Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Beauty Discovered

Makeup & Beauty Tips on How to Fill in Your Brows

Share your best tips and tricks for filling in brows! Feel free to share your experiences, how you mastered techniques, or what you struggle with.

My Tips

  1. I like using an angled brush that is no thicker than the thinnest part of my brow (which works out to be MAC’s 266 for me).
  2. I have darker brows but full-on black looks unnatural and very, very dark on me, so I opt for something a little lighter with a touch of warmth.  You do have to experiment with shades sometimes to find something that balances well with your natural hair color.
  3. When I have first grabbed product onto the brush, I apply in the middle, not the ends, as a lot of product will get applied on that initial application, so it’s better that I can blend it out to the rest of the brow than start at the edge where it might be too strong.

Discussion and debate are highly encouraged, and we expect community members to participate respectfully. When asking a question, please check the FAQ section (above) for information about purchasing, price, dupes, and the like. If you have general feedback or need technical support, please contact us.

Comments that include advertisements, self-promotion, insults, etc. may be in violation of our comment policy and subject to deletion. Please see our comment policy for more information.

34 thoughts on “How to Fill in Your Brows – Tips & Tricks

  1. Avatar of Deandrea Dee

    I think black is harsh for EVERYONE. I am much darker than you, black hair, and full on black powder looks fake and hard on me. I thought dark brown would be too light, but it is perfect!

  2. Zohra

    What do you use to fill your brows in? I use a “brun” from MAC or an Maybelline brow pencil but my brows are dark and i find these aren’t dark enough. In pictures, especially it becomes very noticeable and makes it seem as if my brows are drawn on.

  3. Avatar of Laurel Laurel

    I have very dark brown hair that’s almost black and every time I would use a light brown shade it would look weird on me. I use mac brun to fill in my brows and it looks natural to me and everyone else besides makeup artists. Many makeup artists tell me the color is much too dark but I don’t care I’ve gotten more compliments on my eyebrows in the past two years that I’ve been using brun than in my whole life. Sometimes you do need to match your brow color to your hair color

    • Avatar of Amy xamyx

      I couldn’t agree more. I have black hair (although it’s naturally auburn), and I use black. When I’ve used dark brown, or charcoal, it looked very obvious, and made it more apparent that my hair is dyed. With black brows, I look like my hair is naturally black (or at least very close).

    • Leila

      I agree with you both! I have very cool, very deep, dark black brows and anything with a hint of warmth in it i.e. browns (even cool ones), just look obvious and painted on. Soft blacks or deepest, darkest greys that are more like charcoal but not full-on black, are the best on me.

      Used with a light hand, then brushed through with a spoolie properly so it’s all diffused, it’s perfect. This way it isn’t too harsh. I suppose makeup artists say to stay away from blacks just because it’s so easy to get wrong!

  4. Avatar of Agata Agata

    Great tip with starting to apply the product in the middle of your eyebrow instead of the edge. I will have to try that out!

  5. I have full brows, but they still need a bit of filling in. I find that the Hourglass Arch Brow Sculptor is a great product for my brows without making them look unnatural.

  6. Jen

    When I had black hair I used the charcoal eyebrow powder from clinique and it worked pretty well. Now that my hair is more of a dark reddish brown, I’ve been using Anastasia brow wiz in caramel. I love it!! I use light strokes and make sure I go in the direction of my natural hair. Since my eyebrows are naturally short, I draw the outline of the ends and then fill it in, using the brow wiz to blend in the ends I drew in with my eyebrows. It’s also really important to use the spooly as you work, so you can smooth everything out and get a more natural look.

  7. I really like Benefit’s Gimme Brow. I use light for every day even though my brows are dark because for daytime, it just looks more natural. I’m considering getting the darker shade for when I want a more dramatic look but Gimme Brow is so quick, easy and natural and it does a great job.

  8. Avatar of Chelle daheep

    I find a grayer, almost olive brown works better than colors with red or warm tones (I have dark brown eyes & hair with a medium complexion). NYX Matte Eyeshadow in Confession & Inglot’s 348 look very natural on me. I also love Suqqu’s eyebrow marker pen in green, but it’s so expensive & a pain to get a hold of.

