From tweezer technique to whether DIY threading is a good idea, here’s how to pluck up the courage (sorry) to shape your eyebrows at home
As anyone who’s ever overplucked can attest, browscaping mistakes can make a huge difference to the overall balance of your face.
As a general rule of thumb, shaping your eyebrows is best left to the professionals. However, there may be some occasions when a trip to your technician’s chair just isn’t possible. Work and life can get in the way, meaning that sometimes we may feel more inclined to take matters (and tweezers) into our own hands.
When it comes to plucking your eyebrows, there’s one golden rule. Well, two actually – work with your natural brow shape and less is more. “Don’t aspire to a celebrity brow or trend,” says brow expert Jenna Treat (@jennatreat on Instagram). “Own what you have and make them the best version of what they already are.”
“Oh...and do not drink and tweeze. I’ve done this. It did not end well.” Make that three golden rules.
Tempted to try and pluck your own eyebrows? Here is Jenna's expert how-to.
How to pluck your eyebrows without it hurting – A step-by-step by brow expert Jenna Treat
1. Plan ahead
“Study brows from a distance in the bathroom mirror (never a tiny hand mirror – be wary of getting too close to the brows or focusing on them individually). Treat them as a pair and single out odd hairs that need removing.
“Take a selfie of your brows when they look their fiercest. Zoom in. Plot the removal. Mark-up the hairs that don’t need to be there. Be conservative. Do not rush. You can always take, you cannot replace.”
2. Tweeze brows when dry
“Always tint, trim and tidy brows then they’re bone dry. Comb brows up and back, against the grain and release. Brow hair has an elastic quality, like head hair, so has a bounce back factor. If it’s held down and trimmed, you can end up looking stern and judgy.”
3. Stretch the skin
“Great lighting is essential for tweezing. Using your thumb and forefinger, stretch the skin on the targeted brow until it’s taut. This helps alleviate pain and ensures smoother hair removal. Hairs can be multidirectional, and regrowth is often short and hard to grasp. But where possible, tweeze with the direction of hair growth. Remember to look at the brows with perspective between tweezes to prevent going overboard.”
3. Start in the middle
“Visualise a 5p coin. A target if you will. No tweezing out of bounds. If you have a boundary, you can’t accidentally venture into the sprigs at the front of the brow, which is the cornerstone for achieving fullness. Remove marked hairs underneath a hair or two at a time, alternating sides and inspecting from a distance every few tweezes.”
4. Less is more – follow your natural brow shape
“Avoid tweezing too far into the front from the centre, or removing the ends. Brows should be sprig-like and as naturally arched as possible, should trail off and not end abruptly. This often means that strategically stray-but-tidy is the goal. There are no right angles in the brow kingdom, and thus should not be the aspiration. No-one scrutinises our brows like we do, so it’s okay for them to be perfectly imperfect.”
The Boots edit – nine of the best eyebrow products to try
Explore more great options here.
Best brow brush
Try: Eyebrow Queen Essential Eyebrow Brush (£14)
• Vegan friendly
This double-ended tool with a spoolie on one end to groom and angled brush on the other to fill in is a must in anyone’s makeup brush collection.
Best brow tint
Try: L'Oréal Paris Unbelievabrow Long Lasting Eyebrow Gel (£14.99)
• Six shades
Whether used for depth of colour or extra volume, this multi-tasking brow tint and gel is great for adding subtle definition.
Best brow pencils
Try: Benefit Brow Microfilling Pen (£22.50)
• Four shades, Triple-pronged brush
“This pen is life-changing,” says Jenna. “For blonde or faded brows that need a little pick-me-up, and those who need a little fill-in-the-blank action without wanting to look too ‘done’, this is for you.”
Best brow setting gel
Try: Benefit 24-Hour Brow Setter Clear Brow Gel (£22.50)
• Custom dual-sized wand
With a dual-sided wand and clear formula, this brow gel provides smooth root-to-tip coverage to sculpt, shape and set hairs in place.
Best brow kit
Try: Sleek MakeUP Brow Kit (£8.49)
• Four shades
Containing a shaping wax and setting powder, mini tweezers and an angle and blending brush, this is the perfect pint-sized kit for brow top-ups on-the-go.
How to thread your brows at home
So now you’ve mastered plucking your eyebrows, but how about threading? It’s a whole different ball game.
For anyone who's had threading done professionally, you’ll know only too well how complex the dance between threader and threadee goes – the strategic stretching of the skin by the customer while the professional expertly manipulates the thread to swiftly lasso hair out with a ridiculous level of precision. It’s an art and a skill that takes years of practice and training to perfect.
Did we happen to also mention that your eyes are closed throughout? With all of that in mind, it will probably come as no surprise to learn that most (if not all) brow experts would advise you to avoid threading your brows DIY style.
As well as potentially ruining your brow shape, you also run the risk of cutting the skin if it isn’t held taut enough, not to mention catching your eyelashes too – we’re flinching just typing about it!
If however, you’re still curious, here are some provisos to bear in mind (proceed at your own risk...)
• Do your research: Have a good look on YouTube for videos that break down the threading basics.
• Practise on your leg: Get used to the specifics of the technique by practising it on anywhere but your face.
• Ask a friend: You will need another pair of hands to hold the skin taut.
• Focus on the middle and strays: Avoid trying to shape the eyebrows. Instead focus on tidying up the odd stray around, but not underneath the brow bone.
To be honest, if you’re only going to be tidying them up, you’re best sticking to the tweezers. It’s a much safer option. Threading really is best left in the hands of the pros.
Shop our full collection of new, cult and bestselling brow products here.
Brow expert, Jenna Treat. Fantastic fountain of knowledge on all things brows (I have worked with her previously at Get The Gloss). She was previously based at the Josh Wood Atelier.