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5 Brow-Shaping Tricks You Need To Know Now

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    Try as we might to attain them, there is no such thing as the one set of brows to rule them all. Certain shapes have come and gone, like the pencil-thin look that defined the '90s, but a well-groomed brow (no matter the size) is always in style. Take it from a pro who's seen and shaped his fair share — Jared Bailey, Benefit Cosmetics’ global brow expert. "There’s no perfect, cookie-cutter brow shape," he says. "It's really about [finding] proportion and balance. That’s what an ideal brow does for your eyes and face."

    What it really comes down to is finding the right shape to best frame your face. To help, Bailey broke down five of the most common natural brow shapes and explained how they can sometimes lead us astray. Fortunately, he also has the fix, revealing expert techniques for finessing each shape. Whether it's adding some extra definition here or plucking a few unnecessary strays there, you're sure to find a way to transform your own arches into art. And that's a literal eye-opener.

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    The Shape: Too Short
    Ideally the tails of your brows should extend past the outer corners of your lids to best frame your eyes and face. When considering your brow shape, Bailey says to think about your face in three sections: from the top of your forehead to your brows, from your brows to your lips, and, finally, from your lips to your chin. Your brows serve as the divider between the first and second sections, so when the tails are too short, they can make your face look wider than it actually is.

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    The Shape-Up: Add Length
    If your brows lack length, brow mapping is your best bet for extending them, while still maintaining a natural look. This technique helps you, well, map out where your brows should start, arch, and end.

    To do this, you'll need a brush with a slim, straight handle (we like using an eyeliner brush, but any in your tool kit will do) and a brow pencil. Hold the brush vertically where your nostrils meet the bridge of your nose, or, as Bailey calls them, the "dimples" of your nose. Then, using your brow pencil, make a mark where the side of your brush hits your brow. This will signify the beginning, or start, of your brow and gives overall structure to your face. Next, hold the brush diagonally from the outside of your nostril so that it crosses over the middle of your eye, and make another mark for where your arch should be for a eye-opening effect. Finally, extend your brush from the outside of your nostril all the way to the outer corner of your eye to mark where your brow should end to balance out your face. Once you have this general shape mapped out, fill in any sparse areas with wax or powder depending on how dramatic or natural you want your brows to be.

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    The Shape: Thin & Sparse
    Whether it's your natural shape or the result of an overzealous tweezing session, a sparse, thin brow has the effect of making your face look wide and flat, and it puts your nose front and center. "Brows accentuate the dimension and curvature of your face. Without that frame, [people's attention goes toward] the center of your face, instead of your eyes," says Bailey.

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    The Shape: Straight Across
    True to its name, a straight brow like this doesn't have a defined, tapered arch. Instead, it's about the same thickness from beginning to end and sits right on top of the occipital bone. Without that arch, Bailey says you can end up looking expressionless — just think about how your brows arch upward when you're shocked or scared. "Your brows play a big part in expressing emotions," he explains. "[Not having that arch] is like losing a punctuation mark, an exclamation point." In other words, the arch lifts and opens up your eyes.