How to Pluck your Eyebrows with Tweezers
Using tweezers is by far the best way to shape your eyebrows - they are very precise, removing one hair at a time.
In this article I offer advice about how to achieve the perfect shape, how to tweeze your brows effectively and minimising the risk of ingrown hairs and infection.
The best tweezers for eyebrows are slant-tipped, because the slant tip can be angled to follow the contour of the brow, to make plucking in the direction of the hair’s growth easier. If you need to be very precise, or to grab an elusive fine hair, you can simply flip them over and you can use the pointed tip.
Make sure they are well aligned – that the tips meet precisely all the way along, so that hairs can be gripped just as well at each end.
Also, that they are sharp – tweezers that have become dull with use will cause the hair to slip when pulled and increase the risk of breakage and ingrown hairs.
They need to have a good tension – so that they provide a gentle resistance when gripped.
The picture shows the award-winning Tweezerman Slant Tweezer, which I reviewed recently. I was really impressed with them and if you are in the market for a new, mid-range pair of slant-tipped tweezers I would happily recommend them.
Alternatively, the Rubis Classic Slant is another good quality tweezer which is well worth a look.
Things You Will Need
There are a few things you will need, so that you can achieve the best shape for your eyebrows, whilst minimising the risk of ingrown hairs or infection:
- Slant - Tipped Tweezers
- Brow Brush
- Trimming scissors - you are only really likely to need these if your eyebrows are quite thick or long - just to trim the longest and most unruly prior to plucking
- Brow Pencil (white) - needed to draw shape prior to tweezing
- Magnifying Mirror - a rotating double sided one is ideal with 10x magnifyer on one side and normal mirror on the other
- Light - good natural light is best
- Rubbing Alcohol - to sterilize tweezers
- Toner - to close pores after tweezing
- Aloe - to calm and soothe brow after tweezing
Getting the Perfect Shape
To tell the truth, it wouldn't be a bad idea to invest in having your brows shaped at a professional salon for the first time.
Then all you will need to do to maintain them is tweeze stray hairs as they appear, following the line that has been done for you.
Alternatively, there is a formula to do-it-yourself, so for those who are confident (or brave) enough - here we go!
Where to Start
Firstly, using a pencil or other straight edge, place it vertically against the edge of your nose and the inner corner of your eye.
Mark, with the brow pencil, the point at which the pencil meets the brow. It should be about an inch above the eye corner.
This is where your brow should start - see line one on the diagram.
Where to Finish
Now, with the pencil in the same place against your nose, angle it out to the outer corner of your eye.
Again, where the pencil meets the brow, make a mark with the eyebrow pencil.
This will be where your brow will end - see line three on the diagram.
Where Should the Highest Point be?
Once again, with the pencil against your nose, line it up with the outer edge of your iris. Where the pencil meets your brow, make a mark.
This is where the highest point of the arch of your brow should be - as shown by line two on the diagram.
Now that you have the three points marked you can join them in a smooth arch. The eyebrow should start and finish at the same height.
Repeat the process with the other side, and check that you are happy with them and the shapes of each brow are mirrored.
Tip: You can decide how thick or thin you want your brows to be, but I would suggest you err on the side of caution and do not go too thin to start with.
Eyebrow hair grows slowly, and whilst you can easily take a bit more off if you find they are too thick, you will have to wait weeks for regrowth if you get carried away!
Now that you have the shape, when it comes to tweezing, you simply need to remove all the hairs that fall outside (below) the pencilled area.
There are aids and kits available to help make it easier for you to achieve perfect eyebrow shaping instead of using a pencil e.g. the Billion Dollar Brow Buddy
Alternatively, you can buy eyebrow stencils, with various different shapes, to place over each brow and fill in with a pencil.
Tweezing Your Brows
Always sanitize tweezer tips with rubbing alcohol prior to tweezing, to help guard against infection.
Make sure that your skin is clean (wash with antibacterial soap) and recently exfoliated to remove any dead skin cells.
Open pores by holding a washcloth steeped in very warm water against the brows for 3 - 4 minutes. This will make it easier to pluck the hair cleanly from the root.
Brush the brows outwards so that they are all lying properly in the direction of their natural growth, trimming any extra long or unruly hairs with the scissors.
If you wish, you may use a numbing cream (apparently baby teething gel is very good) to reduce the pain from tweezing. In truth, it is not too painful for most people, and the skin builds up resilience over time.
Gently hold skin taut in the direction of hair growth with one hand, holding the tweezers firmly in the other.
Hold tweezers with the slant edge following the contour of the brow.
Isolate one hair at a time, grasp firmly with tweezers as close to the skin as possible without pressing against it.
Pull firmly and quickly, always in the direction of the hair's growth to remove the hair
Check that the hair has been completely removed from the root and has not broken off above the surface - if so try to find the remainder to remove.
It is best to alternate each side, plucking each brow in the same place one after the other to ensure that you get them both looking the same.
If you are using a magnifying mirror, remember to keep checking from a short distance in a normal mirror to see how they are looking.
Once finished, apply an astringent toner such as Witchhazel to close the pores.
It is not unusual to experience slight swelling and/or redness immediately after tweezing, but this will calm within 15 - 20 minutes. It is a good idea to apply a soothing Aloe lotion.
Remember to wipe tweezers again with rubbing alcohol and replace tip covers to keep in good condition, ready for next time.
Avoid using make-up until any irritation has calmed down - probably 15 - 30 minutes.
Eyebrow hair grows back slower than hair on other parts of the body (up to 6 weeks), so maintenance of your perfect brow should not be too onerous.
You should not need to fiddle with drawing them again, but just tweeze any re-appearing growth to re-define their shape as and when necessary.
A Few Words of Caution
When tweezing, always try to pluck one hair at a time - this not only ensures that you keep the correct shape, but avoids ripping of the hairs which can cause ingrown hairs and possibly scarring.
Following a meticulous hygiene routine when tweezing will minimise the risk of infection.
If you are planning to go out, remember to allow time for any irritation to calm down!
Due to the fact that the hair is pulled out at the root when tweezing, over time continuous plucking of the hair can permanently damage the follicle and stop regrowth.
Although this may seem a perfect outcome - no more tweezing - it does mean that if you go mad with the tweezers and pluck too much away you run the risk of having to use pencil liner for a long time!
For information about ingrown hairs and how to get rid of them see our article: How to Avoid Ingrown Hairs from Tweezing