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Brows now: Modern fuller eyebrows look healthy, youthful

Stylist Erin Hafliger of Bucci Salon in Fargo specializes in brow shaping. Nick Wagner / The Forum

FARGO - They framed Brooke Shields’ eyes in the ’80s, and now, celebrities like Miranda Kerr and Cara Delevigne embrace them.

Full brows are back.

Like Shields’ iconic eyebrows, today’s arches make a statement.

But unlike the wild, bushy brows from three decades ago, modern eyebrows are manicured and just full enough.

Stylist Erin Hafliger of Bucci Salon in Fargo noticed the fuller brow trend coming back into fashion again a few years ago. The stylist, who specializes in brow shaping, says fuller brows look youthful and healthy, and they’re easier to maintain than thinner brows.

“I think of eyebrows as picture frames for the eyes. Everyone needs something to frame their eyes,” she says. “The trend in the ’80s was fuller eyebrows, but they were way wispier, and now the trend is very shaped and clean-cut but also very full.”

Makeup artist Elyse Michelle, of Moorhead, favors a fuller brow, too. She’s encouraged her clients to adopt thicker but refined eyebrows.

“I think people are starting to realize that a fuller brow gives a much more youthful appearance. I know in the ’90s you had that skinny, pencil-thin eyebrow, and that didn’t flatter anyone,” she says. “The trend is to go back to the more natural side, and it’s so much more flattering, especially for mature clients.”

Achieving a thicker brow might seem like more work than faithfully plucking, but it’s not, Michelle says.

The trick to getting groomed, full brows is mastering the art of shaping and filling.

Hafliger and Michelle share their top tips for obtaining on-trend, youthful-looking full eyebrows.

Brow map

Brow mapping uses a person’s facial structure to determine where brows should start and end, and where the arch should be.

“You’re using your own nose and eyes as a map,” Michelle says.

Hafliger calls it “the pencil trick.”

To brow map, line a pencil with the inner corner of your nose and inner corner of your eye, near the tear duct. Wherever the pencil hits is where the eyebrow should start.

Starting the brow too far in toward the eye creates the illusion of a rounder face and eyes that are set wider apart, Michelle says.

To determine where the arch should be, place the pencil from the outside corner of your nose through the outer corner of the pupil.

Lastly, line up the outer corner of the nose with the outer corner of the eye to determine where the eyebrow should end.

Visit a brow professional Both brow experts recommend learning how to shape and fill eyebrows from a professional, like a makeup artist or professional brow waxer, especially if it’s your first time.

“Look for the person with the perfect brows,” Hafliger says. “Anyone who specializes in eyebrow shaping – bring in your eye pencil and have them show you how to do it.”

Free tutorials on YouTube can be helpful, too, Michelle says.

Fill ’em

A brow pencil or brow wax with powder are essential to creating a standout brow line.

“I recommend that to everybody. It doesn’t matter how light or dark they are, use some product to fill the min and enhance the natural shape, especially if you’re going to be photographed,” Michelle says. “You’ll notice a huge difference. Light in pictures comes forward so when you’re not filling them in, your brow can disappear in pictures. It gives such structure to the face.”

Hafliger invests in eyebrow pencils that stick to the skin, as well as the eyebrow hair. Drugstore pencils tend to be too waxy and only adhere to the hair, she says, so she buys eyebrow pencils by brands like Bare Minerals.

She says brow-shaping novices should use a pencil to make dashes in the eyebrows instead of drawing a line.

“That will mimic the hairs better,” she says.

For the more experienced person, an angled brush and tinted eyebrow pomade do the trick.

Michelle abides by a wax-powder brow kit, saying it looks more natural. Favorite brow kits include those made by Anastasia Beverly Hills and a $3 kit by e.l.f. Makeup & Cosmetics.

“Even if you get heavy handed, you can remove it easily,” she says. “It never really looks drawn on. With pencil, sometimes, if you’re not a makeup artist, it can really look fake very easily.”

Know your color

Whether you choose to use a pencil or wax with powder, choosing the right color is essential for natural looking brows.

Michelle follows a few simple rules for choosing the right brow color: For people with blond to light brown hair, choose a shade or two darker.

For brunettes and people with black hair, go with a color that’s a shade or two lighter than your hair. It’ll soften your look, she says.

Redheads should use a color that matches their natural hair color.

Omit over-plucking

Thin, over-tweezed brows aren’t flattering on anyone, and they’re often the result of spending too much time in front of a magnifying mirror.

“Throw away your magnifying mirror because that is what gets everyone into trouble when it comes to over-tweezing,” Michelle says. “When you look in a regular mirror, you’re seeing the actual shape (of the eyebrow) but when you look in a magnifying mirror, you’re just seeing a portion of the brow. You tend to go overboard.”

Her trick is to fill brows with black eyeliner to create a strong guideline. Then pluck the hairs that don’t fit the shape.

Don’t create extra work – fuller brows are easier to take care of and require less tweezing and waxing. If they need shaping, Michelle prefers to “thread” her clients’ eyebrows.

Threading is a method of hair removal using a twisted thin thread over areas of unwanted hair. The process is less irritating and more precise than waxing or plucking.


People who are growing out their brows should trim the length of the hairs, Michelle says.

“They can look less polished and messier (if you don’t),” she says.

To trim, brush the brows up using an eyebrow brush and use a small cuticle scissors trim anything that extends above the top line of the brow.

Anna G. Larson

Anna G. Larson is a features reporter with The Forum who writes a weekly column featuring stylish people in Fargo-Moorhead. Larson graduated from North Dakota State University with a degree in journalism and joined The Forum in July 2012. She's a Fargo native who enjoys travel, food, baking, fashion, animals, coffee and all things Midwestern. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter: @msannagrace 

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