We all remember the cringe-worthy pencil-thin brows of the 2000s—we have the Facebook photos to prove it. Thankfully, the eyebrows of today are way more natural-looking (shout-out to Cara Delevingne for paving the way). But that doesn’t mean we’re not still grooming them to perfection, which TBH, is a tough skill to master. So we’re doling out the nitty-gritty on the most common brow tools below.
Use it for: Filling and refining.
Why it works: The fine, pointed tip is perfect for drawing thin, natural hair-like strokes. Plus, you can easily increase or decrease the intensity for darker or lighter coverage.
How you do it: Use short dash-like strokes to mimic your own brow hairs, concentrating on any sparse areas. If your pencil has a brush on one end, use it to comb through afterward to help blend everything for a more natural look. If you have blonde hair, choose a pencil one to two shades darker than your brows to define them. If you’re darker, opt for a pencil one to two shades lighter to keep your brows from looking too obviously drawn on.
Try: NYX Professional Makeup Micro Brow Pencil ($10)
Use it for: Filling in sparse or light brows.
Why it works: It creates a shadow underneath the brow hairs that makes them appear thicker, fuller and more defined.
How you do it: Choose a palette with two colors, one lighter and one darker. Using an angled brush (which will give you extra control and precision), sweep the lighter color from the inside corner to the arch. Then fill in the ends with the darker color to define and shape. This way, you won’t wind up with super-dense-looking brows.
Try: Shiseido Eyebrow Styling Compact ($30)
Use it for: Flexible hold and extra definition.
Why it works: Its buildable coverage also offers a little bit of hold while emphasizing texture.
How you do it: Grab an angled brush and gently fill in arches with short, dash-like strokes. Build color as necessary (especially on the tail). Finish with makeup-setting spray on top to keep product in place even longer.
Try: Makeup Revolution Brow Pomade ($9)
Use it for: Holding hairs in place.
Why it works: It helps tame and lock thick brows in place for a more groomed look. It can also be used as the finishing touch on top of other products.
How you do it: Use the wand to brush brow hairs up to coat, and then out toward temples to settle them into place.
Try: Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel ($22)
Use it for: Sculpting, filling and enhancing.
Why it works: The pigment tends to be less intense than other products like pencils and pomades, but it’s waterproof, so it stays put until you remove it. You'll get an all-day natural look that won't budge.
How you do it: Start in the middle of your arches and move outward, working in short, feathery strokes to mimic hairs. The felt tip glides on smoothly, and the pigment dries quickly for fuss-free application.