With a simple raise, a small furrow, or a quick lift and hover, eyebrows convey surprise, frustration, shock, and excitement more effectively (and less annoyingly) than an exclamation point. But sometimes, eyebrows can send unintended messages: Too much tweezing can lead to bewildered or timid and retreating arches.
Whatever your issue — whether you’ve over-tweezed them and want fuller brows back or you’ve let them grow out a little more than you’d like and lost your preferred shape — there are solutions. Some take a little patience, but ultimately, you’re just a few easy steps away from getting your eyebrows back on track.
With the help of some of the top brow groomers and makeup artists, we’ll teach you how to reclaim your ideal brows.
Meet the experts:
Ramy Gafni, a brow groomer in New York City.
Maribeth Madron, a makeup artist and eyebrow specialist in New York City.
Kristie Streitcher, a brow groomer in Beverly Hills.
Joey Healy a brow groomer and founder of Joey Healy Eyebrow Studio in New York City.
Eliza Petrescu, a brow expert in New York City.
Tonya Crooks, a brow expert and founder of The Brow Gal in West Hollywood.
How to Reshape Over-Tweezed Brows
Anyone with a magnifying mirror and tweezers can recklessly prune their brows, but patiently growing them back? That takes real pluck. Here’s how to undo the damage.
It takes three to four months to see real change and up to a year for brows to grow back entirely “The first week is the hardest. It feels like the hairs are mocking you,” says Ramy Gafni, New York City-based brow groomer. “But if you leave them alone, those random little hairs will eventually form a full brow.”
If a stray is growing at an odd angle, don’t bother tweezing — trim it instead. “You want to resist the urge to touch your brows,” says makeup artist Maribeth Madron, even if that means hiding your tweezers from yourself. “If you can’t get to the tweezers immediately, the feeling to pluck will pass.”
There’s one exception, however, to the no-tweezing policy: If you’re prone to sprouting a few hairs between your brows, we’re not going to tell you to walk around with a unibrow for months if that’s not your style. To make sure you’re not over-plucking, Madron recommends using your finger as a guide. Place your index finger between your brows and draw a line on either side of it with an eyeliner pencil. Remove your finger and only tweeze the hairs in between those two lines.
“You don’t want to remove too much hair from the inner corners,” says Madron. “It’s very hard to get the hair to grow back in those spots, so I always err on the side of caution.”
Even though you can’t pick up your tweezers, you can still pick up your makeup. There’s no avoiding it: Your brows will go through an awkward phase during the grow-out process, and makeup is going to come in handy.
“This is where brow fillers, pencils, waxes, and putties come in handy,” says Madron. “If your brows are a good shape, but you’re filling in holes, pencils and powders are best.” Madron recommends the Maybelline New York Brow Define + Fill Duo, which is a dual-ended stick with a pencil on one end and a powder on the other.
If you’re growing out more than just a few sparse patches, a pencil won’t cut it. “What you want to do is paint on the brow shape you’re desiring,” Madron explains, “covering up all the patchy, new growth inside the lines with a wax/powder combination or a putty-like product, both of which are more forgiving, allow for less precision, and tame stubborn hairs.” We’re fans of the Maybelline New York Tattoo Studio Brow Lift Stick and the Merit Brow 1980 Volumizing Pomade.
As far as color is concerned, go one to two shades lighter on your brows if you’re a brunette, or try taupe if you’re blonde. Gafni’s advice? Use short strokes angled in the direction of hair growth to beef up bald spots, but stay within your natural brow line. “Never create an arch with makeup,” says Gafni. “Even the right shade can look obvious. Your bone structure should create the arch for you.”
Facilitate eyebrow growth by conditioning at night and taking hair growth supplements.
A brow conditioner will help speed the growth process along. Madron’s favorite is RevitaBrow, a peptide- and vitamin-rich serum that she recommends to many of her clients to help encourage hair strength and prevent breakage and loss. But one conditioner doesn’t necessarily fit all. “You may need to try different products with different active ingredients,” says Madron.
Talika Eyebrow Lipocils Expert is quite good — it promises to stimulate growth and even intensify color — but you may also want to try talking to your dermatologist about prescription-strength options.
How to Define Fuller Eyebrows
If you prefer thinner, more arched brows, you can make that happen,too. “Strong brows need to have shape and separation,” says Beverly Hills-based eyebrow groomer Kristie Streicher. “Otherwise, they’ll overwhelm your face.”
Unibrows can look fabulous, but if it’s not your personal style, you’ll need to grab the tweezers to create separation. (We love the classic Tweezerman Slant Tweezers) Hold a pencil vertically from the outer edge of your nostril to your eyebrows to determine where each brow should start.