The last few years have been all about the bleached brow: Lara Stone embraced the look back in 2006, Adriana Lima popularized it in Givenchy's F/W 09 campaign, and Rooney Mara made it mass in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. But lately we've noticed that top tastemakers in fashion and film are opting for the exact opposite look. A bold brow-think: full and filled in-is officially back and making a mark on both the spring runways (Altuzarra) and the red carpet (Jessica Alba) alike.
We first noticed these strong, statement-making brows backstage at the S/S 12 shows, as the models at Donna Karan, Derek Lam, and Proenza Schouler boasted extremely exaggerated versions. But of all the shows, Altuzarra gave us the most prominent iteration, when makeup artist Tom Pecheux for M.A.C. created big, black eyebrows that were inspired by Elizabeth Taylor. To achieve this look, Pecheux used a small, fine brush-like M.A.C.'s 266 Small Angle Brush ($19.50)-to apply M.A.C.'s Eyeshadow ($15) in Carbon to the girls' brows, then finished them with the brand's Eye Kohl ($15) in Feline on top. The look is unquestionably fantastical and over-the-top, so don't think you have to recreate it exactly. Instead, take a page from some of Hollywood's top tastemakers and simply opt for a moderately pumped-up brow instead.
If you are blessed with naturally full eyebrows like Jessica Alba or Lily Collins, you don't have to do much to get this look. Simply use a light hand with the tweezers and make sure your brows are properly groomed. Collins uses CoverGirl's Professional Natural Lash Mascara ($5.30) in Clear to tame her brows, while makeup artist Fiona Stiles used two products to perfect Alba's brows at a Baby2Baby and Splendid event in Santa Monica a few months ago. Stiles first used a pencil-specifically Anastasia's Brow Wiz ($20) in Brunette-to gently fill in the actress/entrepreneur's already amazing brows. She brushed the product through Alba's brows with a spoolie to soften the pencil, and then used a strong, non-flaking gel (Anastasia's Brow Gel ($21) is Stiles' go-to product) to set and finish the look. If you don't have a spoolie brush, Stiles says you can use an old mascara wand instead, just make sure you've thoroughly washed it first!
Of course, if you're not blessed with major brows a la Alba and Collins-or you had a Drew Barrymore-inspired overplucking moment circa 1993 and they never really grew back (ahem)-you can still approximate the look with a little help. As we mentioned in Makeover Must-Haves, Anastasia makes a serum that encourages brow growth. You can also use Rooney Mara and Kate Bosworth's brows as your template and use a pencil, powder, or pen to add some fullness.
We're personally big fans of all of Benefit's brow products, especially the Instant Brow Pencil ($20), which comes in three shades and has a blending spoolie brush on one end. If you're interested in a more groomed or dramatic look, be sure to check out Urban Decay's Brow Box ($29), which is shown above in Honey Pot. The wee kit comes with two shades of powder-use an angled brush to apply-so you can customize your color perfectly and a pan of wax, which is ideal for setting your brows. Last, but not least, you simply must check out Anastasia's Brow Pen ($21), which is simply masterful. It has a long-wear formula and is the perfect product for filling in sparse patches. For the most natural look, just be sure to use small, short strokes, almost like you're creating individual hairs with the pen. With a little practice, you'll be able to create the illusion of perfectly full brows-just what your face calls for this season!