The Quick And Easy Way To Get Gradient Brows

AKA the brow style you’ve seen on every beauty blogger for the last three years.
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Sarah C.
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AKA the brow style you’ve seen on every beauty blogger for the last three years.

Confession time: I’m a bit of a compulsive tweezer. Despite my best efforts to leave my brows alone so they can flourish, I often find myself absent-mindedly picking in times of stress or concentration. It’s a good thing they’re naturally thick, or I’d be rocking some Marlene Dietrich arches (and there’s no way I’d pull them off as well as she did). I’ve never really sweated the occasional over-plucking. I mean, that’s what brow powders, gels, and pencils (or contouring palettes if you’re resourceful) are for. 

Now, though? NOW I have to show the whole internet my natural face on the reg. Eep! Bare skin is one thing, but un-filled brows? Positively obscene.

natural eyebrows

I feel so naked!

My favorite polished-yet-natural eyebrow look is what’s called the “gradient brow” in the beauty blogosphere. Think Kim K’s perfect arches that fade into groomed-but-sparse inner corners. And yo, it’s super easy. Here are a few quick tips for the flawless, only slightly “done” brow.

filling in the bottom section of eyebrows

I start out by filling in the bottom section of each eyebrow.

The bottom arch is where we want the pigment to be darkest and most concentrated, so fill that baby in first. Bring the line in toward the center of your face, but only as far as the inner side of the iris (when looking straight ahead). We’re building on the basics explained in Alle’s recent brow post.

If you’re using a gel or a powder, run your brush over a tissue several times to get rid of any excess remaining pigment. If you’ve been using a pencil, now is the time to grab a clean brow brush (and quickly, before your product sets). Begin blending that bottom line outward to form the tail, then feather in the top of the brow with light outward strokes. Again, you’re just spreading and blending the pigment you’ve already laid down, so the effect should be soft and natural.

blending in eyebrows

You’ll want to blend any harsh edges like that top line.

Now you’re ready for the part that makes this a gradient brow with a capital G. Wipe your brush again to get rid of the buildup and begin blending the rest of the pigment on your brows toward the inner corner with “backward” strokes.

brushing out eyebrows

Quick strokes from the outside in.

A brush with a spoolie on one end (like this Anastasia Beverly Hills version) is invaluable here. If you haven’t gotten your hands on the wonderful life-changer that is a spoolie brush, you can repurpose an old mascara wand or swipe a couple of the free disposable ones from a department store counter or Sephora makeup station. (If you feel awkward, just ask nicely--it’s a common request, I promise).

If you like a clean, sharp look, now is the time to go back in with a small concealer brush to clean up your top and bottom lines. A lot of the shaping can happen here if you’re more comfortable wielding a concealer brush. You can also use a concealer pencil in your skin tone--NYX makes a great one.  

blending in concealer on eyebrows

Use the edge of the brush to shape, then blend the free edges with the flat side or your fingers.

If you’ve been a little heavy-handed with pigment at the inner corners, feather in some concealer with light upward strokes to soften and define. This trick is also great for combatting shades that tend to pull a little warm on the inner and outer corners. It will instantly cool the pigment down.

concealing eyebrows with concealer

Use that edge of the brush in an upward motion.

What’s your favorite way to wear your brows? And do you have anything that simply MUST be made up and “done” before you’ll appear in public? Please tell me I’m not the only weirdo!