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Beginner’s Guide to Doing Your Eyebrows Like a Pro

Photo by Caroline Tompkins / Refinery29 for Getty Images

Looking for brows that wow? We’ve got you covered. This often-overlooked facial feature is more important than you may think—your eyebrows frame your face and can make your eyes look wider and more awake, depending on how you shape them.

And even if you've never lifted an eyebrow pencil or have been plucking and grooming your eyebrow hair for ages, defining your brows can seem intimidating. But don’t stress: creating perfect eyebrows is actually pretty easy. The trick is to follow your natural eyebrow shape and work with what you’ve got.

Follow along below and we’ll teach you how to groom your brows like a professional makeup artist in five simple steps. And for those who are really looking to boost their natural brows to new, bolder heights (think Cara Delevingne and Lily Collins), these tricks for getting thicker eyebrows will help in no time.

What You’ll Need to Do Your Eyebrows

First things first, you’ll need to get your gear ready. We’ve pulled together the products and tools you’ll need for proper grooming. 

  • An Eyebrow Brush. Look for an angled eyebrow brush, like BILLION DOLLAR BROWS Eyebrow Brush to help with precise eyebrow application. Bonus: this brush does double duty; it has a spoolie brush on the other end that you can use for blending and grooming.
  • Tweezers. With a super-precise angled tip, With both precision slanted and pointed tips, this ARACELI BEAUTY Precisión Tweezers helps you easily shape your brows and grab teeny-tiny rogue brow hairs like a true brow expert, whether you have super sparse brows or thick and coarse ones.
  • Eyebrow Pencil. We find that precision pencils, like ANASTASIA BEVERLY HILLS Brow Wiz® (which comes in 12 shades to cover every brow color need) and UOMA Brow-Fro Baby Hair Ultra Slim Brow Defining Pencil (we love the slim, triangular tip that helps ensure control and precision.), work best to draw hair-like strokes when you fill in your brows. Both of these Ipster-approved eyebrow pencils will create the most natural-looking yet perfected brows.
  • Brow Gel. Clear or tinted brow gel—it’s up to you. Either way, a good brow gel is a must-have when doing your brows. Swipe the gel across your eyebrow hairs to tame, smooth, shape, and tint your brows instantly.
  • Brow Powder or Brow Pomade. When it comes to building up your brows, you’ve got options. Choose a formula that you prefer and are comfortable applying. We love the two complementary tones of powder in NOMAD COSMETICS Multi-Perfection Duo Brow Powder, and the soft natural finish of PATRICK TA BEAUTY Major Brow Shaping Wax in Clear.
  • Highlighter. A highlighter is key to really enhance and define the shape of your brows. BENEFIT COSMETICS High Brow Eyebrow Highlighter glides onto the brow bones and blends easily, even with your fingers.

How to Do Your Eyebrows in 5 Easy Steps

Eyebrow pencils from ANASTASIA BEVERLY HILLS and UOMA scattered on cream background

Step 1. Find Your Shape

Before you get grooming, you need to figure out the eyebrow shape for you. While you can always pay a visit to a professional brow stylist (or a waxing or threading professional) to get started, you can also do this at home with just your eyebrow brush from your toolkit above.

First, place one end of the brush against the outside of your nostril and the other end at the inner corner of your eye so it looks like a straight vertical line. This is where you'll want the front of your eyebrow to begin. Make a little dot with your brow pencil to mark the spot, and then repeat on your other brow.

Next, move the top of the brush to line up with your pupil. The spot where the brush overlaps your brow is where your ideal arch should be located. Mark it with another dot of your brow pencil, then repeat on your other eye.

Lastly, move the top of the brush to the outer corner of your eye (still keep the bottom of the brush next to your nostril). This is where your ideal brow shape should end. Mark it with adot, and repeat on the other side. Connect all the dots until your brows are outlined, and that’s it!

Model with a natural makeup look smiling while eyes closed

Step 2. (Careful!) Tweezing Time

Now that you’ve found your perfect brow shape, it’s time to use your tweezer to pluck any hairs that fall outside of this shape. If you're after a bushier, feathered brow shape, feel free to skip this step entirely.

