Photographic Evidence That Fuller Brows Change Your Face For The Better

I went from teensy-tiny '90s brows to full, powder-enhanced brows, and the latter is SO much more flattering. Here's how to get them.
Publish date:
May 2, 2013
milani, 90s, eyebrows, brows, eyebrow powders, 1990s, tweezing

This spring, everyone was all “Big brows are BACK!” and “Bold brows for summer!” and such. But come one, they never went away. Big brows are, were, and will always be awesome, ‘cause they are as classy and classic as pixie cuts and nude polish.

I was a teenager in the 90s, when Drew Barrymore was penciling on tiny, doll-like brows that were all the rage in the twenties—like, the "Raging Twenties." Roaring. Whatever. Tiny brows were HOT.

It gave me and my obviously Scotch-Irish brows kind of a complex. Every morning, my older sister, a blonde, would pencil on these thin black brows that had to be PERFECT. And I mean irrational-15-year-old perfect. If anything came near her face she would viciously lash out” MY EYEBROWS, YOU GUYS!” for fear they would smear.

I started plucking mine when I was about 13. Correction: that was the first time I SHAVED them off, except for the very front. It was a hard road, paved with greasy brow pencils, Cruella deVille arches, and shame.

I finally realized that thin brows are not for everyone, and now I don’t usually leave the house without my brows “done.”


When I first started screwing around with my brows, I didn’t think about how much the shape of your brows change your face. I just had no idea. I have a round face, and my skinny brows made it look even fluffier, if that’s a thing. Unless you have really big eyes, chances are that over-plucked brows actually make your eyes look smaller.

If you’re nervous about shaping your own brows, go to a trusted professional. If you go to a salon, and the aesthetician has crazy sperm eyebrows, you might want to find someone else.

I stay close to my natural shape, and it’s easy to do myself. One of the reasons I love a bold brow is because it’s crazy low-maintenance.


When it came time for me to finally grow my eyebrows out, I found out that filling them in really helped the transition. When I quit plucking for good (save the odd hair on my actual eyelid) I was surprised at how thick my brows were. I started trimming them with manicure scissors à la Annie, and it’s AWESOME.

If Nicole’s Just For Men technique isn’t for you, there are loads of different brands of eyebrow powder, and I’ve used a wide range. I’m not picky, and currently I have Milani’s Brow Kit.

It’s not so much the powder that matters, but the brush. I’ve even used shimmery brown eyeshadow with pretty gorgeous results, but matte is best.

You’ll want a small, stiff brush with a decent edge; a wedge-shaped liner brush will do, but for some reason, I really like using a concealer brush. It’s got a good shape to fill in the front of my brows, but then is stiff and thin enough to get definition in the ends.

Use a powder or pencil (if you must!) the same color as your eyelashes. Too much darker or lighter and things start to get weird.


If you normally fill in your brows with pencil, you may want to consider switching to brow powder. It tends to be softer, look more natural, and is ridiculously easy to apply--some would even say it’s so easy, a baby could do it. It’s not. Babies are really bad with their hands until they’re like a year old.

Pinky out ladies! I always use my pinky to stabilize my oft-shaking hand (thanks, Mate tea addiction) to get a good line. This works for eyeliner, brows, whatever. Short, light strokes will give you a more natural application than one thick line.

If you have long, crazy brows, brushing them up and out and setting them with hairspray can help make them look more groomed. I’ve used some cheap brow gels, but they tend to be less flexible and flake off like crazy.

What’s your brow regimen? Are you a powder or pencil girl? I wish I had more pics of my super-skinny brows. Does anyone else remember the weird eyebrow trends of the 90s?