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Instagram and TikTok are flooded with the most amazing brows. They’re fluffy, they’re chic, and they’re blended for an effortlessly natural look.
Okay, maybe minus the effortless. These videos make it look easy to achieve, but the reality – when you’re giving your own brows a good seeing to – can be quite different. Let’s just put this out there: achieving the golden standard of “brows on fleek” is possible, but to get the brows of our dreams, we could all do with some professional advice and, potentially, some new products, too.
Eyebrows that are full and perfectly shaped can instantly give your eyes (and full face) a more defined look. Are you one of many who are not born with perfectly sculpted slugs? Join the club (I’m a premium tier member). The good news is that even if you didn’t win the genetics lottery, it’s easier than you think to pretend you did with a few handy products and some MUA-approved advice.
Mastering the brow basics
Whether your brows are looking a little threadbare or growing scarily wild and wooly, it’s possible to take back control.
A common issue many struggle with is over-plucked, sparse brows. When it comes to eyebrow regrowth after over-plucking, Siannen Saucede, makeup artist for the Ruuby App, has some advice. “If you came from the generation of over-plucked eyebrows, castor oil is a cheap, effective way to renew your eyebrow growth,” she tells HuffPost UK.
If the problem is too much, rather than too little hair and you’re aiming to tame bushier brows at home, it’s worth watching some simple tutorials, she adds. “If you are plucking, waxing or doing anything else to your brows at home, Eyelure has guides which are quite useful to use as a pre-shaping option.”
Another common mistake is failing to take seriously the health of the skin under and around the brows. To keep it in tiptop condition, some regular self-care is required, explains makeup artist, Hayley De Beers.
“I recommend scrubs for the brows for sure, as they often get missed when you’re exfoliating. When I’m brushing out a client’s brows, you can see the dry, dead skin coming through if they aren’t doing this. It really helps the new hair to grow, so if you’re trying to get fuller, natural brows, it’s essential,” she says.
Simple brow sculpting tips
The starting point for perfectly defined brows is determining the brow shape that best suits your face. And it’s okay to ask for help on this.
“If you’re unsure on your ideal shape, go to a brow bar and ask them to brow map you,” says De Beers. “I always do this for my clients, so they can see where to start, arch and finish their brow/filling. Stencils are a great option too, if you can’t get to a brow bar.”
Saucede agrees that stencils can be great, but cautions that “they don’t always offer a vast amount of shapes”. If you can’t find the right stencil shape for your brows, you can map them out yourself, she says.
“The ‘perfect’ eyebrow should end in an equal angle to your eye and begin in line with the top of your nose,” she explains – as you can see in this brow map. “There are some great tutorials on youtube and Instagram, so if you are looking for a different style, then definitely check these platforms out.”
She also recommends “brushing brows through before makeup application”. This will help to remove any base products (think: concealer and foundation) that have crept in and tinted them.
How to get brow layering right
In terms of the best product types to use, De Beers has pointers. “Usually I use a combination of pencil, followed by a little powder. My favourite thing to use on sparse brows is actually a little brush pen, similar to a liquid liner but much less colour payoff,” she explains.
Saucede does similar. “If I was to layer products, I would begin with a pencil, just to get my eyebrow shape, and then fill with a pomade or gel,” she says.
Essentially, when it comes to perfecting your brow look, there’s no need to stick to just one product – you can mix and match to make achieving your desired look a little easier. But as with all makeup, there is still a good order to follow.
“Layering any products should always be done in the order of creams first, followed by powders,” advises De Beers. “When it comes to brows, this is no different – apply your wax or pencil first, and then if you want to you can use some powder colour to set it.” Do it the other way around, she says, and you risk getting little clumps of product in the brow hairs.
And for a more natural brow look? Brushing your brows with an eyebrow wand and using gel to create a natural-looking fill works wonders, says Saucede.
Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best brow products on the market right now – they’re makeup artist approved for good reason.