Our brow obsession isn't going anywhere. Eyebrows might have become big beauty news thanks to Cara Delevingne, but since then, we've developed an appreciation for all kinds of brows and their transformative power. From the Victoria Beckham straight brow to the Kendall Jenner boyish brow or even the groomed beauties Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's rocking, there's a whole spectrum of brow beauty out there.
Choosing what eyebrow shape to go for can be something of a minefield. Do you mimic something you've seen on Instagram? Is it bad to pluck above your eyebrows? If you don't have much of a natural arch, should you try and fashion one? We enlisted the help of two top brow pros, Shavata Singh and Lisa Potter-Dixon, to answer all your burning brow questions. With over 30 years of experience, Singh's shaped the brows of Adele, Elle Macpherson and Kate Hudson. Potter-Dixon is Benefit's resident brow expert and a fashion week backstage regular who has never met a brow she couldn't groom to perfection—and she's a top makeup artist.
Keep scrolling to read their ultimate brow tips.
work with the brows you've got
Let's think about hair for a moment: If you've got naturally curly hair, choosing a haircut that looks best sleek and smooth is a bad beauty move—unless you love spending 20 minutes every morning in front of the mirror with a flat iron. By the same logic, there's no point choosing a shape that doesn't work with your natural brows. "Of course, face shape is a factor when it comes to brows, but it's not a be-all and end-all," Singh says. "For example, if you have naturally very thin eyebrows, there's no point asking for them thick and bushy and having to do lots of filling in with a pencil. And if you have very thick eyebrows, I don't want to make them thin; you'll just be plucking your eyebrows all the time. I always do an eyebrow shape that someone can maintain. The shape should last you a month."
work with your brow shape as well as your face shape
Unlike getting a fringe cut in, face shape isn't super important when it comes to choosing your brows. "The thing is, you can have a heart shape face or a round face and still have very different features within that. It's better to look at your face as a whole—your nose, eyes, forehead, all of it holistically—and work from there," Potter-Dixon says. "We do something at Benefit called 'brow mapping,' which is a really quick and easy way to work out where your brow should sit.
"First, take a makeup brush and lay it flat against your nose, pointing straight up. That's where your brow should begin. Immediately, it'll make your nose look slimmer. Then you want to look straight ahead, and angle the brush as if it were going diagonally over the centre of your eye—there's your arch. Finally, lay the brush from your nose to the outer corner of your eye, which is where your brow should end. Get it all right, and your eyes will look more open and awake—it's an instant eye lift."
Singh echoed this, telling us, "You could have the same face shape, but if one client is 18 and another is 80, you wouldn't give the same eyebrow to both, even if they both have square faces. The arch needs to be moved to give an anti-ageing effect to someone who is older. I look at the hair, the age, the profession and the lifestyle before I do anything with the brow."
don't fret about your arches
We've all longed for the perfect Joan Crawford arch at one time or another, but not even Crawford was born with that. Potter-Dixon told us, "Work with the arch you've got; don't try and place one that's artificial. It doesn't have to be a strong arch to be a good one—as long it's in the right place, it's going to look good. It's less about the height of the arch and more of the position." While all of us with brows that are naturally horizontal breathe a sigh of relief, Potter-Dixon added, "You can always play around with makeup first to accentuate your arch and see how it looks."
meet the anti-ageing eyebrow
Thought it was only fancy creams and injectables that could be anti-ageing? Think again. A well-shaped brow can be immeasurably youth-boosting: Just ask Singh. "If somebody is more on the mature side and has some fine lines around the eye area, you want to create an illusion of a lifting effect," she says. "It's about redirecting the focus slightly when someone looks at you."
Curious? We were too. Singh added, "To create this illusion, you want an arch that will lift the face. Placing the arch of your brow slightly more towards the end of your brow than the centre will mean that someone looking at you will focus on the eyebrow rather than any lines around the eye are. The eyebrow has to silently complement the eye. It's the frame, not a feature." Who knew there was such a simple way to wind back time?
and avoid these common mistakes
Of course, we all know now that an overplucked brow is not a happy one (seriously, what were we all doing in the noughties?), but there are a few other brow mistakes to steer clear of as well. Singh had these words of wisdom: "The biggest mistake I still see is the tadpole eyebrow. You know, really thick at the start and then a really thin end. The thick and thin nature of the tadpole eyebrow essentially cuts the eye in half, making the eyes appear smaller."
Potter-Dixon also highlighted the importance of the tail of the eyebrow, which a lot of us are guilty of overlooking. "It really is all about the end point of the brow. If your brow doesn't end in the right place and you lose the tail of the brow, it really ages you. Your eyes look smaller, your face looks unbalanced … Seriously, if nothing else, I fill in the end of my brows more than anything."
If you need some more guidance, click through below for a visual guide to eyebrow shapes—you can always take these as references to your brow technician.
Rooney Mara's super-straight eyebrows flatter the strong angles of her face and add to her otherworldly aesthetic. Try a clear brow gel such as NYX Control Freak Eyebrow Gel (£6) to manipulate brow hairs into place and keep them there.
Not too dissimilar to Audrey Hepburn's brows, Emma Watson's are straight and brushed-up, which immediately makes them look bulkier, and the subtly angled tail softens the look. Try Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow Volumizing Eyebrow Gel (£20) for that boyish aesthetic.
Stephanie Shepherd's eyebrows have a fairly high arch, but with no sharp corners or angles, the overall effect is a lot softer. Sisley Phyto-Sourcils Perfect Eyebrow Pencil (£35) is great at drawing in those wispy hairs to perfect the shape.
Gigi Hadid's eyebrows, on the other hand, are weightier, which means the arch is less apparent. YSL Beauty Couture Brow (£22) is lightweight enough that it will tease hairs into place without looking too harsh or heavy.
Rihanna's eyebrows have a definite angle, but without being too filled in, they look low-maintenance. You'll want to keep this style of brow looking neat, which means regular threading appointments are a must, and you should invest in a high-quality eyebrow brush such as Anastasia Beverly Hills Dual Sided Brow Brush (£18).
Cleo Wade's eyebrows have a definite arch, but as there are no straight lines and plenty of hair, they don't look as strict. Try 3ina The Eyebrow Pencil (£7) to fill in lighter patches.
Kylie Jenner is known for her Insta-perfect eyebrows with faded ends and super-high arches that make her square-shaped face seem a little longer. Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow Pomade (£19) is brilliant at getting that super-slick finish.
Next up, see the one product that can brighten your eyes immediately.