Most of us start our brows in the wrong place, fill them in the wrong place, and, thanks to "makeup faces" generally put emphasis in the wrong place too. Those aren't new issues. But Maybelline New York global brow expert Maribeth Madron has new advice on how to fix those mistakes. So, at a recent preview event I grabbed my camera, rushed Maribeth and model Marina into an upstairs corner and filmed an impromptu How to Fill in Eyebrows video. The short clip is packed with the best brow-enhancing tips you've never heard, plus a new lesson on how to use tinted brow gel.
how to fill in eyebrows: best new tips
When you've been in the beauty how-to business for more than a decade, chances are you'll think you've heard everything, at least when the topic is "how to fill in eyebrows." But apparently not, I found out when I met makeup artist Maribeth Madron, global brow expert for Maybelline New York. Here she shares her excellent advice on achieving youthful, full brows (a trend Maybelline calls "Arch Madness").
In the video at the end of this post, you'll notice Maribeth uses Maybelline NY Define-A-Brow pencil ($7.46 at walmart.caand $5.99 at drugstore.com), which she says is great for building shape and colour; Maybelline NY MasterShape pencil, which she says is a waxier formula with a little pigment, ideal as an all-in-one brow product; and Maybelline NY Brow Drama ($7.99 at ulta.com), a new tinted brow gel that launches this month in three shades.
where to start, stop and arch brows
The first thing to remember is relax your face. If you make "makeup faces" when you fill in your brows, says Maribeth, you'll put colour in the wrong place. Instead, maintain a neutral expression and use natural lighting whenever possible.
1) Do this pencil test to determine the start, arch and finish of your brows. Place your pencil along the bridge of your nose so it rests partly on top of the nostril and points up to where your brow should start. See that gap between Marina's brow on the left and the tip of the pencil? That should be filled in.
Did you catch that? How many of us have tried this trick but with the pencil resting next to the base of the nose instead of resting along the bridge? Don't! That's how we end up with brows that are too far apart -- and it's aging! As we get older, brows thin out at the beginning and can look like they're sliding sideways off the face anyway. (I get a funny vision of that now every time I see far-apart eyebrows.)
2) Angle the pencil from the base of the nostril to the outer corner of your eye = the end point for the brow tail.
3a) Place pencil against outer edge of the nostril and angle along the outer edge of the pupil for a classic arch.
3b) For a wide-eyed look, angle your pencil from the outer edge of the nostril to the outer edge of the iris and start your arch there. Slightly farther-part arches can lend the face more of a heart shape, too.
where to fill in with colour – and how
4) Start to fill in eyebrows at the centre. Natural brows are more sparse at the beginning (the brow anchor), thicker and denser at the centre, and thinner/more sparse at the end (tail).
Note: Brows that are too dark or dense at the anchor can emphasize forehead wrinkles, especially the dreaded vertical "elevens" or, as our Liza Herz calls it, "coin-slot" groove. Yikes!
5) Use light little pencil strokes in the direction of the hair growth, working up and out to fill in eyebrows. Leave the anchor until last and do just a tiny bit. Stroke through with a brow brush to blend.
6) Add dimension with MasterShape Pencil in Blonde (or whatever matches your hair colour best). A waxier pencil texture than Define-A-Brow, MasterShape is lightly pigmented and sharpen-able. "It's great for someone who wants one product to do their brows because you can get some structure and pigment laydown," says Maribeth. "Use the side of the pencil tip for a large area; use the point to add little strokes at anchor and tail. Always have a nice sharp point when you work on the brows."
how to use maybelline brow drama tinted brow gel
7) The new Maybelline Brow Drama Tinted Brow Gel can add texture, shape, colour and hold. Maribeth likes Brow Drama for its intense pigment in a gel formula that lasts for hours.
Before using Brow Drama, always "desaturate the brush" -- wipe the excess off in a tissue. Then start from the brow tail and work backward, applying the colour against the hair growth in strokes toward the brow anchor.
8) Once you reach the anchor, stroke the brush back in the opposite direction, following the hair growth from anchor to the tail again, brushing brows back into place.
Rotate the brush to the other side and do the other brow.
9) Leave the brows looking feathery (brow at right) for a youthful, bohemian effect; smooth them precisely (brow at left) for a more sculpted finish.
Maybelline NY Brow Drama ($11.99 at drugstores and mass retailers; $7.99 at ulta.com) is a new tinted brow gel with durable hold; it's available in three shades: Blonde, Soft Brown and Deep Brown. The official launch date is October 21st, 2014, but I bet you could find it now.
Sadly Maybelline NY Brow Drama tinted brow gel in Deep Brown is too red for brown-black-haired beautygeeks like me. Please, Maybelline, make a cool dark brown-black? Or dark-grey-black? Asians and Eurasians would love that.
Here's the whole, impromptu How to Fill in Eyebrows video with Maribeth Madron – emphasis on "impromptu." Enjoy!
What do you think? Do you already use these tricks? Do you use tinted brow gel as well as pencils? And how about that back-and-forth brow gel action?