When ombré hair first started trending in the mid-2010s, it didn’t just surge in popularity—it practically exploded. For a while, it felt like you couldn’t scroll through Instagram or Pinterest without seeing round-ups of the best ombré colors, techniques, and styles. And while ombré hair still has our hearts (and probably always will), ombré eyebrows (sometimes known as ombré powder brows) are our latest ombré obsession.
Like the beloved hair trend, the main draw of ombré brows is that it adds semi-permanent dimension to your arches in a way that looks natural. And, also like ombré hair, it’s something that (when done right) can totally transform your look. Ahead, we’ll explain what ombré eyebrows are and give you the run-down on what to expect if you’re getting them done professionally. You’ll also find an easy at-home tutorial for creating an ombré eyebrow look sans the salon visit. Read on for all the details.
What Are Ombré Brows?
- What they are: The term ombré eyebrows refers to a semi-permanent makeup technique that involves depositing color into precise areas to subtly define the brows. It’s sometimes called “powder eyebrows” or “powder ombré eyebrows,” because the shading technique used gives the brows a soft effect that looks similar to that achieved with brow powder. The goal is to create a subtle gradient of color and give your arches a naturally-fuller appearance.
- Benefits: There are many reasons people spring for ombré brow treatments. For one, the treatment is semi-permanent, so the tint lasts a long time (how long, exactly, varies from person to person). Another benefit of ombré brows is that you can adjust the density of the pigment to suit your preferences: Higher density creates a defined look, while sparser pigment creates a more natural effect. Both of these benefits together add up to one major plus, which is that getting ombré brows done professionally can significantly cut down time spent on your morning brow routine. Use that extra 10 minutes to enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee—or hit snooze a few more times.
- What to expect: When you get to the salon, your technician will likely take a look at your brows and ask you about your expectations so they can create a game plan for your eyebrows. Once you decide on the shape and style, they’ll apply a numbing cream to your brows and the skin around them, and use a special machine to place tiny dots of pigment beneath your skin. The technique is like stippling—the small dots of pigment work together to create a soft, shaded effect. Of course, not every tech follows the same exact method. For a more thorough run-down, it’s best to ask your technician what to expect.
- Aftercare: If you’ve ever gotten a tattoo, you may notice that aftercare for ombré shading is pretty similar to tattoo aftercare. Specifically: You want to keep the area clean and dry, and avoid putting any cosmetics on it until it heals. Again, though, this is something you’ll want to ask your tech about since aftercare may vary from person to person.
- Cost range: We’ll be honest: Ombré brows aren’t cheap. You can usually expect to pay between $500 and $1,000 per treatment, depending on your location and the salon where you’re getting it done. If you’re interested in semi-permanent ombré eyebrows, we recommend doing some research to get a clearer idea of how much the treatment costs in your area.
What Are The Downsides of Ombré Powder Brows?
The main downside of ombré brows is the cost (which, as noted above, ranges anywhere between $500 and $1,000, on average). Though it does last a while, it’s not completely permanent, which means you’ll have to shell that money out again after a year or two once the color dissipates if you want to maintain the look. Plus, ombré brows often require upkeep—and touch-ups aren’t always included in the treatment price. You don’t have to shell out your hard-earned cash to achieve the look of ombré brows, though: With the right technique, you can get a similar effect with brow products you probably already have in your makeup bag.
Ombré Brows vs. Microblading: The Differences, Explained
Ombré and microblading are both semi-permanent ways to tint your brows, and both are done by trained professionals. However, the technique—and end results—for the two treatments are quite different. Whereas ombré brows are achieved by stippling color (as we described above), microblading involves using a thin needle to draw hair-like strokes in sparse areas. This results in a more defined brow look than ombré brows, which generally have a softer, subtler finish. Ultimately, neither is better (or worse) than the other—it’s just a matter of personal preference.
How To Recreate The Ombré Brow Look With Makeup
If you’re interested in ombré brows but aren’t sure you want to take the semi-permanent plunge just yet, you’re in luck: We can teach you how to recreate the look at home with makeup. Here, we’ll break down how, plus give you the run-down on the products you’ll need to get the job done.
Step 1: Determine Your Desired Shape
Before you get started, you’ll want to take a minute to decide what your desired end result is. For example, do you prefer a strong arch or straighter brows? Do you want a full look or would you rather make your brows look thinner ? Once you’ve settled on a shape, use our Micro Brow Pencil in a hue one or two shades lighter than your natural brow color to mark where you want your brows to start, arch, and end. These marks will serve as a kind of stencil to help guide you while you work. If you’re not sure what brow shape best suits you, head on over to our article Eyebrow Mapping: How To Find Your Perfect Brow Shape for some easy-to-follow brow shaping advice.
Step 2: Fill In Sparse Areas
With the same Micro Brow Pencil you used in step one, start filling in any sparse areas in the front half of your brows. The pencil boasts a skinny tip that makes it easy to create precise, hair-like strokes for a natural effect (which is exactly what you’re trying to achieve with the ombré brow look). Try to use light pressure and work slowly to avoid making your brows too dark or defined—you want the color to look natural, not overdone.
Step 3: Darken The Tail Of Your Brows
Next, create your ombré gradient effect by using a darker Micro Brow Pencil shade (one that closely matches your natural hair color) to fill in the tail of your brows. Again, you’ll want to use hair-like strokes here for a natural effect. At this stage, you may notice an obvious difference in color between the front of your brows and the tail—that’s okay because the next step is to blend out the gradient.
Step 4: Blend, Blend, Blend
To soften any lines and create a powdered brow effect, blending is key. What you use to blend is up to you, but we suggest opting for a smudging brush (or even your fingers). Continue blending until there’s a smooth transition of color from the front of your brows to the ends. Then, use a cotton swab to clean up the edges, if needed.
Step 5: Define Your Arches
Add a touch more definition to your eyebrow ombré by defining the bottom edge of your arches with our Lift & Snatch! Brow Tint Pen. For a soft, natural effect, opt for a shade slightly lighter than your natural brow color, and draw thin lines in the direction of your hair growth to mimic your natural brow hairs. With this step, less is more—you want to add definition, but it shouldn’t be obvious or overdone.
Step 6: Set With Brow Gel
Once you’re satisfied with the color and shape of your brows, you can go ahead and set it all with a long-lasting brow gel. Our pick: Thick It Stick It! Brow Gel. The buildable formula tames and thickens your brows while providing up to 16 hours of wear. Plus, it’s available in eight tinted shades to flatter a wide range of brow colors . For a subtle effect, opt for a color that closely matches the brow pencil you used at the beginning of the routine—it’ll tie the look together beautifully.
Next: We love complementing ombré brows with a bold eye makeup look. Find inspiration for your next look in our article Our Favorite Smokey Eyeshadow Looks.