It's official: Big fat eyebrows are cooler than skinny jeans. In fact, the most-viewed YouTube videos and Pinterest tutorials are devoted to brows. Do you have genetically lush ones or decent leftovers? Lucky you.
But millions of 50+ women have ridiculously sparse brows (like 20 hairs each!) or are missing the tail end of the brow. I'm in this group. And before you ask: No, I’m not going with tattoo or microblade brows. And yes, I’ve tried brow regrowth serums, and I think they are beauty baloney. We could hide out in long bangs and bold eyeglass frames forever, but there also is an easy, cheap, fast and painless DIY way to fake brows. Here's how:
Get the perfect brow pencil. Ignore all the tinted gels, kits, markers, stencils, mousses, pomades and powders that have bullied their way into the beauty aisle. Stick to a narrow precision pencil with a skinny point or slant tip that will enable you to draw hair-like strokes that look authentic. Automatic roll-up pencils like L'Oreal Paris Brow Stylist Definer, NYX Cosmetics Micro Brow Pencil and Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz require no sharpening. They are water- and sweat-resistant pencils, and have a spiral brush for grooming.
Choose a taupe shade. This universal color works for every hair color and won't look harsh, hard or fake. If, like me, you have a mix of brown, gray and white brow hairs, then the taupe shapes fills and blends perfectly. The package shade may say blonde, dark blonde or taupe, but you want a light to medium ashy color with no red in it. Dark brunettes who had black brows can try a soft ashy brown once they nail the technique.
Prep your brow area. Brush long straggly hairs up to trim tips, then brush down and trim below. This will minimize wiry, curly, coarse hairs from springing up. Dip a Q-tip in non-oily eye makeup remover, and dab the brow area, use the other end to tap dry. A clean matte surface ensures a fresh makeup application and enables the pencil to cling to bald spots.
Find your brow. Look straight ahead into a mirror. Hold a separate pencil vertically alongside your nose at the inner eye corner. Dot that spot with your brow pencil. Keep the pencil in place at the nose and extend at an angle to the outer edge of your iris (the colored part of your eye). Dot the brow bone there. Then increase the angle to skim past your outer eye corner. Dot there. If the outer brow dot falls lower than the inner eye dot, raise it to extend and elongate the brow out rather than drooping down.
Sketch in the shape. With short back-and-forth strokes lightly draw your upper brow line connecting the dots. Then go back and draw small hair-like strokes — vertically at the inner eye, gradually slanting to follow normal hair growth pattern. Repeat until the brow has a natural full shape, and use the spoolie end of the brow pencil to brush through and feather the hairs for a natural look.
For more beauty and style tips for women age 50+, check out The Woman's Wakeup: How to Shake Up Your Looks, Life and Love After 50 by Lois Joy Johnson and AARP's Beauty & Style issue.