When it comes to clever makeup hacks, TikTok is the gift that keeps on giving. Recently, the lipstick blush hack won us over (applying lipstick to your cheekbones pre-foundation for a natural, believable flush), and using fake tan as lip liner (carefully!) has also been a revelation. This month, though, it's all about symmetrical, fluffy brows as the "brow mapping" technique takes over.
Brow mapping is nothing new — makeup artists and microblading technicians have sworn by it for years — but TikTok's bite-size format makes the often-complicated technique a lot easier to digest. Whether you're a makeup lover or a novice, the step-by-step tutorials seem super simple rather than tricky.
What is brow mapping and how do you do it?
Brow mapping is an eyebrow shaping method that uses your facial features, particularly your nose, to determine the perfect structure for your eyebrows. Though the phrase "brows are meant to be sisters, not twins" is true, the technique helps achieve more symmetry and lets you know where your brows should start at the inner corner of your eye, arch in the middle, and end at the outer corner.
There are a lot of brow-mapping techniques on TikTok (like Rikki Sandhuu's version using a brow brush to draw straight lines), but the "dot" method (as seen on @muamegs' TikTok page) is probably the easiest and requires just one product: a brow pencil. The dot version consists of placing a brow pencil at the side of the tip of your nose to determine the ideal width of your brows, resting the pencil at the side of your nose and tilting slightly to discover where your brow should arch, and tipping the brow pencil even farther outwards to see where your brow should end. Each time you do this, use the pencil to make a tiny mark.
What are the benefits of brow mapping and does it work?
Making the small marks means filling in your brows is less of a shot in the dark. Think of it like dot-to-dot, helping you to achieve more of a uniform brow shape.
Unless I give my brows a once-over with my trusty brow pencil and brow brush, they are very unruly and entirely different shapes. No matter how perfect I think I've got them each morning, my iPhone's rear-facing camera always proves me wrong. My left brow is shorter and more sparse than my right so it requires a lot more work, and I never know how far apart they should be (I often over-pluck). In 2018, I met brow queen Anastasia Soare of Anastasia Beverly Hills, who mentioned that one eyebrow is always higher than the other because of the muscles in your face; it's rarely anything to do with how your individual brow hairs grow. Brow mapping seems to combat this beauty gripe, so I got to work.
I used the REFY Brow Pencil to map out my brows. It's very thin, making tilting and marking easy, and the product itself is highly pigmented, so it's a lot easier to make dots with. I started at the inner corner of each brow and, as I placed the pencil at the side of the tip of my nose, I wasn't surprised to learn I'd gone a bit wild with my tweezers the week before. According to the technique, my brows should be a little closer in width. I made a tiny dot and moved onto my arch, angling the pencil at the side of my nose and tilting it towards the middle of my brow before making another mark for the arch. I tilted the pencil even farther towards the end of my brow to see where it should end (again, I'd plucked too much away).
The shaping was so easy to do in a mirror — I'd suggest trying a magnifying version for ultimate precision. The next step was filling in my brows. While I really like REFY's brow pencil, the summer heat has made mine much too soft and smudgy, so I reached for Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz, which is my all-time favorite. The nib is just as thin as REFY's, and it makes light work of mimicking individual brow hairs; brows look expertly shaded, rather than blocky.
After following the dots and filling in my brows, I used the spoolie brush on the end to comb my brows up and outwards to blend the product and enhance a fluffy finish. I noticed that the dots I'd made were a bit too dark and obvious, so I took a cotton bud soaked in micellar water and buffed them away gently. When I stepped back from the mirror, I was surprised by how much better my brows looked. Actually, they looked incredible! Both appeared more lush and expertly shaped, like I'd just paid a visit to Blink Brow Bar. More importantly, they were more symmetrical than ever before.
What is the best eyebrow pencil for brow mapping?
Aside from Brow Wiz, I love NARS Brow Perfector, which isn't too creamy so doesn't smear like others; benefit Precisely, My Brow Pencil, which lasts months; and Tom Ford Brow Sculptor. Although pricey, the angled nib whips through brows quickly and easily and makes them look perfectly defined. No7 Beautiful Eyebrow Sculpting Pencil is a good drugstore alternative, as is Soap & Glory Archery 2-in-1 Brow Defining Crayon & Setting Gel.
Brow mapping took me a couple of minutes longer than my usual slapdash brow technique — but I have to say it's absolutely worth it, and I'll be adopting the method in my daily beauty routine. It's the ultimate trick for perfecting brows ahead of an event... or just taking summer selfies. I'm sold.
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