As little as they are, your arches have a big impact—bookending your features and lending proportion to your face. Here's how to keep them in shape.
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The golden rule of grooming: Before you shape or shade your brows, find a length that flatters your face. "Brow aesthetics may change over the years, but what never changes is where an attractive brow begins and ends," says Mally Roncal, a makeup artist and the founder of Mally Beauty.
To find the start of your brow, "hold a pen vertically against one side of your nose," says Kristie Streicher, a brow expert and co-owner of Striiike in Los Angeles. "Where the pen intersects the brow is the start." Tweeze any hair between your brows' starting points. If your brows begin wider than their prescribed starting points, narrow the gap by shading in with a brow pencil, using hairlike strokes. (Strapped for time? Get killer brows in under 2 minutes.)
To determine your brow's tail, "angle the pen diagonally from your nostril to your eye's outer corner," Streicher says. "Where the pen crosses your brow bone is the tail." And if your brows peter out earlier than where the pen crosses your brow bone, stencil in a longer tail with a water-resistant product, such as Mally Beauty Evercolor Long Wear Brow Defining Gel ($31; qvc.com).
Pick Your Silhouette
These are the most flattering shapes, the pros say:
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Feathered: "Keep your brows thick by tweezing only strays no more than every six weeks," says Sarah West, the owner of the Brow Bar in Ann Arbor, Michigan. If your arches are anemic, consider using a growth-encouraging serum, such as GrandeBrow ($80; sephora.com). (Eyebrow extensions are another option.) Finally, sweep brows up a lá actress Rachel Weisz with a clear setting gel, like Mary Kay Brow Gel ($10; marykay.com).
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Boy Brow: "This is a cousin of the feathered brow but darker and thicker," says Joey Healy, the owner of Joey Healy Eyebrow Studio in New York City. To get the look (like Mad Men actress Kiernan Shipka), let your brows grow in (castor oil can help), then deepen their color with powder and play up their density with brow gel, such as Glossier Boy Brow ($16; glossier.com).
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Instaglam: "The look is crisp, sharp—and very done," says Roncal, who says that its hallmarks include clean edges around the brows, which are trimmed short with scissors to a smooth finish, an ombré effect (lighter at the head, darker at the tail), and an exaggerated arch—just like Rihanna. Keep maintenance in mind: You must touch up this shape every few days to keep it from looking and feeling "like uncut grass."
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Stick Straight: A clean, modern look, this shape (perfectly pulled off by actress Rooney Mara above) can take a bit of work to achieve if you weren't born with it. Tweeze at the tail so it lines up with the head and goes no farther than the eyes' outer corners—and use brow powder above and below the arch to downplay any natural curves.
Choose Your Hue
Once length and shape are set, it's time to pick a product shade. (Considering something more permanent? Read about the pros and cons of tattooed makeup.) Interestingly, many pros say women overthink this part since there are just two universal colors that work on all hair hues. "Cool or warm? That's the question. Find a product with the right undertone, and you can apply it conservatively or heavily to change the intensity," Healy says.
Cool blondes and brunettes, silver or black hair: Look for products that are taupe, medium brown, or even soft black. Try It Cosmetics Brow Power Powder ($24; ulta.com) or L'Oréal Paris Brow Stylist Prep & Shape Pro Kit in Medium to Dark ($15; ulta.com).
Red, yellowy blonde, or brunette with honey or gold highlights: Products that are warm brown or blonde will suit you best. Try Joey Healy Luxe Brow Powder in Equestrian ($28; joeyhealy.com) or Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined Long-Wear Brow Pencil in Rich Brown ($44; bobbibrowncosmetics.com).