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How To Shape Eyebrows: Tips From The Pros + Your Best Brow Shape, Explained

Hannah Frye
April 9, 2023
Hannah Frye
mbg Assistant Beauty Editor
By Hannah Frye
mbg Assistant Beauty Editor
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more.
April 9, 2023
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The post-brow appointment feeling is irreplaceable. Somehow with just a few plucks and a quick trim, your entire look can be elevated, making you feel more confident in seconds. That being said, it's not always easy to tend to your brows at home between bookings. 

The hardest part: shaping your brows. To come, experts explain how to do this step at home and how to elevate your finished look with makeup. 

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How to find your brow shape

Your brows don't have to fall into a rigid shape category, but it can certainly be helpful to have a blueprint for your grooming session. As celebrity brow specialist Joey Healy explains, you may want to start your identification process with first looking at your face shape

"Analyzing facial anatomy—such as the size of forehead, chin, jawbone, and basic proportions—will help determine a flattering brow shape for you," he says. Below, some of the most common face shapes and some complementary brow shapes, from Healy: 

  • Oval: "The most common face shape. Proportions in the face are very balanced with slightly rounded cheekbones and jaw. The 'classic' brow typically looks best on this face shape. This means beginning at the bridge of the nose and the arch is defined (but not too pointy) about two-thirds the way out."
  • Round: "Round faces have much softer features. A higher arched brow is best here because it gives dimension and geometry to help play against those softer features."
  • Square: "This face has angular lines that are a bit more distinct and prominent, especially in the jaw and forehead. In contrast to round face shapes, we want to play against these distinct lines. Square faces are best suited for a softer brow, primarily a softer arch rather than a triangular or pointy arch." 
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Eyebrow shapes explained

eyebrow shapes
Image by Rattikankeawpun // iStock

Now, if you're not sure what face shape you have, then it may be easier to go off individual brow shapes instead. We dive deeper into brow shapes here, but we'll add a quick recap below:

  • Rounded: Round eyebrows never come to a point, even at the highest peak. Rather, Healy explains, the brow only looks rounder at the top, usually with a bit of a curved arch. "[Round brows] are softer, and I think they work well if you have a lot of strong angles on your face—a really square jawline, maybe a pointier chin or nose." In other words, these softer brows can offset any angular features. 
  • Arched: Here, you have the opposite of a rounded brow (read: It comes to a lifted peak at the highest point). It adds definition to your face, so Healy notes it typically flatters those with softer, rounder features. "It gives you more geometry in your face," he says. 
  • Upward: Contrary to what you might think, upward brows actually provide the greatest amount of lift, says Healy. Even though these brows don't have a defined arch, upward brows tend to rise at the tail and up toward the hairline. "It's more of a fashion brow," Healy notes, which is why many request upward brows in the hopes of a chic, editorial look. But, alas, "You need to have them naturally, as they are harder to make." 
  • Straight: Here's where the semantics get a bit tricky: Some professionals use "straight" and "upward" interchangeably, while others categorize straight brows as flat. Nonetheless, there's a difference between upward and flat brows. "Flat, I say, is when it kind of sits heavy—two parallel lines directly across," Healy says, whereas upward brows don't necessarily have an arch, but they do have a slight tilt at the tail.
  • S-Shaped: S-shaped brows are something of an anomaly, says Healy. "There is sort of a dip in the front," he says (hence, the S shape), that resembles a scooped-out sort of brow. "The tails are kind of moving, and your front is kind of dipping." It's typically not a natural shape, he notes—more like the aftermath of a cosmetic treatment or plucking gone wrong.  
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Brow shaping tips

Now that you have all of the information on brow shapes, it's time to get into the how-to. Below, the essential steps for shaping your brows at home: 


Grow them out.

You'll want to grow out your brows a bit before shaping. Try not to touch them for a few weeks (except for a minor trim) so all of your potential brow is present to be shaped. You can even add an eyebrow growth serum to your routine should you want to speed it up. 

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Identify your shape and goal.

Next, identify your shape and your goal using the information above. Not sure how thick to make them? "A great way to figure this out is by finding where your brow bone is—you want your brows to be centered on the brow bone. This can help determine the general thickness of your ideal brow," Healy says. 

"You can also use the bridge of your nose as a guideline for where the front of your brow should start," he adds. You may want to consider brow mapping as well, but more on that later. 


Optional: Fill them in.

If you tend to fill in your brows regardless of how groomed they are, then you might want to do so before you tweeze them. This will ensure you don't overpluck and make a clear shape to work with. 

"I always recommend my clients to style their brow as if they are going out for the night but not to completely fill the inner brow with powder or pomade so that you can still clearly see every single hair," celebrity brow stylist and founder of BrowCode Melanie Marris explains. 

Pro tip:

Brow expert Michele Holmes even recommends her clients overfill their brows before plucking. For anyone who tends to take a tad too much hair off, this is a great strategy. And if you don't fill in your brows at all, you can skip this step. 
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Before you start plucking, trim the brows first. "Comb your brows up vertically to see where the longest hairs are. Trim one hair at a time on a downward angle to ensure precision," Healy instructs. 

You can always touch up the hairs after you tweeze, so don't trim them too short to start. 


