Where the Wild Things Are: Brow Masterclass

So I have a very strange trait where I can tell if I like someone based purely on their eyebrows. Now I’m not saying I only like people with ‘perfect’ brows, I just think it can say a lot about you and who you are. (Disclaimer: This isn’t a good way to judge people so don’t do it, I don’t mean to but I just do, it’s a terrible habit.)

We at Smudged recently talked our dear darling Jess into letting me do her brows. I am no profesh but as I explained to her (to calm her minor freak out), as soon as you put make-up on your eyes (the picture) you need your brows to balance it all together (the frame). Your eyebrows help frame your eyes and make those peepers look mighty fine.

Here are a few tricks and tips to keeping those brows tamed:

1.  Gather your tools: an eyeliner in a contrasting colour (I like white since I can blend it in as a highlighter when I’m done), a pair of tweezers, brow gel, straight scissors, a spoolie and a brow pencil.


2. Mark off your proportions: this is where the eyeliner pencil comes in because you can mark off where your brows should start and end and where your arch should be. I used MAC Eye Kohl in Fascinating (R190) so that I can easily blend it away later but you can use anything you like. By placing the pencil straight up along your nose tells you where your brow should start and placing the pencil from the outer corner of your nose to the outer corner of your eye will tell you where it should end. As for your arch, if you align the pencil to your nostril and across your iris you’ll get where your arch should be. Remember that your eyebrows are sisters, not twins. They don’t need to be identical.


3. Start your plucking: I’m a firm believer in plucking only the stragglers. Those few hairs that look a little messy and nothing else. When you don’t have a good natural shape, spend some time and a bit of money and have them professionally threaded or waxed first but explain what you’re looking for. If you’re plucking yourself, do NOT over-pluck! It just ends up giving you issues later when you try to grow them out. I’ve been plucking my bows for the last 11 years and even I have thinned them out too much a few times. It’s very hard to stop yourself, but really you’re just doing yourself a disservice and making the upkeep that much more painful. While plucking, keep your spoolie with you to keep combing them though. As for your tweezers, not every tweezer is great for plucking so make sure you have one with good grip otherwise it just slips off the hair and ends up hurting. To avoid a teary eye, I like to pull the skin taut. These tweezers are from Beautique (available at Edgars) and have a nifty little light so you can see exactly what you’re doing.


4. Combing & Trimming: This step can be skipped but when I first came upon this little tidbit a few months ago it made the BIGGEST difference. Comb the hairs  up and carefully trim the hairs that extend past the shape of your brow. This helps keep everything neat and stops you from looking like a middle aged man. It also means you don’t need to worry about things getting too unruly in the day. Here’s an extreme close-up to see how it’s done:


5. Fill in the gaps: everyone has gaps/holes in their brows naturally, so filling them in not only makes them darker but also more defined and less sparse. Use a brow pencil like MAC Eye Brows in Fling (R160) in small strokes to mimic the way hair grows. Start with the arch and work your way in. If you use a normal eyeliner, the problem you will have is that it is much softer and less waxy than a brow pencil and it won’t stick to the skin as long. Always match your brow pencil to two shades lighter than your hairs or, if you’re making them darker (blondes and redheads), no more than two shades darker than they are. Once they’ve been filled in, give them another comb through.


6. Lock them in place: using some clear brow gel, work a tiny bit through your brows and spoolie it through. I used Essence Eye Lash Brow Gel, (available at Dischem for R29,95) which, besides its cheap as chips price tag, doesn’t make your brows crusty.


So here’s the lovely Jess’s after pic. So much neater with just the tiniest bit of work.


To see her before, have a look here :)

Tally-ho ol’ chap




  1. Great post! I love that you gave step by step instructions with pictures. I usually leave the shaping to the professionals, but I always try to clean up my brows whenever I can’t get to the salon. Thanks for the post!

    1. Thanks so much! Getting the same measurements your beautician did is somewhat scary at first but this way you can see where to place everything. An filling them in! Who would have thought it makes such a huge difference. Keep an eye out on our twitter and Facebook because we have some really great tutorials planned :)

  2. […] Today on Smudged, I let Jodi attack my eyebrows and give them a bit of a makeover. View the full post Brow Masterclass. […]

  3. I thought I was the only one out there unfairly judging friendships based on eyebrows. But seriously, brows are everything. Thanks for the tips!

    1. We are never truly alone! They really are way more important than we give them credit for other wise you’d look like this: http://celebswithnoeyebrows.com/

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