Whether you're kicking yourself for over-plucking in the ’90s, sick of dropping a bunch of cash on monthly waxing appointments, or have a serious case of Lily Collins brow-envy, everyone has their eyebrow issues. But, it's time to take the power — meaning your brows — back. And, guess what? You can do it yourself in the comfort of your own home — no waxing or threading appointments required.
All it takes is a little patience, and you can return to your natural state, re-shape your brows to get the most flattering look for your face, and fill them in perfectly in the meantime. Here, eyebrow guru W. Bob Scott lays out a step-by-step guide, from the growing-out phase to plucking to applying makeup, so you can get your dream arches on your own.
Note: If your brows are in top shape and you just want to know the proper way to tweeze them, you can skip Phase One. If you're just looking for the best filling-in technique, jump straight to Phase Three. Happy plucking!
PHASE ONE: Take Your Hair Back
The first thing you need to do if you’re planning on recommitting to your brows is to let them grow out completely. Depending on how clean your brows were when you decided you were going to reshape them, that means about two months (sorry!). But, if you've been waxing regularly or doing something that damages the hair follicle, it could take up to six months (double sorry!). “Leave them alone, and let them get to the fullest possible place,” says Scott. “When you’re shaping them, you want as much hair to work with [as possible,] so if you make a mistake it’s not the worst thing.”
Use A Growth Serum
We hope you’re still with us after that doozy. Don’t worry: There are products that can speed up the hair-growth process during your tweezer fast. Using a growth serum (they really work!) every day while your brows grow will help them come in full and fast(er). You can maintain the growth by using it two or three times a week, but that’s not even really necessary. Simply apply the product wherever you want the hair to grow, whether you have patches, an ultra-skinny tail, or just want more fullness everywhere. Scott recommends Grande Lash.
Don't Fear The Fuzz
It may be hard to resist the urge to pluck the stray hairs growing in, taunting you every time you look in the mirror. But, remember that much like other seeming imperfections (that zit, that gray hair), it’s really not as big a deal as you think — and you’re the only one looking that closely. “We see those little fuzzy hairs, and it gets in our heads and starts to bother us,” says Scott. “You have to let yourself not mind that fuzziness. When I’m tweezing my clients, I don’t tweeze those...unless they ask for it. I try to get everybody to accept those little fuzzes, and I really only tweeze the hairs that affect the brow directly: the big thick ones, not peach fuzz.”
Cover The Hairs
Fear not, this situation is not completely mind over matter, there is something you can do to hide those hairs while you grow them out. Scott suggests taking a shimmery shadow in light champagne or copper depending on your skin tone, and dusting it on your brow bone to reflect the light, accent your arch, and shield the hairs in a subtle dewiness.
PHASE TWO: Create Your Shape
Identify & Protect Your Arch
So, it’s been a long two months without those tweezers, but you made it. We’re proud of you! Do your brows look like they did once upon a time, before your waxing days? Well done. It's time to identify your arch. Some people’s arches fall farther out (think Cara Delevingne), while others' are more in the middle (hi, Halle Berry) — it all depends on your face shape. Now that your hair has grown out, you’ll be able to see where your arch naturally falls. If you need help, try taking an eye pencil or brush and placing it on the tip of your nose. Then, angle it straight across the center of your pupil. Where it hits on the brow should be your arch. You want to use this as your guideline to avoiding the dreaded tadpole brow or other mishaps. Also, remember that while it's important to find your arch, you need to work with the whole brow.
Start On The Outside
Get excited: It’s time to break out the tweezers. Start by plucking the stray hairs above the tail on the outside. “A lot of people have those, and you’ll see it connect to the hairline,” says Scott. “You can start [with] those just to define the stem and get it clean. Then, once you have the stem defined, you can see where it leads to the arch, and then from there you work from the outside in.”
