How to Pluck Your Own Eyebrows, According to the Pros

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close up of a woman's face who has well-shaped brows
Photo: Ed Maximus

Whenever we've asked a makeup artist or esthetician about the right way to tweeze eyebrows at home, they've responded with one incredibly frustrating response: "Don't! Go see a professional."

Honestly, we understand. This answer totally eliminates the chance of you accidentally plucking them all out like you did in 1999. Still, we're convinced there is a way for you to tweeze and groom your own brows at home without making a disastrous mistake. And with a little urging, we finally got the pros to share their best step-by-step tips for getting your brows in shape — all on your own.

Step One: Prep Your Brows

Remove any makeup to ensure you are starting with your bare, natural eyebrows. This eliminates the chances of you over-plucking or tweezing your eyebrows in the wrong areas. It'll also give you a clear view of those pesky stray hairs. "When removing hair, it is essential that the skin is makeup-free and cleansed," Glamsquad Artistic Director Kelli J. Bartlett says. "Use a makeup remover first to ensure the skin has no residual dirt or makeup." In a time crunch, you can always just use a makeup wipe.

Applying heat to the area also helps. "Always take a shower or apply a warm compress before you tweeze your brows," Anastasia Soare, founder and chief executive of Anastasia Beverly Hills tells InStyle. "The heat opens up the pores so it's much less painful. Make sure the skin is clean and dry, not greasy, and with no lotion or creams."

Step Two: Gather Your Tools

You want precision for this task, and a slant-tipped tweezer allows you to easily grab hold of individual hairs. Bartlett swears by BrowGal Eyebrow Tweezers. You also can't go wrong with Tweezerman's Slant Tweezer.

Soare adds that you should also have a pair of thin-blade scissors handy just in case you need to trim a few hairs. She also warns that even if you're tempted, don't ever attempt to wax your eyebrows yourself — simply stick to tweezing for the time being. "It takes a lot of skill; you have to keep your eyes open, and the wax could drip, taking off more than you intended," she says.

VIDEO: 4 Ways to Do Your Eyebrows

Step Three: Figure Out Your Shape

When the goal is cleaning up random hairs from your brows, celebrity makeup artist Vincent Oquendo has a genius trick. "My first recommendation when using tweezers to clean up your brows is to start with a white pencil to outline your shape," he says. This allows you to see the way your eyebrows naturally grow and calls attention to the stray hairs growing out of place. Then, he recommends coloring in these stray hairs with the white pencil. "By doing this you see your shape before you pluck to stack the deck in your favor and give yourself a better chance of nailing it and scoring an identical set of brows," he notes.

"The biggest mistake I see people make is trying to eyeball their shape," the makeup artist adds. "By not sketching the shape out ahead of time, they tend to quickly lose control and end up with brows that look like distant sisters and not identical twins."

If you don't have a white pencil at home, Soare offers another solution, and she's got a name for it and everything. "Start with the three steps of the Golden Ratio Shaping Technique: Brows should begin directly above the middle of your nostrils, brows should end where the corner of the nostril connects with the outer corner of the eye, and the highest point of the arch should connect the middle of the tip of the nose with the middle of the iris," she says. "This technique tailors your brow shape to your unique bone structure."

Step Four: Get Started, But Start Slow

This isn't something you should try to tackle in 10 minutes. "Take it slow, make it something you do on a lazy Sunday night — the more time you allot to getting comfortable shaping your brows, the better," Oquendo says. "I've for sure rushed through grooming myself in the past, and have definitely come out looking lopsided."

When you are ready to get going, be sure to only grab hold of those tiny stray hairs to get a natural finish. And make sure to follow Bartlett's rule of thumb. "Pluck no more than two hairs at a time before stepping back and evaluating the shape," she says. "It is easy to get pluck-happy and take too much."

Isolate the hair by slowly lifting it up from the skin; gently pull it in the direction of the growth to avoid breaking it in half or irritating the skin.

Step Five: Aftercare

Immediately after tweezing, Bartlett recommends cleaning your tweezers with soap or a facial cleanser to eliminate any lingering bacteria. If you experience any redness, Oquendo suggests patting on a soothing moisturizer, like the Shiseido Waso Jelly to the sensitized skin. Soare adds that a gentle toner or aloe vera gel will also do the trick.

Step Six: Dress Them Up

Never apply makeup to irritated skin, but once it has calmed down, Soare says there are a plethora of products out there to take your brows to the next level. She recommends a few from her collection like Dipbrow Pomade, Brow Wiz, as well as Tinted Brow Gel — all of which have a cult following. But she's not going to pick favorites, that's totally up to you. "Try a few and see what works for you and your brows," she suggests. "And if you have the time, developing a several-step brow routine will always be best."

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