Our 40s and 50s tend to make our brows much more sparse and, if we’re being honest, pretty non-existent — which is why we compiled this guide on how to fill in eyebrows over 50. If you’ve avoided eyebrow makeup for some time, you’re not alone. Figuring out how to get the shape just right without making your brows look drawn on, too dark, too thick, or uneven is complicated. But with the right products and the right technique, you’ll be rocking bold, natural-looking brows in no time.
What is my eyebrow shape?
Your eyebrow shape is important because no two brows are the same, including the two on your face! Some women have high arches, while others have a slight curve. Some women have full, thick brows, while others have barely-there hair. No matter the shape, color, or fullness, every brow is beautiful, and finding the right way to accentuate your beautiful eyes can make a world of a difference. The chart below is a helpful reference in figuring out where you land.
High arches: Meryl Streep is a lovely example of someone with high arches. If your shape is similar, gently pluck under the highest part of your brows to maintain their shape. If they’re on the thinner side, use caution when tweezing other hairs as it can be easy to overpluck. We recommend only removing stray hairs and trimming the rest if needed. Use a brow powder and a pencil to add more definition and fill in any areas that are too thin or sparse.
Full: Viola Davis’ thicker brows are gorgeous, and there are a few tips for keeping them groomed. Drawing the shape you want with a brow pencil or gel will help give you a guide of what hairs you want to tweeze and what hairs you want to keep. Before plucking, brush the first half of your brow’s hair follicles upwards and slightly trim any hairs that are too long. Brush the second half of your brows in a diagonal, upward direction so you don’t accidentally trim them too short.
Straight: Your arches might be laying low, but that doesn’t make them any less fabulous — just take a peek at Madonna’s sharp, stunning brows! To get a slight arch, find the highest point of your eyebrows and pluck ever so lightly to give each brow some definition. The rest of your focus should be on cleaning up stray hairs at the tail end of your brow and at the very front. Trim any extra long hairs, and use a gel or pencil to really emphasize your striking shape.
Natural: Tweezers may be the last thing you reach for when it comes to makeup and skin care. Cindy Crawford has a beautiful pair of brows that aren’t precisely defined, but look effortless nonetheless. For minimal upkeep, just pluck any strays that have gone too far outside of the shape you prefer. A clear brow gel is a great way to hold them in place without changing their natural color, size, or shape.
How to Fill in Eyebrows Over 50
It may seem complicated at first, but once you understand how to fill your eyebrows, they will look flawless every day. Although every brow shape is different, there are a few general rules of thumb to keep in mind when you’re filling. Follow these steps for a natural set of brows, and use the diagrams below for a visual reference.
Step One: It’s best to shower or use a warm wash cloth to open your pores before you begin shaping. This prevents ingrown hairs and makes tweezing less painful. Once you have a fresh face, gently brush the first quarter to half of your eyebrow hairs up and lightly trim any longer hairs. Sweep the last half of your brows upward in a diagonal fashion and lightly trim. Brushing this way prevents you from cutting off too much hair because the back half of your brow is thinner. Begin tweezing any stray, unruly hairs that you don’t want.
Step Two: Take a spoolie brush, like Benefit Cosmetics’ Angled Brow Brush & Spoolie ($20, Sephora), and sweep your brows up and to the side to get rid of any hair clippings. If you fancy a natural look, take a clear or colored gel and lightly comb through your hairs. It’s easier to accidentally darken or thicken too much with colored gel, so a clear gel is best to use for a natural look. If you get a glob of pigment in your follicles or you filled in your eyebrows too much, simply just grab your spoolie and brush out the hairs until you’re satisfied with the color and shape.
For those who want to define, accentuate, and perfect their brows, start by picking an eyebrow product that you prefer to work with. Waxes and gels are great for keeping hairs in place and creating clean lines. Powders cover quite a bit of surface area and give natural, even coverage for filling in sparse patches. Pencils and pens offer a great amount of control and work wonders for creating lines that look like natural hair. Mousses are a great mix between a gel and a pomade, and are great for adding color and volume. You can choose one or a mix of products to get the effect you want.
Step Three: Start at the front end of your brows. Take an eyeliner stick, an eyebrow pencil, or a makeup brush to use as a measuring stick and align it straight up and down with the outside of your nostril. Whether or not you have hairs there, this is where your brow should start. Draw a line starting there that follows the natural curve of your brow all the way to the tail end. Then, take your brow product of choice and lightly fill it in the front with short, vertical strokes. Repeat the same on the other side. It’s better to err on the side of caution and only do light shading to start. You can always build on top of it, but it’s much harder to remove product once it’s already there.
Step Four: Once you’ve filled in the first part of your brow, take the same pencil or brush you used to line up your brow and nostril, and diagonally align the top of your nostril with the highest part of your arch. If you haven’t already, pluck underneath the arch slightly to articulate its shape. Then make a few light strokes going in the direction that your hair grows to gently fill in this area.
