How to fill in eyebrows: 4 techniques for blondes, brunettes and more

how to fill in eyebrows
Model photography and makeup by Dallas Curow
how to fill in eyebrows
Model photography and makeup by Dallas Curow

See all our eyebrow tips and tricks »

Eyebrows have long been an over-groomed feature, having been waxed, plucked or threaded into oblivion over the last few decades. Recently, inspired by the natural features of celebrities such as model Cara Delevingne and starlet Lily Collins, full brows have made a full resurgence in the beauty zeitgeist.

So full brows are back, but what if yours aren’t? Years of depilation can often take a toll on hair growth, leaving longtime tweezer devotees with sparse prospects. Thankfully, cosmetic companies are well aware of the bushy brow trend and have responded with a wealth of products to fill in even the most barely there brows.

We’ve put together a little primer on how to whip your brows into fighting shape, regardless of what you’ve got going on right now.

how to fill in eyebrows
Photography and makeup by Dallas Curow; Models: Maggie and Angelika/The Rock Agency

Consider having your brows professionally tinted. The main benefit of this is darkening all the hairs you’ve got, even the fine, blonde ones. This will instantly give you the look of a fuller, denser brow, even without makeup.

Do some basic grooming. Yes, growing in your brows does require that you put down your tweezers, but you should still consider strategically removing some hairs. For example, the unibrow has not made any sort of comeback, so you might want to clean up the area between your brows to create definition.

Prep your brows. Comb them through with a brow brush or clean toothbrush. Brush them upwards and outwards, roughly following their growth pattern. Now you’re ready to add a product.


how to fill in eyebrows
Photography and makeup by Dallas Curow; Models: Maggie and Angelika/The Rock Agency

Pencil
Choose an eyebrow pencil that’s one shade lighter than your natural brow colour. This will help you fill in the brows gradually without looking too harsh. Apply the pencil one stroke at a time, using a light touch and drawing small lines that look like hairs themselves.

Blonde Pencil: M.A.C Eyebrow Pencil in “Fling” ($19, maccosmetics.com)
Brunette Pencil: M.A.C Eyebrow Pencil in “Lingering” ($19, maccosmetics.com)


how to fill in eyebrows
Photography and makeup by Dallas Curow; Models: Maggie and Angelika/The Rock Agency

Powder
There is no shortage of brow powders on the market, but regular old eyeshadow can work just as well when you’re just starting out. The trick is to choose a shade that’s close to your brow colour but slightly ashy (read: grayish), not warm. This creates a more natural effect. Apply using a small angled brush, using short, delicate strokes.

Blonde Powder: M.A.C Eyeshadow in “Omega” ($18, maccosmetics.com)
Brunette Powder: M.A.C Eyeshadow in “Charcoal Brown” ($18, maccosmetics.com)


how to fill in eyebrows
Photography and makeup by Dallas Curow; Models: Maggie and Angelika/The Rock Agency

Waterproof Liner
There are many varieties of waterproof liners and they all work quite well. You can use a waterproof felt tip liner in a shade deeper than your brow colour to create an intense effect as we did on our brunette model. Just make sure you use a really light hand to keep it looking relatively natural. Or you can layer one or two shades that are lighter than your brow colour for a highlighting effect. On our blonde model, we layered shades of metallic gold and bronze waterproof gel eye pencils.

Blonde Waterproof Liner: Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes in “Gold 9L” and “Bronze 10L” ($23 each, sephora.ca)
Brunette Waterproof Liner: Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Color in “Dark” ($27, sephora.ca)


how to fill in eyebrows
Photography and makeup by Dallas Curow; Models: Maggie and Angelika/The Rock Agency

Tinted Gel
The quickest and easiest product for adding fullness to your brows is a tinted gel, which you can basically consider a mascara for your brows! The cool thing about gels is that they’re usually fairly sheer, so you can experiment with a few different shades to see which effect you like best. Try using a lighter shade to highlight and brighten your brows. Or, add drama by using a slightly darker shade. The only downside to a gel is it doesn’t give you the same precision as the other products.

Blonde Gel: Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel in “Blonde” ($29, sephora.ca)
Brunette Gel: Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel in “Caramel” ($29, sephora.ca)

Bonus Tip: Layering different brow products often produces the best effect. For example, you could pencil in sparse areas, add a bit more density with powder, then set the brow with a tinted gel or clear mascara.