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How to Shape Eyebrows

Updated on May 18, 2017
Jayne Lancer profile image

A beauty consultant by profession, Jayne has been advising on correct skin and hair care, makeup, and other cosmetics for almost 20 years.

How to improve the shape and color of your eyebrows, whether they're too light, too dark, too long, too short, too sparse, or too thick.

A natural brow shape always looks best, but there's always room for improvement.
A natural brow shape always looks best, but there's always room for improvement.

How Eyebrows are Supposed to Look

Perfectly proportioned eyebrows slope upwardly two thirds of their length from the nose, and downwardly for the last third with their highest point being at the outer eye corner.

Most people, however, are not blessed with perfect brows, and wouldn't look good if they were. Brow proportion and position are determined by face and eye shape, which is why your basic natural brow shape will always suit you best—but there's always room for improvement.

Add Definition to Your Eyebrows

Defining your eyebrows can make your face seem clearer and more expressive.

Comb your brows downwardly to expose any uneven areas. To smooth these, use an eyebrow pencil in a shade as near to your natural color as possible. Apply in downward, diagonal strokes starting at the upper brow contour working from your inner to outer eye.

When you comb your brows up again, the upper contour should be sharply defined, while the lower contour remains soft.

How to Extend Your Eyebrows with an Eyebrow Pencil

If your eyebrows are too short, you can extend them towards the temple with an eyebrow pencil. But don’t just draw a line. With a very sharp pencil, apply quick, light strokes that resemble individual hairs. Don't be too exact; your brows will appear more natural if each ‘hair’ isn’t perfectly placed.

If you find this makes your eyebrows appear too heavy or dominant, just go over them carefully with a spiral eyebrow brush to soften the effect.

Don’t use a kohl or eye liner pencil on your brows. Only a proper eyebrow pencil is hard enough to leave a natural looking texture.

Filling In Eyebrows

If your eyebrows are sparse or tend to bald patches, you can make them appear denser with eyebrow powder.

Nothing could be easier. All you do is brush the powder over your brows with an angled brush, which is usually supplied with the product, then finish by combing upwardly.

Don’t use a kohl or eye liner pencil for your brows. Only a proper eyebrow pencil is hard enough to leave a natural looking texture.
Don’t use a kohl or eye liner pencil for your brows. Only a proper eyebrow pencil is hard enough to leave a natural looking texture.

Choosing the Right Color

If you’re unsure between two shades when buying an eyebrow pencil or powder, choose the lightest. A little too light won't do any harm, but a little too dark might make your brows look heavy.

If you’re blonde, try using an ash or beige eyebrow color instead of brown, which often has an aging effect.

How to Tame Eyebrows

If your eyebrows have a will of their own, you’ll need to tame them.

One way of doing this is with hairspray. Just spray a little onto your ring finger, smooth over your brow, then comb upwardly. Hairspray sets almost instantly, so work quickly.

Or you can use an eyebrow gel. Like mascara, it comes in a tube with a spiral brush and is available in clear and various shades of brown. Just brush the product upwardly into your brows and you're done.

Dyeing Your Eyebrows

If your eyebrows are too light or don’t match your hair color, you can dye them. Eyebrow dyes are available in easy-to-use kits for home use, so there’s no need to visit the salon.

If your brows are very blonde or white and not too thick, you might be able to tint them into shape instead of having to pluck or wax.

Bleach Your Eyebrows

Make deep set eyes pop by bleaching brows two or three shades lighter. You should do it with a bleaching product designed for facial hair. After applying, check the color every 30 seconds, and don’t go beyond light brown.

Bleaching is great, too, if you've lightened your hair and your dark eyebrows no longer match.

Extracting Eyebrows

How Eyebrows Change Your Face

If your eyebrows are too thick, too long, or tend to a uni-brow (growing over the bridge of the nose), you’ll have to tidy them up by plucking or some other form of hair extraction.

If Eyebrows are Too Long

The trouble with eyebrows that extend too far towards the temple is that they make the face look tired. Or if they seep towards the bridge of the nose, the eyes appear somber.

For Close Set and Deep Set Eyes

If you make the space between your eyebrows a little wider, close set eyes will seem wider apart.

If you’ve got deep set eyes, thinning your brows will bring them out and make your face appear more open and expressive.

Plucking is the usual way of getting eyebrows into shape.
Plucking is the usual way of getting eyebrows into shape.

How to Pluck Your Eyebrows

Plucking is the usual way of getting eyebrows into shape. Using tweezers, pluck in the direction of growth, and only extract hairs from the lower contour. Always follow your natural brow shape—as already discussed, the idea is not to change basic shape and proportion, but to tidy up.

Plucking hurts less if you use your free hand to draw your skin taut.

Waxing Your Eyebrows

For a hot wax treatment, go to the salon. If you can’t go to the salon you can use cold wax, although sugaring is a better option for home use; it works as well as hot wax, and results are just as long lasting.

Sugar Waxing

Sugaring is very easy. First, comb your eyebrows into their natural shape, then brush the sugar mass (also called 'halawa') over the hairs you want to remove working in the direction of growth. Press on the fabric supplied in the product's packaging, hold your skin taut, and pull against the direction of growth.

Photo Credits

Title image: “Woman Combing Eyebrow” by Marin/

Second image: Jayne Lancer

Third image: “Plucking Eyebrows” by Phasinphoto/

© 2010 Jayne Lancer


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    • profile image

      cutepunk333 7 years ago

      thank you for all the tips because i am in my early twenties and i am so tired of the way women my age try and do their makeup. these tips will make me shine and look the way i want

    • rose56 profile image

      rose56 7 years ago

      I enjoyed this hub. I have a hard time with my eyebrows.

    • Anjelica Rae profile image

      Anjelica Rae 7 years ago

      Ah! I love this! I am always looking for great tips for shaping my eyebrows!! Thanks for posting such a great hub :)

    • Jayne Lancer profile image

      Jayne Lancer 7 years ago from West London, UK

      I agree, Jenn. It doesn't take any of us much time to do at least something with our brows to make them look at least tidy.

      I'm glad you like the series; it was a bit too much to take on, having to follow each Hub quickly with another. I should have written in advance. My family is beginning to think I've lost interest in them.

      Anyway, a comment like yours makes the effort worthwhile.

      Thank you for the compliment, and for coming by!

    • VeggieJenn profile image

      VeggieJenn 7 years ago

      Jayne, this whole series has been great! I am an eyebrow fanatic...I hate when people don't have theirs done, so i loved this post.