We’ll say it: eyebrows are easily the most important feature on your face. Framing your face and bringing attention to your eyes, brows are—literally and figuratively—really big right now. A gorgeously full, defined pair of eyebrows are practically a beauty requirement; people are even getting transplants in an attempt to get their #browsonfleek.
But even if you’re not as follicularly blessed as Cara Delevingne, you can still get amazing brows—and we’re here to show you how. Here are 10 brilliant eyebrow hacks that are going to change your beauty game (and probably your entire life).
1. Lighting is everything.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that bad bathroom lighting is the natural enemy of amazing brows. Shaping your eyebrows under the influence of fluorescents is just begging for a bald spot. You should only ever tweeze your brows in natural light. Not only will you be able to see stray hairs you’d never notice otherwise, but you’ll have a more accurate idea of how your eyebrows are actually looking as you’re shaping them. No more post-plucking surprises!
Pro tip: For those of you who drive, keep a pair of tweezers in your car to take advantage of all that natural light streaming through your windshield and the well-positioned flip-down mirror. Just make sure to never tweeze stray brows while the car is moving, and take off your sunglasses before you shape. Trust us.
2. Avoid crazy magnification.
Stay away from those insane magnification mirrors. We mean it—avoid them like the damn plague. They may seem like a good idea, but when you’re staring at your face blown up to three times its normal size, you’re way more likely to get obsessive and over-pluck. For optimal shaping success, use a regular mirror that’s about the same size as your face and don’t spend all your time staring super-closely at your brows. Take frequent steps back—we’re talking at least a foot—to get the full effect of your grooming efforts. Eyebrows look different at a distance, and that’s how most of the world is going to see you, so don’t forget to check that angle out.
3. Let eyeshadow be your guide.
Instead of using white eyeliner to mark out where you’ll be tweezing, use damp white eyeshadow instead. Eyeliner is waxy and pushes down brow hairs onto the skin, which makes rogue hairs easy to miss. Damp white eyeshadow, on the other hand, adheres to the hair, making even fine brows stand up a little so that they’re easier to see.
Pro tip: Use a small brush and apply the damp eyeshadow against the hair’s grain to make sure that they’re really visible.
4. The ultimate brow-trimming tool.
We all know that keeping your brow hairs at a uniform length is crucial. And the best way to do this? Nose hair–trimming scissors, like these from Tweezerman ($12.50, drugstore.com). No, we’re not crazy—the rounded tip means that you can guide them along your skin without poking yourself, and the super-sharp blades are inside so there’s no danger of accidental cuts. Amazing.
Pro tip: To trim your eyebrows without ending up with unfortunate bald spots, brush your eyebrows straight up with a dry toothbrush or spoolie brush, then trim along the upper arch. And this goes without saying, but do clean your scissors with rubbing alcohol after each use, especially if you’re using them in, ahem, other places.
5. Symmetry is overrated.
Don’t stress if your brows don’t match one another exactly. Eyebrows are meant to be sisters, not twins—so a little bit of variation in the width, arch and length is totally normal. Trying to force your eyebrows into perfect symmetry is a recipe for overplucking, or worse, Instagram brows. Don’t let it happen to you!
6. Master the brow fade.
When filling your brows—whether you use a pencil, pomade or gel—don’t make them a single, consistent shade from end to end. As you can see above, eyebrows in their natural state are lighter at the inner corner (where the hairs are thinner) and get darker towards the “tail” end; mirror this with your makeup to avoid a harsh look. You can either apply less product at the inner corner, getting more intense the further out you go, or use two shades—a light color for the inside, and a darker shade for further out—that you blend into one another.
7. Be creative with products.
Looking for a great way to fill in or tint your brows? You probably already have an amazing eyebrow product in your makeup case! Use a dark brown mascara for a subtle brow tint with a little bit of hold, or mix contact lens solution with a matte eyeshadow for more dramatic, long-lasting definition. And if you’re looking to hide bare patches caused by overplucking, use a liquid eyeliner in brown or gray, and draw very small, feathery strokes to fill them in. We love LORAC Front of the Line Pro Liquid Liner in Charcoal or Brown ($23, ulta.com) for this; the fine tip makes the end result look incredibly natural.
8. Choose the right shade.
The right color can make or break your brow game. You never want to match your hair exactly. Instead, the general rule of thumb is that if your hair is light, you should make your brows one shade darker. If your hair is dark, go one shade lighter. If your hair is red, use a light to medium neutral brown. And if your hair is black, try using a very dark gray or brown instead of jet black.
9. Stay cool.
While we’re on that subject, you should always choose a cool-toned shade for your eyebrows. Thanks to the oxidizing effects of your skin’s natural oils, eyebrow makeup will almost always become a slightly warmer color over time—and if you start from a red, orange or yellow-based place, your brows will be blazing by the end of the day.
10. Timing is everything.
Always do your brows after you’ve done the rest of your makeup to make sure they complement your look. Full-on diva brows really don’t match natural, no makeup-makeup, do they? As with all things beauty, harmony and balance is the name of the game.