Brow School: Eyebrow Filling Basics

It has been A LONG time since I made my brow video and I have made a few changes since, which means an update is in order. I do sometimes use brow dip (which is a creme brow filler) but I didn’t in this video because I think most people who are just filling sparse areas will be better off with shadow. I reserve brow dip for women with completely bare areas and who can’t seem to get the shadow to stay put, so I’ll do a separate video for that!

I’ve already talked a lot about the basic dimensions of a brow so I skipped that this time but if you’d like to know more about those check this post out.

Bold brows are pretty popular these days so I put a few of my favorite tricks into making them look natural in this video and also a sneaky trick for diminishing the look of your “elevens” or the brow furrow creases that we get as we age.


What I used:
MAC Brun Shadow (Charcoal brown for lighter hair)
MAC Eyebrow Pencil in Stud
Tweezerman  Brow Shaping Scissors 
Eyeko Brow Gel

Have a happy hump day!

81 thoughts on “Brow School: Eyebrow Filling Basics

  1. This is great but I also wanted to mention that I’ve tried all kinds of powders/pencils for brow fill in, and the best product by far is Benefit’s Gimme Brow. Very natural looking, better than powder IMO!

    • I loved it too but I wish they would fix the smell :( When I tried it on at the Benefit counter it was the first thing I noticed. It has that weird mascara smell.

      • I use Gimme Brow every day and the smell doesn’t bother me, but I do agree that it’s mascara-like in that it can get clumpy. It’s weird because I think it looks great on my left eyebrow, but it gets clumpy and flaky on my right one. I think it’s because I have a really sparse spot in the arch of my right eyebrow and end up using more product on that side. I wish the tip of the wand was a bit narrower so I could fill that spot more precisely. Anyway, to make a long story short, don’t put on too many coats of that stuff because it will clump up!

        • Have you tried Benefit’s Brow Zing? I had them try it on me at the make up counter and I really liked it. I’m not as pro as them but love the darker “paste” and then the lighter shadow to fill in. Thought you might try that if the Gimme Brow is not working out.

  2. So, I basically have no eyebrows because I’m so blonde and fair. I fill them in with a blonde powder for a bit of definition while still looking natural. I am lost at plucking eyebrows, though. Do you have any tips for my virgin eyebrows?

  3. Thank you for your tips! Our minds must be thinking alike because on my blog yesterday, I did a post titled Eyebrows 101: How to get perfectly shaped eyebrows. I always love watching your videos and reading your blog posts. I have learned so much from you. You and anyone who wants to can link to my blog post by hovering your mouse over my profile picture.

  4. Hi Cara, Thanks for this post. I had a tiny surgery as a kid that left a nasty scar in my eye brow. I’m fair and have fair eye brows. I can’t seem to get anything to stick to the skin to fill in the space and when I do get product there its way noticeable. Any suggestions?

  5. Love your tutorials. I emailed you about this exact thing, so thank you. A couple other questions maybe you could help with. I’m seriously working hard to grow brow towards the center of my face, but have been doing that for sometime and they just don’t grow. I have been using your dupe for the Mac Brun (loreal antique brown) and I do like it, but I feel like I need something to help it “stick” onto my skin where I’m trying to grow brows. Would you rec’d filling with pencil lightly and then going in with the shadow? Or would you do an entirely different product? I’ve been to ulta and played a bit with the too faced pencil which was ok and also the benefit gimme brow which I can’t get the right color from that. One last ?… When do you do brows in your makeup routine, First or last? I typically do mine after moisturizer and dr. Jart BB creme but before powder. Just am curious if that is attributing to them rubbing off easily.

  6. This was a great tutorial! Filling in your brows is such a simple way to frame your face. People will notice something different about you without knowing exactly what (which is always the best). I do have one question, though. Why do you use both a pencil and a shadow? Do you have to use both?

  7. Cara, have you ever tried Makeup Forevers Aqua Brow? I was dumb enough to over-pluck and I have very little eyebrows left (and patchy to top it off). I LOVE the Aqua Brow! It has worked wonders for me!

  8.! Thank you! Thank you for this video. As I have aged, the outer half of my brows has gotten much lighter so I look like I have half an eye brow. I’ve only just recently tried filling them in (eye brow pencils terrified me) so I really haven’t been happy with the end result. And every time I look at your pic, I am filled with eyebrow envy at your beautiful full brows. Now I want to go practice so I can have lovely full brows. Thank you so much Cara!

