Lighter or Darker? The Best Eyebrow Shade for Your Hair Color


A pair of statement earrings or killer shoes isn’t your best accessory—it’s your brows. Whether you have a penchant for a perfectly arched set, or you prefer bold brows à la Cara Delevingne, if you make a hair color change a whole new factor enters the equation: Should your brows be lighter or darker than your new shade? We asked Jared Bailey, Benefit Cosmetics Global Brow Expert for his pro-tips on how to determine your best brow shade.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 12: Actress Cara Delevingne attends Warner Bros. Pictures' "The Big Picture," an exclusive presentation highlighting the summer of 2016 and beyond at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace during CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners, on April 12, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/WireImage)
Actress Cara Delevingne attends Warner Bros. (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/WireImage)


If you’ve gone lighter all over or added highlights to your strands, Bailey recommends lightening up your brows too for a natural look, but not by reaching for the bleach. “Bleaches can be really harsh on the brow hairs and not only may leave them brassy but will also change the texture (similar to damaged hair on your head),” says Bailey.

Instead, he suggests using a highly pigmented brow product like a cream-gel such as Benefit Cosmetics Ka-BROW! Eyebrow Cream-Gel Color ($24; which will stick to the skin and create a base shape that mimics the new shade on your head. Bailey’s other pro-tip: Follow up with a brow highlighter like Benefit Cosmetics 3D BROWtones Eyebrow Enhancer in Shade 2 ($24; to add subtle highlighters to darker brow hairs. “The pearlized formula will create a glaze over the hair and give the entire brow subtle dimension.  Also, if you’re lightening your brows stick to a fuller, more natural shape.  You don’t want to loose focus on the eyes as you soften the color,” he says.


Whether or not you’ve taken your hair shade deeper, darker brows are an easy way to bring on the drama. “Going one to two shades darker with your brows is the quickest way to add instant drama to the eye area,” explains Bailey.  “If you plan to play up the drama in this way make sure you keep that brow bone highlighted.  Deep brows tend to make the eye area look a bit more closed.” Brush on a highlighter with a pink undertone such as Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Radiant Touch in Luminous Radiance ($42; to instantly lift and open up the entire eye area.


For a natural look, use a brow color that matches your hair. To fill in sparse areas and shape the brows, try Benefit Cosmetics Goof Proof Brow Pencil ($24;, which has a wide base and precise tip. Here’s a technique: Make three marks with the pencil – first, measure from the dimple of the nose to the beginning of the brow; second, measure from the outer portion of the nose to the highest point of the brow; and third, measure from the outer corner of the eye to where the brow should end. These marks create a slimming effect and help balance the proportions of the face.


Contrasting brows like Delevingne’s are the ultimate statement maker. “If you want to pull off a look like this, it’s important to remember to keep the brows nice and tidy.  When the brow is much deeper than the hair on the head, regrowth will be real problem,” says Bailey. If you’re going to work a contrast, the brow expert recommends doing these two things between brow appointments: Hide regrowth using a tinted eye primer or a strong concealer that matches your skin tone such as Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage ($35; to go over the hairs you want to mask, and turn to a wax and powder combo kit such as Dior All-In-Brow Longwear Contour Kit ($52; to enhance your shape.


“Most often, pastel hair colors tend to be cooler in tone,” says Bailey. When you’re filling in your brows, he suggests sticking to a shade with a cool undertone because warmer tones will fight the color of the hair and tend to be distracting.

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