If you’ve got curly brows, you’re probably familiar with the pros and cons of having them.
Let’s start with the good stuff: Curly brows tend to be “fuller, feathery, and lush,” as brow artist Sania Vucetaj of Sania’s Brow Bar in New York City puts it. If your brows are curly, you likely have more hair to work with.
The cons? “A brow shape or brow line can be lost when the brow hair grows long and curls too much,” says Azi Sacks, a New York City-based brow expert. “The brow can also appear to shrink in width because the hairs are bending and clumping together.”
How you groom your curly brows is a matter of personal preference. You may choose not to touch them at all. If you do go the grooming route, know that it takes effort, but in the end, it can help to enhance or even simply reveal the natural shape of your brows, which can disappear if they’re left untamed.
In addition to creating an overall more polished appearance, grooming your brows also helps open up your eyes. Brows frame your face, give it structure, and affect how your makeup looks. In general, finessing them makes a big difference.
With all that in mind, we tapped brow experts to share the step-by-step tea on how to keep those brows in check.
How to prepare your curly brows before grooming
If anyone can benefit from professional brow grooming, it’s probably someone with curly hair up there. Sacks notes that curly brows can be tricky to groom, plus it’s easy to damage them in the process. Seeing a professional who specializes in brow grooming is your best bet, but if you’d rather do it yourself or are curious about the process, read on.
One thing you don’t want to do before you start is slather your brow hairs in product. If you plan on grooming them after you’ve done your skin-care routine, be sure you’re avoiding getting those creams, lotions, and serums all over your brows. You wouldn’t dump serum all over the hair on your head before you cut it — that would leave it a greasy mess. In the same way, creams can weigh down your brow hairs too, so try to make sure you’re working with clean, fresh brow hairs before you begin.
Clip your hair back so you have a clear view of your brows and find a spot with natural light to allow you to get a good look at ’em. Just stay away from magnifying mirrors as zooming in can alter your perspective and lead to, yikes, over-plucking and over-trimming.
Get to grooming:
“Trim your brows before tweezing anything,” says Vucetaj. “Most of the time with curly brows, trimming gives off most of the shape, [so you don’t have to tweeze as much]. You don’t want to take away important hairs that will create gaps.”
Brow experts tend to have their own style of grooming, and this is Vucetaj’s tried-and-true method: “Brush hairs upwards very high (using a brow brush or the spoolie end of a brow pencil), and only trim a few hairs at a time until they are pretty even and sit into place,” says Vucetaj, who uses her own Sania’s Brow Bar Precision Blade Scissors or the Tweezerman Brow Shaping Scissors. Both options have a precision tip and easy-to-control handle.
“Trim upwards like a staircase towards the arch and stop there,” Vucetaj adds. “Skip the arch (you always want to leave hairs a bit longer here to avoid chopping into and flattening your arch). Then, brush the tail end of the brow up and trim the back hairs slightly at an angle.”
Just be sure to cut only the tips of the curls off. Sacks warns, “It is an art in how you trim curly brows — if not done super thoughtfully, it can create holes and patches in the brow and make them appear small in width.”
Keyword here: carefully, since over-tweezing brows can make them look “thin, choppy, and uneven,” says Vucetaj. Use a brow brush to comb through and determine your brow shape; we’re partial to the brush on the Best of Beauty-winning Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil. “Look in the mirror and lightly lift your brow arch,” says Vucetaj. “Lift a little higher, then a little lower until you find your desired arch. Basically, how high or low you lift will determine the arch you will get. Then, take the pencil to outline the top of your brows.” This acts as a visual guide to help keep you from tweezing and trimming too much.
Next, brush your brow hair back up and pluck only the hair outside of your brow shape. Vucetaj suggests using the Revlon Expert Slant Tip Tweezers and says to “pull the hair at the root to avoid breakage.”
Anyone with curly brows knows that a gel is key to keeping the hairs in place. Sacks says to go for the BBB London Clear Brow Gloss or the Rose Inc Brow Renew Clean Clear Eyebrow-Growth Gel. Both do double duty in keeping brows in place while moisturizing them.
“Holes are something that curly brows reveal more easily,” says Sacks. If you have sparse spots or just want your brows to appear darker, she recommends a tinted brow gel instead of a clear one, like the Kosas Air Brow Tinted Clean Volumizing Eyebrow Gel or the Chantecaille Full Brow Perfecting Gel and Tint.
“I don’t use a [brow] pencil because it is a heavy, waxy product that snags at the hairs and creates holes,” says Sacks of her preferred method. “Holes are something that curly brows reveal more easily.” Instead of a pencil, Sacks uses a brow powder to fill in any gaps. We like the Sigma Beauty Color + Shape Brow Powder Duo which comes with two shades of soft-finish brow powder. This lets you custom mix the shade to best match your brows.
Gently pat on a bit of the powder where you need it, using short strokes. Then, blend with an angled brush like the Tarte Big Ego Fill Service Brow Brush Spoolie to camouflage any holes. “I find that a curly brow is actually the best brow to style since it has texture and is usually very fluffy,” says Sacks.
How often should brows be groomed?
Ideally, you should groom curly brows every six to eight weeks, as Sacks says, to “trim, fluff, and reopen the brow shape.” Tweezing can be done in between as needed to keep things tidy. However, just like haircuts, the time between each brow grooming session depends on how fast your brows grow.
While the adage goes, “brows should be sisters not twins,” Vucetaj has a different opinion. “[They] should always be twins, unless there’s a scar,” she says. “When we were children, our brows, for most people, were symmetrical. Mistakes by technicians or ourselves have made them different.” She notes that it typically takes six months to a year to grow back your brows so, all in all, it’s best to proceed with caution if you’re trying this at home. We’d say that your brows don’t need to match perfectly in order to look good (works for us!), but try to get them as close as possible.
Just one more reminder on trimming: “Start with less until you are confident to tidy up more. The trend right now is super feathery, so it’s a great time to start slow. Once you get your confidence, trim a bit more, but make sure you don’t do too much,” Vucetaj advises.
Take it slow, stay calm, and you’ll be on your way to grooming those brows like a pro.
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