  9. Thanks for explaining WHY you do things a certain way instead of just saying WHAT you’re doing. I went looking through my makeup to find something that’s a similar color to the shadow you use– you always say to use something ashy and not at all warm. It sounds weird, but I’ve been dragging a cheap little eyebrow brush across the top of Clinique’s quickliner pencil in “black/brown” and using that. Works great!

  10. Hi Cara! Love your blog. I’ve watched your nose countoring videos and was wondering if you would do one with instructions on how to disguise a bump and how to shorten a long thin nose. Thanks in advance!

  11. My teenager has very bushy eyebrows (like the longest hairs you’ve ever seen) and I have very sparse. She’s got enough hair for six people so it’s no wonder she’s got eyebrows to match. Help! I don’t know how to help her tame the beasts and at times it looks like she has 80 year old man brows. Do you pluck some? What about cutting length off the ones in the middle? Any advice for overgrown ones?

    • I have the same problem. I bought an eyebrow trimmer on amazon. You just run it over your brows and it trims them up. I love it!

  12. I’ve never tried the eyeko but I bought the sally girl brown mascara and use it on my brows! It has a smaller than normal wand and does the trick I think. NYX also has a clear brow gel I got to try

  13. Any suggestions for girls with thick, dark brows? I have really dark eyebrows and I feel like when I fill them in it’s so obvious that its makeup :-/

  14. Cara, I am so glad you did this post. My brows have been looking so much better since you did them for me at your sisters store. I no longer use a pencil, just shadow now. I have been in a real funk lately though and have been looking into tattooing them on, just so that in the summertime with swimming and camping I don’t have to worry about scaring any of the kids, lol. What are your thoughts about this? Also I definitely have the “elevens” issue. Are there any creams you know of to help make them not so deep or just botox?

    • I’m not Cara but did have my eyebrows tattooed and I wouldn’t do it again. For me I felt like it looked too harsh and not very natural. I’ve been putting castor oil on mine every night. It’s inexpensive and I think it’s helping them fill in. Also tinting them helps quite a bit. When I’m filling in a lot or they’re looking sad this always seems to help. I do it myself using the Just for men beard hair dye and it works great! 5 minutes or less. Just my 2 cents :)

      • I’ve been considering this as well. My friend did it, and they tattooed on the individual hairs. Even very close up it looks very real. I’ve seen others that basically colored in like with a marker. That look very harsh and weird. Blackgiraffe what method did they do on you? My eyebrows are very light and sparse. One thing that really helped my eyebrows grow in is huge doses of iodine. Thinning sparse brows is a sign of iodine deficiency. I didn’t self diagnose. My health care practitioner told me how much to take, but it is WAY more than the standard dose.

  15. So I naturally have very thin brows brownish/blonde brows. The weird thing about that is that my hair, as an adult, has always been brown/black naturally, so very dakr. When I was younger it was sort of a light golden brown color, but it’s almost as if my body hair never changed (I know that sounds weird, but on my forearms, the hair is white blonde, etc, you get the picture), but the hair on my head did! Does this make sense?

    Anyhow, when I try to fill in my brows, I end up sort of looking like a drag queen, or just.. very wrong. My skin is basically just really white, with freckles and pink undertones. I don’t really know what to do to fill in my brows. Almost every color I try (even blonde) just looks too dark, so I just don’t bother. Any suggestions?

    I that’s a true to nature picture of how light my brows are in comparison to my hair.

    • Also! Thank you for this post! Sorry I came barrelling in like a gimme-gimme monster not even taking a second to show my appreciation lol. I love the concepts you use for brows, yours are always perfect, I just don’t know what to do so that mine don’t look so garish. And, I would have linked that picture but I wasn’t sure your comments allowed it, so I took the lazy route. There’s a sort of olive filter on that picture, so my skin looks sort of pale-olive and it’s really not. At all. Thank you, again!

  16. Hey, I’ve just found out about your blog and I love it! I usually don’t leave comments on blogs, but this time I had to. I love how you’re not looking for attention, but actually helping people getting prettier (and more confident).
    Two hours going through this blog and I already learnt so much! Thank you!
    I just wish the internet had more people like you.

