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Look Up! 5 Tips for Filling in Thin Brows

Eyebrows don't have to look too thin.
Eyebrows don't have to look too thin.
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Sometimes thin is in -- when it comes to eyebrows, that is. If yours were ever tweezed to the point of extinction and then coaxed back into existence, odds are a few sparse spots still need some help. Perhaps your brows became follicle-challenged as you aged. Or you never had much brow hair to begin with. Whatever the challenge, you don't have to live with thin brows when lush is en vogue. From cosmetic to chemical solutions, there are plenty of ways to boost your brows.

Before we explore the options, however, it's worth noting there's one fix most experts are slow to recommend: brow tattoos. When dye is injected under the skin to form a faux brow, the process that can cost several hundred dollars. And if your brows aren't inked exactly as you'd like them, there's little you can do except opt for laser removal that can cost thousands of dollars and leave you right back at square one -- with virtually no eyebrows at all [source: Monroe].

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Every time I reach for an eyebrow pencil, images of my grade school librarian dance through my head. An altogether lovely lady, she nonetheless had no eyebrows -- save the two she dutifully drew on every morning. Check out a book and you'd be greeted by two distinct brown arches, one of which veered off toward her temple rather than concluding in a delicate arch. It was as if her left brow was continually attempting a run for her receding hair line.

The approach to eyebrow pencil application now follows a much softer approach. Instead of a continuous line, use short, feather-like strokes to apply color to the skin under your eyebrows. This will result in a fuller-looking brow. To make your brows appear thicker, pencil on color along the lower edge of your brow from the inner corner to the outer corner. While you'll want to follow your brow's natural line, extending the color slightly onto your skin will create a lush line. Just be sure to blend this outline into the brow above. Finish the look by running an eyebrow brush through hair to completely blend the product [source: Gould].

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Eyebrow powder can give a more natural look.
Eyebrow powder can give a more natural look.
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Eyebrow powder can help you create robust and natural-looking brows. Most eyebrow powders are sold in a compact with an angled brush and are similar to the type of powder you may use on your eyelids. In fact, if you have trouble finding the correct shade of brow powder, you could substitute a matte eye shadow.

Whether you opt for brow powder or an eye shadow stand-in, you'll generally want to select a color that's a shade lighter than your eyebrows. If you have blonde hair, try a slightly darker shade. Not only will the color look more natural, but it will be easier to blend in with your existing brow hair.

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It may take a practice run (or two), but applying eyebrow powder will soon take only seconds. Start by going against the grain -- use short strokes to brush the powder on your brows, beginning at the outer edge and progressing to the inner corner. Although your brows may be a tangled mess for a moment, applying the color this way will ensure it reaches your skin. To blend the powder and finish your newly luscious brows, use a brow brush to push them back into place [source: Glennon].

Whether you apply pencil, powder (or a combination of both) to your eyebrows, your efforts will be for naught if you don't hold those hairs in place. Most brow gels come with a mascara-like tube and wand. Using the wand to apply clear gel in short, upward strokes will encourage your brows to retain their natural arch while simultaneously keeping hairs in place.

If you'd like to add a little color to your brows while you're at it, opt for a tinted brow gel. You'll find dozens of shades at cosmetic counters or beauty bars. Applying tinted brow gel doesn't require the same degree of finesse as powders and pencils. This is especially ideal if you don't want to build extra time in makeup routine to recreate full brows. It's also helpful if you don't have a steady (or patient) hand; simply brush on the brow gel and you'll achieve instant, albeit subtle, color. And if you can't find the right shade, pick up a clear brow gel or mascara and use the wand to add matte eye shadow in small doses until you reach the desired color. It's an inexpensive way to customize your hue. Remember, too, that if you're in a pinch, you can spritz hairspray on a brow brush and run it over your brows to tame them [source: Hebert].

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Eyebrow marker can be very detailed or broad and bold.
Eyebrow marker can be very detailed or broad and bold.
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If you've ever applied liquid eyeliner, you'll probably have a good handle on how an eyebrow marker works. This product is the same consistency as liquid eyeliner, but is designed to fill in eyebrows rather than line the lids. Eyebrow markers, sometimes known as eyebrow pens, feature self-inking, fine-point tips that can be used for everything from drawing individual hairs to creating thick, bold lines. To create natural-looking brows, use short, light strokes to fill in sparse areas in the eyebrows, and then feather the strokes slightly outside your existing brow line to add width where you need it.

Keep in mind that an eyebrow marker requires practice -- don't expect to spend 30 seconds slathering on a few generous strokes and end up with the look you want. Plus, liquid eyebrow fillers tend to dry quickly, which can make it difficult to correct mistakes. That said, many users like eyebrow markers for their staying power. Once applied, they'll last all day. [source: Robertson].

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Perhaps your eyebrows never really recovered from an enthusiastic tweezing session. Or maybe a drop of wax fell in an unfortunate spot, leaving you with a bald spot in the middle of a brow. And then there are those of us who were born with a delicate frosting of brow hair rather than a forest. Whatever the situation, you may be able to kick-start the regrowth process.

For example, dab a bit of Rogaine (or any over-the-counter hair-growth product) where you'd like eyebrow hair to grow, and within a few weeks, you could see a new crop take shape. You could also ask your physician for minoxidil. This prescription drug is used to treat hair loss and, in correct doses, can be applied to eyebrows as well [source: Beauchamp].

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If you'd like to take a natural route, apply castor oil to sparse eyebrow areas at bedtime and allow it to soak in overnight. Castor oil is the active ingredient in several cosmetic products that promise to stimulate brow growth [source: Borlongan].

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Sources

  • Borlongan, Josienita. "Tips on Regrowing Eyebrow Hair." June 24, 2010. (Aug. 13, 2012) Modern Mom. http://www.modernmom.com/article/tips-on-regrowing-eyebrow-hair
  • Beauchamp, Tai. "The Eyebrow Experiment." Oprah. February 2003. (Aug. 13, 2012) http://www.oprah.com/style/The-Eyebrow-Experiment_2
  • Glennon, Jennifer. "How to Fill in Your Eyebrows with Make-up." Yahoo. Aug. 19, 2008. (Aug. 13, 2012) http://voices.yahoo.com/how-fill-eyebrows-up-1829630.html?cat=69
  • Gould, Wendy. "How to Fill in Sparse Eyebrows." Real Beauty. (Aug. 13, 2012) http://www.realbeauty.com/makeup/how-to/asian-makeup-how-to-fill-in-sparse-eyebrows
  • Hebert, Emily. "Perfect Eyebrows: How to Get Hollywood's Best Arches." Elle. July 21, 2010. (Aug. 13, 2012) http://www.elle.com/beauty/makeup-skin-care/perfect-eyebrows-how-to-get-hollywoods-best-arches-455543
  • Monroe, Valerie. "Ask Val: Should I Have my Thin Eyebrows Tattooed?" Oprah. Aug. 8, 2012. http://www.oprah.com/blogs/Ask-Val-Should-I-Have-My-Thin-Eyebrows-Tattooed
  • Robertson, T.M. "What is an Eyebrow Marker?" Wisegeek. (Aug. 13, 2012) http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-an-eyebrow-marker.htm

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