Eyebrow experts share beauty tips, tricks

May 2, 2016


Full, defined brows on models backstage before the Salinas runway show at New York Fashion Week in February.

Thanks to supermodels like Cara Delevingne, thick, bold eyebrows have been one of beauty’s biggest breakout trends in recent years, and it looks like they’re not going away anytime soon.

At New York Fashion Week in February, Proenza Schouler, Altuzarra, Prabal Gurung and Derek Lam were a few of the designers whose shows featured models with full, even overgrown brows. Brands are capitalizing on this infatuation by churning out new brow grooming pencils, mousses, gels, serums and shaping kits that have transformed brow makeup into a $100 million-plus business.

But getting look-at-me brows isn’t easy to pull off. Here’s a breakdown of DIY tips from makeup pros …


— "Fuller brows feel younger and fresher. The biggest mistake gals make is taking too much from the arch and then, in an effort to make the arch bigger, go too far in toward the front of the brow," says celebrity makeup artist Brett Freedman.

The Monroeville, Pa., native went from giving his Gateway High School classmates "Madonna makeovers" in the 1980s to being an in-demand makeup artist in Los Angeles. He’s groomed the brows of such stars as Brooke Shields, Taylor Swift, Britney Spears, Camilla Belle and Reba McEntire. He also launched the Brett Brow Collection of tweezers, eyebrow pencils and control gels available through Sephora and

"Start with the very obvious grabs … in between the eyes, the low hairs on the underside of the brow and the fluttery sprigs that go from end up to temple. The next stage is the shaping. This is where you’ll take hairs out of the brow bone and arch area."

— Want to avoid a brow that’s too solid or heavy? Backstage at the Alice + Olivia Fall 2016 presentation at New York Fashion Week, makeup artist Sarah Lucero kept brows feathery and clean with Stila Cosmetics. "I brush upward with either the brush, pencil or the pen," she says. "It’s more just boosting behind the brows" and finishing with a clear brow gel to set the look.

— "When filling in the brows, the inner corner should be natural and continue to get more defined in the middle of the brow to the tail of the brow," says former Steelers tight end Chris Kolodziejski.

After his NFL career, he founded Chella Brow Bars and Chella Skin Care, a product line that caters to brows, lashes and eye enhancement. "If you have minimal hair or no defined shape, stencils are a great tool if you are unable to freehand the perfect brow."



When trends are born, sometimes so are phrases to describe them. "On fleek" has become synonymous with sleek, full eyebrows. But how, and why?

The phrase, which loosely translates as "on point," appeared on more than a decade ago, but it didn’t go viral until a user named Peaches Monroee used it on the social media platform Vine in 2014.

"A lot of people saw that video, and she said something that sounded cool," says Lauren Collister, a scholarly communications librarian at the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned a doctorate degree in sociolinguistics.

It also filled a void.

"Usually there’s some kind of cultural need," says Scott Kiesling, a professor of linguistics at the University of Pittsburgh. "Somebody has a reason to use it and puts it out there."

"Fleek" was in the running for the American Dialect Society’s word of the year. But then it started to get too popular. The restaurant chain Denny’s even used it on Twitter to describe its hash browns.

"I think Denny’s killed it," Ms. Collister says. But the eyebrow trend it’s most closely associated with still is going strong …




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