How to Wax Eyebrows and Shape Your Brows at Home in 2021


Listen, I love a good beauty do-it-yourself treatment as much as the next person, and a year of being forced to do it myself means I actually prefer to do my own at-home pedicures and DIY facial treatments. But the one thing I still need to get comfy with? Facial waxing. As simple as it seems (you just put some wax on and rip it off, right?), a lot can actually go very, very wrong if you don’t know what you’re doing.

So to find out the right way to wax stray brow hairs at home, I hit up Marta Grochowska-Camkiran, an aesthetician at Haven Spa in NYC and an expert in facial hair removal. But before I go on to share everything I learned, there’s one little disclaimer: You’ll want to reconsider waxing altogether if you use Accutane or retinol, since they can temporarily thin your skin and make it extra sensitive. The combo of either one + wax = a very painful no-no. Got that? Cool. Let’s get going.

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Is it easy to wax your own eyebrows?

Sorry, but no, waxing your own brows isn’t easy, especially if you’re going for a salon-perfect finish on the first try. First of all, we’re dealing with hot wax here. Secondly, this is your face we’re talking about, and not just your face, but your eye area—all of which is why Marta does not recommend trying to wax your own brows if you don’t know what you’re doing. But I don’t only come with bad news! If you can’t live with your bushy brows until you can see your aesthetician again, you can still shape your eyebrows yourself. Keep reading.

Can you shape your brows by waxing?

The thing about wax is it’s usually pretty messy. And runny. And sticky. And really challenging to apply precisely, which is super-important when working in an area as small as your eyebrows. So Marta says the key to shaping your brows perfectly, no matter what you’re using to remove the hair, is to map them out first.

To easily determine your brow shape, Marta says to grab a brow pencil or pencil eyeliner (any pencil makeup will work), and marking three key points along both brows: the beginning, arch, and tail.

  • Step 1: Mark the beginning. Place your pencil vertically along the side of your nose to connect the side of your nose tip to the beginning of your brow, and draw a small line. This line separates your brow from your unibrow, but it also helps determine a starting point that’s symmetrical with your other brow.
  • Step 2: Find the arch. Looking straight ahead into a mirror, line the pencil up on the outside of your nostril and tilt it until the pencil crosses directly in front of your pupil. Where the end of your pencil ends up, that’s where you’ll mark the arch.
  • Step 3: Determine the end of the tail. Keeping your pencil against the outside of your nostril, tilt it until it touches the outside corner of your eye, then mark where the tip of your pencil lands.

    Of course, some people don’t want an arch, some like long tails, and others love their unibrows, but this is just a helpful guide if you have absolutely no clue what you like. Start here, then adjust it how you see fit.

    Once you have your vertical marks mapped out, connect the points with a line right along the natural shape of your brow (kind of like a DIY eyebrow stencil). Any stray hairs that fall outside of this outline are free to go but don’t touch any hairs with roots inside the outlined shape. You can trim those back later on.

    How to wax your eyebrows at home:

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    I’m repeating this one more time just to make sure you hear me loud and clear: Don’t try to wax your brows at home unless you’re experienced with waxing in general. Marta shared with me plenty of horror stories about people applying the wax and then not having the courage to pull it off or to pull it off fast enough to remove anything and others who applied to much and removed everything, so it’s just better left in the hands of a pro.

    If you do feel confident in yourself and your skills, this YouTube video lays out the steps you need (including brow mapping) from start to finish, as well as the best waxing kit. And if you do find yourself in the position where you can’t remove the wax, Marta suggests using any kind of oil to help remove it from your skin and hair and then booking it to a pro for help. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

    Why do my eyebrows breakout after waxing?

    As you could imagine, ripping wax off of your body is, shall we say, very exfoliating. Since the waxing process removes a thin layer of skin with the strip and hair, you wouldn’t be the only one to walk away with tender, red, or even broken-out skin. Marta says some clients experience hive-like bumps after a wax, in which case she recommends dabbing on a thin layer of one-percent hydrocortisone cream, which is a steroid, to help with the inflammation on your face, and/or a little aloe vera post-wax to soothe the skin.

    Is it better to pluck or wax your brows?

    Whether you choose to pluck, wax, thread your brows or leave ’em alone is your business, not mine. But if we’re talking about hair removal to try on your own, Marta suggests sticking with a pair of tweezers. It might not be the fastest way, but tweezing does allow you the chance to reevaluate your shape between each pluck before taking too much off. And if a little peach fuzz above your brows bothers you, Marta recommends shaving that area of your face with a face defuzzer to clean it up.

    The takeaway:

    I wouldn’t stick my finger into a blown-out candle, let alone apply hot wax to my delicate eye skin by myself, and I wouldn’t recommend you did either. Take caution if you do try to wax your own brows by planning and mapping them out so as not to hurt yourself or take too much off—because there’s only so much that eyebrow extensions can fix.

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