How to Cut and Groom Eyebrows

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While Frida Kahlo carried off her unibrow with celebrated aplomb, there are few women who would dare follow in her footsteps. Grooming eyebrows is dangerous territory for beginners. If you are a woman, this is especially so as cultural standard is for women to have less facial hair and shaped, curved eyebrows. Men generally have thicker eyebrows that are noticeably bushy, but for women, this is generally not the case. Learn how to safely trim and groom your eyebrows so that they remain an asset and do not become an alarming set of harsh “quotation” marks.

Things You'll Need

  • Eyebrow tweezers
  • Eyebrow pencil(s)
  • Eyebrow comb
  • Manicure scissors
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Witch hazel astringent
  • Cotton swabs
  • Cotton balls
  • Eyebrow stencil (optional)
  • Start with the proper tools: a small eyebrow comb, eyebrow tweezers, manicure scissors, eyebrow stencil and eyebrow pencil. In a well-lit area, assess the shape of your untrimmed eyebrows. Have witch hazel, cotton swabs and cotton balls handy, too.

  • Notice if your eyebrows do actually form a single eyebrow, or unibrow. Using an eyebrow comb, comb the eyebrow hairs from the center outwards towards your ears. Pluck only very obvious stray eyebrow hairs that fall way below the others or that are too scattered away from the outermost edge of each eyebrow.

  • Use the scissors only if you feel that your unibrow is too thick and overpowers the other features of your face. Beginners, stop here and consult an eyebrow specialist at your local hair salon or spa.

  • Trim your eyebrows only if you have the eyebrow thickness to even attempt this. Angle your scissors so that the sharp tips face the inner eye and, using a V-shape trimming action, move from the inner eyebrow to the outer eyebrow. Comb and reassess. Stop when you think you need to do more.

  • Beef up thin or patchy eyebrows. Using an eyebrow pencil, "color" in areas that form a gap and disturb your natural eyebrow shape. If you are attending a formal event, using an eyebrow stencil will result in a very polished look. Set the eyebrow stencil over your real eyebrow and pencil in color along the eyebrow. Work slowly and thoroughly. Remove the stencil and use a clean cotton swab to smudge the eyebrow area to smooth out the color.

  • Thin out very thick eyebrows if you are certain that is appropriate for you. This is generally best left to the experts but if you work slowly, you can manage this. Comb each brow from the inner to outer eyebrow. Determine where the arches fall in your eyebrow shape. There is a naturally higher arch closer to the inner eye and a flatter arch near the outer eye. Maintain these arches at all costs to avoid a straight eyebrow.

  • Pluck carefully from below the eyebrow, following the natural shape of the eyebrow, not overriding these two arches. Comb and reassess. The result should still look natural and not operatic or clownish.

Tips & Warnings

  • Maintain your plucked and polish eyebrows by combing your eyebrows every day. If you have overplucked your eyebrows, hide your tweezers and see a professional beautician to help you fill in the color. “Threading” is an eyebrow technique done in salons to thicken the eyebrows.
  • Eyebrow stencils are available online and in beauty supply stores.
  • Always use clean tools by sterilizing them with rubbing alcohol. Under each eyebrow, swipe a cotton swab dampened with witch hazel to prevent redness.
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