    Best tool for me starting out was my cellphone camera. I took selfies to see how my eyebrows looked compared to what I saw in the mirror. Turned out they were crazy lopsided!

  9. I have brown hair and pale skin, and my brows are pretty close to black. Using a warm brown looks really painted on on me, even though I have warm undertones. A makeup artist once told me that the trick for me to filling in my brows was to go with a brown with grey in it. She used Bobbi Brown saddle on me and I’ve been using it ever since, but it does make my already strong brows look pretty intense.

    The other day I was playing around and tried using Mac Copperplate instead and it looks way more natural. So my new go-to is actually a brownish grey, rather than a greyish brown, as weird as that sounds. I’ll still use Saddle for stronger looks, but Copperplate is the new every day!

    • I love Saddle – it’s a great eye shadow too but I also like it to fill in my brows very lightly.

    • megz

      Copperplate and Concrete are my go-tos. My eyebrows are very dark, almost black and warmth sticks out like a sore thumb on me. The tones in my brows are very cool and when I used a chocolately brown it just looks strange.

  10. Use a combination for gel and powder. It looks defined yet natural.

  11. Avatar of Veronica Veronica

    My brows are naturally 3-4 shades darker than my hair, so I tend to focus on grooming and plucking the strays than filling them in extensively. Don’t overpluck – work with your natural shape. I especially recommend this to women with hooded eyes – avoid the popular arched shape. It only highlights our brow bone, not the lid!

    I love the Anastasia powder duos – you can create a darker shade for filling in and use the lighter shade around the edges. I feel a gradient generally makes for a more “natural” brow if that’s the look you want. My brows are naturally 3-4 shades darker than my own hair, so I’ll go for a gentler shape when I’m au naturel. When I dye my hair black, I use the darker shade in my duo to make them more distinct.

    Tools make a big difference. I use a Sonia Kashuk brush wand to smooth them out – personally, I don’t set my brows because I have a “brow calick” that looks weird if I try to smooth it down, so I like them a little wild looking. If I want a very soft brow, I use an angled brush with looser bristles and just brush the lighter shade in. When I want a very sharp, distinct, less natural brow, I’ll use an angled liner brush with packed bristles and use the darker shade in the Anastasia duo (I use the darkest brunette.)

    I should also add, if you’re going for A Look brow, practice a bit at home until you figure out what you want. Brows can seriously change the look of your face – some people can do the heavy brow (ala Lily Collins), while on others it’s just overwhelming.

  12. Alia

    I love brow mousse over brow powders and also add Benefit’s Gimme Brow as a finishing touch

  13. Grace

    Don’t over pluck!! I think that is the one and only best tip and trick. I wish I never plucked mine as they were pretty sparse to begin with, and they haven’t grown back since college which was quite many years ago. I hate having to fill them in every morning, it takes such a long time to get them even. I didn’t realize eyebrow hair thins with age.

  14. Avatar of T Violet Lee

    I have red hair and it was really hard finding a color that looked natural on me (and I really need to fill in my brows, they’re naturally kinda skin colored!). I’ve had MAC make-up artists tell me I should use taupe but that just makes it look like my eyebrows are fake. I think a lot of make-up artists have mostly worked with dyed redheads and don’t have a lot of experience with real ones. Auburn shadow (I use the discontinued MAC brow shader) looks the most natural on me.

  15. I use Urban Decay’s eyeshadow primer potion all over my eyelid and up into my eyebrows. I fill in my brows with the color Faint by Urban Decay, found in Naked Basics and apply it with Sephora’s Pro Brow #20 brush. I also start the filling in process in the middle and brush the shadow up and towards the outside of my face. Then, with whats leftover on my brush, I fill in the innermost section of my brows so it is not as dark as the center portion. Finish off with UD’s De-Slick setting spray, with a spritz over each brow.
    When I am in too much of a hurry to fill in my brows, or if I slept on my face and my brows are going every which way, I use the clear wax pencil Brow Fix by Anastasia or some hair spray with a spoolie to realign the hairs.