    (sorry for possible errors, english is not my native language)

  17. I only JUST started plucking my brows (I’m 24), for the longest time I had a fear of the pain of it, and I still have trouble with it. I only pluck the stray guys under the outer tail part, and NOTHING else… so that middle part… yeah it’s isn’t unibrow fear overplucking… those guys just do not grow at all

  18. Thanks for the great post Cara! I never even noticed my brows until your blog came along!

    I wanted to share my experience re colors: I have medium brown hair that has a strong ashy undertone and I found that the MAC color in Concrete (ashy taupe) works wonderfully for me — so natural yet definitely makes a big difference. The Brun was too dark on me and Charcoal Brown was just a touch warm though it works great too. But what won me over for the Concrete color was that it also works as a gorgeous smokey eye color. I can’t stop using it for everything!!!

    I just wanted to share with you ladies in case you’re a freak like me and neither the Brun nor the Charcoal Brown work quite the way you want them to.

  19. LOVE YOUR POSTS!! thank you for sharing such fun beauty tips!! I want to ask when you will be getting in your pack in Medium…..I HAVE BEEN DYING to get it for months now and cant seem to find the right timing of ordering it because its always out…could you help tell me when they will be in stock?

  20. Cara, just saw you on the NY Times!! I clicked on the article title randomly, and thought, this article could totally be about Cara. And then there you were! I am a lurker who loves your makeup and posts. Keep up the good work and congrats :)

  21. i started filling in my brows after I found your site a few weeks ago. I never understood why people filled in their brows, until I filled mine in haha. My hairs are kinda sparse on the inside edges, so that’s the only place I really use it. I cant wait to pick up some brun and finally do it like you have mentioned. right now i’m using just a small travel brush with a random elf shadow.

  22. Love your tutorial! I started filling in my brows like last year and it wasn’t til several months ago that I was doing it properly! I still have a question though, what is the purpose of using a powder AND a pencil?

  23. Hola Cara, I loved this video a my brows stop just a little before the corner of my eye. I know have a better idea on how to fill them in. I would love to know if you whitened your teeth as they look great! What did you use? I’ve been out of the loop for a while. It’s possible that I missed this information. BTW, I do have the material I promised to share with you as I will keep my word – a lot of unexpected issues popped up. “What challenges us only makes us stronger”

  24. Watched your brow video in the past and never thought it could make such a change…thank you, thank you, thank you. Was just wondering though, in the video you used only powder and now you’ve mentioned a pencil and gel.?. And am unsure what color to buy. I have blond highlights but darker brows. Once again, thank you.

  25. Hi Cara. I’ve been following you for over a year and am thrilled about all of the amazing things happening in the past months. Is so nice when good things happen to good people!
    Thanks for this brow update. I’ve tried almost every option for over 15 years and the only thing that works is having them waxed and tinted. I’m a redhead and my brows and lashes are very light brown. My naturally blonde sister has the same issue and tried a Mac product (sorry, I don’t know the name) she said is like a sharpie over a month ago and it won’t come off and looks very strange. I feel really bad for her :(! Have you (or anyone else) heard of or used this?
    Last question, you seem to have some very faint, tiny bruises under your eyes. Is it from the injections you had? Just curious as I don’t remember you mentioning any side effects.
    Thanks so much! Sarah

  26. I swear by the Make Up Forever brow gel! You use the smallest amount and it is usually the only product I need to use for my brows.

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  29. Hey Cara! I have naturally blonde hair (dyed a dark brown) so my eyebrows are very light naturally. I find that in order for them to be more noticeable and work with my dark hair that I keep them fuller. However, when i try to color them in, then they look too thick. Do you think its best to pluck before coloring them in? I worry on days that I’m feeling lazy I will look like I don’t have brows!

  30. Thanks for the video! I am never quite sure how far to take them inward. Mine are just a little too far apart. I feel like I either keep them too far apart or overcompensate and make them too close together… suggestions?

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  32. Hey Cara. I recently found your blog and am in love with brow school. I never realized how important eyebrows are. I’ve been neglecting mine for years. I never felt like I knew enough about them and so anything I did would just end up a disaster, so it was better to just let them be. I was so wrong, and now I feel much more confident in my brow knowledge. I do however have a question.
    You talk about filling in the sparse areas of the brow, but what about people with naturally very think brows? Should you still fill eyebrows that are thick all on their own?

