Trimming your own eyebrows is SCARY business. While you’d usually go to your local brow wizard to sort out those caterpillars, sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. When you’re getting ready to hit the town and you do a double-take because John Howard is staring back at you in the mirror, you gotta do what you gotta do. 'Cause girl, a brow gel can only do so much.
It may come as a surprise that eyebrow hairs actually have what’s called a ‘terminal length’, and should theoretically fall out when they get too long, before growing back. But for one reason or another, some of them decide to get unruly and out of hand in the process.
We’re not going to get into the depths of eyebrow shaping and plucking (because that’s a whole other topic), but assuming you understand the shape and density of your brows, here’s the lowdown on how to trim eyebrows without overdoing it. Perfect brows, this way!
Before we get into it, it’s probably worth giving you a heads up on the right tools to use, huh? The good news is that you’ll only need two things – a spoolie and a pair of eyebrow scissors. “I use either pointed nail scissors or a small set of safety scissors,” says brow expert Jazz Pampling. “Safety scissors are great when you are first starting out. The rounded end means you can lean on your forehead as you trim without cutting yourself. However, the rounded edge can make it hard to pick up individual hairs with ease. Surprisingly, I don't spend a lot of money on scissors. Priceline have small nail scissors that do a great job.”
Brush your brow hairs upward
For the most natural brow look, you’re going to want to trim each of your stray hairs individually, rather than going all out and snipping them in a straight line (this will give you a blunt look).
To start, use your spoolie brush and comb your brow hairs in an upward direction. “Remember to not just brush the hair up, but rather in the direction that you like your brow to sit. Some people like their brow hair straight up. While others prefer up and off toward the temple,” says Pampling.
Snip along the brow line
Keep in mind that you’re not here to mow everything down, okay? Trimming eyebrows means simply grazing a bit off the top. Using your eyebrow scissors, snip any long hairs along the brow line (we recommend using a magnifying mirror for accuracy). “Only cut the tips of the hair, rather than cutting the hair in half. You will be amazed at the difference you can make just by cutting the tips away. Literally, you’ll be cutting a millimetre off at a time,” explains Pampling. “If you start trimming more than just the tips, you’ll start to see a blunter finish to the hair, and this can be hard to stop once you start.”
Pampling also says that the front of the brow (the inner corners) should generally be left alone. “If you have a brow where the hair stands up straight at the front of the brow (I know it can drive you a little crazy, particularly as the other side often doesn’t do this), be aware that cutting this will often always look blunt, and sometimes it’s best to leave well enough alone. I love the fluffy little front hairs that stand up, it’s a beautiful soft finish to a brow,” she adds.
Brush down and trim
Using your eyebrow brush, comb your brow hairs in a downward direction and repeat the above step, trimming each hair at the tips.
Brush upward and trim
“Now, brush the hair up. You’ll find that half your work is already done, and you won’t need to trim as much,” says Pampling. “Focus on getting the longest hairs, rather than every hair.”
Assess the situation
Next, take a step back, study your face and see if you need to repeat the process. If you have some stragglers and you’re going back for round three, just be careful not to over-trim the tail hair, as Pampling says this will shorten your brow (not a good time).
Rinse and comb back into place
Splash some water on your face, then comb your brows back into place. Your brows should still have their natural shape (just minus the fly-aways!). “If you are ever unsure about this process, see a professional brow artist to show you how to trim your individual brow,” advises Pampling. “I show many clients how to trim their brows at home. They may not always do it as well as I can, however they have the confidence to do it at home, without the fear of over-doing it.”
Now you're a pro at eyebrow trimming, how about tweezing? Check out our pro tips for perfecting your eyebrow shape at home with tweezers.
Have you tried DIY brow trimming before? Share with us in the comment section below.
Main image credit: @lilyjcollins
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.