Eyebrow 101

Would you put a priceless work of art in a discount store frame? Of course not. It wouldn’t complement the masterpiece. When it comes to your appearance, your eyebrows frame your face. Whereas some women obsess to an unhealthy degree (the results can be frightening), others don’t even give them a glance. There’s a happy medium in between. It’s important to spend adequate, but not excessive, time on shaping and grooming these most confusing of facial features.

When it comes to shaping your eyebrows, subtlety is the key. Remember, you can always take more away, but it takes a long time for mistakes to grow back in and, unless you’ve got some vacation time coming up, you’re going to have to face the people you know and love throughout the entire process.


The first step in shaping your eyebrows is to assess the situation. Is there adequate separation between them? Are they too full?  To wide? In general, your eyebrows are already roughly proportionate to what they should be. That is not to say that there is not room for improvement, only to point out that seldom will shortening them drastically or waxing them down to a pencil-thin line produce the result you are hoping for. Take a look at Janet Jackson, Nicole Kidman, or Joey Lawrence to see cautionary evidence of the visual hazards of unnatural shaping.


When it comes to separation, a good rule of thumb is to draw an imaginary vertical line upward from the widest part of your nose – that should tell you roughly where your eyebrow should stop. Don’t go any further out toward the edge of your face unless you own a great collection of wide-brimmed hats. Although it is painstaking and slow, if you’re a first timer, we recommend shaping your eyebrows with tweezers. Once you get the hang of it and arrive at a shape you are comfortable with, waxing may be a better option. But in the beginning, use the tweezers and go slowly.


After you have arrived at the right separation for your face, the next step is to work on the overall shape you want to achieve. Look at the shape of your face and always keep the big picture in focus – even when you’re concentrating on grabbing that rogue hair by the root and giving it a gentle tug. Remember, subtlety is best. The best strategy is to start at the bottom and work your way up. Removing unwanted hairs from the bottom of the eyebrow can help open up the look of your eyes and really give your eye makeup the pop it deserves. But be careful not to go up too far (remember Nicole Kidman) otherwise you can end up looking either permanently surprised or constantly plotting for world domination.

Another good strategy to keep in mind is to stay balanced. What you do to one eyebrow, do to the other. If you get one eyebrow perfect before even starting on the other, we can guarantee you that they won’t match in the end and you will find yourself in a war of attrition with the remaining hairs, trying desperately for symmetry. Instead, try bouncing back and forth every 4-5 hairs or so. This will keep you symmetrical and focused on the big picture.


If a hair is simply too long, trim it to the proper length with a pair of small facial scissors rather than plucking it out completely.