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How to Achieve Statement-Making Thick Eyebrows—With or Without Makeup

Deniskomarov / Adobe Stock Images

Long ago, thin and sparse eyebrows were seen on the catwalks of every fashion show and on all the It-Girls in Hollywood. Thick-browed beauties like Cara Delevingne, Dua Lipa, and Lily Collins have changed the game, so it’s no wonder people everywhere are putting down their tweezers and embracing their natural brows. Big, bold, and thick eyebrows make a statement the way few other features can. Whether they’re worn au naturale with a bare face, or paired with a striking makeup look, thick brows can help define and balance out your features, while pulling your look together.

If you’re not a naturally bushy-browed babe, don’t sweat it; we have some expert-approved eyebrow tips for bolstering eyebrow growth using serums, common ingredients, and—of course—makeup. Whether you have naturally thick eyebrows, or sparse and thin brows, this guide will help you celebrate them while embracing the bushy brow trend as much as you want.

About the Expert:

Maribeth Madron is a New York-based makeup artist and global eyebrow expert for Maybelline New York. Explore her work on her Instagram @mbmadron.

How to Thicken up Your Brows Without Makeup

If you're looking to sport thick, bold brows (even when you're totally barefaced), there are a few key habits you may want to nix or add to your daily skincare routine.

1. Put down the tweezers

"The only way to thicken brows naturally is to stop tweezing, waxing, and threading, and let them grow," says New York-based makeup artist and global eyebrow expert Maribeth Madron. While this may seem simple enough, it can be tempting to tweeze one hair here and one hair there. Then, before you know it, you're over-plucking and inhibiting all that growth you're after.

2. Try a hair growth serum

Eyebrow hair growth serums (like the BABE LASH Babe Lash Essential Serum) can help to stimulate the growth of eyebrow hair using ingredients like peptides, amino acids, keratin, and biotin—all of which help promote healthy hair follicles that are less prone to breakage.

"To see success with a brow serum, consistency is key," says Madron. "Apply the serum nightly on clean, dry skin. If your brows are very fine or have been sparse for a long time, you might want to apply twice per day. It takes about six weeks of daily application to start to see results. Once your brows are perfectly grown in—usually after about four months—then you can apply every other day to maintain the fullness." Madron notes that Revitabrow is the eyebrow serum she typically recommends to all her clients.

3. Apply a bit of castor oil 

Castor oil is a super versatile beauty ingredient that doubles as a potential eyebrow thickener. It's packed with antioxidants, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, as well as vitamin E—all of which boost hair growth and nourish your skin.

To use castor oil to promote thick eyebrows, simply dab a small amount over your eyebrows using a Q-tip or a spoolie brush. Sweep the castor oil on using an upward motion, mimicking your eyebrow’s natural hair growth, until your brow is fully saturated with the oil.

Looking for a good castor oil to try? We love the BRIOGEO Organic + Cold-Pressed 100% Castor Oil.

4. Experiment with other home remedies

Other familiar kitchen staples like coconut oil, olive oil, and even avocado oil may come in handy for thickening brows. Like castor oil, all these oils are rich in vitamin E and fatty acids, which are known to encourage hair growth. For these natural remedies, a little goes a long way—try just massaging a dab onto the brows using a cotton swab, and avoid the rest of your face as some of these ingredients can be comedogenic (aka they can clog your pores).

Another great option for getting thicker eyebrows is aloe vera. Products like HANALEI Aloe Soothing Gel are most commonly used for soothing dry or damaged skin, but aloe vera’s naturally regenerative properties mean it’s a great option for stimulating hair growth as well. To get the most out of your eyebrow-thickening aloe vera gel, apply a small amount to your eyebrows, leave on for 30 to 60 minutes, then rinse with warm water to remove.

How to Create Thick Eyebrows Using Makeup

When it comes time to define the brows using makeup, there are a few products you might try turning to—eyebrow pencils, pomades, pens, and gels being a few of the most popular. Those looking for semi-permanent makeup might even consider trying microblading or a brow tint.

Madron says that her favorite way to create thick and bushy-looking brows instantly is to use a wax-based eyebrow pencil that matches your brow hair in combination with an eyebrow gel. Here's her full tutorial on how to create the look:

Step 1: She says you'll want to start by brushing your brows downward with a spoolie. "Then use a sharpened eyebrow pencil in a back and forth motion with light pressure along the top of the entire brow," Madron notes. "Now, brush the brows up and repeat this process along the bottom edge of the entire brow. This should add the appearance of two full rows of hair."

Step 2: "Brush softly with the spoolie to soften any heavy spots, or to lighten the look at inner and outer edges for a more natural look," instructs Madron.

Step 3: Next, Madron says it's time to bring in the brow gel: "You want a gel with fibers and a thicker texture. I like KOSAS Air Brow because it is a great formula with a small brush and comes in lots of shades. The key is to add product to both sides of each brow hair. Start at the outer edge and apply the gel in short strokes from root to tip toward the nose.  Next, you want to apply in the same manner going from the inner corner to the outer edge of the brow."

Step 4: To finish, Madron says, "You can smooth the tips of hairs to the side for a cleaner look or leave the tips pointing upward for a more feathery '80s look."

How to Keep Brows Looking Sharp All Day Long

After you've crafted stunning, bold brows with makeup, you'll likely want to make sure your look stays locked in place throughout the day without smearing or smudging. Here are Madron's tips for keeping your brows looking freshly applied as the day wears on:

1. Start with a clean canvas

"To keep brows looking sharp all day, start with a clean brow area," she says. If you have face oil, moisturizer, or foundation in your brow area, it can cause brow products to smear or fade."

2. Opt for waterproof formulas

"Try a waterproof brow pen to add hair-like strokes for structure or to fill in gaps," suggests Madron. She notes that the texture of a waterproof brow pen is perfect for fine brows, but those with coarser brows may want to try using a longwear product like the KVD Vegan Beauty Super Pomade with an angled brush. "A pomade will fill, add color, and hold well all day," she says.

If you’re set on bolstering your brows, be prepared to take care of them, and be patient with the process—it could take a while!. While makeup is the fastest method to thicken your eyebrows with the least amount of commitment, it’s always great to give a little extra care to your eyebrow hairs and nourish them with nourishing ingredients and oils. No matter if you choose to use one method or all three, your brows are sure to be bushy, bold, and beautiful if you follow through consistently.

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Article Last Updated September 29, 2022 12:00 AM