Ask Belle: Filling in Your Eyebrows the Right Way

Aug 3, 2015

Dear Belle,

I’m blonde so my eyebrows are barely visible.  I usually trace the outline and fill it in with brown powder but I saw a photo of myself and realized it’s too harsh.  How do I fill in my brows without looking like I painted them on with brown sharpie?  Help.

Sincerely, An Extra from ‘Working Girl’

Brow maintenance is essential to giving your face shape and definition.  Filled in brows make a big difference.  Even ladies with thick, dark brows can benefit from brushing and a bit of clear brow gel.  So how do you do it right?

There are many tutorials on Pinterest.  This one shows the best way to handle different shapes and thicknesses of eyebrow.  I think this step-by-step tutorial from Lauren Conrad is the best one I’ve seen.  And this video tutorial from Courtney Lundquist does a pretty good job of explaining the process.

As for how I fill in my brows, I have fairly dark hair, so I just need to pencil my eyebrows in a bit.  I also like pencil because it’s so much less hassle than brushing on powder.  So I use the ybf Universal Taupe Shadow pencil (the color really does work on almost everyone), and feather-like strokes to get a natural, but full, look.

Another easy option is a brow gel that used a mascara-like wand.  I tried a sample of this natural Tarte Clay-Tinted Gel and liked it.  The mini-wand makes it easier to apply if you have sparser brows.

Also, a lot of beauty bloggers use the NYX cake powder for brows in the dark or light versions.  That tutorial is a bit more in-depth.  And frankly, I just don’t want to put in that kind of time on my brows.

One last thought, if you’re trying to grow back your eyebrows, there is a method to the madness.  I’ve also found that taking a pre-natal vitamin helps.  If you need a boost, most eyelash serums, like this inexpensive one from Boots No. 7, can help regrow brows.  You can also rub on a bit of Vitamin-E oil.

Any other tips or favorite products that you want to share?  Leave them in the comments.

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  1. Jane says:

    Try Laura Mercier’s Brow Definer! I have very fair skin and eyebrows and this is the only product I have found that looks natural.

  2. MW says:

    I also have light eyebrows and have had success using the Benefit Instant Brow pencil in the lightest shade. I lightly sort of shade in my eyebrows. I don’t wear a lot of makeup so if I can make this work, it definitely doesn’t take an expert. Hope this helps!

  3. Meg says:

    I use Makeup Forever’s Aqua Brow – it’s a brow cream. It comes with a little brush to apply and a wand to remove the excess. I struggled with brow pencils that never quite looked right. This is a little pricier, but it lasts a long time.

  4. Anna says:

    Well, first off, don’t trace the outline. Your hair doesn’t grow in the direction of an eyebrow-shaped outline. They’re not lips with a defined shape. Definitely check out the tutorials, but I’ve found that using light strokes to build up the color does a good job of filling in my brows while mimicking the hair.

  5. Tara F. says:

    Benefits gimme brow gel is fantastic – it adds just enough color and shapes as well.

  6. Monica says:

    I am also blond and have struggled with this for a long time. I really like Sephora’s Eyebrow Editor kit in Nutmeg Brown for a natural, neutral color (the brush is crap though so invest in a good angled brush with a spooley). I was using a brow pencil but also eventually realized it was just too harsh looking. And the tinted gels just look off to me.

    I used to do my brows every day, but I’ve scaled back on my everyday makeup look and now save done eyebrows for evenings or going out. I feel much more comfortable with them now that I’m used to seeing them au natural and don’t feel like they are as invisible as I used to.

    As with so many things beauty related, a lot of it is just perception.

  7. Jess says:

    I love the Benefit Brow Zing product – it’s the first thing I’ve ever used that gave me a more natural look to fill in some thin spots.

  8. T says:

    I was in the same boat, until I discovered eyebrow tinting. I go I’m every six weeks or so and the cost is usually $10-25 a pop. ITS SO WORTH IT and my biggest beauty secret. Highly recommended for blond-browed babes.

    • S says:

      Agreed 1000%. I’ve been having my eyelashes and eyebrows tinted for 15 years, and it’s been the single best beauty change I’ve made. It makes such a difference, as my brows are see-through invisible without it.

  9. Cait says:

    Smashbox has three brow colors- including a great blonde. Highly recommend!

  10. Jamie says:

    Another blondie here. Bobbi Brown Cement eyeshadow and a tiny brush work wonders.

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