Shaping EyebrowsWhen dealing with the subject of hair and beauty (particularly in women) we often forget to touch on the subject of eyebrows. Apart from the mouth, the eyebrows are certainly the most mobile feature of the face, and therefore very expressive. If you've ever made even a minimal study of cartooning, you'll know that a great deal of emotion is conveyed through the eyebrows. Because of this, we have to know how to properly care for and shape them.
The ideal eyebrow shape is formed by following three lines. It begins at the outer edge of the nostril, reaches its apex (highest point) at the line even with the outer edge of the iris of the eye (the colored portion of the eye) and extends just beyond the outer corner of the eye. The end of the eyebrow and side of the nostril should form a line that intersects the outer corner of the eye. For women, the inside portion of the eyebrow should be thickest, and should taper to the outer edge. In men, it is usually more flattering if the eyebrow's outer edge is thicker and the inner portion tapers slightly.
You should also be aware of the balance of the other facial features when shaping the eyebrows. Here are some suggestions for common facial problems:
Low Forehead: With a very low forehead, even a moderate arch can leave you looking permanently surprised. Try to use a low arch in shaping the eyebrows to give the forehead more height.
Wide-Set Eyes: When a person has widely set eyes, you can make them appear closer together by extending the brows inward a bit. Be cautious, however, not to give a "frowning" appearance.
Close-Set Eyes: By shaping the brows a little closer to the inner corner of the eye and extending the outer edge a bit further outward, you can give the illusion that the eyes are further apart.
Round Face: Women with round faces will find that an eyebrow shape with a high arch and extended to the end of the cheekbone gives them a more narrow-faced appearance.
Long Face: For the long face, flatten the eyebrow arch to almost nothing, this will have the effect of making the face appear shorter. Remember not to extend the brows past the outer corners of the eye in these cases.
Square Face: Use a high arch and a rounded curve on the outer ends of the brows to make the square face appear more oval.
(Click to enlarge)
To demonstrate the correct way to shape the eyebrows, we enlisted the help of a model who would allow us to adjust the shape of her eyebrows. In the before photo, you'll notice the presence of the curve along the outer end of the brows, but the brows themselves are almost uniformly thick.
The after photo shows the newly shaped brows. We carefully thinned the arches of the outer ends of the brows and opened up the expressiveness of the eyes a good bit. Because the model's face is somewhat long, we kept the arch to a minimum, and because her facial features are large, we maintained the overall thickness of the brows for balance.
Finally, the last photo shows the finished eyebrows after the addition of a light brown eye pencil to make the brows appear more dense, followed by blending and combing with an eyebrow brush.