Brow Shaping Basics: How to Find Where Your Brows Start and Stop

Published in: Eyes, Makeup Tips/How To

eyebrow makeup tips 4

It took about two seconds today for my afternoon photo shoot to devolve into this…


eyebrow makeup tips 2

And then this…

eyebrow makeup tips 3

LOL! Yeah (I’ll spare you the other 12).

Despite all appearances, these pics do more than merely document the fact that I’m way too easily amused. They also help us segue into talking about brows. 🙂


They’ve been on my mind more than usual lately… First, because they’re all over the promotional pics for this year’s fall makeup campaigns, and second, because of super-spy/former makeup artist Jeremy Renner.

Yes, the new Jason Bourne (or at least, another member of the Treadstone Project).

“Brows, lashes, lips.” Jeremy advises. “Frame the face.”

Also, my friend Cindy asked me a brow-related question while we prepped homemade pasta last Saturday night.

“Where should my brows start, and where should they stop?”

Great question, Chef Cindy! It’s something I think about every day as I’m filling in my brows.

Finding your brow start point

The easiest trick I know of is to take a makeup brush (or a pen/pencil if you don’t have a brush nearby; just be careful not to poke your eye out!), look directly into a mirror, and hold the brush vertically, straight up and down, and parallel with the length of your nose, resting it in the nook where your nostril begins.

eyebrow makeup tips 1

Follow the line of the brush or pencil up, and where it intersects with the horizontal line of your brow, for most people, that’s the start point of your brow (and repeat on the other side).

Finding your brow end point

To find the end point of your brow, take your same brush, and again, looking directly into your mirror, hold the brush at a diagonal, with the lower edge touching the outside of one nostril (yup, the side closer to your ear), and the opposite end lining up with the outer corner of the eye on the same side of your face.

eyebrow makeup tips 5

Follow that line, and you’ll find where your brow should end.

eyebrow makeup tips 6
A view from the side

My brows are naturally uneven, and my left brow (which is what you see on your monitor on the right side in these pictures), is just a smidgen shorter than the right. So, after filling in both brows, I like to double check using this trick to make sure my brow beginning and end points are even.

Here’s another quick way to see if your brows are even: look straight into your mirror, and then slowly tilt your chin up. For some reason, the change in perspective makes it easier to see if things are lining up.

Brow tips for wide- and close-set eyes

Little adjustments to where you start your brows can create different looks, which can be helpful for guys and gals with wide-or close-set eyes.

Say you have naturally wide-set eyes and want to make them appear a little closer. Try filling in your brows just a hair closer to the center line of your face, just inside your natural brow start point. It should make your eyes appear like they’re closer together.

And if your eyes are close-set and you want to make them appear further apart, just do the opposite, shifting the starting point of each brow a hair toward your temples.

For more brow tips, check out…

Additional makeup worn in this look…

Not brow related but…

Credit: Kevin Mazur, Getty Images

I always like to see what Madonna’s been up to, and apparently Madge has moved on from her signature MAC Russian Red lipstick (here’s an old-school Madonna tutorial with Russian Red from 2008!) and is now rocking with Make Up For Ever.

She’s on tour to promote her latest album, MDMA, and has been spotted wearing the new Make Up For Ever Aqua Rouge in #8 on stage ($24). It’s a shade specifically designed for Madge by her makeup artist, Gina Brooke.


“I loved working with MAKE UP FOR EVER to create a custom shade of Aqua Rouge specifically for Madonna. My biggest challenge was to find a lip product that was reliable and long-lasting, and knew choosing something from MAKE UP FOR EVER’s Aqua range was going to be ideal especially with a minute and a half for touch ups between songs.

“There’s no room for mistakes,” said Brooke. “I wanted to come up with a perfect, pure red lip color that would exude confidence and beauty. To me, the shade looks iconic, which is the perfect word to define Madonna and her career.”

— Makeup Artist Gina Brooke

I tried the shade a few days ago and have to say, what a really beautiful red!

madge aqua rouge #8

It might even be one of those rare reds that deserves the title, “universally flattering.” 🙂

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



Like this post? Tell your friends!

