Thick, fluffy eyebrows are so en vogue these days that it seems people will go to limitless lengths to get them. Countless grooming appointments, extensions, full eyebrow transplants — all are valid options for someone with naturally sparse brow hair, but sometimes all you need to get that look is a little bit of makeup, the rights tools and techniques, plus some practice.
Take it from makeup artist Mary Phillips, who works with notable eyebrow owners Kim Kardashian, Hailee Steinfeld, and Jennifer Lopez, among others. According to her tips, achieving a full, feathery brow look is actually quite simple. “Use an angled brow brush,” she says. Her favorite pick is Tweezerman’s Dual-Ended Angled Brow Brush [Phillips is a spokesperson for the brand] because “it has really fine, dense bristles, which help create the illusion of longer brows.” Similar picks include the Anastasia Beverly Hills Firm Angled Brush and Sephora Collection’s Makeup Match Angled Liner Brush (which isn’t technically for brows but has similarly dense bristles).
Grab a brow powder (like Sigma’s Best of Beauty-winning Color Shape Brow Powder Duo) that’s a shade lighter than your brow color, Phillips advises next. “Gently comb hairs up [with the brow brush]; follow the way the brow hairs naturally grow, letting the hair extend over the shape of the brow,” she explains. “Then add your preferred brow gel to keep the look in place.”
Having naturally sparse eyebrows might feel like a disadvantage in the age of soap brows and celebrities like Cara Delevignge — but makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes, who has sparse brows herself, points out that it actually gives you “free reign” to play around with your shape, density, and color. The only problem is that “most people don’t know where to [apply their makeup] because they don’t have that guide [for shaping].”
Her advice is to use a brow pencil to lightly outline your preferred general shape if you’re not sure where to start. Refy Brow Pencil is her current favorite, but we’re also partial to the Giorgio Armani Smooth Silk Brow Pencil (another Best of Beauty winner).
Otherwise, you can get right to the nitty-gritty with Hughes’s step-by-step fluffy brow tutorial. Her general process is to use a combination of brow pomade (with a sharp, angled brush for precision) and a brow pen such as Glossier’s Brow Flick to draw on individual brow hairs. To get the most realistic hairs possible, place the tip of the pen near the bottom of the brow and lightly flick upward. All that’s left to do after that is to swipe your favorite concealer along the bottom of the brows to make a sharp, clean edge.
Whichever full and fluffy eyebrow method you prefer, just keep in mind that everyone’s brows are different. No matter how much we all like to obsess over them, eyebrows are still just eyebrows at the end of the day. The more you approach them that way, the more fun you’ll have playing around with them.
Originally published on Allure.com