Gels and Pencils Can Actually Wreak Havoc on Your Brows, So Use This Hero Product Instead

An eyebrow expert with decades of experience swears by the makeup-bag staple.

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Mac Eyeshadow as Brow Powder
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Big and fluffy eyebrows have been trending for years, and if anything, the more natural look has only grown in popularity since the pandemic began. According to eyebrow expert Azi Sacks of New York City's Hawthorne Studios, the days of heavily lined, monochromatic brows are of the past. This year is all about bare beauty, and "the only eyebrow essential" needed to pull that look off is a classic brand's eyeshadow, she tells InStyle.

The one product that Sacks (who does my brows) has been using for the past 20 years to flawlessly fill in eyebrows is MAC's charcoal brown eyeshadow. Reason being: Unlike gels, brow mascaras, and pencils, a powder won't pull out or damage your hair. "The majority of eyebrow gels and mousses have alcohol in them," she says, adding that when you use these products, "you shatter your brows and you get more patches throughout.

"When you overuse those products, the hair dries and snaps. The product is heavy, too, so when it dries onto the skin, it suffocates the brow, and the brow sheds because of that."

When you use a powder eyeshadow — Sacks says the majority of eyebrow powders and eyeshadows are actually made the exact same way, just branded differently — your brows won't be weighed down or damaged. They'll have that effortless volumized look that's otherwise hard to achieve.

"The MAC powder melts into the brow and magnifies its density," Sacks says. "For people who have holes and more sparse areas throughout their brows, it makes them look fuller without looking harshly filled in."

And even better: With the charcoal powder, you get a color that can be used year-round on the majority of skin tones. "It's truly a taupe — it's not too ashy, it's not too warm," she says. "It's the perfect tone for nearly every skin tone. I use it on African-American women, Middle Eastern women, and fair-skinned women."

Sacks's recommendation for filling in and fluffing up brows is to tap a lightweight angled brush (like this one from Lancôme or this one from BH Cosmetics) into the eyeshadow, then tap it throughout any sparse spots in your brows. Even if one eyebrow has more filled ends than the other, Sacks says to use the same technique and same amount of product on the other side to replicate.

"Everyone wants a bigger brow," she says. "The best way to achieve that is to hydrate, keep the skin and hair healthy, and use very gentle makeup products daily. If you want to fill in your brows, this is the product you should be going to daily. If you're only going to have one product, this should be it."

Shop the MAC eyeshadow that's been a professional's top choice for decades below.

MAC Eyeshadow MAC COSMETICS
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Shop now: $18; nordstrom.com; ulta.com; maccosmetics.com

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