How to choose the perfect brow product shade

How to choose brow product shade

Because it’s confusing as hell

Beauty Crew Beauty Writer / July 01 2019

Whether you’re a brow queen or a total beginner, when it comes to picking the right brow product, it’s a seriously hard time.

And the trickiest part – besides figuring out whether you want a brow powder, gel, pomade, or pencil formula – is deciding which shade suits you best. Because there are literally hundreds of shades out there (like, HUNDREDS), so it isn’t as simple as picking up a ‘brunette’ or ‘blonde’ and skipping off to the checkout counter.

Because more often than not, you’ll get home, try it on and end up wondering what you were thinking when you picked it. And apparently, it isn’t just you! “Wearing the wrong brow colour is the most common brow mistake women make,” says Hannah Mutze, Benefit Cosmetic's National Brow Artist. “But with so many brands, formulas and shade names to choose from, it’s no wonder!”

“The reality is, it’s quite simple if you know what to look for. For the most natural finish, match your product to your brow hairs, not your head hairs/skin tone etc. This ensures your products blends seamlessly in with your brows,” she says.

Need a couple of tips on how to get the best eyebrow product shade for your brows? Mutze has got you covered.


Identify your undertone

Similar to picking out a new foundation, Mutze says you want to think about what kind of undertone you have going on. “Brow undertones fall into three categories – warm, cool and neutral. The way to identify yours is to look at your brows in natural lighting, take note of what you see, then choose your tone below:

- If you see reddish, auburn, golden, peachy or strawberry hues you have WARM toned brows

- If you see ashy, blackish, greyish, blueish hues – gf you have COOL toned brows

- If you see both/neither/can’t decide, you have neutral-toned brows. Anyone and everyone can wear a neutral tone in their brows!”


Select your shade

Now for the actual product! Mutze says selecting your shade is based on how light or dark you like your brows to be. “For a natural-looking brow, select a shade that matches your brow hairs – however, personal preference comes into play here, too! Lighter gals, don’t be afraid to stray a shade or two darker for a more defined brow, whilst dark haired gals wary of a too-dark brow can try a shade or two lighter – just ensure you select products with the right undertone.”

Benefit makes this process simple, offering brow colours in all three tones, and ranging in shades from light blonde (shade 1) to black (shade 6) and cool grey and everything in between, a total of 12 shades!”

Still can’t decide which brow products are right for you? Here are our tips picks for every brow colour:

For: Blonde brows
Blonde shades are a tricky one to nail down, but we have a few general rules to help you out. If your brows have a platinum, ashy kind of undertone and appear almost non-existent in photos and IRL, you’ll want to go for something like Laura Mercier Eye Brow Pencil in Ash Blonde. If your hair is a little warmer in tone (like golden or caramel), opt for something like a light brown, taupe shade. Benefit Cosmetics Precisely, My Brow Eyebrow Pencil in Warm Golden Blonde (shade 2) is perfect!

For: Brunette brows
While you’d probably think brunette gals have it easy, the fact that most brow products are brown only means this shade game is whole lot more confusing. More often than not you can end up going way too light, or waaay too dark (we’re talking Bert from Sesame Street vibes). The general rule? Brunettes should stay within one or two shade ranges from their hair colour – just don’t go too wild.

If your hair is a light brown colour, we recommend going for something with a cool, ashy tone, like NYX Professional Makeup’s Micro Brow Pencil in Ash Brown. If your brunette hair is a little deeper in shade, look for a warm brown shade like Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade in Dark Brown

For: Reddish brows
Sorry guys, you probably have it the hardest when it comes to brow shades! Redheads can have light blonde brows, reddish brows or brown brows – so it’s a total mixed bag! If you’re on the reddish/strawberry hue side of the spectrum, try a taupe shade like MAC Cosmetics Veluxe Brow Liner in Strawberry Blonde. If your hair is a little darker, go for something more auburn such as Benefit Goof Proof Eyebrow Pencil in Warm Auburn. If your hair is deeper still, Urban Decay’s Brow Beater in Warm Brown will do the job.

For: Black brows
PSA: If you have black hair, it doesn’t mean you have to go for a black brow shade. Sometimes going too dark can make your brows appear blocky and ‘drawn on’. Opting for a medium brown instead will give you a more natural look, and you can easily build it up for more depth if you like a darker finish. Maybelline New York Eye Studio Define and Fill Brow Duo in Deep Brown is a goodie!

For: Grey brows
Just because you’re going grey (or have dyed your hair grey), it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to reach for a grey brow pencil. If you have grey brows, you should look for an eyebrow product shade that’s close to the original colour of your brow hairs (before you went grey), as this will give you the most natural look. If you have fair undertones, ashy shades and light blonde shades will work great on your brows (try Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil in Ash), while those who are naturally quite dark can opt for something a little warmer (like Charlotte Tilbury Brow Lift in Brooke S).

Want more beauty tips on how to up your brow game? Check out the best brow gels to keep your brows in place.

What brow products and shades do you have in your makeup kit? What’s your natural brow colour? Let us know in the comment section below.

Main image credit: @bambilegit

Erin Docherty is a Beauty Writer for BEAUTYcrew, Beauty Editor for Women's Health magazine and a Grooming Writer for Men's Health magazine. She has a keen interest in cosmeceutical skin care and is currently working on minimising her 9-step skin care routine – because ain’t nobody got time for that. When she’s not writing about the latest beauty news, or applying copious amounts of serum, you can find her spending all her money in Sephora.