There is no turning back once you’ve over-plucked your eyebrow hairs. All you can do is wait for them to grow back and hope it happens fast. Or you can tread lightly, listen to the pros and avoid a regrettable grooming sesh. If your next brow appointment is weeks or months away, it might be time to learn how to groom your eyebrows at home. When done correctly, it’s cheap, easy and mostly pain-free.
In general, the most convenient way to clean up your arches is by tweezing and tinting your brow hairs, with a couple of other tricks in-between.
First, Embrace Wild Arches
According to the beauty pros at Cosmetify, before you pick up a set of tweezers or a brow tinting kit (more on this in a sec), “it’s best to allow your eyebrows to fully grow out in order to figure out their full, natural shape.”
It may not look cute, but this lets you see what you’re working with and consequently helps you avoid making mistakes down the line.
Find Your Natural Size and Shape
Now that your brows are rightfully out of control, you can figure out the most flattering size and shape for your face. And according to the Cosmetify pros, all you need is a pencil.
“To determine the length, hold a pencil up to your left/right nostril and point it straight up towards your forehead. This indicates where your brow should start. Turn the pencil diagonally, still holding it in line with your nostrils to figure out where your brow should end, ensuring it is past your eye’s outer corner.”
Figuring out the shape (aka your arch) takes a little more effort. Using the same pencil, hold it next to each nostril at a 45-degree angle. Your arch should begin wherever the other end of the pencil lands. Take the pencil you were using before and hold it next to each nostril at a 45-degree angle, going just past your eye pupil.
Don’t Obsess Over Symmetry
Another gentle reminder before getting to the “fun” part: your brows should be siblings, but they don’t have to be twins. Concentrating on getting an exact match will easily lead to over-plucking, tweezing and/or waxing.
According to eyebrow specialist Joey Healy, less is more. In other words, if you realize you’re overdoing it, the smartest thing you can do is stop and step away from the tweezers.
“Don’t try to fix your eyebrows by making the good one match the bad one,” he says. “If you feel like you might have crossed the line, don’t freak out. If needed, you can use products like Luxe Brow Powder to fill in.”
If one is fuller than the other, brow gel will be a saving grace for holding messy hairs in place until you can correct your mistake.
Start With a Clean Canvas
It should go without saying, but wash your face and hands beforehand.
“Do ensure that you’re starting with a clean, dry canvas,” says the Cosmetify pros. “That means no traces of brow pencils, gels or powders and try to avoid applying anything that’s oily or greasy beforehand, such as self-tanners or serums.”
Pluck, Tweeze and Trim at an Angle
Now we can get to the main event. For starters, the Cosmetify pros reiterate how easy it is to get “tweezer happy and start plucking anywhere we see a stray brow hair.” It is crucial that you don’t go overboard so nix the idea of daily maintenance and always brush the brows up and at an angle before grooming so you can more easily target one or a couple of hairs at a time.
“For a neat and tidy look, we suggest taking your tweezers out every 3 days or so, but this depends on how quickly your hair grows back.” Don’t get heavy-handed when you do pluck. Instead, “stick to rogue hairs in the middle of your brows, under the brow bone and around the eyelid.” If you want to get really precise, draw your preferred shape and use it as a guideline.
If you’re working with Cara Delevingne-level brows and have longer hairs to get rid of, Joey Healy recommends using brow shears like the Precision Brow Scissor to trim the longest hairs. “The best way to do it is to snip randomly at the ones that are absolutely the longest. The key to trimming is to trim one hair at a time at an angle. Never trim in a straight row across. Your brow ends up looking very blunt and stubby,” he says.
Go Bold Within Reason
If tweezing alone doesn’t satisfy, you can get fancy with an at-home tint kit for a microbladed look, but don’t go farther than that. This isn’t the time to attempt waxing or threading like the salon pros—leave it to them.
According to the Cosmetify pros, the general rule of thumb when choosing a brow dye is to “go at least one to two shades darker than your natural hair color (if you have a lighter hair color). Dark brown and black hair tones should do the opposite and opt for a color that is one to two shades lighter for a more natural, flattering finish.”
Their favorite option for beginners and experts alike is the Eylure Dybrow because it’s quick, easy to use and delivers a natural-looking finish.
“Much like any professional beauty treatment that involves dye, it’s also important to carry out a patch test, this is so you can match the tint to your natural brow color and prevent any skin reactions. As for the don’ts; never pluck, wax or thread eyebrows before applying tint, as this leaves follicles and pores open and can cause irritation. Last but not least, it’s important to remember not to panic. If things go wrong, you can expect the dye to fade within a day or two, or you can gently scrub brows when you wash your face to lighten them.”
Once you’ve opened and prepped the tinting mixture, use a spoolie brush to apply it over the entire brow, concentrating a bit more on sparse areas. Most kits require a 10-ish minute waiting period before you can remove the tint with a cotton pad.
Still, if a tinting kit feels intimidating or like too much work, a tinted brow product delivers the same results for a slightly shorter period of time.
“If you tint your brows (or might even want to try it) and can’t get to your brow professional, use Brow Lacquer,” says Healy. “It’s the perfect solution for covering stubborn greys, bringing out lighter hairs and effortlessly adding overall lushness to your arches. Its microfine applicator provides precise control while the waterproof, vitamin-enriched formula sets softly without feathering or flaking.”
If you really want to up the glamour of freshly-groomed brows, dermaplaning the skin around the brows and face will make your arches pop even more.
“With the Grooming Dermablade Trio you can easily and painlessly eliminate unwanted hair in between brow appointments,” adds Healy. “Their precise stainless steel blades erase the finest hair surrounding the eyebrow and face, leaving even the most sensitive skin smooth and flawless. I use these all over my face for deep exfoliation and to get rid of peach fuzz.”
Save Waxing for the Middle
There’s no doubting the benefits of waxing. It helps hair grow back less frequently (if that’s your thing). However, daily waxing and shaving can be irritating to the skin and a complete disaster for the brows if you pull too many hairs.
If you must wax around the brows, stick with the area between the eyes and use a gentle no-heat and naturally-derived formula to prevent redness and inflammation. You can use these on the upper lip and chin areas too.
Optional: Give Growth a Try
If you’re a homebody by choice or otherwise, it’s the ideal opportunity to try growing out your brows, which can be a tricky task. To endure that inevitable bushy phase, the Cosmetify pros recommend hiding the tweezers so you’re not tempted to use them.
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