Ask Elle: Filling In Your Brows

How was your weekend? Did you have a fun Labor Day? I didn't do anything spectacular, but did get a lot of little things done around the house. Sometimes I need a weekend for that. And sometimes I get asked beauty advice--check my sidebar and look for the ASK ELLE button where you'll find my email. I always answer back. Today's question comes from (a fellow UGA fan) Blue Dog Belle who asked:

"What should I use to fill in my brows?"

Filling in the brows helps to define the face and is just the thing to finish off your makeup. Sometimes our brows don't grow in as full as we'd like. Luckily, there are some options to help!

brow kit

        1. If you already have semi-full brows, use an eyebrow pencil to define them. There are plenty of excellent drugstore options. Try Maybelline Define-a-Brow for starters, $6.
  • Be sure to apply the most pressure at the beginning of the stroke--where the roots of your hair would be. Then lighten the pressure as you go up. 
  • Use small strokes to keep it looking natural.
  • Pick a pencil a shade or two lighter than your hair. Never go darker. You'll look angry and older than you are! 
  • If you have white or dyed platinum hair, then you'll need to go darker than your hair.

      2. An important step ladies forget is to seal the look with brow gel. Use a clear mascara or brow gel,   like this one from Revlon.

      3. To fill in brows, use a powder. ELF Studio Eyebrow Kit, $3, is a great drugstore choice and is my favorite. It comes with a powder and wax, but I've found most prefer just using the powder and a gel. 
  • Again, choose a shade or two lighter than your hair, unless you're hair is white or platinum.
  • To use, brush the powder in your inner corner and work your way out. Working against the hair growth direction makes it look more natural. I do not care for the brush included, so I use one from Coastal Scents or Real Techniques
  • The arch should be the most defined section, and tapering off at the ends.
  • Other pricier powder/gel options: Bobbi Brown, Bare Essentials, Benefit, and Too Faced
       4. If you need to design, fill, and shape your brows, I'd recommend one of these kits. They are pricey, but if you want a complete, lots-of-help kit, you'll want these to start off. Sigma's Beauty Expert  Brow Design Kit, $69, has the powder, gel, stencils, and more.

       5. If you want the creme de le creme, get the All in One Anastasia Brow Kit, $85. Anastasia is THE brow groomer of the stars, and this kit has everything you'll need. Check her site for other kits to find the one right for you.

Do you fill in your brows? What do you use?
Do you have a beauty question? Let me know, below!


  1. My Anastasia brow pencil is my hands down fave!

  2. i have the elf brow kit complete with the powder/cream that you have pictured. it also came with a concealer brush (which is really tiny! i use it to add a highlight to my inner corner) , tweezers, & stencils. I used to use the powder after the cream, but since I found the ybf beauty brow pencil, I have been using it as a transition color for my eyeshadow. a little chalky for that, but it does the job. i need to break that puppy out and start using it again! and i also love your tip about putting pressure at where your roots would be. that is a great tip! thank you for sharing, Elle! how long have you had your blog? b/c i feel like I have been following/reading since I started blogging, a year and a half ago! thank you for always supporting me too! it's nice to find someone that has been with me from the beginning that is actually still blogging, yahknowwhatimean?

  3. wow! that was long! LOL! i just had a quick question: how did you do your instagram/twitter/pinterest buttons like that? i know you probably dont wanna go into great detail, but if you had a link I would be greatly appreciated! i want mine horizontally, like urs. as opposed to on top of each other, I want them next to each other. ok, thanks again!

  4. great tips. i want to learn to fill my brows and these tips and options give me the confidence to try!

  5. I am seriously brow challenged. I cannot live without my MAC eyebrow pencil. My color is called FLING, a light brown. The beauty of the pencil is that you just "dial" up the pencil and no need for a sharpener. The down side is that you cannot tell when you will run out. This weekend I ran out of my pencil in my medicine cabinet, I went to my gym bag pencil and used that up and then on to my travel kit, you guessed it, used that too. I am shopping to day and will pick up 3-4 pencils.