Step Five: A brow pencil, or angled brush with pomade or wax, works best for the final part. Take your makeshift measuring stick and align the outside of your nostril with the outer corner of your eye. This is where your brow should end. Starting just underneath your arch, draw a very light line that traces the shape of your brow. This will serve as a guide for filling the back end. Use smaller strokes, start from the middle and work your way to the end. Again, it’s a good idea to start with faintly filling in and going back through, than having to start from scratch.
As an optional tip, sweep a transluscent setting powder over your brows to set them and remove any leftover product. Once you’re finished with your flawless brows, you’re all set to take on anything the day throws at you!
Best Products for Filling Eyebrows
Eyebrows Falling Out
1. Best Eyebrow Powder
Powder works wonders when it comes to filling your brows and making them look natural. This Benefit Cosmetics Foolproof Brow Powder kit comes in the shape of a brow, which serves as a handy guide for applying your makeup. The lighter powder helps fill in the front while the darker powder goes from the middle to the tail end of the brow. This gives them dimension without looking too stark, especially if your hair is lighter.
Where to buy: $24, Sephora
Best Eyebrow Products
2. Best Eyebrow Pencil for Over 50
You'll be looking sharp with a few strokes of this BrowGal Skinny Eyebrow pencil. Using brow filler in the form of a pen or pencil makes it easier to wipe away if you make any mistakes. The spoolie brush on the end is a fabulous tool for evening out any patches and blending any harsh marks. Start with several small dash-like marks that follow the direction of your brow hairs. Stop and check to see if you need to even out color or add more. Continue to do this until you have the thickness and shade you desire.
Where to buy: $23, Amazon
Best Eyebrow Growth Serum
3. Best Eyebrow Growth Serum
For something that tames unruly brows while also helping stimulate their growth, LASHFOOD's BROWFOOD Brow Enhancing Gelfix is your holy grail. The wand is similar to that of a mascara applicator and makes it easy to brush and groom brow hairs. The gel is clear and leaves you with a very natural look, perfect for running errands or heading to the gym. Its Nano-Peptide Complex supports follicles leaving you with, lush brows that look anything but sparse.
Where to buy: $24, Sephora
Best Eyebrow Brush
4. Best Long-Wear Brow Powder
Kat Von D's Brow Struck Dimension Powder is a gorgeous product with light-catching pigments that give your brows beautiful, realistic dimension. Using an angled brush, you can draw one line from the start of your brow to the arch on top on do the same on the bottom of your brow. Blend with the brush or a spoolie and continue filling the rest until you're happy with the end result. The formula is a two-in-one primer/product hybrid, meaning you won't have to worry about finding a way make the color last all day.
Where to buy: $20, Sephora
Makeup For Older Women
5. Best Clear Brow Gel
If you're not looking to add any color and would rather stick with a natural look, reach for a tube of this Sephora Collection Brow Gel. It will neatly comb through and align your hair follicles and give a nice groomed look without creating any dramatic difference from your brows' original state. Sephora also snuck in a nourishing mix of Keratin, pro-vitamin B5, and amino acids to leave you with thick, healthy hairs.
Where to buy: $12, Amazon
Best Eyebrow Growth Products
6. Best Eyebrow Mousse
Blinc's Eyebrow Mousse will giving you lasting color and shape with a few quick strokes. The tin tube it comes in makes it easy to travel with. You can toss it in your purse or bag without worrying it'll open and spill or leak. Its moisturizing formula is water resistant, so if you're out in the sun or going for a swim, you won't have to worry about it running or fading. Now that you have the perfect vacation makeup, it's definitely time to book yourself a getaway!
Where to buy: $24, Amazon
The Best Drugstore Eyebrow Products
7. Best Long-Wear Drugstore Brow Gel
This is a drugstore steal that gives other brands a run for their money. Maybelline Makeup TattooStudio Waterproof Eyebrow Gel supposedly has the ability to stay on for two days without budging. While you wouldn't want to go a day without washing off your makeup, there's something to be said about how long it lasts. A few swipes of color and a quick run through with the spoolie brush will give you a bold, effortless brow without a sparse spot to be found.
Where to buy: $9.99, Amazon
8. Best Eyebrow Pomade
Anastasia Beverly Hills is the queen of the throne when it comes to eyebrow products. The free reign you have with the DIPBROW Pomade might seem intimidating at first, but it gives you a great deal of control over how you want your brows to look. Lightly dip the angled brush into the pot, and softly follow the bottom curve of your brow. Use short strokes to fill in patchy areas and, if you want to tone down your look, simply run a spoolie brush through. The formula was created with oily skin and humid climates in mind, so no need to stress about reapplying halfway through the day.
Where to buy: $18, Sephora
The Best Eyebrow Kit
9. Best Eyebrow Kit for Sparse Brows
This tiny Take a Brow Kit from LORAC packs a big punch. Its mini angle brush gives you a perfect shape by helping accentuate your arch and giving a sharp, clean look. The kit comes with two shades of brow color that allow you to mix and match until you get a color that fits best with your hair tone. The third square is a clear wax that keeps stray hairs from jumping ship. Say hello to lovely brows!
Where to buy: $22, Amazon