When it comes to eyebrows, there are so many different factors to consider when identifying your ideal arches. From face shape to hair color, the perfect eyebrows can mean something drastically different from person to person. Despite the bevy of enviable brows constantly on display, the fact is that what looks best on your favorite celebrity just might not be the ideal look for you. With so many different contributors to consider, it might feel like a daunting undertaking to discover the perfect brow shape for your unique face, but there's a simple trick experts use to customize brow shapes and get them right no matter the circumstance. It's called eyebrow mapping, and it's a game changer.
If you've ever seen imagery of lines drawn across the brows that resemble ancient geometry, then you've already paid witness to eyebrow mapping. While this more in-depth version of the method is used by experts to create pristine outlines before professional shaping and permanent brow alterations like microblading, tinting, and brow lamination, simpler eyebrow mapping is a great technique anyone can use to keep their brows looking fresh until we're able to check in with our trusted brow artists again. To get the scoop on all things eyebrow mapping, we tapped René de la Garza, a celebrity brow artist and founder of Brow Down Studio in L.A., to explain what it is and the benefits of using the method and to provide a step-by-step breakdown of how to do it at home. Keep scrolling for all the details.
What is eyebrow mapping?
"Eyebrow mapping is a method used by brow artists to ensure that all angles are even and proportionate to the face," de la Garza explains. "It's performed mostly by brow artists and microblading artists on their clients to ensure precise angles and to find a brow shape that is flattering to the face shape." Our expert likens eyebrow mapping to making a rough draft of the desired brow shape before removing hairs or altering the shape. "By mapping the brows first, you are able to double-check that the brows are even and able to see areas that need to be regrown in future brow shaping," he adds. So there are essentially no drawbacks.
For de la Garza, eyebrow mapping is an integral step that's built into every shaping session with his clients, including the likes of megastars Lizzo and Cardi B. "For every new client in our initial session, brow mapping not only helps me in designing a unique brow shape for my client, but it also helps me discover any areas of the brow that need to be corrected and helps my client visually see their full brow potential," he adds.
As a self-proclaimed brow doctor, de la Garza is a master at correcting botched brows. "Normally, clients come to me for correction of other people's work or their own at-home mishaps. While I am an experienced artist, my service is a collaborative effort in which I like my clients to be involved in the design," he says.
Eyebrow Mapping How-To
De la Garza says that eyebrow mapping takes five main factors into consideration: evenness, proportion, hair density, growth pattern, and makeup style. To map your brows, you'll locate the ideal points for the front of your brows, the highest arch point, and the end of your brow tail. "The inner brow should start straight up from the nasal bridge. The second point should be the highest point (arch) of the brow and should come up from the side of the nose and through the pupil. The third point should come from the outer edge of the nose and along the side of the eye. Once those three points are sketched, connect the dots to find your brow shape," de la Garza instructs. Using your own nose and eyes is perfect for customizing the brow shape to any individual face and grants the best chance for creating a fitting shape.
As a general rule of thumb, our pro recommends sticking close to your natural brow shape, especially when grooming them on your own. "If you are going to take on your own brows (I strongly suggest seeing a pro brow artist instead), stick to the natural brow shape as much as possible and look for the areas of the brow that are the fullest and include that inside of your brow mapping," he adds.
What products are needed for eyebrow mapping?
The best part about eyebrow mapping is that it won't require any special materials. In fact, the only tools you'll need are ones you likely already have in your makeup bag. You can mark and sketch your brow shape with a pencil, a brow powder, or de la Garza's favorite, a brow concealer or highlighter pencil. He suggests sticking to non-waterproof options so that you can remove the mapping and sketch it again if needed.
"I love this on full brows to make the shape look a little denser while giving a soft powder finish."
"I use this to naturally fill in areas of the brows that need a bit more coverage. What I love is that the color range is neutral, which makes the brows look so much more natural."
"This is a conditioning wax that is formulated to give the look of brow lamination at home."
More editor-approved eyebrow essentials to add to your kit:
This two-sided pencil requires a bit of finesse, but it's truly a miracle worker. On one side, you've got a perfectly waxy pencil to define your arch or create hair-like strokes. On the other side, you've got a small felt-tipped powder applicator to blend it all together.
Here's another dual-ended styler with a triangular-shaped pencil on one end and a tinted brow gel and brush on the other.
Everyone needs a solid pair of tweezers, and these are the gold standard. Don't go crazy, though. "Be extremely conservative when grooming your own brows," de la Garza implores. "When in doubt, leave the hair in question. Full, grown-out brows are in style, and you will be in good company with every other woman waiting to see their brow artist."
The Bentley of micro-tipped brow pencils.
This no-nonsense brow pencil is the perfect basic to buy in multiples.
This is the perfect device to achieve that super-chic bushy look without coming off too severe. The fine tip allows you to flick hair-like lines into the brows, one at a time, to slowly build the most natural-looking brows imaginable.
This pen fakes the look of microbladed brows.
This tinted gel quickly fills and flicks brows in one easy step. The tiny brush head makes it easy to coat each and every hair for all-day efficacy.
This flexible-hold pomade helps you achieve a groomed brow look in seconds.
Clear brow gel is a must.
This wax essentially plasters your brows to your face, giving them that feathery, laminated look in just a minute or two. It takes a bit of practice to get the method down, but once you do, you're golden.
This is the best brush for seamlessly blending out any highlighter or concealer under your brows.
This four-pronged felt-tip pen mimics the effects of microbladed brows by depositing clusters of thin, hair-like ink wherever you place it. I love it for adding natural volume to the sparse front end of my brows.
This is the ultimate brow-defining pencil.
This brow styler is getting super popular online right now.
There's nothing like a good highlight to really make your brows pop.
Sparse brows? Get them growing with this top-rated serum.