If there’s a trick or product out there that promises perfectly full, bushy eyebrows, you can probably bet I’ve tried it. I’ve threaded my brows, penciled them, gelled them, laminated them, waxed them; I’ve even rubbed soap—yes, soap—through them; all in the name of beauty. But there’s one brow product I’ve always found intimidating: brow powder.
I think that because my brows need more hold than they do extra tint, powder is something I’ve avoided in my routine in favor of gels. Plus, in the era when Boy Brow reigns supreme, powder has a somewhat uncool reputation as being fussy and outdated. But our British counterpart, Glamour UK—where brow trends are miles ahead of the States—recently pointed out that “shadow brows” may be exactly what I’ve been looking for all along.
As the name suggests, the technique is simply using a powder to fill in your brows and add dimension and fullness. “What powder does is mimic the look of the shadow that would be cast behind your brows because the hairs are so dense,” celebrity brow expert Joey Healy tells Glamour. “When you’re using pencils or other products, your job is to mimic hair, but powder just softens the contrast between hair and skin, softly closing in the gaps and giving the brow more density,” he says. So not only does this method use color to actually fill in your brows, but it creates the illusion of a shadow under your brows, and in turn the illusion of fluffier brows.
Shadow brows sound great for thinner eyebrows, but I was a little worried it would be too much for my already full ones. Luckily, brow queen and Anastasia Beverly Hills founder Anastasia Soare assured me I had no need to stress. “If you already have a good amount of brow hair, brow powder can be an easy way to add natural-looking dimension with one product,” she says. “If you have sparse brows, you can still use brow powder as your fill product before creating hair-like detail with a pomade or pencil.” Phew.
Considering my brows now make up 50% of what people can see when I’m out and about thanks to my face mask, I decided to give the technique a try.
While the concept may seem straightforward, there is a method to getting the perfect shadow brows. The first step is gathering the right tools. Healy recommends using an actual brow powder over an eye shadow since they tend to be water-resistant or waterproof; also, since eye shadows are made to be blended, they actually look chalky or dusty when used in your brows.
He also recommends a natural-bristle brush, like his Duo Brow Brush, to better pick up the powder and a spoolie to blend everything out, which I found was crucial for getting a seamless look.
$28.00, Joey Healy
$21.00, Anastasia Beverly Hills
According to Soare, the key to getting natural-looking brows is using two shades, such as her Brow Powder Duos. “Brows should be ombré, lighter at the inner corners than the outer edges,” she says. She recommends starting with her Brow Primer so the powder has something to stick to, and then begin applying the lighter shade on the inner corner. After your arch, switch to the darker shade to create dimension.
It sounds complicated, but it took only a minute or two longer than my usual tinted gel. I also added a clear gel on top since I have longer brow hairs that need some taming.
$23.00, Anastasia Beverly Hills
$28.00, Joey Healy
Despite the claims of a natural-looking result, I expected this to appear a little extreme as my brows are already strong, and even the slightest bit of color can make them look a little much. I was wrong—they actually looked pretty stunning.
They were shaped and defined despite it being nearly five months since I’ve had a brow touch-up, and the slightly darker tint brought all the attention right to my eyes. They looked particularly good on Zoom, as they added some much needed definition to my blurry face.
I never thought I would be one to stan brow powder, but this look has made me a total convert. But hey, it’s 2020. Stranger things have happened.
Bella Cacciatore is the beauty associate at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @bellacacciatore_.
Originally Appeared on Glamour