Step away from the wax, ladies. True eyebrow pros swear by these basic tools when it comes to battling unruly brows.

Eyebrow shaping was never a skill I learned. My method was more along the lines of simply hacking off whatever I saw and hoping the salon could fix it in the months that I could afford a visit. Robby Nelson, resident makeup artist of Philadelphia’s hot Salon Vanity by Edmondo Blando, has seen plenty of eyebrow misadventures in his 15 years of working with some of the biggest names and celebrities in fashion. Luckily, he’s stepped in to teach you how to shape your eyebrows with professional shaping and shading techniques. And beauty blogger Ivy Boyd put some of those tips to the test in the video above.

Tools You Need

  • A pair of tweezers
  • A brow brush
  • Brow scissors
  • Brow gel

There are so many eyebrow techniques out there now. How do you know what will work best?

I really prefer tweezing my eyebrows. I find eyebrow wax a little harder to manage, especially when you’re doing it yourself at home. With threading, I’ve seen one or two really amazing jobs, but it’s so easy to get the “Golden Arches” look, this very round shape that can leave you looking like Betty Boop. I think of tweezing as weeding a garden, whereas waxing or threading is more like mowing the lawn.

If you’re tweezing your eyebrows at home, how can you make sure to get that arched shape?

You want to tweeze using the brow closest to the inner corner as your guide and tweeze below the brow from thick to thin. You want to start the arch right over the browbone. Many people start arching over the pupil, which can give you a cuckoo-surprised look. If you arch over the browbone, you’ll get that relaxed countenance. A little brow gel can keep them in place and make them look neat. If you need to, you can trim any rogue brows with brow scissors, but make sure not to cut them too short!

I’m a textbook over-tweezer. How can I start shaping my eyebrows while growing them out at the same time?

I see a lot of bad brow jobs, and you really just have to go cold turkey and assess the situation. You can draw in the shape of the eyebrow and pluck what’s left, but it could take up to a year to grow back.

When you’re shaping your eyebrows, is it important to fill them in with an eyebrow pencil or shadow?

You don’t have to fill them in. You can fill in eyebrows for definition or drama in the evening, but it’s not necessary all the time. If you’re going to fill them in, I prefer eyebrow pencils because the powders can end up looking artificial.

Once you’ve shaped your eyebrows, how can you maintain that shape?

I’m seeing a lot of models now with these thick, full brows. Fuller brows are in fashion now, so you really just have to do a little clean-up every once in a while to keep that soft sweep. I have some clients that come in one or two times a year to get back on track, and then they’re able to maintain it at home.

If you are going into a salon to get your eyebrows waxed or tweezed, what can you tell your stylist so you don’t walk out of there with one of those nightmare eyebrow stories?

Make sure they’re not waxing or tweezing on top of the brow. You need that for a little lift. Otherwise, you’re going to end up with straight lines of brows that make you look angry all the time. Most of all, just remember that not everyone is focused on your eyebrows the way you are. If you mess up, get an eyebrow pencil, put on some sunglasses, and move on with life.

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