Brooke Shields may have turned heads with her bushy brows back in the '80s, but impeccable eyebrows have become big business in recent years. "Eyebrows frame your face like a beautiful painting," explains celebrity makeup artist Rochelle Weithorn. "If they're shaped to compliment your eyes and face, you will always look well groomed."
You've got two choices when it comes to eyebrow grooming: to wax, or to tweeze. While waxing can be less painful, it's often difficult to do at home. Plus, tweezing gives you more control, since you pluck just one hair at a time. Below, tips for getting the perfect arch.
For starters, you need to use the right tool. Weithorn suggests using a tweezer you are comfortable holding, and one that grabs hair securely. Her favorite is made by TweezerMan. Before tweezing, apply some ice to the brow to numb the nerve endings so there will be less pain. To determine where to tweeze, use an eyebrow pencil to fill in the shape you want, then tweeze any hair outside the lines.
If you're not sure where your brows should begin and end, place an eyeliner pencil along the side of your nose, then tweeze any hairs that extend inward past the pencil toward your other brow. Next, angle the pencil outward toward the outside corner of your eye and tweeze any hairs that extend outside the pencil toward your ear.
If you have a low hairline and high, stray eyebrow hairs that merge into it, tweeze those away, too. Finally, tweeze any stray hairs beneath the brow.
Now that you've cleaned up your brows, you'll want to make sure they match. According to Laura Gellar, of Laura Gellar Makeup Studios in New York City, you should start with the arch -- or highest point of the brow -- which should peak over the outside corner of the iris, not the pupil. Adjust arches by tweezing out unwanted hairs and filling in gaps with an eyebrow pencil or powder.
If you have a round face, you can add angularity with well-arched, defined brows. If your face is more angular, go for a softer brow with a less dramatic arch. Either way, remember to go slowly. "A lot of people harm their brows by over-tweezing," says Geller. "Try to refrain from that kind of determination and be more conservative. You don't want to walk away with a surprised look."
Overly plucky? If you do accidentally remove most of your brow, use a brow pencil to fill in the missing hairs and consider going to a professional for some tips. "We can show you how to make your brows look even with powder and brow stencils (a brow cut-out that you place over yours and use as a guide)," says Geller.
Color is critical when using artificial eyebrow enhancers. "Unless you are seeking a dramatic effect," says Weithorn, "the color of your brows should never be darker than the color of your hair." The more natural the color tone, the more real your brows will look. Redheads and brunettes should try an auburn pencil or powder to add color, while blonds should stick with blond or light brown. Dark brown pencil should be reserved for dark brunettes.