Tweeze slowly.

Now it's time to tweeze. This step should be fairly simple once you've done all of the prep work above, so just remember not to get overzealous. If you find yourself straying away from the plan, take a break and return after a few minutes. 

It's easy to get carried away when you're tweezing your brows, but remember that brows take a long time to grow back, and you can always take off more but never less. 


Note: They don't have to be identical.

You don't need to perfect your brows and make them identical; that hardly ever happens! What's more, you probably would never notice a slightly uneven arch or minorly patchy tail if it weren't for the beauty standards created by society today. 

This is similar to the fascination with facial symmetry—an angelic bone structure and perfectly aligned features layout may seem awe-worthy, but oftentimes it's less symmetrical faces that seem more interesting and more beautiful. 

How to enhance brows with makeup

Now if you're not sure how to fill in your brows post-shaping, look to gels, powders, and pencils—here's how to use each:

  • Brow gels: Brow gels will help hold the brows in place, as if they were freshly combed. If you notice your brows growing in different directions, brow gel can help you even them out. 
  • Powders: "Powder is a bit more subtle," Healy said. You can use an angled brow brush and apply a brow powder, like the Joey Healy Luxe Brow Powder, that matches your hair color to add brow density and even build out your arch. 
  • Pencils: Pencils are better for defining brow shape. "Pencils are great for filling in scars, defining the perimeter of the brow—great for line work," Healy said. Thin brow pencils also reflect hairlike strokes, so it may be a greater option for someone trying to fill in the gap without filling in the rest of their brow or extending their brow's tail. 

You've made a mistake — now what?

If you're super cautious and follow all of the tips above, your chances of making a huge mistake are low—but never none. If you've overplucked, trimmed too short, or botched the shape entirely, start by putting the tools down. 

If you have access to an eyebrow expert, book an appointment ASAP. These brow rehab jobs can be difficult to master at home, but experts may have a way to mask the mishap. 

Don't want to take that route? You can also call upon patience and makeup skills. Simply fill in the brows daily and use a brow growth serum to help accelerate the growth process.

Pro tip:

Remember what you did wrong for next time, and be extra cautious when you pick up the tools again. 

What is eyebrow mapping & should you try it?

One way of shaping your brows is through brow mapping, a trend that became more popular in recent years thanks to social media and camera filters (like this one on TikTok) that allegedly create the "perfect" brow outline on each face. 

Here's how Marris recommends doing it:

  • Front: "Where you want the brow to start from the front (middle) of the brow. I always recommend taking a pencil to map the brow properly prior to waxing or tweezing. Draw a line to mark where you want the brow to start, in line with the dimple of your nose and corner of your inner eye."
  • Arch: "Where you want to arch or slightly curve your brow. I recommend marking in line with the outer iris."
  • Tail: "Where you want the tail of your brow to end. I recommend marking in a diagonal from the outer nostril to the corner of the outer eye. You can lift or drop this slightly depending on your desired look."

However, brow mapping isn't great for every brow shape. What's more, "Mapping often excludes facial changes between left and right sides where brow area and muscles can be in different from side to side," Holmes notes. 

So if you find this method helpful, great. Just know it's only one option, and you can certainly shape your brows differently if you want to. 

Another option: Mirror your better brow

Does this all sound too complicated? If so, you may try mirroring your best brow instead. "A great tip for simplifying the process is to find your 'better' brow, lightly groom that side first and then use it to model your other brow after," Healy says.

"The goal is natural symmetry, and using your better brow as a guide is a great strategy to achieve this," he adds. So follow the steps above, but do your better brow first and then move on to the other. 

PSA: See a professional

Here's the thing about brow shapes: They're often best discovered and enhanced by pros. Even if you don't want to see an expert regularly (we know, it can be a pricey endeavor), one personalized session might set you up for the long haul. 

Especially if you're dealing with complex brow concerns like sparse patches, severely uneven brows, etc., or if you want to intensely transform your brow shape (from arched to straight brows, for example), don't be afraid to ask for help. 


How do you get the perfect eyebrow shape?

Each person's "best" eyebrow shape depends on their face shape, features, natural brow shape, and more. In short, there's no "perfect" shape for everyone. If you want to optimize your brows, visit a professional. If you don't have access to a brow pro, work on identifying your brow shape (tips above), and groom them accordingly.

Where should the eyebrow arch be?

Your brow arch should be about two-thirds of the way out from the beginning of your brow, or aligned with your outer iris.

How can I fix my sparse brows?

If you want to fix sparse brows, first let them grow out. Use brow serums and resist the urge to pluck them for at least a month. You can use brow powder, pencils, and tinted gels to mask the sparse patches in the meantime. If you're truly stuck, visit a brow expert for help.

The takeaway

If you want to shape your brows from home, the first step is identifying your current brow shape and your brow goals. Then, you might want to fill in your brows before you start trimming and plucking. If you feel lost, visit a brow expert for help. Want to learn more about brow shapes? Read the full story here

Hannah Frye author page.
Hannah Frye
mbg Assistant Beauty Editor

Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends, holistic skincare approaches, must-have makeup products, and inclusivity in the beauty industry. She currently lives in New York City.