  6. @Erica j, Carolyn made them. Her link is at the bottom of the page.

  7. I'm lazy about it, but I do for special occassions. I actually had my brows done at a brow bar and they talked me into the expensive kit and showed me exactly how to use it so it was kind of worth it.

    xo Mary Jo

  8. I have the Anastasia brow kit and it's a little tricky. My brows are a mess right now and I'm trying to figure out how to get them "normal" again. Thanks for the tips!

  9. omgosh love this!! i use a combination of #1 (the maybelline really is the best!) and #3 w/ benefit... i actually bought the anastasia kit a few years ago.. w/ the stencils... but the stencils were a bit "bold" for me.. hahahaha.. so i ended up not really using them.

  10. I use a brow pencil but maybe I should be stepping it up a notch. Thanks for the recommendations!

  11. Thanks for the recommendations - I've only heard great things about Anastasia!

    Chic 'n Cheap Living

  12. Thank you for these tips! I always make sure to 'do' the brows in the morning, so these tips will definitely be tried out :) Thanks!

  13. Is it sad that I've never filled in my brows before? It's always scared me! I'll have to try it though, so thanks for the tips!

  14. Great how-to... Brows are so easy to forget but absolutely essential to a fully-polished look. :)

    My LDW was spent shopping on Saturday (you saw the JCrew haul, I believe!), helping a friend move into her new house on Sunday (lonnnnng day) and R&R with the fam on Monday!


  15. Great tips! I fill in my brows using a MAC eye shadow. I can't remember the name of it but I've been using it for 10+ years!

  16. Just remembered. It's called "Omega."
    ; )

  17. wow, what a great post! thanks for sharing!

  18. Elle, you should totally do a beauty tip book! And yes...totally agree with the short strokes.

  19. I actually use the first one you mentioned. :) I have to fill in my brows because they are pretty thin. The Define a Brow works really well for me and looks really natural.

  20. I've never filled in my brows because I have never known what to do.. Thanks for the tips! I'll have to give it a try. I think the ELF Studio Eyebrow Kit will be my next buy so I can start to practice!

  21. Great tips, I have started filling my brows everyday and think it makes me look much more put together. I love all of the Anastasia products!

  22. I've just started using a brow pencil and cant believe it took me so long to get on board with filling in my brows. They look so much better.

  23. Interesting post. I've personally never filled in my brows. They're rather dark, so as long as I keep them shaped, they're fine.

    I'm sure this information will be very helpful to fair haired people!

  24. You always post such informative beauty posts...thanks for this!

  25. This was quite insightful. I have very light brows so I usually need to fill them in.

    Come check out the Etsy giveaway I'm hosting for your chance to win a beautiful crafted necklace.


  26. @Sherry, I disagree. Dark brows, such as yours, can still be thin and need definition, as well as defining the ends.

  27. Love ELF's brow kit! A great product at a great price.

  28. So I actually use #1 and it's the first brow product I've ever used (aside from a brief stint with benefit's speed brow). I like it alright, but am not sure what I'm really supposed to be looking for. I just got tired of the woman who threads my eyebrows asking me if I fill them in, and then tsking when I responded in the negative. lol. I do also love the way a strong brow looks, and haven't figured out how to do that really. Thanks for the product recs!

  29. I love Anastasia's brow pencils, and they come in a ton of shades!

  30. you have GREAT tips!


  31. Great tips! I have been using a brow pencil for years but good to know about the other options

  32. I've had that Anastasia kit on my wishlist for a little while now - will have to order it soon! I use powder instead of the pencil, I find that it works better for me :)

  33. I went today to a store specifically with the purpose of buying an eyebrow pencil and looked up your article before going. Sadly, they were all out of eyebrow pencils for my shade but I ended up buying a transparent gel and an eyebrow kit. Now all that's left is figuring out how to apply it correctly.... :D

    Thank you for your help! :) It was nice remembering I could just check your blog and see how it should be done :D



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