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There's so much pressure these days to have the perfect eyebrows. They've got to be thick but not too thick, arched but not too arched, and so on and so on… At the end of the day, it's only up to you to decide what eyebrow styles and products you like. That said, there are countless brow gels, powders, pomades, and waxes out there, all in varying colors and shades. It's hard to know where to begin sometimes.
While no one other than you can ultimately determine what your brows should look like, we can make it easier to sort through all of those options with the help of a few professional brow experts. All you've got to do is pay close attention to a few of your physical features and be prepared for a little trial and error. Here's how to find the best eyebrow color for you.
Although dark, bold eyebrows have definitely been highly coveted in recent years, New York city brow artist Azi Sacks maintains that eyebrows are never a one-size-fits-all (or one-color-fits-all) situation. New York City makeup artist Delina Medhin agrees: "Brows are so personal." That said, it's important to consider your unique hair color and skin tone before picking your brow makeup.
When picking an eyebrow color for her clients, Medhin first looks at their hair and skin color. Fellow makeup artist Tommy, also based in New York City, concurs. "I look to the root color of my talent's hair."
Iope Eyebrow Auto Pencil in Khaki Gray
This seems like a pretty obvious tip, we know. If you have light skin and hair, for example, you might feel overwhelmed by a pitch-black brow pomade. Or if you have a deep skin tone, a light-colored powder probably won't appear at all. But it's a little more complicated than simply having brown hair and picking whatever brown eyebrow makeup is around. Thinking critically about the depth and undertone of a clients' skin and hair, Medhin explains, helps her determine how light, dark, cool, or warm their eyebrow makeup should be (more on that in a second).
Observing the texture of your hair can also help you determine how light or dark your brow color should be, Sacks says. "This helps me gauge how intense or soft to go," she explains. For example, those with naturally dark and dense hair will likely be a better fit for equally dark and dense eyebrows. Folks with lighter or finer hair, on the other hand, might feel a “rich, dense” brow in a lighter tone look m.
Even general facial structure can determine brow color for Sacks. "I also look at the forehead space," she says. "I will tend to create a softer fill if the forehead is smaller." In her opinion, the brow should be "enhanced but not overwhelmed." Observing your hair color and density as well as skin tone can help to avoid that if you're afraid of going too bold.
OK, so you've got a good grip on your hair color and skin tone and are ready to buy some brow makeup. Now what? It's time to determine how light or dark your brow product of choice should be. After determining a client's root hair color, Tommy will almost always select a color that is one shade lighter than their hair.
"The ideal color will mimic the shadow already there that is created by eyebrow hair," he explains. Medhin takes a similar approach: "I'm looking for an eyebrow pencil that.. conveys the look of a shadow," she says.
To reiterate: The goal isn't to find brow makeup that exactly matches the brow hair; the goal is to mimic the color of the shadow-cast skin that lies between each of your brow hairs. Sticking to that rule, Sacks says, can help "camouflage" brow makeup into your hairs.
Anastasia Beverly Hill's Dipbrow Pomade in Taupe
"If the brow shade is too blonde or dark and you're looking to fill in gaps, you will notice your brows will appear to have pigment on them but they don't look any filler — or they just look drawn on," she says. "Brow color should create density or more depth but not change the brow's tone."
Not matching your brow makeup to your brow hair might sound kind of backward, but think about this way: it's the contrast between darker brow hair and lighter brow makeup that creates the illusion of fuller brows. Filling in brows with a color that's an exact match to (or darker than) your brow hair eliminates that illusion and can make brows appear flat or blocky. So if you look in the mirror and can easily clock your own brow makeup, it might be time to trade up to lighter makeup shades.
Here's where your skin depth comes into play. Medhin's rule of thumb is that "the fairer the skin, the less warm I would like the brow pencil to be." Tommy adds that skin undertone can also help when determining how much warmth or coolness will compliment a person's brows. "If someone has more yellow in their skin tone, the eyebrow pencil might need a touch of warmth, otherwise, it might read ashy or gray or artificial," he explains.
The biggest exception to that rule, Medhin clarifies, is redheads. "That is the time I lean towards a warm pencil," she says. But at the end of the day, the goal is to mimic a shadow rather than actual hair, so Tommy would argue that it's better in most cases to lean toward shades on the cooler side.
"Generally, eyebrow colors look best when they are colder, without red or orange, like a shadow," he reiterates. Some great examples of cooler-toned eyebrow products include Iope Eyebrow Auto Pencil in Khaki Gray, Anastasia Beverly Hill's Dipbrow Pomade in Taupe, or MAC Coquette eye shadow, which Tommy uses on his fair, blonde-haired clients.
MAC Cosmetic Eye Shadow in Coquette
If you're looking at your brow makeup and can't tell warm from cool, Sacks says it's safest to lean toward neutral-toned, lighter browns; if it still looks strange to you, you can account for that after the fact. "Go taupe, then after you have built your density and length, you can pat another tone on top to match it to your hair color at the end of your application, like a cake topper," she explains.
The TLDR of it all is to choose brow products that are slightly lighter and slighter cooler than the color of your natural eyebrow hairs. If you have naturally dense and/or dark brows, you'll have more leeway to pack on more product. If you're on the naturally sparse side, approach with caution and apply smaller amounts until you achieve your desired look.
As we mentioned before, your eyebrow shape, color, and style are ultimately up to your personal preference. If you like dark and bold, do dark and bold. If you like lightweight and low-key, do that. If you generally prefer warm over cool colors or vice versa, wear those. There isn't an objectively right or wrong way to wear your eyebrows, so do what you like — but if it's expert-approved methods you're looking for, hopefully, these guidelines will help.
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