If makeup is the foundation of your beauty look (no pun intended), then your eyebrows are the accessories. And just like a few pieces of jewelry or a cool pair of sunglasses can instantly upgrade a basic, everyday outfit, careful eyebrow shaping can totally transform your face. The key is knowing which eyebrow shape will best complement your facial features—and, of course, being able to create said shape. Here, we’ll teach you just that.
First, we’ll break down a few common face shapes and reveal the eyebrow shapes that flatter them best. Then, you’ll learn how to shape your eyebrows and our best tips for styling them (with some of our favorite NYX Professional Makeup eyebrow products, of course). Whether you like them thin and defined or full and fluffy, we’ve got you covered. Find your perfect brow shape in our all-in-one eyebrow shaping guide ahead.
How Do I Find My Ideal Eyebrow Shape?
Before you shape your eyebrows, it’s important to figure out what, exactly, you want them to look like. That’s where we come in. Keep reading to discover which eyebrow shape will best suit your facial structure.
Eyebrow Shapes For Round Faces
Round faces are roughly as long as they are wide and generally have softer features. For this face type, angular, arched eyebrows are ideal: The definition provided by a high arch can help balance the natural softness of a rounder face.
Eyebrow Shapes For Square Faces
Square faces, like round faces, are typically as wide as they are long. However, they differ from round faces in that they’re angular—particularly along the jawline and forehead. To help flatter sharp features, we suggest opting for fluffier brows.
Eyebrow Shapes For Rectangular Faces
Full, fluffy eyebrows are also among the best eyebrow shapes for long faces—particularly if your bone structure is more defined, as is the case with rectangular faces. Aim to keep your brows relatively unstructured to help balance your more angular features.
Eyebrow Shapes For Oval Faces
Oval faces are similar to rectangular faces but slightly rounded along the forehead and jawline. Complement your face’s symmetry with softly angled brows that are on the fuller side.
Eyebrow Shapes For Heart-Shaped Faces
People with heart-shaped faces typically have high, prominent cheekbones, a somewhat rounded forehead, and a narrow, pointed chin. To help add balance, we suggest opting for arched, rounded brows, avoiding anything too defined or angular.
How Do I Map My Eyebrows?
In order to shape your eyebrows effectively, you’ll first want to map your eyebrows. Eyebrow mapping is a technique that—done correctly—can help you find the ideal starting and end point for your brows, as well as narrow down where your arch should be. When combined with your understanding of the best brows for your face shape, mapping can help you determine exactly how to shape your eyebrows to flatter your unique facial features.
As for how to map your brows, it's pretty simple. First, grab a white eyeliner pencil and place the bottom end of the pencil at the outer edge of your nostril, holding it vertically. Draw a vertical line where the top half of the pencil intersects with your eyebrow—this is where you’ll want your brow to start.
Next, with the bottom end of the pencil anchored to your nostril, shift the top half of the pencil diagonally toward your temples. Looking straight ahead, stop and mark where the pencil crosses over your pupil. This should be about two-thirds of the length of your brow (give or take) and is where you’ll want your arch to begin. Then, continue rotating the pencil diagonally until it lines up with the outer corner of your eye. Mark where the pencil intersects with your eyebrow to determine the ideal endpoint for your brow. Finally, connect the three marked points to sketch out the basic outline of your eyebrow.
When you’re done with the first eye, repeat the process on the other side to complete your eyebrow mapping. Keep in mind that your brow outline may not be perfectly identical on both sides. That’s totally normal—as they say, brows are sisters, not twins. They should, however, be similar in shape and size.
Eyebrow Shaping Tips to Help You Get Artful Arches
Knowing what shape your brows should be is only part of the equation; the other part is actually shaping them. Below, we’ve compiled some of our best brow shaping tips to help simplify the process.
Determine Your Shape First
When a painter sits down in front of their easel, they usually have at least a general idea of what they’re going to paint. And there’s a good reason for that: having a plan when you’re creating something makes the process smoother. While shaping your brows isn’t nearly as complex as, say, painting a portrait, it will be easier if you have a game plan. That’s why we recommend using the above guidelines to determine your ideal brow shape before you sit down in front of the mirror. With the planning out of the way, you can focus on creating your arches instead of wondering whether your chosen shape will flatter your face.
Work in Natural Lighting
To get the best results, you’ll want to work in natural lighting if possible (in front of a window is ideal!). This helps ensure your face is well-lit so you can ensure your brows are even in shape, size, and color.
Avoid Magnifying Mirrors
It can be tempting to use a magnifying mirror when doing your brows—so much detail!—but we find that it’s a temptation better avoided. Here’s why: When you zoom in on one specific area of your face (as you do when using a magnifying mirror), you become unable to see the whole picture. So you could spend a few minutes perfecting one brow, only to pull the mirror away and realize it’s not centered properly on your face, or it’s way higher than the other brow. And if that happens, you’ll probably need to start all over. So skip the close up, and instead, shape your brows in front of a standard (well-lit) mirror. Trust us: It’s much easier in the long run.
Be Choosy With Your Products
While less of a tip about shaping eyebrows and more of an eyebrow styling tip, we feel it's important to emphasize the importance of choosing the right shade for your brow products. Even the most perfectly-shaped brows will look unnatural if they’re too dark or have an unflattering tint to them. Generally, you’ll want to reach for products that are a shade or two lighter than your natural brow color to achieve the best results. Enter: Zero to Brow Longwear Brow Gel. This long-lasting brow gel comes in seven ultra-pigmented shades to complement an array of skin and hair colors. Plus, the smudge- and fade-resistant formula delivers up to two days of wear.
Use a Stencil to Fill in Your Brows
You don’t have to have the world’s steadiest hands to rock perfectly-shaped brows. Instead, you can use our Zero to Brow stencils. Each stencil pack comes with four brow styles to choose from: straight, arched, rounded, and extra long. Choose your preferred style, then hold the stencil over your brows and use the coordinating Zero to Brow Longwear Brow Gel to fill in your arches. You’ll get up to two days of waterproof, transfer-resistant wear for symmetrical arches that don’t take a ton of effort to create.
4 Trendy Eyebrow Looks Worth Trying
Once you’ve got the eyebrow shaping basics down, you can have a little fun with it and experiment with different shapes and styles. Need some inspiration? Below, find four eyebrow trends we’re loving right now.
Brow lamination is sort of like an eyebrow perm, and it’s exclusively done by pros. It involves straightening your brow hairs, brushing them up, then setting them in place. While the professional service is semi-permanent, you can achieve a similarly sleek look at home with the help of brow pencils, pens, and long-wearing brow gels. Learn more in our guide to brow lamination.
Feathered brows, like the feathered hair trend of the ‘80s, are all about volume: the fuller, the better. You can achieve this trendy look by brushing up your natural brow hairs with a thickening brow gel. If your natural brows are on the sparser side, consider using a brow pencil or pen to draw hair-like strokes to create the illusion of thicker brows.
The ‘90s gave us a lot, beauty-wise: vampy lipstick, grungy eye makeup, and of course, skinny brows. While back then, achieving skinny brows meant tweezing your natural arches to oblivion, these days, you can fake the look with a brow pencil and a bit of well-placed concealer.
Eyebrow trends can be super fun to experiment with, but sometimes, you just want to let your natural beauty shine. Natural brows allow you to do just that. With this trend, the goal is to emphasize your natural brow shape—not make your arches thinner or thicker. A clear brow gel can help you achieve a groomed look without adding or taking away from your natural arches.
Next: Now that you know how to shape your brows like an expert, read about another eyebrow trend we love in the article All About Ombré Brows: How to Recreate the Look at Home.