If you’ve checked Instagram in the last six months, you’ve probably noticed people throwing around the phrase “eyebrows on fleek” or “eyebrows on point” in their glam selfies, and thought “I want those!”
And whether your eyebrows are fading under the sun, getting thinner with age, or you just plain want the perfect framing of a Kardashian, getting great brows is a little bit like sculpting a perky butt—it takes some sweat equity, and a little bit of aesthetic help. Only instead of the most flattering pair of leggings, here, you need to know the best plucking practices—and holy grail products.
Brow dedication is worth it, says Jimena Garcia, a jet-setting brow specialist who sees clients in Los Angeles and New York City. “Sculpting your eyebrows can change your face without makeup.” And who doesn’t want a lighter makeup bag and fewer steps in the morning?
So where do you start for pretty, full brows that look natural? With these easy steps…
1. Get a (professional) brow shaping.
To get perfect brows, you’ll always have to get rid of the extraneous hairs, says bicoastal brow guru Garcia, who’s sculpted some of downtown NYC’s prettiest brows at Tenoverten. “The best brows start with a professional consult and shaping,” she says. The point being that you’ll have an amazing shape as a foundation (and keeping them up on your own is easier managed).
You can do this, she says, one of three ways: waxing, tweezing, or threading. For waxing, you’re removing hair from the root of the follicle, getting rid of all baby hairs for a smoother look, and it reduces hair growth over the course of time. In threading, a technician uses a white cotton string to remove the hairs in rows (which is easier for sensitive skin because it doesn’t affect your skin at all). And for tweezing, you’re well, tweezing each hair, which is great for targeted upkeep, according to Garcia.
2. Keep them up with DIY brow shaping.
Once you have a professional shape, you can maintain your brows by tweezing, too. We created this super simple brow shaping guide for guidance, pictured. Garcia recommends that when you do so, you should take only the extraneous hairs from the top, bottom, and side. Leave the fullness in the middle alone. (We repeat, do not touch the middle!) If you feel like they’re getting unruly, she says, you can take one row from all around for a soft, feathered look, or two to three rows at your brow bone only for a more dramatic arch. Remember, you can’t put them back, so go one row at a time.
3. Consider tinting your brows.
While it’s not a totally natural option, tinting is one way to embolden your brows without having to apply product every day (or worry about the color fading over the course of a sweaty workout). Hibba Kapil, the founder of Hibba Beauty, one of New York’s premier brow salons for five years, offers permanent tinting with vegan dye, and you can also get tinting at brow bars like Benefit, or ask your colorist to treat them while you’re there for your hair. Just be picky about who performs your tint: they’re wielding ammonia products near your eyes, so you want someone with surgeon-like precision.
4. Fill them in with a brow pencil.
Here’s the secret of all the great brows you’re double tapping on Instagram: they’re being filled in so they look bolder. And for your best brows ever, you can do the same, starting with slathering a primer like Vapour Organic Beauty Instant Primer over your brows (it’ll help the color stick through your sweat session…or a long day of meetings), and then fill them in with a brow pencil or a brow powder (try Alima Pure’s pencil, $18, and Jane Iredale’s Bitty Brow Kit, $29). You’ll want to find a shade that’s similar to your hair color. The lazy trick (or when you can’t fit ten eye products in your gym bag makeup kit) is just to use a medium brown, matte eyeshadow like Alima Pure’s Raven ($11). Once you’re finished filling, dust a translucent powder like RMS Unpowder ($34) all over, and you’ll have perfect brows that can last even through your sweatiest dance cardio class. (We’ve road-tested this!)
5. Give your brows an inside-out boost.
Once your brows are sculpted and filled, you can actually sip juice to keep them looking great, says Garcia. She recommends cucumber juice for improving the quality of your hair, kiwi juice to promote growth, and strawberry juice for hair strength. So pull out your blender in the name of brow beauty.
Originally posted June 2, 2015, updated July 25, 2018.
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