Seemingly overnight, eyebrows evolved from an afterthought to the ultimate facial accessory — and many of us are just trying to keep up. Perhaps as a reaction to the anemic arches of the ‘90s, Instagram® influencers, YouTube vloggers, and more inspiring people in the beauty industry started demonstrating the value of a perfectly defined, bolder brow in the early 2010s. When properly styled, a brow opens up the face, helps eyes stand out, and can make you appear more put together (whether that’s the case or not).
Yet because bold brows have only been on the beauty industry’s radar for a few short decades, not all of us have actually learned how we should be styling our arches. While some have mastered the skills behind fuller brows, some are kind of just tweezing, filling them in, and hoping for the best. No longer! We tapped Anastasia Soare, founder of Anastasia Beverly Hills (and some would say, the original brow guru) for her expertise. Here, Soare outlines the four biggest mistakes that most people are making with their eyebrows and how to solve them.
Eyebrow Error #1: Not Following the Golden Ratio
The Golden Ratio is a mathematical formula that has been applied to art and design for centuries. Two quantities achieve this if their ratio is the same as the ratio of their total to the larger two quantities, or 1.618 (phi). “The human eye is encoded to recognize the Golden Ratio,” says Soare. “Everything that is in proportion and balanced, you'll perceive as beautiful.” Soare, who studied art and architecture before attending beauty school, actually patented her careful brow mapping technique inspired by the Golden Ratio.
To understand this concept as Soare has applied it to brows, it works twofold. First, the brow itself ideally should be perfectly divided in accordance to the Golden Ratio. The arch, or highest point, should split the brow at the point of phi between the start of the brow and the end of the tail.
Secondly, think of the face in three different zones: from the hairline to the eyebrow, from the brow to the bottom of your nose, and from your nose to your chin. “By shaping the eyebrow correctly, you create the perfect balance between zone one and zone two,” she says. That balance is the Golden Ratio. When your brow is properly groomed, the finished result is one that is both striking and aesthetically pleasing.
Eyebrow Error #2: Tweezing Too Much Between Your Brows
We’ve all gotten a little tweezer-happy from time to time (especially those of us whose brows survived the ‘90s and early 2000s), but one area in particular is problematic when overplucked: the inner corner, above the bridge of your nose. According to Soare, this will throw off the entire balance of the brow.
“People over-tweeze here thinking, ‘Oh, I want to open up my eye,’” she shares. “But by tweezing that end of the eyebrow, you create too much space. Your eyes look too small.” No matter your face shape, Soare says that your brow should always start directly above the center of your nostril — no exceptions! To find this, vertically hold a pencil (of any kind) right next to the tip of your nose, in front of your nostril. Where it hits your brow bone should be where the hairs end.
Eyebrow Error #3: Shading the Inner Corner of Your Brows Too Dark
Eyebrows are a huge indication of a person’s emotions. And just as over-tweezing a brow can make someone appear surprised, the way you fill it in could also imply a particular mood. “If you bring too much color [to the inner corner] of the brow, it gives you a heavy look,” warns Soare. “You look almost like you’re angry.” Instead, she recommends lightly shading the brow at the inner corner, and getting a little more heavy-handed on the arch and through the tail. “That’s ideal,” Soare advises. “It gives you a softer look and will make your eyes [appear] bigger.”
If you don’t fully trust yourself to not overfill your brows on a daily basis, pick your products carefully. Leave the pomades, creams, and bold-tipped crayons for a heavier look, and instead, opt for a powder, grooming gel, or micro-tip pencil. We’re particularly fond of Anastasia Beverly Hills® Brow Wiz® ($21), a super-thin pencil that can mimic the look of individual hairs.
Eyebrow Error #4: Changing Your Brow Shape Based on Trends
If you’ve already ascribed to the Golden Ratio, you know that once you’ve mastered your proper brow shape, you shouldn’t change it. “My theory is not trendy,” Soare insists. “My theory is based on science, shaping eyebrows according to bone structure and natural shape. The shape should be always the same.”
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t experiment. Maybe you prefer a thick, strongly sculpted and defined “Instagram® brow” on one day, but a natural, lightly filled-in arch the next. Go for it! Just keep in mind that when playing with your brows, the only aspect that changes should be the intensity of the color — not the shape.
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