As the frame of your face, eyebrows add personality and fierceness – but if they’re too bold, you could go from fierce to downright scary.

Because the artistry of brows is in the realm of tougher beauty techniques to master, there are a lot of things that can go wrong when you’re doing your brows. And let’s be real – we’ve all committed one of these sins listed below at least once.

Great eyebrows come with diligent practice, but there are a few common mistakes that are easy to avoid if you know what to look out for. Let’s get started.

1. You don’t brush them first

Before you even pick up your brow pencil, you need to clean up what nature already gave you. Most eyebrow pencils fortunately come with a spoolie, so clean up stray hairs by brushing them in the direction of growth.

After you’ve filled in your brows, use a clear or tinted brow gel to keep all your handiwork in place. You spent all that time on it, so make it last! For sparser brows, you can add definition with tinted brow gels.

D-Fine Brow Pencil and Gel by Wunderbrow

D-Fine Brow Pencil and Gel by Wunderbrow

Thicker eyebrows are still very much in style, so a trick to creating the illusion of big, bushy brows is to brush them upward. On the other hand, if your hairs are a little too long and wiry, you can easily trim them up by snipping the excess hair after brushing them down.

Just don’t cut them too short, lest you end up with stubbly hairs and bald patches (yikes!)

2. You’re using too much product

 

This is a very common mistake, and it can make you look like a painted doll (not in a good way). It’s a cliché, but remember that the mantra for brows is, “A little goes a long way.”

Bad Eyebrows

Use light strokes and blend, blend, blend. Your spoolie is your friend! And if it’s still too light in the end, you can then layer pigment in the sparser areas. But don’t forget, natural brows show some skin between hairs. Your brows aren’t a coloring book – don’t fill in all the empty spaces.

3. You fill in the front first

While starting at the front may seem intuitive, this mistake can lead to some very harsh-looking brows. That’s because when you first dip your brush in the product, you’re going to have too much for the front, which should be the sparsest part of your brow.

Don't fill your brows in the front first
Ignore your first impulse and start with the tail first, as this should be the darkest part of your brow. Once the product has been dispersed, you can use light, featherlike stroke on the front. This is one of the most difficult parts of eyebrow makeup to master, but once you get it down, you’ll wonder how you could ever stand your eyebrows before

4. You’re using the wrong brush

If you prefer filling in your eyebrows with pomade or powder, don’t just go with any old brush. Always go for an angled brush with thin, dense bristles. Too thick, and you won’t be able to create precise lines; too thin, and you won’t be able to pick up any product.

Smashbox eyebrow brush

We love this eyebrow brush from Smashbox!

And you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for quality brushes, either. There are plenty of bargain prices for brushes that will last you years.

5. You draw with thick, sharp lines

When you look at thick brows with angular arches and boxy fronts, you might believe that you have to use thick lines throughout.
Stop right there!

Bad boxy brows

As we said earlier – less is more!

Just as you shouldn’t use too much product, you also should avoid outlining your brows to achieve an unnatural, rectangular look. Many women have natural angles to their brows, but if yours are more rounded, this is only going to appear forced and you’ll probably look a lot like a supervillain (and if that’s the look you’re trying to achieve, congrats!)

However, you can exaggerate your angles slightly. Everyone has a natural arch even if your brows don’t show it, so simply follow along your brow bone until it becomes apparent and add some highlighter to your brow bone to play up their shape.

6. You use brow stencils

Stencils are much-debated in the beauty world, and for some people, they might help them achieve the perfect brow. Even brow stamps can turn out terrible–unless you are a professional makeup artist and know how to fix mistakes! But faces come in so many different shapes and sizes that it’s difficult to find a stencil that isn’t too short, thin, or angular.

Brow Stencils

What in the world are these things? Oh, just brow stencils.

A better alternative is to seek out a professional aesthetician who can help you figure out the shape that best suits your face.

Brows are difficult. Even when you feel like you’ve got ‘em down, you’ll probably still mess them up at some point since there are so many factors involved in getting them just right. But if you manage to avoid most of these beauty transgressions, then you’re well on your way to god-tier brows.

Heather Lomax is a contributing writer and media relations specialist for Zoetic. She loves talking all things beauty, and when she has a spare moment, she likes to spend that time outside and reading literary journals.

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