How to Shape Your Eyebrows, According to Experts

It's all about the Golden Ratio.

Person with thick, shaped eyebrows and short natural hair
Photo: Getty Images

Well-groomed eyebrows help to frame the face. So if you've never tried shaping your brows, it's easy to see why the thought of over-plucking or getting the shape completely wrong can be a little bit daunting.

So, what's the key? How do you achieve that perfect shape that lifts the face and enhances the eyes? We reached out to three experts to find out.

Keep reading for the best eyebrow shaping tips, and how to get some of the most popular brow looks.

The Golden Ratio

While working as an esthetician, Anastasia Soare, founder of Anastasia Beverly Hills, noticed that many of her clients were not paying attention to their eyebrows, often considering them an afterthought. "When you spend enough time looking at faces, you realize that eyebrows have the transformative power to change someone's entire look," she tells InStyle.

Realizing there was a glaring gap in the market, she began to offer brows as a separate service. "I was inspired by the Golden Ratio, a concept I learned about during art school," she shares. "It hit me that brows should be shaped and tailored according to an individual's particular bone structure, bringing balance and proportion to the face, and so I developed a formula for the Golden Ratio's application."

The Anastasia Beverly Hills Golden Ratio Shaping Technique uses three measurements to craft brows perfectly tailored to an individual's unique bone structure.

Person with full, shaped eyebrows and a Golden Ratio overlay

Anastasia Beverly Hills also launched The Brow, a revolutionary phone app that can help you perfect the Golden Ratio Shaping Technique from the comfort of your own home. The app works by analyzing your face and finding the perfect shape for your unique bone structure. It also includes virtual consultations, tutorials, and product recommendations. "Developing The Brow app over the past year has been a labor of love," says Soare. "We're so excited to finally bring this new technology to our community and perfect people's brows all over the world."

New tech aside, fellow brow expert Jared Bailey, Global Brow Expert for Benefit Cosmetics, agrees with Soare and says brows should always be custom-built for your face. "At Benefit, we use a technique called brow mapping to help identify a shape that will bring balance and proportion to the face and eyes," Bailey shares.

If you want to go to the pros, you can book a brow service or visit a Benefit Boutique. But for those just getting started on their brow-shaping journey and want to take things into their own hands, Soare and Bailey share some of their pro tips.

Eyebrow Shaping Tips

Always Use Natural Light

Not everyone's bathroom is built like a terrarium, so if possible, Bailey recommends shaping your brows wherever you get the most natural light.

"Take a mirror you can prop up and tweeze near a window with even lighting on your face," he says. "Natural lighting helps ensure you get a glimpse of every stray hair."

Say "No" to Magnifying Mirrors

"Using a tiny magnifying mirror should be illegal because you can only see a field of tiny hair versus the actual shape and what it's doing for your entire face," says Bailey.

Brows bring balance and proportion to your face and eyes, so you must use a mirror that allows you to see your entire face, not just your eyebrows.

Start With an Outline

When grooming at home, it's helpful to start by outlining and filling in your brows.

"Once your brows are filled in, tweeze only what falls outside of this area. This ensures you'll never overdo it," says Soare.

Just make sure to use a quality pair of slant-tipped tweezers to avoid breaking off the hair close to the base and causing unnecessary pain.

Trim, Don't Cut

The most difficult part of DIY brow grooming is the trim, but a good trim job can change your entire look for the better.

"To trim your brows, you'll need a tiny pair of brow scissors and a flexible brow gel like Benefit 24-Hour Brow Setter," says Bailey. "Start by brushing the hair up towards the hairline and out towards the temple and let it dry completely. Next, use the tiny brow scissors to clip just the ends of the hair that extend past the shape. If you cut the hairs too short, the coarse hairs will stick straight out rather than lay flat."

Just remember, it's a trim, not a cut.

Tweeze in the Right Direction

The most common mistake people make when tweezing is removing the hair in the wrong direction.

"Each hair is connected to a tiny blood vessel that keeps it healthy and allows it to grow back when the hair is removed," says Bailey. "Once that vessel is ruptured, the hair never returns."

Bummer, right? To tweeze properly, the expert says it's important to hold the skin taut with one finger and then tweeze the hair in the direction it is growing. Typically, that direction is upward or toward the temple rather than straight out. It's really important to work with Mother Nature on this one.

Make Sure Your Brows Aren't too Far Apart

Believe it or not, your nose plays a big part in creating precise, picture-perfect eyebrows and helps indicate where they should start.

