13 Reasons Your Brows Look Bad

There's hope!

(Image credit: Kathleen Kamphausen/Lauren Ahn)

Your brows frame your face and give it structure, so it's important to keep your tiny arches on point at all times. Worried yours are a little wonky? Cosmopolitan.com asked makeup artist and brow wiz Cyndle Komarovski (opens in new tab) what makes your arches look off and how to make them pretty, pronto. You're welcome.


(Image credit: Marie Claire)

Doing this too harshly can immediately make them look drawn on (aka fake). Instead, create shape by using tiny, hair-like strokes, regardless of whether you use a pencil, an angled brush topped with brow powder, or a brow mascara.


(Image credit: Marie Claire)

Overextending the tail of your brows can create a droopy effect, drawing your face down. Your eyebrows naturally stop at a place that lifts your face up and out, which is what you want to maintain. To figure out where the tail of your brow needs to end, hold a brow pencil diagonally at your nostril and line it up with the side of your eye. Where the pencil hits your brow bone is where the end of your eyebrow should end (or can be extended to) without it looking unnatural.


(Image credit: Marie Claire)

Pointy arches can make you look surprised or angry even when you're not. So, if you weren't born with a high arch but want to create a subtle one, hold a brow pencil against your nostril and line it up diagonally with the center of your eye. That's exactly where any arch should go naturally.

Next, with a spoolie brush, like E.L.F. Cosmetics Essential Eyelash and Brow Wand (opens in new tab), work your eyebrow hairs downward. With your brow product of choice (a pencil and a light touch might be your best bet!), ever so slightly alter your brow shape by creating a slight peak at the roots of the hairs at the top of your brows. Finally, brush your brow hairs back up with the spoolie brush so they fall into place and the arch looks natural.


(Image credit: Marie Claire)

Unruly brows are one thing (They're actually in right now!), but unshaped brows don't frame your face as well as well-groomed brows could. Don't have time to see a brow expert? Simply follow the shape of your brow (where the most hair is) and tweeze any strays that fall outside of that shape for perfect arches.


(Image credit: Marie Claire)

If you've fallen victim to over-plucking in the past, you're not alone. To conceal sparseness, fill in the spots with brow powder using an angled brush or you can opt for a pencil. Then, groom your brows into place with a brow mascara, like Maybelline New York Eye Studio Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara (opens in new tab).


(Image credit: Marie Claire)

Outlining your brows with a highlighter can put too much of a spotlight on your arches. Instead, opt for a concealer that's one shade lighter than your skin to brighten up your brow area. Try NudeStix Concealer Pencil (opens in new tab).

too dark

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This can make you look like Groucho Marx's twin. The key to making your brows look darker but natural is not getting the formula you're using on your skin. If you have a bald spot you're trying to fill in, that's one thing, but if you're just trying to deepen your brow hair color, your best bet is a brow mascara that you can lightly swipe on for a more dramatic yet believable effect. Try L'Oréal Paris Brow Stylist Plumper Brow Gel Mascara (opens in new tab).


(Image credit: Marie Claire)

If you feel like you only need to amp your arches up at the beginning of your brow, you still need to brush or apply whichever brow product you're using through to the ends. You can taper the amount off toward the tail so it's not as intense, but if you don't apply it to your entire brow, you'll end up with an uneven look, which no one wants.

wrong color

(Image credit: Marie Claire)

Choosing the wrong color to fill in your brows is another way you can make your brows look "done" in a bad way. If you're having trouble finding the perfect shade, try using two different tones to fill in your brows. If you're a redhead, use a taupe pencil and then also use an auburn pencil to give your brows natural dimension. Try Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz Brow Pencil (opens in new tab), which comes in multiple shades, including "Taupe" and "Auburn."


(Image credit: Marie Claire)

This is one of the most important steps to creating natural-looking arches. An easy way to fill in your brows (which also gives your brow that sharp yet still soft beginning) is by drawing a line (at an angle) under your eyebrow at its start with a brow pencil, and then using a spoolie brush to diffuse it up into your brow. However, you have to remember to blend it entirely or else it will be noticeable.

single line

(Image credit: Marie Claire)

Whatever you do, don't fill in your brows with one single swoop of any product, whether it's a pencil, powder, or brow wax. Instead, you want to mimic the tiny hairs that make up your brows by using small, flicking motions to apply the pencil (or angled brush dipped in brow powder) in the direction your hair is growing.


(Image credit: Marie Claire)

If you don't groom your brows, they will definitely look it. And even though a messier brow is in at the moment, that look still requires you to brush your brows upward and outward. The best and fastest way to do this is by taking a brow pomade, which will provide hold but won't leave your brow hairs looking like they're frozen into place, and brushing your arches into the shape you want them to be in. Try Surratt Beauty Expressioniste Brow Pomade (opens in new tab).


(Image credit: Marie Claire)

Regardless of the brow product you fancy, too much can look like too much. So start conservatively and work your way up to the look you want. After all, it's easier to apply more product than it is to take it off. If you do end up with buildup on your brow, simply take a brow brush and work it through your arches to disperse the excess formula.

Carly Cardellino was the beauty director at Cosmopolitan. If you follow her Instagram, then you know she'll try just about any beauty trend or treatment once (the pics of her purple hair are on IG to prove it). But her favorite part about being in beauty is finding the most effective products, and then sharing that intel with others—because who wants to spend money on stuff that doesn't work? No one, that's who. Her most recent discovery: De La Cruz Sulfur Ointment, which will change your blemish-clearing game! Hopefully through the beauty stories she writes—and the experiences she shares—you can see exactly why she's in this business.