Classic Kevyn Aucoin Makeup Lesson #4: Shaping Brows


Andie MacDowell as The Temptress (from Making Faces, 1997, Little, Brown and Company)

In this exclusive series, we’re celebrating the work and life of one of the most celebrated makeup artists of all time, the late Kevyn Aucoin. Kevyn was known for making application techniques accessible to everyone, perhaps nowhere more so than in his two most famous how-to books, Making Faces and Face Forward_. From those tomes, we’ve adapted four basic makeup lessons. Follow along with part 4 to learn brow shaping basics, in Kevyn’s own words. _

Tweezing 101

To me, the eyebrows are the most important part of the face. They’re our most expressive feature, as well as the one that can be changed most drastically without cosmetic surgery. Tweezing the brow correctly can make the eyes seem much larger and open up the whole face.

First, decide on the shape you like. Following the brow’s natural arch is the most direct course. To do this, take a close look at how the hairs generally curve along the top of the brow. Using that as a guide, mirror the shape along the bottom by eliminating the most obvious hairs.

STEP 1: To easily achieve the shape I want, I take a white pencil and pencil over hairs I want to tweeze. This helps me see the end result. I avoid creating a “tadpole” shape [thick near the nose, small and pointy at the tip]. That shape is far too harsh, and positioning a thick, bulky mass at the end of the brow nearest the nose will close up the inner corners of the eyes.

STEP 2: Then, pluck. It’s easier and less painful to remove the hairs in the direction that they grow. Pulling the skin taut toward the hairline is the best way I’ve found to alleviate pain. Try rubbing a small bit of toothache medicated gel over the area to numb the skin.

STEP 3: Then I take a fine eyebrow pencil to fill in any uneven areas. Use light, feathery strokes so that brows don’t look “drawn“ on. The result—ideal arches! 

6 Brow Shapes to Try

[above, l-r] MARILYN: Shapely, voluptuous, and curvy. As seductive as a brow could get. MARLENE: Tweezed within an inch of its life, or plucked out completely and drawn back in. ELIZABETH: A smaller, compact, “pert” version of Marilyn with a distinct peak, but every bit as sexy.

[above, l-r] BROOKE: Boyish and slightly unkempt, and full. CLARA: Straight and then down. Waifish, vulnerable, and almost sad-looking. AUDREY: Drawn over and around the real brow. Youthful and tomboyish.

_Read more about Kevyn’s life here and see some of his most famous work here. _