Eyebrows are notoriously finicky. No matter how much time you devote to shaping, plucking, and brushing them into place, they always seem to grow back haphazardly. Then, there's the fact that there are two of them, and they don't always place nice—hence the "eyebrows should be sisters, not twins" mantra. Fortunately, that's where all those "makeup hack" TikToks stashed away in your Bookmarks come in handy, and they're handy for dealing with eyebrows.
Of course, the best eyebrow techniques on TikTok aren't just shortcuts to perfect arches and even color. Some show how to change your eyebrow shape altogether, some experiment with trippy brow colors and styles, and some are pure, gotta-get-in-on-this fun with glitter and jewels. Regardless of what sort of brow look you're after, there's undoubtedly a TikTok hack to help you get there. To give you a starting point, we put the best ones to the test and recruited a top pro makeup artist for her professional insight along the way. Ahead, get the lowdown on some of TikTok's best eyebrow tricks, tips, and styles.
This popular technique involves turning your brows into a bit of a geometry lesson, which means I'm now officially eating my "when will we ever use this in real life?" complaints from sophomore year. In one TikTok, user @rikkisandhuu demonstrated the simple brow mapping trick by holding a pencil against her face to mark her ideal brow proportions before filling them in as usual.
It's a useful place to start for building eyebrow tips and tails, but Brittany Lo, professional makeup artist and founder of Beia Beauty, warns that it may not be one-size-fits-all. "The reference points she uses are a great gauge on the structure of your brows, but make it your own!" Lo tells us. "Personally my brows don't check each of the reference points, and when I've tried to fill them in that way, it didn't work for my face structure—so take it as guidance but adjust from there."
It turns out Lo is exactly right—this is the sort of hack that needs remixing to suit individual needs. The nose alignment bit, which uses your nose's natural alignment to dictate where your brows should begin, works great for me, but that's about it. I will say, though, marking the points on my brow with a pencil made them look like tufts of hair, and I felt extremely Teen Wolf.
Soap brows are right up there in the 2020 quarantine pantheon, along with Tiger King and banana bread. They absolutely dominated TikTok throughout last year and well into this one, and it's not difficult to see why. Typically created with a glycerine-based soap and spray—I used MAC's classic Fix+ Setting Spray ($30) for this one—the soap helps fluff up and shape brows for a full, natural-looking, and very clean finish.
Lo calls the technique a perfect alternative to pricey brow lamination services and says this easy-to-follow hack is a favorite. "This does work, and I love the finished look of it," she says, which gave me hope when attempting this hack for the first time since failing miserably at it last year.
After running a clean spoolie across my spritzed soap, I flicked it back and forth through my brows as instructed, then let them sit a moment to get a bit tacky—it's the same principle behind letting your lash glue dry for a minute or two before applying falsies. Once I brushed through my brows and got them in place, I remembered why I abandoned the soap brow life: the technique is less than ideal for anyone with long eyebrow hairs. If your brows are short and trimmed, however, it's a genius (and inexpensive!) way to get the fluffed-up laminated look. If you do have very long and full brows like mine, you can still use the soap hack as a great way to lock them in place.
For this next one, I will be honest: I truly thought there was no way a brow stamp-stencil combination could actually work. I didn't understand how the product would distribute evenly, and I couldn't even fathom how it could nail anything, even vaguely resembling a natural-looking eyebrow. Lo was with me on that one, too: "'Eyebrows should be sisters, not twins' is the first quote that comes to mind," she says of the technique. "I steer clear of stencils of any kind for brows because they are not one-size-fits-all, in addition to the fact that each of your own eyebrows should not be identical, either."
Color me straight-up wrong. In the MadLuvv Brow Stamp Kit ($39), you'll find five different stencils, each with different brow lengths and shapes. The idea is to find the stencil that most closely resembles your natural brow structure, then use the enclosed, spongelike stamp and powder to press the color in. I did feel like I was conducting some sort of experiment on myself as I held the stencil up to my head (stencils, rulers, mapping—are brows just math?!), but after stamping the powder in and pulling it away, I was shocked at the results.