  16. Avatar of Chelsea Chelsea

    I’m a ginger with taupey-blonde eyebrows. Brow pencils that match my hair look terrible on me, because my brows don’t match my hair at all. Lately my routine’s been a blond eyebrow pencil (Sephora brand Waterproof Retractable eyebrow pencil in Honey Blond, though this leans a little redder than I like) topped with a taupe brow mascara (Paula’s Choice).

    My old favorite was Maybelline Define-a-Brow in Light Blonde (which was amazing, but my color was discontinued).

  17. Joanna

    Same! I have naturally jet black hair with fair skin. Even some dark browns look harsh on me unless I’m going for a super made up look. I like my brows a little thicker and a tad bit natural. So I end up using a medium brown or sometimes even greyish brown to get it done. On top of that I have sparse brows especially at the end so it’s really hard to get it nice… I tend to use cool tones to fill in my brows instead of warm tones as warm tones tend to look red on me and cool ones look like natural shadows

  18. When I am looking to make my already thick eyebrows really defined I dampen an angled brush and transform my benefit brows a go go powder. I find that it makes the brush strokes look like hairs. I end it with a sweep of tinted brow gel.

  19. It’s funny, Christine–I actually stumbled upon your blog almost exactly a year ago while searching eyebrow tutorials! You had a video that totally changed my (eyebrow) life! I had to swap out your recommended MAC Espresso (slightly too dark) for MAC Charcoal Brown, but otherwise, I’ve followed that tutorial to the letter! So…I owe you a very belated thank you!

    • Aww, thank you so much, Stephanie!! :) Charcoal Brown is a good one! I switch between Espresso and Brun a lot, depending on the look and season, so one size definitely doesn’t fit all!

  20. I’ve been using Tarte’s Amazonian clay brow mousse in Taupe. It’s by far the most natural looking brow product I’ve used thus far, and it’s very easy to apply.

  21. Avatar of Jen Jen

    I just recently learned the trick for me! I have very dark brows, but they’ve always been very sparse. I would use a color “two shades lighter” and “less is more” because those were the standard rules I learned, and it never looked great.

    Recently a MUA at Ulta showed me the trick. I need a powder/wax combo that is as dark as my brows (because if your hairs are far apart, whatever’s between them is going to show), and I need to apply it boldly. I thought it was going to look “drawn on but flattering”, but at the end she softened the edges and it looked surprisingly natural. Once I’ve practiced the technique some more I’m going to do a video on it.

    This has been such a revelation for me! Getting brows right just makes the whole rest of your look so much better.
    Jen Recently Posted: Urban Decay black eyeliner options and comparison swatches

  22. I have very sparce, thin-ish eyebrows that are like a taupe-y blonde (which matches my hair color too), & for years I’ve been filling them in with Maybelline Define-a-brow in Light Blonde…it’s the only color that really truly matched my brows without looking like a took a Crayola to my face. Plus you couldn’t beat the price! BUT **frown** they discontinued that color! I might try their “Dark Blonde” but I hope it doesn’t look too clown-like.
    Anyone else (or Christine) have any suggestions for light-colored brows?

    • I know a lot of people use MAC Omega for lighter brows! Otherwise, I’d try looking into Anastasia – I mean, the brand started with all brows ;)

      • Thanks Christine, I’ll check her stuff out again…I did in the past, but the pencils didn’t work out for me. Besides, I got spoiled by the turn-click pencils (no sharpening = time saved in the morning) ;p

        I’ve done some research & some blondes are using an NYX pencil in Taupe, & Avon’s blonde pencil. I’ll give those a whirl, lol.

    • I have really blonde (think shiny gold) eyebrows with strawberry-blonde hair. I love the Tarte Brow Mousse because it is strawberry blonde. I also like the lighter Milani brow pencil (cheaper, but thick so harder to work with). I have been using Anastasia’s BrowWiz for a while now in MediumAsh and its more taupe-y brown. I added the Brow Gel in Auburn (dark) just to go over the brows and make them look more natural and I love it. I will go lighter for the summer, probably with the brunette shade. I have pics on my instagram of my brows using different products.

  23. My eyebrows are so messed up right now they are uneven and gross looking The lady who did them said that they are suppose to be uneven however when I fill them in they look horrible Now I have to re grow my brows and get them done professionally now. Btw I used a lighter Brown for my brows