Back to Basics #3: How to Groom and Fill Eyebrows

By Beautie | January 27 2012 | 33 Comments

products used

Brows are our next area to be tackled in Back to Basics and once again Leonard’s covered all options high and low, wax and powder by doing Eva’s eyebrows with different products. He started off with something he really loves, Tom Ford’s two-in-one Brow Sculptor, which has a spoolie brush and an angled wax. He then did Eva’s other brow with a powder product, using one of the new NYC Individual Eyes palettes.

Lets get started.



Step 1: Brush your brows with an eye brush. Brush the hair up at at body of the brow – down by the nose – and then after the tip of the arch, make sure to brush the hair down and towards the ear. That gives the best definition. For this brow, Leonard used the Tom Ford Brow Sculptor, which is double-ended.


Step 2:  Now you’re ready to fill them in. Start by the nose and using light, feathery strokes, working your way out towards the tail of the brow. Don’t press hard or aim to apply a lot of colour. If you feel you need to add more, do so, but it’s going to be much easier to add a little more than take it away, so a light hand is the rule of thumb.


This is how the brow should look at this point – a little sharp, so read step three!

Leonard’s Tip: “When doing the tail end of the brow always apply the colour from the top and not the bottom.”


Step 3: now brush over the brow again. You’re almost brushing out the colour because you want it to look natural, yet still defined.

Leonard’s Tip: “A cheaper alternative product to Tom Ford would be the Mac twist-up brow pencils which have a very fine nib and Rimmel also do quality ones.”



For Eva’s second brow, Leonard used a powder product: it’s NYC’s Indvidual Eyes for Green Eyes and it’s a really good way to demonstrate that you don’t necessarily need a dedicated product for brows if you don’t want to shell out for one. At €3.99, this does the business nicely and contains lots of other colours you can use on eyes too.


Step 1: Use a natural bristle brush and aim for a lighter powder shade because once it’s on the hair it will look darker. Tap off any excess from your brush and apply to the brows, starting from the nose outwards. Use light strokes, go gently and if necessary add more rather than attempting to remove colour.

Step 2: If you have a spoolie or even an old clean mascara wand, give brows a quick brush once the colour is in place to remove any excess and give a final tidy.

Leonard’s Tip: “Avoid the Scouse Brow look by using a natural bristle brush and a powder paler than your own hair colour.”


The finished brows: Tom Ford waxed brow is on the left and NYC powder brow is on the right. Which do you prefer?


Makeup artist: Leonard Daly,
Model: Eva Lawes
Photographs: Kirstie McDermott

Eyes, Tutorials , , ,

33 Replies to "Back to Basics #3: How to Groom and Fill Eyebrows"

  • OtherMary says:

    I actually prefer the NYC brow. It looks defined and yet natural enough.

    After filling them with powder or pencil, I like using very strong wet look hair gel to set brows. I keep it in a cleaned mascara tube. I find that wax does not do a good enough job holding the hair in place and wet look gel leaves eyebrows nice and glossy.

  • Maj says:

    Defo prefer the tom ford one, how much is it? It doesn’t look like there is any/or much product on the inner part of the eyebrow, is it supposed to look like this? I use the dior brow pencil, cos its powder in pencil form and has the eyebrow brush on the other end, its pretty much fool proof. Leonard seems very found of tom ford products!!! Any chance he could do a q&a of the best products for different needs?

  • Love the powder one. Soft but defined and much more affordable – can’t beat it!

  • Laoise says:

    Personally I don’t see a difference but thats just me :) I do like them both biut I fond it easier to use a brush than a pencil :)

  • They both look great, I’ve been making a concerted effort to fill in my brows (light handedly) for the past several months and it’s really made a difference. I’m using the light brown from the Sleek Oh So Special palette and it works a treat.

    The little mascara sample wands that they have at any beauty counter are an ideal brow brush to have in your stash. I have *ahem* several.

  • Banjaxed says:

    I much prefer the NYC eyebrow, it seems less harsh. I use eyeshadow for my brows too, can’t use pencils at all, and then use clear mascara (cheapest I can find, at the moment Essence) to set them.

