Your Guide to Grooming (or Faking) Bushy Eyebrows

editor@purewow.com (PureWow)
·6 mins read

Whether you have abundant brows to start with or want to make your thin arches look thicker, we’ve got some pro pointers for how to achieve that coveted bushy eyebrows look.

We spoke with Anastasia Soare, founder and chief executive of Anastasia Beverly Hills and Jared Bailey, global brow expert for Benefit Cosmetics, who share their top tips ahead.

How to determine the best eyebrow shape for your face

“Your brows are totally unique to you—just like your fingerprint—so your ideal shape depends on your individual features, including your eyes and nose,” explains Bailey. “Before you do any tweezing or filling in, you’ll want to know exactly where your brows should start, arch and end,” he adds.

To identify your starting point, Bailey suggest grabbing your favorite brow pencil and placing it upright against your nose. “Follow a straight line up from the dimple of your nose to the front of the brow and make a mark. This is your starting point and will help slim your nose and balance your eyes.”

Next, to find where your arch should be, take the same pencil and hold it diagonally from the outer edge of your nose across the center of the eye and make a mark. “Say hello to your arch! This is where your brow is naturally at its highest,” says Bailey. “A little definition here can lift your whole look.”

Lastly, to mark where your brow should end, hold the pencil vertically against the outer edge of your nose and follow the line up to the outer corner of your eye. “Length is important because it gives your face proportion,” explains Bailey.

Once you have your brows mapped out, you can move onto tweezing any stray hairs.

How to tweeze your brows like a pro

For starters, Soare recommends tweezing after a shower. “Or, you can apply a warm compress beforehand to open up the pores and ease any discomfort that comes with plucking.”

On that note: Tools are important as well. “Since the brow bone is curved, you need a quality pair of slant-tipped tweezers to avoid breaking off the hair close to the base and causing unnecessary pain,” says Soare.

Bailey also cautions against using small magnifying mirrors when tweezing. “Brows bring balance and proportion to your face and eyes so it’s important that you take a step back as you’re tweezing to see the full picture. A magnifying mirror only allows you to see a field of tiny hairs versus the actual shape and what it’s doing for your entire face,” he explains.

OK, now that your set up is ready, we’ll walk you through the steps of tweezing carefully (and as painlessly as possible).

Step 1: Using the brow map above, “sketch a few lines to connect each of the three marks on the top and on the bottom of your brows. This will serve as an outline of your desired shape,” explains Bailey.

Step 2: Pull the skin around your brows taut with one finger and then tweeze any hairs that fall outside of the lines you just drew. “The most common mistake people make when tweezing is removing the hair from the wrong direction, which can damage the tiny blood vessel that each hair is connected to,” warns Bailey. “You want to tweeze the hair in the direction it is growing, which is typically angled upward or towards the temple.”

Step 3: Remember to take a step back and observe your handiwork as you tweeze.

Step 4: If you tend to get a little red after tweezing, Bailey recommends placing a cold cloth over your brows when you’re finished. “It will alleviate any redness and help calm the skin.”

Step 5: Repeat every three to four weeks to maintain the shape but resist the urge to tweeze any more than that. “Your brow hairs are like the hairs on your head: they grow in cycles. If you tweeze them daily, you’ll never really get a clean shape because new hairs will be popping up every day, starting a new cycle,” says Bailey.

How to trim your brows

“Every brow, no matter how thick or thin, will need to be trimmed from time to time,” says Bailey. But proceed with care and caution because trimming your brows often ends in a disaster if not done the proper way.

“The key is to take a clear brow gel and brush the brow hairs upwards towards the hairline and out towards the temples. Let the gel dry completely, then only trim the ends that are sticking too far out past your desired shape,” explains Bailey.

Soare recommends using “a pair of thin, straight blade brow scissors” to get the job done, and also suggests “brushing the brow hairs down” and trimming “only what falls outside the filled area” to finish.

Shop some of our favorite brow grooming products ahead.

Benefit Cosmetics 24-HR Brow Setter Shaping & Setting Gel

A must-have for taming bushy eyebrows that have a mind of their own. This gel is favored for being both strong and flexible to deliver a fluffy, feathered look. A tip from Bailey: "If your brows are really tough to tame, remove the wand from the tube and let the gel dry and get slightly tacky for about 30-45 seconds before brushing it through."

Buy it ($24)

Ulta Beauty Brow Powder Duo

For a softer, more natural-looking finish, powders are your best bet. A powder adds subtle dimension to brows and works especially well on fine or thin arches, because the pigments go underneath the hair and onto the skin for a softer finish. (And because they’re more forgiving than most other brow products, they’re also a good choice for beginners.)

Tip: If you have a powder duo like this one, Soare advises using the darker shade first, applying it “from the arch to the tail, working in the direction of the hair’s natural growth” before applying the lighter shade to “the front half of the brow only and working toward the arch” to build dimension. “Use a spoolie brush to blend everything together for a seamless finish.”

Buy it ($10)

Anastasia Beverly Hills Micro-Stroking Detailing Brow Pen

For ultimate precision, Soare swears by a pointed tip brow pen, which can be used on its own or as an additional step after powder to really define your arches. The pens are best for creating “individual hair-like strokes” to fill in any areas of sparseness. They’re also great for filling in any scars or bald spots, where the hair is no longer growing in.

Buy it ($22)

Milk Makeup KUSH Fiber Eyebrow Gel

To bulk up thin brows quickly, get thee a tinted fiber gel. Like the setting gel above, they tame any unruly hairs and define your overall shape, but they also go a step beyond that and deposit tiny hair-like fibers that adhere to your skin and brows to make them appear fuller instantly.

To get this most out of this gel, brush the wand against your hairs (opposite the direction they grow in) before brushing them up and out to finish. This has a similar effect to backcombing your roots for more volume.

Buy it ($20)

RELATED: 6 Tips for Growing Out Overplucked Eyebrows