To remove the entire hair you're plucking, find the root of it with the edge of your tweezers, and pull in the direction of hair growth. Look for strays that are clearly above or below your arches—these are fair game. The area in between your eyes (on the upper bridge of your nose) is another hotspot for stray hairs that can be tweezed.

Make sure to alternate between both eyebrows when tweezing and take a quick glimpse in the mirror after every pluck—this will allow you to keep them even. And of course, be cautious when plucking and don’t let yourself go tweezer crazy. Makeup trends from the ‘90s are back, but luckily thin brows aren’t one of them. So remember, you can always go back later if you find another stray, but it’s much harder (and takes longer) for your brow hairs to grow back if you end up over-plucking.

Smiling model applying eyebrow gel using a small spoolie

Step 3. Brush Then Up and Grab Your Brow Gel

The quickest way to create polished brows? Using a brow gel, hands down. Eyebrow gel is super fast and easy to apply, and if you're in a rush or aiming for a no-makeup makeup look, you could even stop after this step.

Remove the mascara-like spoolie brush from the tube of your brow gel pick (we love the natural tint of BROW ATELIER Groom & Sculpt Tinted Brow Gel), ensuring that the spoolie end is coated evenly with gel. If the wand looks clumpy, just wipe a little on the edge of the tube, and if it looks too bare, pump it into the tube once more.

Next, brush from the base of your brow hairs and move upward and out, starting from the middle or inner corner of your brows. The gel will help maintain your shape and smooth down any unruly hairs.

A tinted brow gel will help create a bit of color and a stronger brow shape, but you can also use a clear gel for a super clean and natural look (these also work amazingly to smooth down flyaways on your hair).

Close-up of a young woman applying eyebrow pencil on her brows
Photo by Caroline Tompkins / Refinery29 for Getty Images

Step 4. Apply Your Brow Product

Next up: building your brows. Using your eyebrow pencil, start at the middle of your brow and gently flick the pencil upwards, making small, hair-like strokes, to fill in any bare spots or gaps. Try to hold the pencil lightly and apply gentle pressure—you want to mimic the tiny hairs that make up your brows, and pressing down too hard can lead to blocky, chunky pigment.

To mimic the natural growth of your eyebrow hairs, it’s typically easier to begin drawing in your eyebrows at the bottom of your eyebrow, near the roots of your hair, and move upward. Once all sparse spots are filled, feel free to go back in and add more, creating the fullness and definition that you desire.

Set the look with your eyebrow powder or pomade, choosing a shade that matches your brow color. Not sure which color to pick? A good rule of thumb for natural-looking eyebrow makeup is to try to pick products that are one to two shades lighter than your eyebrow color (trust us, it’ll still make an impact). Apply with a light hand; you can always go back and add another layer for a bolder brow.

And as you're building and filling in your brows, keep these extra tips in mind:

  • Make sure the arch isn’t super-pointy. If it starts looking too obvious, blend it out with your brow brush or spoolie.
  • Don’t overextend the tail of your brows too much—this can create a droopy look and make you look tired or surprised. Remember, your eyebrows generally shouldn't go past the outer corner of your eye (see step 1 if you need a reminder of where to end your brow shape!)
  • Harsh lines and angles can sometimes make your eyebrows look overdone, but don’t stress if this happens: it's usually just because you applied too much product. To fix it, simply gently buff it out with your spoolie brush, or dip a Q-tip into some makeup remover to erase and rebuild that section.
Model fixing her eyebrow makeup with a brush

Step 5. Highlight & Sharpen

Accentuate all that work you just put into your brows with a highlighter. Swiping your highlighter right underneath and just above your eyebrow arch can really carve out your brow area and emphasize the shape of your brows. Then, simply blend it in with your ring finger. Notice any smudges around your brows? Use some concealer for a quick touch-up.

Gorgeous, groomed brows, at your service. Remember, practice and experimentation are key. There is no single “right” brow look. So play around and find the look (or looks) that you love.

Ready to try out these tricks and more? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get your very own IPSY Glam Bag. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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About the author
Dori Price
Ipster, baby mama, skincare addict
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Article Last Updated July 22, 2022 12:00 AM