day.

    Unfortunately, I can’t do my makeup without doing my brows. They’re just too sparse looking. Undone brows make my face look unbalanced. Gotta fill them in. But brow pencils have never worked for me. They always look far too unnatural, no matter what.

    Another trick I found which really really gives me an eyelift is to brush on a thin line of very light matte eyeshadow directly under my brows, right along the edge, the entire length of both. I then blend the edge of it out. I then apply a light, matte, flesh-toned eyeshadow over my brows, same idea, but quite a bit thicker using a fluffy blending brush, and concentrating more over the arch and the tail. Blend that out and I’ve got an instant eyelift which really makes a difference without being at all obvious.

  • Jenna says:

    I’ve always had a problem with my brows because they are naturally very thin. I’ve tried a few brow pencils and techniques and they haven’t made made me the most ocmfortable because I never quite get it right. I actually started to use MAC the other day and it has helped with my technique. Its still a daily battle but I’m getting better

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