Start by combing the brow hairs straight up with a brow brush or a toothbrush. “You should be able to see the top of your natural brow line, which will help you determine which hairs to trim,” says brow specialist Ramy Gafni of the RamySpa, in New York City.
Once you can see the natural line of your brows, use brow scissors to trim hairs that extend above that line (a pair of small scissors will work, too). “Take a conservative approach,” says Gafni. “You can always trim a little more, but if you take too much off, you’re stuck.”
After you’ve snipped off unruly hairs, clean up the undersides of your brows. Use a sharp angled tweezer to pluck stray hairs from underneath each arch. If your brows become red or irritated after plucking, apply a post-tweeze lotion that contains a moisturizing ingredient, such as honey.
RSpicks: Laura Mercier Brow Grooming Brush, $10, lauramercier.com. La Cross Diamond Tip Tweezers, $10 at drugstores. Tweezerman After Tweeze soothing cream, $10, tweezerman.com for locations.
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Problem: Overplucked Brows
Use a wax-based brow pencil to fill in any holes. Choose one in a color that matches your brow hair. If in doubt, go for a pencil in taupe, a shade that works with nearly every brow and skin color.
Draw the pencil onto the bald spots and over the rest of the brow using short, light strokes. “If you draw just over the bald spot, it won’t match the rest of your brow, and it will look obvious,” says brow specialist Ramy Gafni.
Blend and soften the pencil you’ve applied by going over your brow several times with a brow brush.
Step away from the tweezers. You might think that a little tweezing from the part of the brow that is not overplucked will help to even things out, but don’t do it. “You risk making a bigger mess of your brow if you try to tweeze off more hair to eliminate the hole,” says Tessa Holland, an eyebrow specialist at the Warren-Tricomi Salon, in Greenwich, Connecticut. (Your brow will start to grow back in a couple of weeks, so the bare areas will gradually become less obvious.)
RSpick: Ardell Brow Pencil (includes a brush, which is attached to the cap), $4 at drugstores.
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Problem: Sparse or Very Fair, Nearly Invisible Brows
Use a tinted brow wax to darken the arches. “When you’re filling in an area that doesn’t have a lot of hair, you need a wax-based product that will adhere to the skin,” says brow specialist Ramy Gafni. Avoid brow powder, which fades as the day goes on.
Brush the wax over your brows, using the edge of a stiff-bristled angled brush (an eyeliner brush will do). Then use short, light strokes to fill in sparse areas along the brow. Follow the natural line of the brow hairs ― even if they’re hard to see, they’re there.
To soften the wax, go over the brows with a brow brush. This will make the color look more even and natural.
RSpick: PürMinerals Pür-fect Starter Kit (includes brow wax and a brush), $37, ulta.com for locations.
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Problem: Overtrimmed, Stubbly Brows
With a soft brow pencil, lightly draw a line along the top edge of your brow to make that uneven, too-trimmed line look more uniform. Use short, feathery strokes as you draw so that the color doesn’t go on too heavily.
Next, fill in the brow (even if it’s dense) with the same pencil so that the color is uniform and the stubbly area doesn’t look obvious. As you draw, rest the heel of your hand on your cheek to help keep it steady.
Top the pencil with a clear brow gel, which will keep the brow hairs in place and make them look glossy and full (this will also minimize the stubbly look).
Comb the errant gray hair upward using a brow brush.
Cut off the gray as close to the root as possible using a pair of brow scissors and being careful not to snip any of its normal-colored neighbors. “When you trim a gray hair, it makes it less noticeable ― it blends into the rest of the brow,” says brow specialist Ramy Gafni .
To camouflage further, Nives Riddles, a makeup artist at the Rescue Rittenhouse Spa, in Philadelphia, suggests using a noncreamy tinted brow gel, which will add light color and hold the rest of the hairs in place over the gray stubble.
Whatever you do, don’t pluck it out. No, not because 20 more will grow back in its place, but because you risk tweezing too much. If you pull out every gray you see, you’ll eventually wind up with bald spots or misshapen brows.