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See How Altering the Shape of Your Brows Can Change Your Whole Face

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“To me, the eyebrows are the most important part of the face,” Kevyn Aucoin once wrote. Anyone who’s tried even the smallest amount of plucking or penciling would probably agree. There’s no other feature that can transform a look so readily, and Kevyn knew that better than anyone. His work inspired fans to get more playful with their arches—for instance, the many creative approaches he lays out in his 1997 classic makeup manual Making Faces as seen here.

To celebrate the launch of Kevyn’s The Precision Brow Pencil in two brand-new shades (Warm Blonde and Dark Brunette) for spring, we decided to try the legendary artist’s brow ideas on for size. We did a single makeup look on our model Jillian, and changed only her brows for every shot. As Kevyn notes in the book, “While many hesitate and balk at the idea of changing one’s brow shape, one only needs to think of Marlene Dietrich, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, or Diana Ross to realize how altering the shape can create a signature look.”

See the eye-opening results below—her face is truly transformed from take to take! Then scroll down to read a few of Kevyn’s best brow tips and tricks. Note, Jillian has really faint, fair brows to begin with. If yours are heavier and you want to cover them before experimenting, check out our brow coverage tutorial here.

The Makeup

The brows

From photo to photo, the only thing we changed was the shape of the brows, using Kevyn Aucoin The Precision Brow Pencil in Brunette or Warm Blonde. We kept the rest of the look exactly the same.

The rest

All products from Kevyn Aucoin. On face, The Sensual Skin Tinted Balm in SB01The Sensual Skin Enhancer in SX03, and The Sensual Skin Powder Foundation in PF03; on lips, The Lip Gloss in Papavier and The Matte Lip Color in Enduring; on eyes, The Eye Pencil Primatif in Basic Black, The Essential Eyeshadow Set Palette 1, and The Curling Mascara.

The Looks

Marilyn

“Shapely, voluptuous, and curvy. As seductive as a brow could get,” is how Kevyn described this shape. You can see how Jillian’s eyes really pop here! 

Marlene

To get this look, most will have tweeze, tweeze, tweeze, or cover the brow completely. Then you can draw back in a delicate arch, which softens the whole face. Still, there’s something really striking about the effect.

Elizabeth

A more compact and pert version of Marilyn, with a more distinct peak, here you can see how Jillian’s cheeks appear fuller and her face rounder. For night, this shape pair well with a bold lip.  

Clara

The “Clara” cuts straight across and then points down toward the outer corners of the eye. Kevyn aptly called the look “waifish, vulnerable, and almost sad-looking.” While it’s not for all people or occasions, there’s something about the drama we love.

Audrey

Inspired by the British actress and icon’s bold, beautiful brows, the “Audrey” is drawn over and around the real brow. It’s youthful and tomboyish. Since it requires a heavier hand, a pencil that closely matches your hair color may be more appropriate than going a shade or two darker. 

Kevyn’s best brow tips

• If you’re sensitive to plucking, try rubbing a bit of toothache medicine over the area to numb the skin.

• Keep brows in place with a little sweep of clear mascara, mustache wax, or hairspray.

• If you feel your brows are too low or close to the eyes, lightening them can “open up” the face. Thinking of lightening brows and want to see what they’d look like first? Try using a colored mascara or brow gel in the shade you’d like them to be (try Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel, which comes in seven shades.)