  33. Please do the brow gel video soon!! I have the most uneven brows with bald spots! It takes FOREVER to fill them in with brow powder, and getting it just right. I have never used a gel but want to start, with your help!!?? Please and thank you!

  34. Hey Cara:)
    I have natural red hair and my brows are a really light red shade (almost blonde) people actually ask me if I bleach my brows because my hair color is so much deeper! What color/brand should I use? I’ve used a couple different brown shades, but most seemed too dark and unnatural. Thanks!

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  36. Hi Cara. I am platinum blonde and I feel like the MAC Brun Shadow is a little to dark for me (beautiful color and it does look great on me, I just don’t think it matches my hair) so I am trying the Charcoal Brown. What eyebrow pencil do you recommend to go along with that? Thank you so much

  37. Cara, have you done the video you said was coming, using the brow dip for completely bare areas?! I have looked and did not find it. Please please consider doing it in the near future!? I have tried everything, I have watched your videos over and over, I have watched other peoples videos over and over, and I have tried pencils to powders and still have trouble. Having completely bare areas (not just sparse, like… big BALD spots) makes filling in the brows way more difficult than all these videos portray. When I use the brow powders, it can be really tricky to get the even lines or shape, b/c my eyebrows are bald where the bottom contour should be, so there is no “natural shape” to follow! Pencils look way too harsh. I stick with the anastasia brow duo’s for now, but it takes forever to get it right and many times it gets messed up because the powder either dries on my bare skin looking like I used an old crayon, or it doesn’t look natural/evenly distributed. I am desperate, please help! I stopped plucking years ago! I have used latisse, brow boosters, and am considering rogaine (yes, really!) since they do not want to grow where I need them to. In the meantime, I need a much more convenient and efficient technique to fill in brows on BALD areas.
    Brow dip? How does that work on skin without looking weird?? Have you used the brow pens? I have seen these pens (almost like a felt tip marker) by Stila & Anastasia that seem promising, but if they actually work then why only a few on the market? *sigh*

    You’re THE beauty guru I trust and it would be awesome if you could do a video on working with us baldy-browed girls. Or even let me know if the brow pens are worth trying? Did I mention I was desperate at this point?! 😉 Thanks so much.

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  40. Do you happen to know of any brow shades that are light brown and cool-toned (and ideally not too pricey)?

    My hair is dark blonde/light brown, and a bit ashy. I like a fairly thick brow, but I don’t want the full-on Cara Delevingne look. I find most brow colors either too dark, in which case my brows look more imposing than I would like, or too warm-toned, in which case they look unnatural on my face.

    I appreciate any product recommendations/advice you an give me.

    And thank you for all the great info and pointers I’ve already gleaned from your posts. I just found your site, so I’ve only read a few, but I’ll definitely be sticking around and checking out more!

  41. I was born a redhead but my hair has faded to a light strawberry blonde. I now dye my hair dark red and have trouble getting my eyebrows to match. Any suggestions for redheads or people who dye their hair?

  42. Help! You are brilliant and so helpful in a remarkably accessible way. I am very blond and my brows grow in very quickly and super bushy! But, they are invisible! Without makeup I have no eyelashes or eyebrows. Still, I’m constantly plucking or using a depilatory cream (made for the face-they are that thick!) trying to shape my eyebrows. Also, towards the ends of each brow, after the arch, the hairs begin to disappear. I like a bold brow but constantly, completely reshaping my brows, attempting to choose the correct color(s) to make my brows visible and trying to chose between powders, pencils, gels and/or waxes I am in brow hell. I understand all of the steps and alignments, but I have to reshape my brows every few weeks from constant regrowth which covers my entire brow bone. I hope this makes sense. I’m hoping for some assistance with how to finally have beautiful, consistent, natural, yet a bit dramatic eyebrows. Can you help a fair, cool-toned, blond with this issue? It is driving me crazy and your advise has always been very helpful and clear.
    Thank you!!

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  47. I have the dreaded elevens (Botox softened them a little but they were still there). They make trying to fill in my blond brows really hard because it seems like darker brows make those “mean wrinkles” look meaner. Thank for the tip, I’ll have to try it.

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