Step-by-Step Guide to Perfecting Your Statement Eyebrows

By Liz Petoniak Photographs by Michael Fornataro  Art Direction by Samantha Casale
Makeup by Larry McDonald of La Pomponnée Salon and Spa
Modeled by Adelaide Jones of Docherty Talent and Modeling Agency

statement eyebrows, La Pomponnee Salon and Spa, Pittsburgh

If we were to define this year by its most prominent beauty trend, 2014 would be the year of the statement eyebrow. Modern-day eyebrow muse and model Cara Delevingne has almost single-handedly ushered in a new era of obsession with the bold brow. Contrary to popular belief, almost everyone, even those not blessed with bushy brows, can attain the look. “A thick brow doesn’t necessarily need to be a big brow,” says Larry McDonald, Aveda advisor and esthetician at La Pomponnée Salon and Spa. “Eyebrows should accent the shape of your face and who you are. They shouldn’t feel like they’re coming at you.” The best part about the au naturel look? “It’s low maintenance,” says McDonald. “And, it only takes a minute to create.” Before grooming, stock your arsenal with the following items: tweezers, small scissors (stainless steel reigns supreme), matte eyebrow powder and pencil in the appropriate color, an angled brush, and a lash brush. Read on as McDonald shares his simple steps and tips to fuller brows!

Step 1: Measure

“The very first thing I do with every client is measure the eyebrows to see where they’re at,” says McDonald. For perfectly proportional eyebrows, measure at home using only a pencil. To find where the eyebrows should start, rest the pencil on the side of the nostril, facing straight up. Next, place one end of the pencil at the corner of the nose, and direct the opposite end to the outer corner of the eye. This is where the eyebrow should end. Measure where the arch should fall by angling the pencil from the middle of the nostril to the end of the iris.

statement eyebrows, La Pomponnee Salon and Spa, Pittsburgh

Step 2: Tweeze

To maintain a fuller look, only tweeze the “flyaways.” Hold the skin tight, and tweeze in the direction of the hair growth. McDonald also recommends periodically looking at yourself at an arm’s length away from the mirror while tweezing. “People can lose focus very quickly, and then you can end up on a slippery slope straight to brow rehab!” he says.

statement eyebrows, La Pomponnee Salon and Spa, Pittsburgh

Step 3: Trim

Brush the hairs up, and cut any hairs that fall over the brow’s natural line. McDonald says, “This gives the brow a well-groomed appearance and a fuller look.”

statement eyebrows, La Pomponnee Salon and Spa, Pittsburgh

Step 4: Fill In

Filling in the brows’ shape will require either a matte powder or a pencil. “A powder is what you want to use to amplify the color or shape,” says McDonald. “Using a pencil will extend the brow and fill in disconnected areas.” Apply powder with the angled brush along the brow line, above and below. Diffuse the powder or pencil with the brow brush for a beautifully enhanced, natural look.

statement eyebrows, La Pomponnee Salon and Spa, Pittsburgh

Avoid these common mistakes:


McDonald estimates that 80 percent of his clients are guilty of over-tweezing. “Women say, ‘I have these hairs that grow straight up at the beginning of my brow and I don’t like that, so I tweeze them out.’ Then, they’re left with unbalanced brows. They hate that it seems so unruly, but it’s actually very natural and can be very sexy.”

Incorrect Tweezing

McDonald says, “People complain that it hurts so bad when they tweeze.” Pulling the hair straight out will cause discomfort and will irritate the skin. Be sure to keep tweezers angled with the hair growth.

Incorrect Trimming

“A lot of women brush their eyebrow hairs down and trim off what doesn’t stay in line. That’s how you end up with holes and disconnected brows,” says McDonald.

Taking Outdated Advice

“In the ‘50s and ‘60s, people used to say that the arch should fall right above your pupil, but that’s so unnatural,” says McDonald. “Nobody’s arch pops up right above their pupil! So many people directly go with these rules that aren’t in play anymore.”

Fearing the Fill-In

McDonald cites the worry of “looking like grandma” as the main reason why women shy away from filling in their brows with powder or pencil. “That’s not the case,” he says. “It’s all about being the best you. There isn’t a celebrity out there right now that doesn’t fill their eyebrows in. Shouldn’t we all be photo ready?”

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