‘Brow Contouring’ Is Here To Save You From The Dreaded Block Brow

No more 2016 brows please.
Image: Getty

Just like Taylor Swift, eyebrow makeup has gone through many eras. We had the 90s skinny brow, the 2016 block brow, the 2019 fluffy brow and the 2021 laminated brow. We’ve truly seen it all.

All this change in such a short period of time had us wondering, what really is the chicest way to fill in your brows currently?

We decided to go straight to the source at Benefit, chatting to their brow expert and training manager, Tyler Kellahan, who has informed marie claire Australia about a little hack called ‘brow contouring’.

Essentially, it’s a process, using an array of shades and product designs, to give a manicured but natural look to the brow. The finished aesthetic will be put together, but never look harsh or overdone.

What Is Eyebrow Contouring?

Image: Getty

You probably know what face contouring is, using dark and light base colours to mimic how the sun hits your face. This creates angles and definition, especially around the cheekbones, chin and eyes.

Eyebrow contouring works with much the same concept, using lighter and darker brown shades to create dimension in the brow and avoid it looking too ‘blocky’ or too ‘false’.

Remember: eyebrow hair is hair. Some of your hairs are going to be darker, others are going to be lighter, and you generally want more definition at the tail and a little more ‘fluff-factor’ at the head of the brow.

How To Contour The Brows

Base: Start With A Brow Pencil In A Natural Shade

The first step of brow contouring is laying down the foundation. Essentially, you’re going to use a brow pencil in your true shade, to fill any large sparse areas and create general shape to the brow.

Choose a skinny pencil, ideally like the Benefit Precisely, My Brow Pencil but another option could be the L’Oreal Brow Artist Skinny definer. The key here is not to overfill. Use the skinny pencil in light, sweeping strokes for a more uniform, but still natural, shape.

Contour: Use An Ultra-Fine Pencil In A Darker Shade

While we’re starting off with a skinny brow pencil, we’re about to go even finer here. Benefit’s Precisely, My Brow Detailer is ideal for this, with a retractable micro-fine point (0.8mm tip) that is reminiscent of old-school mechanical pencils.

Using an ever-so-slightly darker or lighter colour, go through the brow adding specific and thoughtful brow strokes, creating more dimension and texture in the brows. This step is especially important for those who have quite sparse brows as it helps to avoid a ‘blocky’ look.

Also take the microfine point through the front of the brow for a less-dense, fluffier aesthetic.

If you prefer a felt tip, the NYX Lift & Snatch pen can also work, but getting the right colour is crucial.

Highlight: Use A Brow Gel In Between Shade A and B

Image: Getty

The ‘goldilocks’ of colours, reach for a gel or wax hue that is between your base and contour shades. This final step will add dimension, texture and set the brows in place.

We love the Benefit Gimme Brow + Volumising Eyebrow Gel, which actually has fibres in it to make the brows appear fuller.

However, if it’s hold you’re after, it’s hard to go past the Benefit Precisely, My Brow Wax. This new launch which has a rich colour payoff, is buildable and flexible, offers great sculpting abilities for wayward brows.

A popular option for a long time has also been the Glossier Boy Brow for a creamy texture that will help to thicken the brows, now available in Australia.

As always, we recommend finishing the whole face with a good setting spray (Charlotte Tilbury is a beauty girl favourite) and you should have a naturally defined brow that is sculpted and designed to stay in place no matter what the day holds.

The Best Brow Routine

Benefit Precisely, My Brow Pencil, $48, Sephora

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L’Oreal Brow Artist Skinny Definer, $19.99, Chemist Warehouse

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Benefit Precisely, My Brow Detailer Pencil, $42, Sephora

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NYX Lift & Snatch Eyebrow Pen, $26, ASOS

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Glossier Boy Brow, $38, Glossier

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Benefit Gimme Brow, $48, Sephora

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Benefit Precisely, My Brow Wax, $48, Adore Beauty

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Charlotte Tilbury Setting Spray, $54, Charlotte Tilbury

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