How to Fill in Sparse Eyebrows

How to fill in sparse brows. Stone for Getty Images

Whether your eyebrows are sparse or not, makeup artists agree almost every woman needs to fill in her brows as part of her normal beauty routine.

Makeup artist Dick Page once informed an editor of Allure Magazine that he'd never seen a model who didn't need her brows filled in. (You can read all about it in Allure's "Confessions of a Beauty Editor" buy it from Amazon). This was news to me because of all the things I do to go out, including highlighter above the brows and mascara primer (good golly, I know), filling in my brows was not something I have done, well much.

Guess that's gonna change.

If like most women, you were born with sparse brows or simply went too far with the tweezers, there is a fix to filling in your eyebrows. All it takes is a pencil, powder, and an angled brush or a clean mascara brush.

Pick a Pencil and Powder Shade

Pencils and powders tend to stick to skin, not to hair, so if you don't have a lot of hair you'll want to shade in the skin where hair should grow.

Select a soft pencil (hard pencils tend to be too waxy) which is a shade lighter than your brows and a powder which matches the color of brows. If brows are super fair, choose a pencil that's a shade darker than brows.

Redheads have a particularly hard time finding the perfect brow pencils. See The Best Brow Pencils and Powders for Redheads.

Prep the Brows

First, comb out brows with a clean mascara wand (you can buy them for pennies from Amazon.com). Examine brows for any sparse spots.

Fill in With Pencil

Use the pencil to fill in the sparse spots with short, feathery strokes. Apply in the direction of hair growth. The key here is not to create a definite line, but to create the appearance of hair. Be careful not to pencil in the entire brow, which will result in an unnatural look.

Your pencil should be super soft so it goes on with little exertion. But if you have a pencil that's too hard, warm the tip up by rubbing it between your fingers.

Follow With Eyeshadow or Brow Powder

Dip an angled brush or a clean mascara wand in eyeshadow. Brush the powder along the brows. It should stick to the pencil, while also acting to blend in the color perfectly. For more staying powder, dampen the brush slightly before dipping it into color.

Two Colors Instead of One?

You can try two colors when filling in brows: A light powder where brows are thickest and a darker shade for the tail ends.

Set Brows

To keep brows in place, spritz hairspray on your finger and brush onto the brow.

Uh-oh, Overplucked?

If you've overplucked, it will take a few months to a couple years for hair to grow back.

Condition Brows

Conditioning your brows with castor oil is a great way to keep brows healthy and looking great, according to Rami Gafni in Instyle Magazine. Gafni uses a clean mascara wand to apply the castor oil.

The Shape of Brows

Fuller brows are preferable to skinny ones. Have eyebrows shaped by a pro every four weeks. Use a good tweezer (Tweezerman slant tweezers are our hands-down favorite, buy them from Amazon), to clean up the hairline in between visits.

Rogaine Can Help

If your brows don't grow fast enough, consider Women's Rogaine (buy from Amazon) or men's extra-strength Rogaine (buy from Amazon) applied to the sparse areas with a Q-Tip. According to Allure, experts recommend applying twice a day for four months. But do a test patch first on your inner wrist to make sure you don't get a rash. Check the patch after a day.

What About Tinting Brows, Is It Safe?

If you're considering dyeing your brows to match your hair or to get rid of grays, it is safe to do as long as you consult a professional who's experienced in tinting brows. Find out more in Is it Safe to Color Eyebrows?

Liked this? There's much more on brows:

  • 9 Eyebrow Mistakes You May Be Making
  • How To Shape Your Eyebrows
  • Should You Splurge or Save on Tweezers?