"Brows should begin directly above the middle of your nostrils," explains Soare. "Brows too far apart or that overlap these points can make the eyes appear wider or close-set."

Know Where to Arch — and Don't Overdo It

Getting the arch in your eyebrow correct is extremely important when it comes to defining the overall shape. "The highest point of the arch should connect the middle of the tip of the nose with the middle of the iris," says Soare. "When the arches are too close, the brows seem nonexistent and if they are too far out, it can cause the facial features to be overshadowed by brows," she explains. Connect and fill in your eyebrows based on this guideline.

And, of course, say no to power-plucking! "As tempting as it may be to grab multiple hairs, go for one brow hair at a time," says Bailey. "This will help ensure you don't grab the wrong one and end up with a patch or a hole."

End at the Corners

According to Soare, your eyebrows should end where the nostril's corner connects with the eye's outer corner. "Tails that don't hit this endpoint can look nonexistent and highlight wide-set eyes," she says. "An open-ended tail can add more space to the parameter of the face, making it look wider."

VIDEO: The Best Eyebrow Shapes for Your Face

Eyebrow Makeup

If you haven't shaped your eyebrows in a few months, brow makeup has probably become your best friend. Even for myself, I have to confess that since I realized the magic brow makeup can do, my reshaping appointments have become less frequent. Most days, I'll draw on a perfect arched eyebrow with a soft pencil or eyebrow powder.

There is definitely an art to enhancing your brows with makeup, but once you get the hang of it, you'll achieve perfection every time. Soare suggests using an ombré effect to fill in your brows will help you get the most natural look.

"To achieve this look, go in with a light hand and start applying product at the arches, working towards the tail. Then, with the last bit of remaining product, fill in the inner part of the brow," Soare explains. "This ombré mimics the density and shadow of naturally full brows."

Celebrity makeup artist Sarah Redzikowski shares a few more tips based on the look you're going for.

Popular Eyebrow Looks

The Laminated Brow

Someone with dewy skin, thick dark laminated brows, and graphic liner

"First, I brushed the brows up and used my finger to lay the hairs down flat using Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Freeze," shares the artist. "After the Brow Freeze was dry, I used the Chanel Stylo Sourcils Waterproof Defining Longwear Eyebrow Pencil to draw in hair-like strokes in the direction of the hair growth. One of my biggest tips is to take a photo once you think you're done with your brows. This allows you to step away from the mirror and see your brows differently, and often, you will be able to see any asymmetry and be able to correct it."

The Stay-All-Day Brow

Someone with dark, full eyebrows and white graphic liner

"Acacia [the model] has beautiful brows that just needed a little refining," says Redzikowski.

If you have similar brows that you'd like to define, the artist recommends filling in sparse areas with Maybelline Tattoo Brow Pencil and setting the brows in place with Grande Cosmetics Grandebrow-Fill Volumizing Brow Gel in Clear.

"This combination of products is great for oily skin or hot days, as they stay in place and you don't have to worry about your brow sliding off," shares Redzikowski.

The Full, Natural Brow

Person with full, dark, natural brows and curly natural hair

Redzikowski started by mixing a setting spray with brow wax to enhance these full brows.

"I swirled around with a spoolie to form a paste," she says. "I then brushed and laid the hairs into place. After the brows set, I used the NYX Lift 'N' Snatch Brow Tint Pen in Ash Brown to create hair-like strokes in any areas that were less sparse but kept the brow very natural."

To help speed up growth for thick, healthy brows, Redzikowski recommends rubbing a drop of castor oil into the brows nightly.

The Brushed-Up Brow

Person with thick, dark, brushed-up eyebrows

For these brows, Redzikowski started by lightly filling in her brows using Shiseido Brow Ink Trio in Deep Brown. "This creates shading in sparse areas but allows the brow to still look very natural and not too dark," shares the artist.

Next, she sprayed Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray into a tin of Soap Brows and used a spoolie to mix up a paste. "I gently brushed the paste into the brows until I got the desired shape," she says.

The Microbladed Brow

Person with brownish-blonde microbladed eyebrows

If you're often in a hurry and don't have time to perfect your brow shape, microblading could be your time-saving solution.

"I had microblading done, and it's a huge time saver, as I never give myself enough time to get ready. [In terms of products,] I love the Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Brows Eyebrow Gel in Star Brow," says Redzikowski. "The tiny brush helps fill in any sparse areas where my microblading is fading and holds them into place. I can do my brows in less than a minute with this must-have product."

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