By: Vera Tovshteyn
The physical function of eyebrows is to prevent dirt and moisture, such as sweat,
from getting into our eyes. The aesthetic function, however, is to bring focus to
our eyes and to frame the face. Our cheekbones provide the lower frame, while the
eyebrows provide the upper frame to our eyes, making them the focal point of the
face. The shape and position of the eyebrows can alter our facial expression and the
way others perceive us.
As my former makeup instructor, Merideth, always said, “You wouldn’t put a Mona
Lisa in a poorly constructed frame, or one that is the wrong size for the painting.”
Having been fortunate to see the Mona Lisa this past summer, I thought that the
frame was just a bit distracting from the unexpectedly small masterpiece. But of
course, this is just an opinion. Examining further, I could not help but think that the
lack of visible brows attribute to the “mysteriousness” of her expression. Her point
was that no matter how well the makeup is applied, the eyebrows play a major role
in how your face looks, overall.
As far as perfect eyebrows go, one word that can describe them is “balanced”.
A woman whose eyebrows are too high appears to be surprised all the time.
Eyebrows that are too low give an illusion of sadness. If they are too arched, with
the inner brow that is very low, then a woman will have an angry expression. Too
thin – takes attention away from the eyes. Too heavy – distracting. And, finally, too
perfect – UNNATURAL!
The classic eyebrow shape is the one made famous by the Hollywood stars of the
1950’s, such as Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, and Sophia Loren. All of them
proudly wore quite a strong, arched brow. While Hepburn and Loren’s brows were
not overpowering, Taylor’s black-filled brows were a part of her signature look.
The classic brow is considered to complement most people, which is the reason it
is “classic”. Think of it as a well-fitting black dress; when in doubt – that is what
you wear. However, one size and shape, obviously does not fit all! There are some
variations of the classic brow, which will flatter a woman’s face, depending on the
structure of its features. Below, I offer several tips on adjusting the classic brow
shape for your face:
1. Normally, a classic brow begins above the tear duct, or the inner corner
of your eye. If you have close-set eyes, make them appear wider apart by
slightly widening the distance between the brows (slightly is the key word
here). Either leave it to a professional aesthetician or pluck them yourself.
If choosing the latter, I suggest making marks with a pencil first, to ensure
2. Conversely, to visually narrow the space between the eyes, reduce the
distance between the eyebrows by slightly filling them in with an eye shadow
or an eyebrow pencil. The most natural way to fill in brows is by using very
thin, light strokes, as if you are drawing hair. You may want to practice
drawing hair on paper first.
3. The highest point of the arch is approximately above the outer edge of the
iris, when you are looking straight ahead. This too may vary slightly, but
usually only in the outer direction. I do not advise making the arch closer to
the center of the eye, or you will risk a clown or joker-like appearance.
4. It may seem obvious, but, just in case… if your face is small, you can keep the
shape but reduce the thickness, while someone with a larger face can carry
a stronger brow. The size of your eyes should also serve as a guide for how
thick or thin your eyebrows should be.
5. A curvy arch will look more flattering on ladies whose features are more
6. If your eyebrows are naturally very sparse or light, use the fill-in technique
described above. Always use light, feathery strokes in the same direction
as the hair growth. When filling the inner (thicker) half of the brow, your
strokes should be more vertical. As you reach the outer half (thinner), the
hair begins to grow horizontally. Consequently, your strokes should become
shorter and flatter as well.
7. When filling in brows, you have several product options. My favorite is an
eye shadow with a small, flat angled brush that I moisten with water. Another
option is an eyeliner pencil. In order to achieve natural looking eyebrows,
use a color that is a shade lighter than the hair (I actually like to use two
shades to give them a three-dimensional quality). Use neutral colors, such
as shades of beige and taupe that do not have any red pigment, as our brows
almost never have a red pigment in them. Many makeup companies carry
pencils and powders specifically designed for this purpose, in wide array of
8. Brow gel is a product that may be useful to those with thicker or difficult-
to-manage eyebrows. The wand, which is just like the mascara wand, is for
brushing through and directing the hair in the desired direction. The gel that
keeps the hair in place can be colorless or tinted.
Although we should aim to make our eyebrows as even as possible, we also have
to consider the shape of the eyes, and the overall shape of the face. Sometimes the
two sides of the face are not exactly symmetrical, and that is where another one of
Merideth’s brilliant quotes comes in: “They’re not twins; they’re sisters!”
Vera is a certified makeup artist based in New York. A graduate of a protégées Make Up Designory school (MUD). Vera has all of the necessary skills and tools to create an unique and fresh look for any occasion. Vera’s ability to realize the client’s vision, re-create a look from a photograph or film, or develop a unique look, camouflaging imperfections while enhancing the natural beauty is truly unsurpassed.