The stamp really did fill in my brows within my desired shape and even gave me the kind of arch I've been wanting. It did require a tiny bit of cleanup with concealer, and I had to make some additional hairlike flicks towards the start of my brow, so I wouldn't necessarily call it a time-saver. But, if the idea of manually drawing on eyebrows seems tricky, opt for this hack and just work backward.
Lo and I were on the same page with this irresistible, glitter-soaked hack. "Let's partayyyyy!" she exclaims. "This is a beauty hack that could be easily replicated no matter what your artistry level is! Why not add some fun to your makeup routine?"
She's especially correct in this point, as truly anyone can nail disco brows regardless of skill level. When I first saw the creator of disco brows on my FYP, I thought this was the sort of thing reserved for Instagram makeup artists and cool kids exclusively. But after trying them out, I found myself making up all sorts of excuses to leave my apartment, so I could show them off.
To score disco brows, simply shape and style your brows in your preferred everyday fashion, then use a synthetic brush to pat on liquid glitter eyeshadow. On TikTok, one user demonstrates with an icy blue, but I found that if you have dark hair, it can be tricky to get the more muted colors to show up. When I tried it with a gold shade, however—I used the PYT Beauty Glow Me Liquid Eyeshadow ($18), and it's incredible—I was obsessed.
And because the product itself is so well-made, I was able to comb it through my brows for an all-over glam look without any spangly fallout on my cheeks.
Scotch tape has long been one of the internet's favorite beauty hacks—remember in 2015 when everyone was using tape to get those deadly sharp cat-eye looks? With that in mind, I certainly had high hopes for this brow taping technique. "I've seen a lot of beauty influencers use this trick," Lo confirms. "This is definitely a cool way to create defined brows!"
Lo does point out that the TikTok example above makes the hack look much easier than it is, which I found out first hand when I attempted it myself. This technique is basically the DIY version of brow stamping: place tape around your brows in the shape of your choice, then use it as a stencil and fill it in with brow powder and a beauty sponge.
When trying, take care not to stick the tape directly on that super delicate eye skin. Back in those 2015 YouTube tutorial days, I learned that you should stick the tape to the back of your hand first, then pull it off and place it where you need it. By diffusing some of the stickiness, the tape won't pull nearly as hard on your skin when it's time for it to come off. Personally, I have very deep-set eyes with a lot of excess lid skin, which made it tricky to place the tape on my brow's underside. In fact, after getting myself all taped up, I couldn't even open my eye to make sure the tape was aligned. Is it any surprise then that once the tape was removed, I looked like Eyebrow Dog?
"Worst case, after removing the tape, use concealer on a brush to clean up the skin around the brows," Lo suggests, which is exactly what I did. If I had to edit this technique, I'd say maybe use the tape as a stencil to draw on the proper shape, then remove the tape and fill the outline in when you have a better view.
The Bottom Line
As Lo notes, there are two essential things to remember when attempting to create any viral Internet hacks: not everything will work for everyone precisely as-is, and things can often look much easier than they are when condensed into a seconds-long video. "I would use them as a reference point and then steer off their guidelines to what you think would look best on you," Lo recommends.
"The nice thing is you can easily remove the products used in these trend videos and start over or try something else if that specific tip doesn't work for you."
What most of these techniques have in common is the goal of easy-to-do, structured brows that also manage to look natural. In my experience, solid products that work well with your undertones and brow type can do more for your eyebrows and overall look than most viral techniques. If you're looking for a woke-up-like-this sort of brow, you'll probably want to opt for a dual-ended brow pencil with a tiny, targeted nib like the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz ($23) or the e.l.f. Ultra-Precise Brow Pencil ($5). For thick, lush brows with plenty of volume and pigment, go for a pomade, powder, or thicker-tipped pencil like the PYT Brow Goals Pencil ($14). And absolutely everyone can benefit from an incredible brow gel, be it an eyebrow-specific wax or even a hair gel like the viral favorite Got 2 B Styling Spiking Glue ($5). Brow down, one and all.