  • Fiona says:

    I like them both, but I’m not a huge fan of brushing the body straight up. To me it looks a bit untidy. Sorry! :)

    However I will say that the recommendation for the MAC brown pencils that twist up (I have one at my hand but cannot tell you the product name because all the print has worn off). It’s my most-often-repurchased product, and there’s always a couple in the stash when I’m doing a back-to-MAC.

  • DeeDee says:

    Both look great, this is really helpful.

    Just another tip i have found lately: I have slightly spiky eyebrows with a few small gaps here n theree. Last time I got my brows waxed, the girl tinted them as well, I feel it has really helped my brows look more even and I dont need to fill them in as much now.

  • MilkyMoo says:

    Fiona I use the same one in Fling – also my most repurchased item from MAC. So you’re saying you can use them for Back2MAC? Raging I threw one out…

    Also did you know that the twist-up brow pencils from MAC only contain 0.09g of product, compared to the regular MAC brow pencils, which contain 0.1g – more than 10 times the amount for the same price! Even the Tom Ford one contains 0.3g as far as I am aware, so it might not actually work any dearer than MAC at all!

  • Fiona says:

    MilkyMoo – yes, I use Strut (great for darker red hair) and you can for sure use them in back2MAC. I brought in two last time :)
    There’s not even a gram of product? That’s insane!

  • MilkyMoo says:

    Oh wait, I made a mistake, sorry – the regular brow pencil from MAC has 1g, not 0.1g, sorry. Still, ten times the amount of the twist-up one, as I said above.

    I think next time I might actually check out Mr Ford’s offering – it might be better value. I don’t know the € price but it’s £32 in the UK and his conversion rates are more than fair, so less than €40 I reckon. The MAC one is €16.50 if I remember correctly, but the Tom Ford one has more than three times the amount of product!

  • Lurganista says:

    K, as you may or may not know I’m a fan of HD brows. As a blonde with blonde & brown brows they add definition to my brows & they ain’t like scouse brows teehee!

    I use smash box brow tech in taupe which is super duper with brush, pigment & wax. I gotta say I luv that Tom Ford brow…investigate I shall…

  • Lee Harpur says:

    Love the NYC brow!

    Thanks for the tips!


  • Fiona says:

    ps the tip about using light strokes might seem obvious, but it’s a really good one. For aaages my brows looked unnaturally well-defined because my hand was too heavy. Didn’t even realise I was doing it! Then I saw a tutorial suggesting feather-light strokes and voila, a defined yet natural look.
    Also the brushing out after is another good suggestion. Helps disperse the colour, making brows look more even.

  • elphaba says:

    Oh No I’d be itching to brush those brows down! There’s a smack of axe murderer about browns brushed up like that!
    I use Elf’s brow kit and it’s fab and cheap as chips, comes with a wax and powder and a mini brush.
    Anyway if I had to pick I’d prefer the NYX brow, the left one has a slightly orange tinge.

  • OtherMary says:

    If brushed upwards, I would trim the hair.

  • Both brows look great. It’s amazing how much difference spending a few seconds filling them can make to your face. I must admit I do prefer the softer look of the Tom Ford brow, but not enough to justify the heftier price. I have the same NYC palette and love it loads :)

  • Hazie says:

    I never think to “do” my eyebrows, I’d be afraid of them looking a bit fake, but this is actually very groomed looking.
    Thanks for another great tutorial. :)

  • miffyonline says:

    I use a variety of different products for brows, one of my favourite parts of my makeup routine actually :)

    I like Laura Mercier brow pencil followed by a clear mascara, or Benefit Speed Brow if I am in a big hurry.

    I also have a couple of suitable eyeshadows – MAC’s Coquette and Bobbi Brown’s Flint or Blonde.

    I am going to replace my ancient Benefit Brow Zings as soon as I get a decent price but I am tempted by the Tom Ford pencil as an alternative.

  • miffyonline says:

    Also, does anyone know where I can find NYC cosmetics on Dublin Southside???
    Their clear nail polish is supposed to be fabulous as a top coat.

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