If, like me, you follow makeup artists and beauty bloggers on social media, then you’re likely used to seeing close-up photos of perfectly done-up eyes with shimmering eyeshadows, sharp eyeliner, and perfectly-set false eyelashes. If you’re notfamiliar, here’s what I’m talking about.
While beauty lovers usually ooh and ahhover the color palette on display in these photos, the thing that always gets my attention is the clear-cut line just above the eye.
That’s right, I’m looking at the beauty of a perfectly arched eyebrow. I never tire of scrolling through images of big eyebrow gals like Lily Collins, Cara Delevingne and, if I’m looking for some retro inspiration, Brooke Shields in all of her eighties glory.
I’ve often heard it said that your eyebrows “frame your face.” If that’s the case, then aren’t we all better off if we just acknowledged that our brows have the same transformative power that a good frame has on a piece of artwork? (Because—yes—our faces are works of art!) I’ll never forget the time I framed and matted a postcard of Las Meninasby Diego Velázquez and someone asked how much I paid for the small print. In a similar way, good eyebrows work as the discreet, finishing touch that instantly ups your look. This is true regardless of whether you’re a bare-faced, “less-is-more” kind of person, or a cut-crease queen, “gimme that highlighter” lover of makeup.
Before I get carried away writing an ode to eyebrows, though, let’s cut to it: Great brows require proper grooming and the right set of tools. Below are some of my favorite products that I rely on to help me tame my eyebrows whether I have 30 seconds to focus on them or a full 10 minutes (yes, really).
The dream team
First things first, let’s start with a tool that you’re probably familiar with: tweezers. It’s true that you can find these little suckers at the dollar store just as easily as you can find some pricier ones that might make you wonder whether they come with a no-regrowth serum for your eyebrow hairs. Tweezerman is a brand you can trust and you want to make sure you’re looking for a sharp, flat-edged, ideally angled tweezer that’ll make it easy to single out individual hairs. I’m a big fan of pointed tweezers, which make it super easy to pick out a small hair that’s just growing out.
Eyebrow razors sound scary, but they’re not. They’re very gentle on the skin because you’re not working with a single flat razor and instead are using a mini razor that you have to push on gently to make the cut. You can always use a pair of barber scissors to trim the hairs on your eyebrows. But I find little combo sticks like these make it easy to brush your hairs upward, so you can then you trim any hairs that extend beyond the width you want. They’re also great for getting rid of small hairs on your lip line.
Pro tip: Only trim the hairs that stand upright on your eyebrows, not the ones that fall along your arch.
On days when I don’t have time to trim/fill in my eyebrows, I always reach for a quick swipe of clear eyebrow gel like this one from Benefit. It sounds so simple, but the brush (like those found on mascaras) makes it so that every single hair gets a dose of the clear gel. Swipe it on and brush your brow hair so that they’re evenly spaced, laying flat, and falling along the arch you’ve crafted.
I’m a fan of Urban Decay’s brow pencil because of how smoothly it glides on your brow, making it almost fool-proof. You’re not at risk of overdoing your brows with this pencil. Use it to draw on a few lines here and there, then brush the color along your natural hair so that it blends perfectly. I love how you can build up color on this one and it won’t smudge.
Whenever I’m looking for an extra-glam (read: Instagram-ready) eyebrow look, I reach for the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow set. The little pot of gel is deceptive. All you need is the teeniest amount of product with the #14 brush and you can paint on the most magnificent of brows. The trick is to draw a line on the bottom of your brows starting from above the inner corner of your eye, and then follow the arch line. Then, go ahead and brush up the product so that it blends in with your hair. If you want an even moredefined arch, fill in the part where you want the sharp uptick and then draw a line downward.
Plucking the right brow shape and filling them in is only part of the brow equation. If you really want to make your eyebrows stand out, you also want to highlight them! A highlighting pencil is great for easily adding some shimmer just under the arch so that when the light hits, you’re letting the world know your arch is at the perfect angle. This is great for when you’re in a rush and just want to quickly add some dimension. I usually just blend with my finger and go.
If you’re looking for even more intense highlighting tools, just use a bit of the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Highlighter. I use the Hourglass concealer brush to make sure I’m not overdoing it on where I place the highlighter. On days when I’ve gotten a little messy with the Dipbrow pomade, I also rely on a concealer brush to clean up around the brow to make it extra sharp.
There you have it, my friends! May your eyebrows be the envy of all on Instagram and IRL.