So far, 17 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Lulle says:

    I’m really terrible at doing my brows, and finally, a couple weeks ago, I picked a kit from Anastasia. The stencil changed my life!
    I’m now able to shape my brows, fill them, and remove any unwanted hair without creating more holes.
    I’m really happy I’m making progress with my poor brows I mistreated for years!
    Lulle recently posted … Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain vs. Clinique Chubby Stick: the battle!

  2. Gina says:

    Your skin looks amazing here! It makes me wanna give Illamasqua’s Skin Base a look.

    Also, any tips for finding out where your arch is supposed to be?

    • Katie says:

      I’ve always located my brows’ arches by similarly taking the pen/pencil to the outside of the nostril, then lining it to the center (instead of the outer corner) of the eye at the pupil. You could also line it to the outside edge of the cornea/iris. Whatever works best with your face!

      Then, to check if my arches are even, I run that pen/pencil horizontally above the highest point of each arch to make sure one brow isn’t higher/lower than the other.

      Yeah, I’m obsessed with brows. And Karen’s are ALWAYS perfect!

  3. Windie says:

    YAY! Additional makeup worn is included. totally made my Friday. Thank you kindly.

  4. Your brows always look so fabulous and neat Karen. Sigh. I really need to start making sure that I fill in my brows more often. I get lazy sometimes 😛

  5. Deborah says:

    Hi! Will you be reviewing the Bobbi Brown BB Cream?

  6. AnnA says:

    I’m still loving you in lashes! So pretty. You’ve also tempted me with the MUFE lipstick. It looks like a great red.

  7. Phyrra says:

    My brows are so sparse, I just get the underside and top waxed to clear up the scragglers. I’ve got a scar in the middle of one of my brows from a childhood accident. I always feel like it’s easy to find the inside and outside,but getting the highest point of the arch to look right can be a pain. Your brows always look great.
    Phyrra recently posted … My Week in Review with Tropical Rainbows

  8. That red is amazing! I’ve heard a lot of good things about Aqua Rouge. I’ll have to investigate further soon!

    I use the same tricks to find out where my brows should start/end. They are really really sparse, but at the same time if I fill them in a couple of shades lighter than my hair, I look way too harsh. I’m still trying to find a way to do the full-brow look that I’ve been seeing everywhere this season!
    Sunny @ Mostly Sunny recently posted … Caudalie Vinexpert Anti-Ageing Serum Eyes and Lips Review

  9. Alison says:

    I just realised: You have perfect brows! I never noticed, probably because there are no flaws to draw attention to them!

  10. Nina says:

    I did not know that I had to do my brows until I was in my early 20s when a kindly boss told me about it.

    Ive now graduated from using dried out brown mascara to having several brow products in my arsenal!

    I love this post because im very aware of how brows should frame the face. Finally! LOL!~

  11. Hehe, I love those pictures. Silly Karen 🙂

    I use this technique for my brows too.
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Review: Maybelline Fit Me foundation

  12. Yelena says:

    gosh ur eyeliner looks fabulous!!!

  13. Hey Karen, you always look fabulous!

    I’ve noticed the increase in false eyelashes in your post and gotta say, they look amazingly lush and full. One small suggestion is to trim off the outer edges so they frame your eyes more naturally. To do this, follow the curve of your waterline outwards and as if it kept extending upwards. Where this curve meets your top eyeliner is where the trim should occur.

    When false eyelashes follow that curve, they look more realistic and the best part? They keep people guessing! They’ll all ask, “Are those REAL?!”

  14. Jane Stevens says:

    I must say – I totally adore your Blog!
    Every single post of yours is unique, and perfect.

    This article about the brows is absolutely interesting and useful. Great job !

    Beauties Factory UK

  15. Lizzie says:

    That is a really nice red on you. Thanks for this eyebrow post (stamp ameture to my forehead). Admittedly, I’m not the makeup gal, but maybe I can fool a person or two with these tips.

  16. Kim says:

    No offense to Madge, but her signature red looks even better on you! Though, in fairness, it’s hard to find a lip shade that doesn’t look awesome on you. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge