If you’ve arrived at this point in the pandemic with thicker eyebrows, you’re not the only one. “During this time, a lot of people were able to let their brows grow in, which I think was very much needed because we’ve been through so many trends recently: thin brows, full brows, painted brows,” says Nick Lujan, director of education and artistry at Kevyn Aucoin Beauty. “So people’s brow hair has been kind of sparse, and this pandemic period really allowed for growth to happen.” Jenny Smith, global makeup artist at Nars, has also taken note of this return to natural. “It’s really refreshing because it’s nice to see an enhancement of the existing brow structure, which helps frame the face and frame the eyes,” she says. “Especially since wearing face masks means there’s so much emphasis on that upper area.” But “thick and full” doesn’t equate to “wildly overgrown.” Good grooming is still essential for a polished pair of brows.
Prep makes perfect. You’ve likely applied your moisturizer and sunscreen right before doing your makeup, which means that you’ve probably got some lotion on your brow hairs. Unfortunately, that’s going to prevent your brow product from adhering as well, and it won’t last as long. To fix that problem, Lujan dips a cotton swab in a water-based makeup remover, then wipes it over the entire eyebrow. “You want to get down to the skin and really get off any of the makeup, oils, skincare, powder or concealer that’s on the brow hairs,” he says. “And you need a water-based product for this because an oil-based one will cause any makeup you apply afterward to bleed.”
Invest in a spoolie. You’ll need to use it more than once when you’re doing your brows. Lujan uses his to brush brow hairs straight up after cleaning them (see above), so that he can spot any bald patches. Smith presses hers into service as a final step. “Combing through the hairs will blend in pencil or powder and also remove excess brow gel,” she says. “I sometimes find that the applicator that comes with those can deposit too much gel, and a spoolie is a great way to fix that.”
It takes two. Kate Synott, beauty creative director at Róen, likes to use more than one pencil. “I select two shades—one that’s a little bit lighter than my client’s natural hair and one that’s just as dark as their hair, if not a fraction darker,” she says. She uses the lighter shade to fill in patchy places. “Then I’ll go in with the darker pencil and create little false, feathery hairs, so the brow looks more natural,” she says. “If you only use pencil the exact color of the brow, the result is going to appear blocky.”
Take it from the top. According to Lujan, most people fill in their brows by starting at the head of brow (the part closest to the nose) and working out. “They end up putting too much color there, which has the effect of pulling the brows a little closer together,” he says. Instead, Lujan begins at the arch, sketching in a few hairs at a time on each side to ensure balance. Then he continues out to the tail, adding a bit of length to open the eye shape. “Once you’ve gone from arch to tail, you can pencil in one hair at a time from body to head,” he says. “But only in the areas that are sparse.”