Experts weigh in on how to do brows at home, from shaping to makeup.

By Renee Cherry
May 08, 2020
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For two small strips of hair, your eyebrows can have a major impact on the look of your face. Thanks to evolving trends (thin '90s brows, anyone?), plenty of us have found that one out firsthand.

With that in mind, there's a lot at stake when figuring out how you do your eyebrows at home. There's also a steep learning curve—between shaping your brows and filling them in, there's a lot of room for error. So how do you do brows when you're a total beginner? To avoid unanticipated results, here's how to do your eyebrows at home, according to the pros. (Related: What Is Microblading? Plus More FAQ, Answered)

How to Shape Eyebrows at Home

If you typically get your brows threaded or waxed, it might be tempting to try to DIY using YouTube tutorials. But experts say tweezing is a much safer bet when doing eyebrows at home. It'll give you more control and it's less likely to cause irritation.

That's not to say that tweezing can't cause lasting damage. "If you tweeze improperly, you damage that hair follicle, and you damage that blood vessel that's connected to the hair, and you're left with those brows for the rest of time," says Jared Bailey, global brow expert for Benefit Cosmetics. Um, yikes. His advice? Use at-home tweezing sparingly to maintain your shape and leave anything more drastic to the pros.

Wait at least six weeks since your last brow appointment or at-home hair removal for a touch-up, adds Bailey. To figure out which hairs should stay and which should go, he suggests using a technique called brow mapping. Here's his step-by-step on how to do eyebrows at home:

  1. Align an eyebrow pencil from the dimple of your nose (where a piercing is placed) straight up to the lower inner corner of your eyebrow and draw a small point.
  2. Looking straight into a mirror, align the pencil from the outer edge of your nose through the pupil to the highest point of your eyebrow. Draw another point below your brow.
  3. Align the pencil from the outer edge of your nose across the outer corner of the eye. Draw a third point on at the outer tip of the brow or where it would extend to.
  4. Connect the three dots, following the shape of your brow, then create the same line above your brow. You should have a cage around your brows, and there should be a little space between your brows and the outline.
  5. Using sharp, sanitized tweezers, pluck hairs that fall outside the guide you've created. If a hair touches the lines at all or you're unsure whether it should go, leave it alone. When plucking, hold skin taut with your other hand, and pluck in the direction of hair growth.
  6. Using a brow gel, comb through brows against the grain so that the hairs stick up. Wait about 45 seconds for the gel to dry, then trim any hairs that stick out above the lines you've drawn using a pair of curved brow scissors. (If your hair naturally grows downward, you'll trim anything that extends below the lines instead.)
  7. Remove the lines with makeup remover.

How to Grow Out Your Eyebrows

On the flip side, there's something to be said for taking a complete break from hair removal and letting your brows realize their full potential. For anyone who's trying to grow their eyebrow hair, Kelli Bartlett, artistic director at Glamsquad, stresses the importance of regular exfoliation. "Post-shower is a great time to give your eyebrows a good vigorous brushing because the steam opens up your pores," she says. "Brushing your eyebrows helps to stimulate the follicle and helps to exfoliate the area so that new hair can break through the skin." If you don't have a spoolie, a clean/sanitized mascara wand or toothbrush will do the job.

Bartlett also recommends adding a serum to your routine if you're trying to maximize regrowth. Try Grande Cosmetics GrandeBROW MD Brow Enhancing Serum (Buy It, $70, sephora.com), the brow version of the brand's popular lash serum. (Related: The Best Eyebrow Growth Serums for Healthier, Bolder Brows)

How to Color/Fill In Your Eyebrows

If it's been a minute since you've had your brows tinted and you want a DIY alternative, try a kit like Ardell Brow Tint (Buy It, $15, target.com), which lasts up to two weeks. If you're more comfortable using something that'll fade after a few days, you can opt for a peel-off brow gel like Etude House Tint My Brows Gel (Buy It, $11, etudehouse.com).

Even more temporary, makeup can take your brows to the next level once you've found your perfect shape. The type of brow product you should reach for will depend on what you're going for. (Related: This Surprising $8 Beauty Hack Will Tint Your Brows In 3 Minutes Flat)

If you're satisfied with the fullness of your brows and just need to add a little oomph, Bartlett suggests going with a brow pencil or gel. She likes the thin wand in Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Brows Eyebrow Gel (Buy It $23, charlottetilbury.com). If you have sparse spots you want to fill in, you'll be better off applying brow gel using an angled brush, she says.

For a feathery look, you'll want to draw individual "hairs" with a fine-tip pencil like Benefit Precisely My Brow Eyebrow Pencil (Buy It, $24, benefitcosmetics.com), or a felt-tip pen like Mac Shape + Shade Brow Tint (Buy It, $22, maccosmetics.com). The trick to drawing strokes that look like real hair is to err on the deeper side when choosing a shade, says Bailey. "The deeper the pigment is in a pencil, the thinner you can make the strokes appear," he explains. "Even when you use light pressure, it's going to make a visible stroke." (Related: Brow Lamination Is the Secret to Perpetually Fluffy Brows)

There's no question that brow maintenance is an art form. To say the least, finding the best way to do your eyebrows at home takes some effort. But with the right tools, you can pull it off with confidence.

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