Note: I apologize for my significant absence from my blog, I started working full time for the stylist, Patricia Field, and am still finishing up school, so my schedule and mental brainpower has been -0. I promise to try and be more active!
Want to hear a tragic story? My eyebrows circa 2010-2016. No, seriously it was bad. Looking back at old photos, my brows were BARELY visible. Read: I was all forehead with no brow action going on. I finally got the memo on the importance of filling in brows around 2016, which proved to be a step in the right direction, but still yielded cringe-worthy results. I had gone from zero brows to brows that looked like I had stenciled them in with a muddy sharpie- which isn't so far from the truth (I used kohl eyeliner, but I mean, c'mon Ashtyn).
Trigger warning: If absolutely appalling brows (or lack thereof) frighten you, continue to scroll past the photos below.
As you can see from the photos, my brows have had quite the evolution. The truth is, mastering the art of filling in brows is a journey of trial and tribulation, one in which I'm close to mastering (If I do say so myself).
One questions I get asked quite often is what I do and what products I use to fill in my brows. I wasn't blessed with naturally full and fluffy arches, as you can obviously tell from my previously shared photos, so there is definitely an artistic skill employed when it comes to shaping and filling mine in.
I also choose the darkness and style of my brows based on occasion, for instance, at nighttime, I tend to do a darker, more defined brow whereas, for daytime, I apply a few measured strokes of my trusty Glossier Boy Brow. Eyebrows are meant to balance the face and create facial symmetry, so if you're doing super heavy eye makeup, making your brows a tad bit more defined could make a mega difference to your entire look.
It's also crucial to remember this: Eyebrows are sisters, not twins. One will always look a lil different from the other, so, to all the perfectionists out there, put the angled brush down and breathe. It's normal.
Below are my current top products, tools, and techniques for achieving buzz-worthy brows.
Glossier Boy Brow, $16
I was super late to hop on the Glossier train, so when I finally got around to visiting their oh-so-adorable shoppable studio in NYC, I was shook. I had heard so much buzz about their infamous "Boy Brow" product that promised to thicken, fill, and tame brows with a few simple swipes.
I will say, this is a great product, especially for those who have bushier brows and just want a product that will quickly and easily tame them for the day. If you're like me and require a bit more artistry in crafting believable, full, natural brows, I recommend using this product as a final, sealing layer after filling brows in with a powder or pomade. Boy Brow is great for those on-the-go days when you just want a quick boost of brow power.
IT Cosmetics Brow Power Pencil, $24
I'm a huge fan of IT Cosmetics, so naturally, I was more than happy to give this product a try. Admittedly it took me a hot minute to warm up to it, the term "universal" didn't quite rub me the right way, I had a hard time believing that any eyebrow product could be truly universal.
This pencil has a semi-thick oval shaped tip with a spooly on the end, which is great for blending and buffing as you fill in. The color "universal taupe" really can work for a lot of people (I'm hesitant to say everybody), and it's totally buildable if you need a darker look. What's truly exciting is that it contains a blend of brow-conditioning ingredients including saw palmetto, nettle extract, green tea, biotin, lecithin, vitamins A, C, E, grapeseed, and panthenol.
This is my current go-to eyebrow product, simply because it's quick to use and truly does give me natural, yet defined look. My only advice for using this pencil is to be wary if you have oily skin, the product can be hard to use against a slippery surface, (read: oily skin). I also prefer to use this product before doing my foundation, as the tip of the brush is pretty firm and can move facial product around. Besides this, I do love this product!
Matte Eyeshadow and an Angled Brush
Bear with me, I know what you're thinking. Using eyeshadow as a product to fill in your brows seems stupid. There are soooo many brow products out there, why use this? Well, let me tell you. Eyeshadow (specifically high-quality eyeshadow) is created to be blendable and moveable, especially matte colors. This is perfect for creating an "ombre" look, which is key to creating believably full, yet defined brows.
When I was first embarking on my brow journey, this was the first technique that worked for me. I started receiving so many compliments on the drastic difference in my brows, no one could believe it was just eyeshadow! The trick is to find a matte eyeshadow that is close to the same color as your hair (I used an Anastasia Beverly Hills color at the time). Remember, eyeshadows are always darker in their container than they are skin. Get your hands on a good ole' tiny angled brush and trace the tail (the end) of your brow and work inwards. Blend as you go, making the color lighter as you move towards the front of your eyebrow. This is my trusty go-to technique if I'm in between brow products, or if I want a really precise defined look. It can take time, but the results are so worth it.
Anastasia DipBrow Pomade, $18
Products aside, if you really want kick-ass brows, you need to visit an Anastasia brow salon. Yes, they exist! Expert technicians will measure, shape, and fill in your brows to complement your face shape. Select Sephora's have them, but a quick Google search will tell you where to find one closest to you. It's a bit pricier than a regular threading appointment but if you're a brow enthusiast... treat yo'self. Anyways, back to the products.
The Anastasia brand is infamous for their brow products, but my personal favorite has always been the pomade. It's waterproof and buildable matte formula glides onto your brows, and makes filling them in almost fun. That being said, I do not recommend this product to beginners, or for those with super oily skin. If you do have a tendency to be oily on your forehead or around your brows (like me), I suggest setting the pomade with a powder (try the Anastasia Brow Powder Duo), to keep it in place.
Of course, filling in your brows and using products is a quick and simple fix to achieving your dream brows, but it's important to understand that brows need some TLC too! The truth is, a vast majority of the skin and face products we use can actually damage brows, such as toners, cleansers, and even some moisturizers. The ingredients in these products are not meant for your brow follicles, and exposure to them over time can lead to falling out, damage, and loss of color. Applying a brow serum (I use Brow Food) to promote brow health and even growth has become a staple in my regimen, and I have truly noticed a difference in my natural brows over the years. I talk about this in-depth in my previous post, which I'll link for you here.
Tips and Tricks
Make the tail of your eyebrow is darker than the front, start by outlining the shape and then filling in.
Use brow pencils for creating small, hair-like strokes on areas where hair is sparse. I employ this technique on the front of my brows, where I don't have as much natural hair.
Use your concealer and a small, flat concealer brush under your eyebrows after you fill them in. This not only cleans up your lines and creates cleaner definition, it conceals stray hairs if you're in between salon appointments.
Use Brow Stencils! These are great for getting even lines and if you're new to the world of filling in brows. I recommend the Benefit Brow Stencils Kit or Anastasia's.
Always have a few spoolys on deck! These are for brushing product out of brows pre-application and for blending post application! Plus, it helps stimulate your brow follicles, just like brushing your hair.
If you're oily and like pomade, go over the pomade with a matte powder to set.
If your brows are too matte or flaky, apply a clear gel to give dimension and natural definition, while brushing away flakes and built up product.