6 solutions to consider for your sparse or thin brows
By Carli Alman
Beauty Crew Editor / October 13 2017
Pick your level of investment and get filling
We wouldn’t blame you if you’ve spent a fair amount of time thinking about (and testing out) different ways to enhance your brows. Whether they’re naturally sparse or thin, or you’ve had a bad encounter with some tweezers, today’s trend of big, bold and full brows has probably sent you seeking a brow-building solution.
And luckily for you, there are many ways to skin this particular cat. It all just depends on how much time you want to spend each day on filling in and enhancing your brows, your budget for said filling, and the level of commitment you’re willing to invest in how your brows look.
Here are a few brow-enhancing options for you to consider, based on how long-lasting the results are.
Low investment: Brow pencils, powders, gels, waxes and pomades
Lasts for: Until your next makeup removal
Level of maintenance: Daily
This is essentially your entry level for brow enhancement. Given that you can wash off the effects of your brow filler of choice at the end of the day, this option is incredibly low commitment and can be as budget-friendly as you choose (there are hundreds, if not thousands, of brow filler options on the market).
The only thing you really need to commit to here is picking the right kind of brow filler for you (this guide will help you decide if you should use a pencil over a powder, or even a wax), and dedicating the time daily to filling in your brows.
If you do want some guidance on each, for a pencil that offers a soft finish that’s easily buildable, we can’t recommend IT Cosmetics Brow Power™ enough. As for a powder, Benefit’s Foolproof Brow Powder will help give a full-yet-soft brow finish. If you’re looking to take your brow-filling skills to the next level, try Billion Dollar Brows Brow Butter – the pigment will build the shape of your brows, while the texture ensures maximum hold.
Semi-low investment: A peel-off stain
Lasts for: Roughly three days
Level of maintenance: Weekly
The latest beauty innovation we can thank the Koreans for. If you haven’t heard much about peel-off stains, this is how they work: you paint the pigment onto the area of choice (in this instance, you paint a gel brow tint over your brow shape), leave it to set for a while (be warned: this could be a few hours), and then peel off to reveal brows that have been temporarily tinted to make them look fuller.
Given that this one lasts a few days, it means you won’t have to worry about that morning brow-filling session for a few days, but on the flip side, if it’s not your thing you also don’t have to worry too much as it fades quickly. Budget-wise, peel-off stains are a pretty low investment, making it easy to play around with the trend.
Medium investment: A professional brow tint
Lasts for: A couple of weeks
Level of maintenance: Monthly
If you’re looking for a brow enhancer that’ll last you longer than a few days but still gives you some flexibility when it comes to filling in your brows, a professional brow tint may be just what you need. According to brow artist Jazz Pampling, tinting your brows is exactly like colouring your hair with a semi-permanent hair colour, “so the colour will not last the life cycle of your brow hair.”
While Pampling says the defined colour can last a couple of weeks, it ultimately will “depend on how long the colour is left on the brow. The longer it is left to process, the longer it will last.” Swimming regularly and massaging your cleanser through your brows can also affect the longevity of the colour.
It’s also good to know that the tint will fade from your skin within a day or so, so if you have sparse brows you may need to do some supplementary filling in with a cosmetic product.
A professional brow tint is usually included in the cost of your regular brow sculpting and shaping appointment, but if you wanted to DIY, try 1000 Hour Eyelash and Brow Dye Kit.
Medium investment: Henna brows
Lasts for: Two to four weeks
Level of maintenance: Monthly to bi-monthly
This one is an excellent choice for those looking to enhance brows and forget about sparse areas for a while. Unlike regular brow tinting, henna “is great for ‘staining’ the skin around the brow so it looks filled in to your desired shape. It's like creating a base template of shape and colour,” says brow expert Amy Jean.
Once your brow has been waxed and sculpted, a henna colour is chosen based on your skin and hair tones, then left on for 10-15 minutes to develop. You can then enjoy up to a month of brow definition.
Jean does warn, however, “Oilier skin types tend to lose the colour faster, and active ingredients in your skin care products will strip the colour away a lot faster.”
The cost for henna brows from Amy Jean Eye Couture starts at $75, and includes a wax, tweeze and symmetry alignment.
High investment: Microblading or brow feathering
Lasts for: About a year
Level of maintenance: Yearly
Microblading is one of the biggest new trends in brows, and is definitely one for those who are willing to invest quite a bit of money into a result that will last a very long time.
According to Pampling, “This process is a semi-permanent tattooing procedure that involves either a handheld tool or a machine similar to what a body artist may use to deposit ink into the epidermis – the outermost layer of your skin.” So, not necessarily the most pain-free of procedures, but the results do last – as always, a few other factors (like oily skin, enlarged pores and how you care for the tattoo) can impact longevity.
“It will generally last a year before fading to a warm or ashy-toned colour, then that colour should fade out a year or two later,” says Pampling.
While it does sound like a wonder solution, it’s not without its flaws, warns Pampling.
“Unfortunately, it is a very unregulated industry. Anyone can do a three-day course in this procedure and start tattooing brows. Make sure you are informed and that your artist has been well educated,” she says.
As for the procedure itself, Pampling says it’s important to consider a few things before taking the plunge.
“You need to be sure that you have skin that heals well. If you are someone who tends to have keloid scarring, be aware it could be an issue,” she says, adding that it’s also important to understand that over time the colour fades and blurs, and may need correction.
“On average, you will need a touch-up a year after it has been done. This touch-up could either be a colour correction or it could be to add lines in to areas that have lost colour. But at some point you will need to rest the brow area and let it completely fade out. You can then re-do the whole brow again if you wish to,” Pampling explains.
While the long-lasting colour result means your brows will be much more low maintenance, microblading is quite an investment budget-wise. The service can cost upwards of $1,000 depending on your brow artist of choice, and you will also have to factor in the cost of any maintenance or colour correction.
High investment: Mist brows
Lasts for: 12-18 months
Level of maintenance: Yearly
This up-and-coming brow enhancing technique is like the younger sister of microblading. While it also involves some level of tattooing, the process is a little different.
“It is a very topical cosmetic tattoo procedure where we deposit a fine ‘mist’ of organic pigments into the skin using an airbrush tattoo technique. We design the clients’ desired shape and then apply colour to look quite similar to a powdered eyebrow. We use a softer application at the start, then gradually develop into richer definition towards the body of the brow as well as the arch and tails,” says Jean.
Misting also gives a slightly different result to microblading. “Microblading is fine strokes that are etched into the skin using a manual hand tool; the colours in the results can look inconsistent if the technician has applied the incorrect pressure. Mist is far more topical and is applied using an airbrush tattoo machine. The result heals to a very natural ‘wash of colour’ throughout the brow line,” shares Jean.
When it comes to cost, mist brows from Amy Jean Eye Couture start from $995, and includes a complimentary retouch six to eight weeks later.
When it comes to filling in your brows, there's one MAJOR mistake you can make. Find out what it is and how you can avoid it.
What would you pick for your brow enhancer of choice? Please share with us in the comments section below.
Image credit: Getty