Gels, Pencils & Shadows… Oh My!


Every day I have clients who come in with ‘problem’ eyebrows. Sometimes that means their shape is wrong for their face and other times it means they have hardly any at all! Either way, a good 50% are unsatisfied with some aspect of their brows and they turn to me for a solution.

This post is for the women who have dents, holes, or missing portions of their eyebrows. I’ve personally tested each product on myself and/or clients and this is what I feel provides the best looking results for a specific problem.


I personally use the MAC Fluid Line in Dipdown to fill in my brows. After years of over tweezing my eyebrows refuse to return to their former Mexican-Bushy-Glory. I find that this product really fills them in and gives them a pin up style density but also dries quickly enough that I can have it blend off into a soft edge. It is a dramatic change, but I rather like the boldness of it. Gel liners have amazing staying power too, I can swim, sleep, and do whatever without a care- as long as I am careful to wipe or rub around my brows to vigorously they aren’t going anywhere.

Gels work best for the most troublesome brows, I find that shortly trimmed brows also get the best applications. Gels are great for that bold brow that exudes sultriness and strength.


I’ve used several different kinds and they all provide great coverage, but are second to gel in staying power. I often feel like there are 2 ‘speeds’ of pencils- so soft and too light or super bold and too harsh. It can be tricky to master this tool but it can be a great product. I feel the best results come with a combination of a pencil and a clean lip liner brush. Waiting a few minutes after pencil application I find that a clean brush will give a gentleness to the edges and a more natural look.

Pencils are great for eyebrows that only have minor shaping issues like dents or length issues but can also be great for adding density. Pencils are great for adding a little spice to your eye make up.


These can be the trickiest to maneuver as shadows are harder to control. Shadows will add depth to your eyebrows if they are very fair without being too harsh as long as you can master the application. Some people feel that using a wet brush makes the process easier but If you’re making a shadow paste I think it’d be easier to buy a gel or pencil. Using a damp brush does help though. Keep concealer and another brush handy to trace the edge of your brows  after finishing with powder, this will clean up any shadow that got away from your eyebrows. Another trick to fight fading is to apply clear mascara or hair spray with a mascara brush.

Shadows can require more patience and cleaning up but work great for blonde brows that look barely there or ones that need a little oomph. With correct color choices shadows can create a subtle yet beautiful brow.


Which ever method you choose, the most important thing to remember is proper shaping and correct color choices, everything after that is personal preference and there are no wrong answers there! Below is a diagram to guide you in shaping, I’ll do another post soon with more details about achieving the perfect brow shape for your face.



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