BROWS! Arguably one of the most important structural features on the face, eyebrows can make or break your whole look. They can also drive you insane trying to fill in and balance without looking fake or intense, especially if you have a fair complexion, lighter hair color, or sparse brows.
This tutorial is not for your painted, stylized brow. This is about achieving a natural, defined eyebrow look--the best way to frame your entire face without overpowering it. The great thing about this technique is that it's designed to build as you go...you can literally stop after any of the steps for a more simple brow. Let's get started!
First, let's talk product. Shown below are my favorite brow products (which are coincidentally all MAC products), but let me go through what you want to look for in whatever products you use.
1. Brow gel: A mascara-like product that can be clear or tinted. This is used to brush through the brow hairs, and keep them in place, thicken the individual hairs, and, if tinted, add color to very light brows or warmth to very dark brows. DO NOT USE MASCARA. Mascara is way to dark, and way too thick. If you're in a bind, you can use hair gel on a spooly, but be aware that some varieties of hair gel flake off the brows.
2. Brow filler: The actual pencil, creme, powder, or color used to actually fill in the brows. I prefer a very thin, wax based pencil, as it gives a high level of control, and very long wear. If you prefer creme or gel-based formulas for more drama, make sure to keep your brush very sharp throughout the entire process. Regular pencils like eyeliner tend to be thick and difficult to keep sharp and controlled. Powders will give you a less defined, blurred effect, and don't last as long, but can be more forgiving. Whatever you use, you'll need a shade lighter than your hair color and darker shade that matches your brow hairs: taupe and ash brown for blondes, gold and auburn for redheads, ash brown and chocolate for brunettes.
3. Brushes: A spooly for brushing and a flat, dense brush for cleaning up. Your spooly can be an actual spooly brush with a handle, a clean mascara wand, even a toothbrush! Anything with stiff bristles that will brush through your brow hairs without removing tons of product. Your clean up brush should be dense enough to give good payoff, and have a flat edge. I prefer something with a tiny bit of fluff to make for easy blending.
4. Concealer: A medium to full coverage concealer with a long wear in a shade just slightly lighter than your skin tone. Liquid concealers are easier to blend, creamier formulas are thicker, and can melt in heat. If you use a stick concealer, or concealer pencil, use your clean up brush to create sharp edges that blend fully, instead of applying the stick directly.
Now, on to the technique!
Here's a quick rundown of the steps, and then I'll break each step down, and end with a time-lapsed video to help demonstrate.
Step 1: Start with a naked brow.
A bit self explanatory, but important. If you do your brows after your other makeup, use a spooly to brush any excess foundation or powder out of the brows.
Step 2: Brush brow hairs upward with brow gel.
Especially important to use tinted brow gel for those with extremely light brows...this step will not only keep the brow hairs in place and nicely groomed, but will add color to the actual hairs so that you can see the natural brow shape. If you have literally zero brow hairs, this step can be skipped. If your brows are naturally full, you may find that this step alone is enough to define the brows to your liking.
Step 3: Using short, feathery strokes, fill in the brow with the lighter shade of your brow filler.
The key is short, feathery strokes. There should be very light pressure...if you feel like you have to fight to get the color, your product may be dry or just the wrong formula for you. Make sure to make your strokes according to the natural growth direction of the actual brow hairs; When the hairs grow straight up, flick the stroke straight up. When they grow sideways, flick sideways. When they grow downward, flick downward. The goal is to create faux brow hairs.
Step 4: Add a few strokes of the darker shade throughout.
This is not the step to fill in the entire brow. By filling in sparse strokes, you are adding dimension and keeping things natural. If it feels a little stripey, don't worry, we'll take care of that. Definition comes later, this is a key step to ensure a realistic brow effect.
Step 5: Define the arch and tail with the darker shade.
Again, make sure to use feathery strokes, in the direction of the hair growth. Start in the arch, and build the definition through the tail...the opacity you build will determine how intense the end look will be, so if you prefer a bit more power in your brow, don't be afraid to really fill in the arch and tail, just be aware of keeping the front of the brow feathery, and gradually building the intensity in the arch.
Step 6: Carve under the arch with concealer on a flat brush.
This is what really punches the definition in the brow. Tap your clean-up brush into a small amount of concealer, place the flat side of the brush flat against the skin, with the top edge of the brush just under the bottom of the arch. Using smooth strokes, carve along the bottom of the brow to create a clean edge. Then blend any hard lines away on the browbone. If you start to close to the front of the brow, it can look very unnatural, and actually bring out the forehead ridge, which can have a masculine effect.
Step 7: Define top edge and finish.
The key here is using a very small amount of concealer...if the top edge is too defined, it ends up looking like the brows are floating off the face, but you still want to carve a bit by the tail.
BONUS FINISHING TIP: Dip a spooly in a bit of concealer and lightly brush through the finished brow. This blends everything together and creates a soft, cohesive look.
There you go! Expertly defined, natural brows. Here's a quick video for reference:
Now, repeat on the other brow, and remember, eyebrows are sisters, not twins...they will never be exactly the same. Aim for balance, not perfection.
We made it! I hope this information helps you achieve all your eyebrow aspirations, and let me know if you have any questions. And if you'd like a more individualized lesson, reach out for information on how to book a private lesson or party class with me!
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