By Sarah Stanley
Something none of us could have anticipated as children is how obsessed so many people would be with their eyebrows. People these days even go so far as to shave off and redraw their eyebrows, mimicking ancient times when women would shave their eyebrows. Even if you don’t go to that extreme, chances are you probably still pay attention to your brows.
Ashlee Lillie, Instagram makeup fanatic, says, “If you’re looking at an eye look that you find captivating, hard to achieve, or overall amazing, it’s probably due to the eyebrows and eyelashes…”
With all of that being said, the most important thing about doing your brows is expressing yourself. “If you want crazy thick Audrey Hepburn or thin Lucille Ball brows and you love it, just do what makes you happy,” says Lillie.
One important factor in getting that “captivating” look is to have the right eyebrow shape for your face. I asked some friends if they ever really thought about their face shapes when they did their eyebrows.
“I’m pretty sure my face is heart shaped?” LJ Vernon from New York says. “Either way, my forehead is wider than my jawline, so yes, I like to keep my eyebrows thick and extending past my eyes to make my forehead appear smaller.”
Some of us might not know what our face shape is or what to do with that knowledge, which is why I called upon the help of Nikki Evirs, skin care educator from Summit Salon Academy, Gainesville, to analyze some of the basic facial shapes.
“First and foremost, the brows frame the face, so in interpreting brows you must take into account the entire face as a whole, the brows providing the foundation,” she says.
Another tip she offers is that most eyebrows are not identical. When grooming your eyebrows, you should think of them as siblings rather than twins.
What is your face shape and what kind of eyebrows work best for you? Evirs has these suggestions:
“In this first photo we have an ideal oval-shaped face. The forehead area is slightly wider than ‘ideal,’ possibly putting his face shape in the inverted triangle category yet to place it here it needs a more uniform narrowing towards the chin,” she says.
“The arch of the brow could be corrected slightly over the measured arch point, and as you can see in the measurement lines (A, start of brow, B, arch point, C, tail) this is actually happening naturally for this gentleman. The distance between two brows should be the width of one eye shown in oval D.”
Additionally, if you also have a somewhat wider forehead, Evirs suggests using a lowlight to make it appear smaller using a cool or blue-based color.
For this photograph of SBM writer Gabriela DeAlmeida, Evirs provided a grid to measure the face. At home, you can use measuring tape to take your own measurements. “The ideal [oval] face shape is about ¾ wide as it is long,” Evirs says. “Allowing extra hair to grow to this point on her left brow would be ideal if growth occurs here.” It was standard to not remove hairs above the brows but is common now.
“The most important part about the brows for this face shape is to keep the edges ‘soft’ with no sharp angles,” says Evirs. “The arch point for brow can be the same as oval, but bringing it slightly towards the center (marked by the line hitting the pupil) to create the illusion of a slightly wider forehead…”
SBM writer Krystalle Pinilla epitomizes the triangular face type for us in this photo. “We can identify face shape with the shadow cast on the model’s left side of the face. This line shows a distinguishing widening towards the jaw (line A). When analyzing the brows, you can observe the arch point has been groomed towards the outer portions of the forehead, widening that portion of the face.
“In the future, the brows could continue to be shaped with the arch point slightly farther towards the temples, shown by line B. Softer edges in the brows could also be beneficial to this face shape,” Evirs says.
“Although this photo is taken at an elevated angle you can still find the features of a round face, which calls for the widest portion of the face to be widest at the center of the face,” says Evirs. She says that many people incorrectly assume that having chubby cheeks means having a round face shape.
“Shaping a brow to compliment the round face requires the arch point to travel to the center and become more of an angled brow. This narrows the face in that region.”
“In the oblong face shape, the idea is to create soft edges and volume,” Evirs suggests to SBM writer Alexa Romagnolo. “A high arch would create a narrow forehead, so in this face shape a brow that is slightly extended past the traditional ‘tail’ (endpoint) will give more width to that portion of the face.”
If this doesn’t sound manageable with your brows, Evirs suggest an alternate approach. “A slight arch with soft edges is also ideal. This finishes the brow, creating an overall oval appearance for this facial type.”
“In the square face shape the proportions are so angled and square that the brows must be soft and rounded to offset the harsh lines of the face. Looking at this photo the subject naturally has a brow following these rules. His left is soft and rounded and the arch point lines up with the ideal measurements. Within the right brow we can perform corrections with proper trimming and the removal of a few hairs.”