Style and Beauty

How to shape your eyebrows in 3 simple steps

Here are some expert tips for how to shape your eyebrows.

Photo: iStock Photo: iStock

What’s the big deal about brows?

“A properly shaped brow gives symmetry to your face, lifts the eye area and can help you appear more youthful,” says Ashley Manias, Benefit Cosmetics national brow artist.

If it’s been a while since your arches have seen a pair of tweezers, begin by mapping out a shape that works best for your facial features. A brow expert at a salon can help you with this, or you can use the following techniques to shape your eyebrows yourself at home.

Step 1 Identify the starting point of your brow. Stand in front of a mirror and hold a makeup brush vertically alongside the inner dimple of your nose. The spot where the handle lands on your brow is its starting point (hint: it should begin directly above your tear duct). Mark it by making a small line with a brow pencil.

Step 2 Locate the arch of your brow. Look straight in the mirror, place the brush at the outer corner of your nostril and angle it so it intersects across your pupil. Use your pencil to mark the arch.

Step 3 Find the outer point of your brow. Place the brush on an angle, from the outer corner of your nostril intersecting the outer corner of your eye. Mark the point on your brow where the handle hits. Repeat each step on the opposite side.


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To remove the hairs that fall outside the reference marks you just made, tweezers are your best bet—they’re easy to manage and offer precision plucking. Carefully target one hair at a time, pulling in the direction it grows. Leave the arch of the brow as the widest point and gently taper the shape as you move down the tail. You might be tempted to use an at-home waxing kit to do your grooming, but most experts recommend leaving this method to a professional because it’s all too easy to take too much off.

“In my salons, we don’t shape with wax, we use it to clean up the little hairs that can grow above and below the brow bone,” says Kira Thompson, owner of The Brow House salons in Toronto. Once your brows are shaped, depending on their colour and texture, your arches still might require some attention.

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For bushy brows: Big brows are having a moment, but a full set of arches still requires upkeep. If you have long, thick hairs that require trimming, comb the middle part of your brows upward using a brow brush or a clean mascara wand and use straight-edge nail scissors to lightly trim the tips. Finish off with a brow gel, sweeping the wand in an up-and-out motion to set in place.


For bare spots: Powder does a good job of concealing scars and naturally occurring bald spots. Using an angled brush, apply a light layer of brow wax (in a shade similar to your brows) focusing on the sparse areas. This creates a base that will help the powder stay put. Next apply a brow powder, in a shade similar to or slightly darker than your hair colour. Using a brow brush, start at the inside edge of each brow and fill them in with short strokes.

Over-plucked arches: If you’ve gone tweezer-happy, or had a bad salon experience, you can fake full brows until yours grow back in. To thicken the centre of the brow, or extend the tail of a brow that’s stopping short, use a brow pencil to fill in the area. Make feathery strokes, moving upward and outward, to mimic the look of real hairs.

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Karen Robock is a writer, editor and mom of two whose work has appeared in dozens of publications in Canada and the U.S., including Prevention, Reader’s Digest, Canadian Living, and The Toronto Star. Once upon a time, Karen was even the managing editor of Today’s Parent. She lives in Toronto with her husband, school-age daughters, and their two dogs.