+ Makeup, + Tips and Tricks

The Basics of Filling in Eyebrows

Filling in the eyebrows is the step that most women leave out of their makeup routine.  To many women, it seems unnecessary.  But have a look at the photo below from Erin Ashley’s blog, and see for yourself what a difference filling in your brows can make.


Filling in your brows is like a facelift.  It draws attention to your eyes, frames your face and emphasizes your bone structure.  This is especially if your blonde or Asian or, like me, over-plucked in the days when Hillary Rhoda’s brows would have been considered overgrown instead of beautifully modern.  And while some tutorials outline a multi-step process that involves powders, gels and stenciling straight lines, I don’t think that filling in your brows needs to be such a chore.

This tutorial from Oprah is pretty close to my own routine.  Just three steps: fill in with a pencil (following your natural brow shape, using feather-like strokes), brush smooth and set in place with a clear gel.

My favorite pencil is the ybf Universal Taupe Eyebrow Pencil ($12).  It has the brush built into the end, and comes in a taupe color that works on most hair and skin colors.  If you prefer to use an angled brush and powder, Anastasia Beauty Express Kit ($32) contains everything you need.  And if you prefer not to freehand your brows, the kit has a stencil kit that you can use.

Need to regrow thin brows?  First off, stop waxing and switch to tweezing, removing only the outliers and leaving the hairs close to the brow.  Second, apply Castor oil to your brows to strengthen the hair and nourish the follicles.  If you can keep your hands off of your brows and apply the oil regularly, your brows should grow back in thicker over the course of six to eight weeks.

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  1. Addison says:

    I too overplucked so I’m trying to grow my brows back in. But once I’m happy with the thickness and shape, do you think filling in your brows is a worthwhile step even for girls with very dark brows?

    October 15, 2013/Reply
    • Michelle says:

      I have pretty dark brows and I still like to fill them in — even when they’re thicker most people still have some thin areas, and filling those in evens things out.

      October 15, 2013/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I have dark brows, but I find that they still look better and more groomed with just a light penciling in. As I mentioned, I don’t have to go to all the trouble that blondes or women with light brows do, but I still give them a brush and fill in the thicker part a bit to define the shape better. It’s just a more polished look.

      October 15, 2013/Reply
    • Jennifer R says:

      yes! i have dark brown brows and still fill them in with taupe powder and an angled brush. makes such a difference. i neglected to fill them in until just recently, and can’t believe i never did!

      October 15, 2013/Reply
  2. Ellen says:

    I’m curious about the same question as Addison. I’ve always skipped that beauty step because my brows are very very thick and dark.

    October 15, 2013/Reply
    • Whitney says:

      I have thick brows too (not super dark though). I don’t fill them in but I do use a tinted brow gel by Benefit to keep them smooth and in place. I find that it keeps my brows looking more polished.

      October 15, 2013/Reply
  3. SamW says:

    I’ve been using a dark brown eyeshadow and angled brush to fill mine in lately. I like it better than the pencil which sometimes stood out (poor application is probably to blame though).

    October 15, 2013/Reply
    • KMB says:

      I use eyeshadow, as well. I have blond hair and brows and the shade “Naked” in the Urban Decay Naked Palette (one of the only matte shades in the palette) works perfectly for blond brows!

      October 16, 2013/Reply
  4. Chinny says:

    I’ve used Lorac’s “Take A Brow” and I swear by it! The product lasts forever too.

    October 15, 2013/Reply
  5. Miss Pearl says:

    I have dark hair and thick brows, and I’ll actually use a brow powder a shade lighter than my brows if I fill them in. I find it makes them look more polished without looking severe.

    October 15, 2013/Reply
  6. SJ says:

    If you’re looking for a cheaper, drugstore option, Rimmel makes a pretty good eyebrow pencil as well. I’ve been happily using it for years.

    October 15, 2013/Reply
  7. Marisa says:

    I recently decided to start throwing my brows into my beauty mix. I wanted an idiot proof and inexpensive way to try it out, and couldn’t be more pleased with Revlon’s Brow Fantasy. It is SO easy to use, and the color I got (light brown) is exact and looks really subtle.

    October 15, 2013/Reply
  8. GoGoGo says:

    Thanks for this post! Good timing.

    I just tried filling in my brows this weekend for the first time. It was actually for an over the top lil makeup job I did for a Halloween party, but I looked at some pictures after and said, Hold the phone…that actually looks awesome.

    I always avoided it because I thought it would look severe on me. Not at all! I recommend trying it for anyone who’s shy.

    October 15, 2013/Reply
  9. AM says:

    Thanks Belle! Like you I’m trying to regrow my brows now so this post is super timely. I’ve been filling them in with a dark eye shadow and angled brush too, like one of the commenters before (feels a bit more natural & forgiving of my poor application skills). Do you think after regrowing them, it would make sense to thread them or is that danger territory?

    October 15, 2013/Reply
  10. Meg says:

    I have blonde brows and brown hair and discovered brow pencils about a year ago. I liked how it looked, my face finally seemed to look balanced, but I couldn’t seem to get a good match on the color – in person it was fine but photos for some reason looked very strange. About 2 months ago, I switched to Makeup Forever’s Aqua Brow. It’s a cream applied with an angled brush. I finally have full, perfectly color matched brows.

    October 15, 2013/Reply
  11. Jo says:

    I am trying* to grow mine in right now! Good tips.

    October 15, 2013/Reply
  12. Lauren M. says:

    As a gal with naturally full brows I’m a big proponent of everyone paying attention to brow maintenance. Adding a little definition to mine and some blush is the quickest way for me to look put together.

    I’ve been a loyal user for the ybf pencil since it was called Models Prefer, but I recently switched to Benefit’s Gimme Brow. It works great and I like that it helps me remove the additional step of applying gel.

    October 16, 2013/Reply
  13. Angela says:

    If you’re trying to grow your brows back I also recommend Rogaine (Men’s Extra Strength), applied with a q-tip morning and evening. I do this, and while I haven’t regrown the Brooke Shields eyebrows I had as a teenager it’s helped to fill them in and helped to grow back some of the sparser hairs underneath. They also look fuller when I fill them in with powder.

    October 17, 2013/Reply