How can something as simple as filling in eyebrows feel so overwhelming? According to the internet, brows should be effortlessly natural, fluffy, complementary (not overpowering!), and groomed-but-not-too-groomed—which is basically like brow rocket science. Meanwhile, we’re still trying to figure out when that overplucked patch from 2007 is going to grow back...
Basically, we’ve got brow questions that need answering. To help us out, we consulted Jared Bailey, the Global Brow Expert for Benefit Cosmetics (emphasis on expert), to identify and solve every major woe out there. So, say it with us loud and proud: What do we want? Perfect brows. When do we get them? Well, keep scrolling.
If you’re still recovering from too much tweezer time—you’re not alone. To get your brows back in action, Bailey says conditioning (he recommends products with soy proteins and keratin to help nudge growth), patience, and a little fake-it-til-you-make-it are key.
Put down the tweezers and grab a micro-liner. These ultra-fine eyebrow pencils are a sparse brow’s BFF and create natural-looking fullness by mimicking individual hairs—just follow the direction of your hair growth and flick away. “Don’t forget to leave spaces between each stroke! The pops of flesh make the flicks look like real hair,” Bailey advises. Our micro-liner of choice? WANDER BEAUTY Frame Your Face™ Micro Brow Pencil.
Cowlicks are frustrating, but brow cowlicks? So rude. Because brow hair texture is naturally course, it tends to require a bit of coaxing to get into place—kind of like teaching your bangs to lay flat. Luckily, Bailey has all the tricks to tame them into submission.
Sometimes, all that’s needed is a quick brush-through with a spoolie—but for a long-lasting hold, you’ll need the help of brow gel. Using a formula that’s both strong and flexible (we love IL MAKIAGE Hypnotize Fill & Fix Brow Shaper), Bailey recommends brushing hairs upward towards the hairline and out towards the temple for a feathered look. “If your brows are really tough, remove the wand from the tube to let the gel air dry and get slightly tacky, for about 30-45 seconds, before brushing through,” he says.
There are so many products out there, which means choosing the right one can feel near impossible. While it might take a bit of trial and error to find your holy grail (and there might be several!), Bailey helps us navigate the big brow world out there.
Let’s start off with the basics: pencils, pomades, gels, and powders—these are the big four categories of formulas. Bailey says gels are the little black dresses of brow products. “There are so many types out there on the market and just about anyone with brow hair can use one.” They have strength to control hairs and pigmented formulas that help provide fullness.
Powders add a soft focus effect and are Bailey’s go-to for fine hair, while pomades pack on the intensity with major contrast—like BILLION DOLLAR BROWS Brow Butter Pomade Kit. As for pencils? They’re the ultimate tool for sketching out your brows. Broad-tipped pencils boast a creamier formula, which is fab for creating a consistent wash of color. Our fave is the SKONE Brow Wand.
Ever wonder why there are infinite shades of hair colors, but brows only get a light/medium/dark situation? Turns out, there’s a reason these products tend to be more one-size-fits-all.
“The only thing that truly matters when it comes to choosing a brow shade is the undertone of your hair color and the undertone of the product,” Bailey says. “If you stick to this rule, almost every product you apply in your brows will look believable.” Minds = blown.
If you want to get fancier, Bailey lets us in on a way to get more customized: Brow contouring. With tools like the BENEFIT COSMETICS Brow Contour Pro, you can use two shades to fill in eyebrows—a lighter defining shade for the half of your brow closest to the nose and a deeper, defining version for the back half. This creates visual contrast, just like facial contouring would.
Yes, there is such a thing. “Natural-looking texture and fullness are really in right now,” says Bailey. So let your brows get a little (keyword here) wild.
For the ultimate natural brow, Bailey swears by an eyebrow pencil and clear brow gel combo: light hair-like strokes with your pencil and a swipe of gel to set it in place. Accidentally go in heavy handed? Don’t stress. “The great thing about makeup is it comes off! If you majorly mess up, simply wipe it off and start over,” Bailey reminds us. After all, brows will be brows.
Did any of these tips change your brow game? Let us know at @IPSY.