HOW TO | Brows 101

My brows were never really something that I paid much attention to until very recently. Before the rise of the perfect, Instagram-approved power brow, all I ever did was pluck a few hairs out every so-often, and that was about it. But now, I completely understand just how much a little brow definition can change your face. However, the brow market is practically saturated with several products, and one can get carried away trying to figure out what works best for them. So, I decided that it could be useful to discuss which brow products work best for achieving the look you want, and how to use these products. Unfortunately, since I’m not even close to being a brow expert, I don’t really want to dabble into how to actually shape them – everyone is different and everyone prefers different looks, so who I am to tell you what I think would look best on you? Regardless, if you would like to learn some more about the various types of brow products out there, please keep reading.

Determining your brow shape

While deciding on how you want your brows to look, the majority of the time, if you have a decent amount of brow hair, you should use the way your brows naturally grow as a guideline. Remember, brows frame your face, and slight changes can make a world difference in the way you look. I’m going to use my natural brows as an example:

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Natural brows

 

They more-or-less look like this 99% of the time. As you can see, my brows are slightly arched, rounded toward the end, and has a moderate thickness to it. I let them grow out slightly thicker than I used to have them before, but luckily I don’t really have to do much to maintain them. The most I’ll have to do is pluck a few unibrow hairs weekly and maybe clean up around the tail every few weeks or so, but apart from that, this is basically as good as it’s going to get. If I go any thicker, my brows give me a more stark appearance which offsets the balance in my face. If I go any thinner, I find it makes me look more “matured” and bare. After experimenting countless times and having many uncomfortable moments looking into the mirror, I finally found a happy medium and kept my brows in their natural state while giving them a little more definition by slightly darkening them. As I’ve mentioned before, it all boils down to personal preference, however your natural brow shape is a great starting point.

Brow Gel

Brow gel works wonders for people with naturally thick and unruly brows. It’s basically like hair gel for brows which keep the hairs in place throughout the day. All you have to do is brush your brows in the shape you want them in, and you’re good to go! You can either opt for a clear brow gel, a tinted brow gel, or even a tinted brow gel with little fibres in it depending on how much definition you want. The clear brow gel is great for people who just want to keep the hairs in place ($, $$). The tinted brow gel is a good option for people who want their brows in place but would like a hint of definition and colour ($, $$). Tinted brow gels with fibres in them are a game changer; they add definition by holding brow hairs in place and adding a little colour, and they have little fibres which add some thickness to the brows. I highly recommend tinted brow gels with fibres to people who already have some brow hair and would like to add some oomph to their brows, especially in a rush ($, $$ – highly recommend the Benefit brow gel). I currently use the L’Oreal Brow Stylist Plumper in Medium to Dark – it has little fibres in it as well and is a great drugstore brow gel.

l'oreal brow gel

Brows with L’Oreal Brow Stylist Plumper in Medium to Dark only

 

 

Brow Pencil

Brow pencils are widely available and are most commonly used by beginners who want to start adding some definition to their brows. Brow pencils are ideal if you want to give your brows a thicker appearance by drawing tiny strokes mimicking hairs or by shading in some light colour to intensify brows. Just a few things to keep in mind about brow pencils: usually if you’re buying them from the drugstore, chances are the shade selection will be rather limited and you may not end up getting the right one. The brown and taupe shades are usually too warm, and black is just too harsh to use unless you have extremely dark hair and features. Another thing to keep in mind is the texture of the pencils; brow pencils require constant sharpening if you want to draw brow hairs, and sometimes they’re a little too waxy to get a nice clean, defined line. So what’s the point I’m trying to get at? Basically, drugstore brow products are, more often than not, no bueno. Some really good ones are the twist up crayons that don’t require sharpening, like the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz. This product also has a great shade selection and is extremely fine, making it easy to use. It is a bit expensive (at a whopping $9000 per oz.), but apparently the NYX micro brow pencil is a close dupe. I can’t speak on how similar they are since I haven’t tried it myself, but $12 vs. $27 makes it worth while.

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Brows with ABH Brow Wiz in Dark Brown only

 

 

Brow Powder

Brow powders are, in my opinion, the best products to use to achieve a natural yet defined brow. They are a cheaper option given that matte eyeshadows are typically used and they can last quite a while. They are also the most forgiving product (next to brow gels) because the intensity builds up very gradually, so if you make any mistakes, it isn’t too difficult to fix and is not very noticeable. Brow powders work well if you want to deepen the shade of your brows while making them look slightly thicker, however they aren’t the best option for creating a perfectly chiseled look. I like using two different shades, and typically brow powder products come in a duo which comes with a light and dark shade. The lighter shades are used for the front end of the brows in order to create softer definition, which helps to make a more natural look. Many individuals use MAC eyeshadows such as Omega and Soba (for blondes) and Coquette and Brun (for brunettes). A tip for finding a good brow powder is to find one that isn’t too warm-toned since brow hairs tend to lean more cool. This will ensure that your brows look more natural. I really like the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder Duo in Dark Brown since it comes in two perfect shades for me while using the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brush #12 to apply it to my brows. I like to use the spoolie-end of the brush to blend the strokes in my brows and to distribute the product more evenly.

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Brows with ABH Brow Powder Duo in Dark Brown only

 

 

Brow Pomade

Last but certainly not least is the ever-so popular brow pomade, specifically the Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomades. This product is very versatile and can be used to create a variety of brow styles ranging from very natural to very dramatic. Think of it as a gel liner for brows; it can be very intense and precise, however, unless you know how to use it, you can end up with a big mess. This product also has a massive learning curve, so chances are if you are not very experienced with brow products, your brows might look really scary when you start using this for the first time. A little goes a very very long way, so start with the tiniest amount of product and see how it looks. When I use Dipbrow, I only have to dip my brow brush in the product once, to do an entire eyebrow. For the purposes of this tutorial, I included a picture of how my brows look like after I fill it in intensely, and this is only after dipping my brush in the pomade once, very lightly. Just like with the brow powder, I like to use the spoolie-end of the brush to blend out the product in my brows and to distribute the pomade more evenly. You can’t tell through this picture, but this is way too intense for me in person, but it just goes to show how pigmented and strong this product really is, so use it with caution. It’s really easy to go overboard with this product and end up looking like you have block brows (and if that’s the look you’re going for, all the power to you!), but once you get the hang of it, your brows can look amazing. Brow pomades are also longer lasting in terms of wear and product longevity, so if you’re looking for a brow product that will give you some intense, chiseled brows and will last you about a year or so without breaking the bank, this is a great option.

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Brows with ABH Dipbrow Pomade in Dark Brown applied heavily

 

And that wraps it up! Hopefully this was useful and will give better insight on how to achieve your brow #goals (yes, cringe away). I also wanted to add that it may seem like I mentioned Anastasia Beverly Hills products quite a bit in this post, and that’s because their brow products are the crème de la crème of the brow world. Their stuff is seriously amazing and I cannot recommend them enough. Although I wish this was the case, I am not sponsored by them in any way and I have not received any of these products for promotional purposes. I shelled out my own big bucks for these products and do not regret it one bit!

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