Look At Your Brows In Rows
When you take a close look at your brows, you can see that they're made of rows of hair that go across. They may stagger a bit as you go up the brow, but they're still next to each other. When Scott is shaping his clients’ brows, he takes one row off at a time, section by section (see graphic). He starts at the tail, stopping after each to see how much he’s done. “You should go across in one row and then stop, and see how far you’ve gone, and then go across one more row instead of...just clearing out that arch,” says Scott. “You’ll end up taking off too many hairs, and won’t be able to correct if you create a big dip in the arch. It’s just a matter of knowing what you’re going for."
Trim The Long Hairs
If some of the hairs are too long, but are in a place that falls into the shape of your brow so you don’t want to pluck them, you can trim them with brow scissors. But, be sure to avoid creating holes in your brows. “You want to brush all your brow hairs up,” explains Scott. “Whatever looks really long, go in that place, point the scissors downward, and just trim the tips of the hairs. Dip the scissors into the tips instead of cutting them square.”
Let Them Be For Six Weeks
Gone are the days when you could just pluck a stray hair when you felt like it. There's a method to not having brow madness — which involves letting them be. In-between trimmings, you should wait about a month and a half before you touch them again. We all try to be low-maintenance in our lives, but when it comes to our brows, many of us are used to being the opposite, constantly plucking whenever a new hair pops up. If you just leave them alone, Scott swears you eventually won’t notice them growing. “If you’re living every day with your fullest brow, the difference between that and when they are perfectly done isn’t that huge,” he says. In the end, it will be easier for you — and with each cycle, it will feel more normal.
PHASE THREE: Fill In Your Brows
Pick A Color
Use an eyebrow pencil to fill in — powder and brush works, too, but it takes more practice to create strokes that replicate the appearance of individual hairs. Pick a color one shade lighter than your natural brow hair — unless you have very fine blonde hair, in which case go for an ash blonde. “One shade lighter is typically safe because you can still build up the product,” says Scott. “If you use a pencil that is too warm in color, it doesn’t look natural, unless you’re a redhead or have warm-blonde hair.” Scott loves Anastasia products, because of the wide range of colors. “Hers are great, because all her colors are cooler in tone. When you’re looking for a match for a pencil, you want it to look like the shadow that your hairs would cast naturally.”
Again With Fuzzies
Scott suggests penciling in the holes in your brows during the growing-out process, and on the regular if you want them more defined. “You might notice in your regrowth that all the hair won’t grow back immediately within the brow; the little fuzzies [closer to] your eyelid will come back first,” he says. “Some people don’t like the stray hairs that aren’t adding to the brows, and they start removing those, but those are essential to the regrowth. Those little fuzzies help the big ones come back later. So, leave all the ones that you have.”
Create A Base
Go over the entire brow. Start very lightly at first, and then draw darker and more defined strokes to create fullness. “I would go through the entire brow first with upward strokes,” says Scott. “Maybe a little bit of left and right, depending on how flat your brows are. This can be a bit rough at first, because you’re only getting your base in.”
Take a spoolie brush and blend the product to soften the edges. “You want to feel the brush strokes against your skin, so blend that through [the whole brow]," says Scott. "Once you’ve done that, you can go toward the end if your brows are more faint toward the stem, and make more deliberate strokes with the pencil to create the illusion of hair, fill that part in, and let it get darker as you go."
Finish With Gel
Finally, take a clear gel — colored gels can get clumpy and often don’t match the hair — and brush the front of the brow upward. As you get closer to the ends, begin brushing toward your ear. Scott loves Marc Jacobs brow gel. “Some formulas can be really drying... [It] doesn’t feel like you something cementing your brows into place, but [it] definitely [stays] really well. The applicator is the most important, though: This one is a little fuzzy thing that almost looks like a caterpillar, but when you apply it, it doesn’t reach too deep into the brow or get any on the skin. It just coats the top of it and brushes the hairs really softly, so it’s nice and flat. It’s kinda perfect.”
Just like your new brows.
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