Some women look cranky even when they’re happy as clams. It’s a phenomenon that has actually been coined “resting b$%ch face.” Ironically, though, the grumpy appearance probably has more to do with the woman’s eyebrows than her disposition.

Brows, a long unsung facial feature, are now basking in the beauty spotlight, and I couldn’t be more thrilled! I come from a long line of eyebrow-covetous women, and since I have never had great brows, when I see beautifully arched brows, I usually gush. And most of the time, the recipient was heretofore oblivious to the fact that she has such a great asset. Why my obsession? Brows are like a perfect frame around a great piece of art. You may not instantly notice them (unless you are like me and totally brow-obsessed), but they can dramatically impact your look. A few tweaks, plucks and pencil swipes, and a great brow redo can work (almost) like a mini-facelift. Today, we give you some great brow makeovers and show you how you can transform your own.

THE PROBLEM: TINY TAIL

A brow with a tiny “tail” (the part of the brow that should be the most narrow) is a common problem. (OK, a first-world problem, but it’s all relative.) Women who lived through the Great Brow Purge of 1974 are gnashing their teeth today since all that plucking has now left them with pitiful brow endings. The result is a face that reads angry:

Brow redo

Tiny brows make you look a bit … angry, especially when the tail of the brow is dwindled away to nothing.

The fix: 

Creating a brow where there are only one or two lonely hairs requires a two-step approach. First, choose a brow pencil in a shade that is slightly lighter than your brows. Using tiny, short strokes, pencil in a very faint brow line. Next, use a powder in a shade that is the same or slightly lighter than your hair. Dip an angled brush into the powder and blot the excess powder on the back of your hand. Then take the angled brush and carefully tap over the pencil strokes. Lastly, take a clean spoolie and brush through brows to diffuse the powder and pencil.

Brow redo after

Brows that frame the face read polished. The only other thing we did for this “after” is add lip balm, but she looks so much … happier!

Using two different colors of brow product, one slightly lighter than the other, will give you a more natural-looking brow. Here, I used an auburn powder mixed with a brown pencil.

brow collage

From angry to angelic: It’s all in the brows!

THE PROBLEM: LACK OF SYMMETRY

Even brows that are nice and full can still lack symmetry. Brows should begin right above the tear duct of your eye and end at the angle of your nose and outer eye corner. Brows that are too close together (we love Frida Kahlo art, but not her brows!), and you look worried. Brows that are too far apart will give you a bewildered look.

brow makeover for StyleBlueprint

Nice, full brows, yes. But they are too far apart on her face. When brows start in the middle of the eye area instead of above the inner corner, they create a look that reads slightly bewildered.

The fix: 

Use your brow pencil to help you define the start and end point for your brow.

brow makeover how to

Use your brow pencil to find the perfect start and stop point for your brows.

Filling in the brow with a pencil and brushing through with a brow gel will tame thick brows, even them up when they don’t frame the eye and create a polished look.

After brow makeover

A tiny bit of pencil, and her brows are perfect frames for her eyes.

While she looks beautiful even bare-browed, the brow makeover makes her eyes pop by putting the focus on her perfectly shaped eye and lid. The newly shaped brow helps focus on the center of her face and keeps her eyes as the focal point.

before and after brow makeover

Nothing wrong with the before brow, but the subtle change in the brow makes her eyes the focal point and gives symmetry to her face.

TOOLS OF THE TRADE

Ready to give yourself a brow makeover? Look for a brow pencil that has a tiny point to create hair-like strokes. A brow powder works if you are filling in really sparse brows and is great if you have oily skin, since the powder will literally “set” the pencil. Don’t try using the brush that comes with brow powder; it is usually a sad imitation of the angled brush that makes application so much easier. Add a a spoolie brush (basically a clean mascara wand) to blend the brow product for a more diffused look.

Have unruly brows? DON’T use the old hairspray and toothbrush approach. The hairspray will flake, and dandruff in your eyebrows is not a good look. Instead, try a brow-setting gel to keep wiry hairs in place.

brow tools

From left, Brett Brow brow powder in two shades, NARS brow pencil and spoolie brush, all from The Cosmetic Market. To find where Brett Brow is sold around the country, click here and for NARS products, click here..

If you have gray brows, a tinted brow gel will coat the hair and cover up the gray. (A brow pencil or powder will only darken the skin.)

Still fretting about the perfect brow? Most makeup artists are glad to give you a tutorial. Post lesson, as you stroll out the door all perfectly groomed, you can smile and tell the store clerk you are “just browsing.” (Sorry. Had to say it!)

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