3.2 Brow shaping and colouring

Now that you have a comprehensive understanding of your canvas (face, eyes, and the anatomy of eyebrows), in this lesson, we will narrow down the focus specifically to brow shaping and colouring. As we have already learned, the eyebrows are a focal feature on our face, and they have an important job to do! While many of your clients may want brows that are on-trend, as a brow artist, it is your role to determine the most flattering shape and colour for your clients to enhance their natural beauty! For example, in 2015, the “Instagram Brow” and the #OnFleek revolution became all the rage. This was where the inner corner of the brow has a fade, and the peak and tail of the brow is more defined. In real life, insta-brows do not look super flattering, but they do look excellent in photos! Around the same time, feathered looking brows were also on trend for those who wanted a more natural look. Let’s look at the difference:

Being a successful brow artist is a balance of meeting your clients #browgoals while staying true to your own professional judgement and the theory that supports facial aesthetics. In this lesson, you will learn all of the theory that underpins brow shaping and colouring, as well as techniques you can use to create gorgeous brows.

Eyebrow shapes

As you have already learned, the eyebrow has transformed throughout the decades, and in today’s times, some women prefer a thin brow, and others love to rock a natural bushy brow! When performing brow enhancement services such as brow shaping and colouring, you will usually work with the shape of the brow your client already has and refine and emphasise certain parts, like the brow arch, depending on your clients desired look. When it comes to brows, the image below outlines all of the components to consider:

There are many eyebrow shapes; however, they usually fall into the following categories:

Many clients may want a hard angled brow as this has been on-trend for the past decade, but this is not always the best shape for their face. For example, if you had a client with an oblong face wanting a hard angled brow, this would actually make their face appear even longer. Given we are trying to create symmetry and balance on the face, the best shape for a person with an oblong face is a straighter brow. See for yourself in the example below:

When you are working with eyebrows, you never want to do anything too drastic unless the client is aware. The reason for this, if you go too dark or overcorrect, your client might get a big shock, and you do not want them to just be staring at their brows and regretting their decision to trust you! When removing hair to achieve a shape, it is always better to remember that less is more. After all, you can always take off a little more hair, but once it’s gone, it will be weeks or months until it grows back.

The golden ratio and brow mapping

Back in Ancient Greece, mathematicians formulated a golden ratio (also known as the divine proportion, golden section or golden number) which calculates the dimensions of an object to determine the aesthetic appeal. The golden number is equal to 1.618 (or 1:1.618 ratio), and many artists, architects, surgeons, and beauty professionals use this theory in their works. In fact, is it said that Leonardo DaVinci used this ratio when creating the Mona Lisa! The formula to calculate the ratio is below:

The golden ratio is all around us – in nature, in buildings and on people’s faces! Research has shown that a common factor of the most beautiful people in the world, regardless of gender, age and ethnicity, is the golden ratio. People who have faces that are symmetrical and balanced will likely have measurements close to the golden ratio and will typically have a higher level of perceived attractiveness. The key components of the golden ratio for the face are:

  • The face should be approximately 1.6 times longer than the width
  • The upper, middle and lower portions of the face should be 3 equal parts
  • The eye width should be equal to the eye diameter

Now, you don’t have to be a mathematician to use the golden ratio in your work! When working with clients, the best way you can apply this theory is to aim for symmetry and to work with your clients’ natural features. Remember, this is just a theory, and what is beautiful varies and ultimately is down to personal perception. People who do not fall into the golden ratio equation can still be beautiful. As an example, which of the following celebrities do you think has the highest golden ratio?

Did you guess Bella Hadid? Supermodel Bella Hadid received the highest golden ratio result (94.35%) with a near-perfect chin (99.7%). The results are shown as well as a list of 9 other celebrities who scored highly:

As you can see from the list, Rhianna and Angelina didn’t even make the top 10, and they are gorgeous! If you go online, you can see lots of examples where people apply the golden ratio to faces, and some of the changes are not really what we could call beautiful – here are a few:

Based on the real/ideal comparisons, it is clear to see that beauty can be found in imperfection! The golden ratio is not the authority on what is beautiful, but applying the basic principles can help us to ensure our work is symmetrical and will enhance our client’s natural features. Fortunately for brow artists, one of the most successful brow artists in the world, Anastasia Soare, has developed a technique that we can use to apply the golden ratio.

Anastasia of Anastasia Beverly Hills leveraged the golden ratio principle to patent the ‘Golden Ratio Eyebrow Shaping Method’. This method aims to create aesthetic harmony by shaping brows according to an individual’s bone structure. Using this method, we can effectively develop a brow map for our clients based on their existing features. A simple visual of the golden ratio for eyebrows is shown. When we measure the proportions of the eyebrow, this is known as ‘brow mapping’ and is an essential skill for every brow artist.

Key phrase | brow mapping: Brow mapping is a technique that is used to help find the ideal brow shape on a person’s face. The process involves taking multiple measurements of a clients brows and eyes and then marking specific points on the head, body, and tail of the brow to establish the correct brow shape.

When we are mapping clients brows, we are essentially marking measurements on their face to determine where the brow line should start (head), where the arch should be (body) and where the brow should end (tail).

We will cover brow mapping techniques in more detail in an upcoming module, but for now, if you would like to learn more about the golden ratio and brow mapping, access the resources linked:

Methods of hair removal

Ok, so you have your clients’ brows mapped out, and the perfect shaped determined. To turn your clients’ brow dreams into reality, you will likely need to remove hairs outside of the guidelines. When it comes to eyebrow hair removal, there are a number of methods that can be used. In this course, we will be focussing on waxing methods and plucking (tweezing); however, several methods are explained below, each with pro’s and con’s for your understanding:

WaxingEyebrow waxing removes unwanted hair and uses two types of waxes – cold/strip wax and hot/hard wax.– Removes large amounts of hairs at once
– Less painful than threading
– Is time effective
– Great for thick brows
– Pulls hair from follicles
– Results may last as long as 4 to 6 weeks
– Hairs must be a minimum of 6.35mm to be able to be removed
– It might impact those with sensitive skin due to pulling and tugging
– Can cause rashes
– Skin can lift if brow artist does not remove hair correctly
PluckingPlucking is the process of using tweezers to pluck out individual hairs. Plucking can be super precise, and you can get pesky hairs that were not removed during waxing.– Cost-effective for the at-home method
– Have complete control over the brow shape
– We can keep complete control over the shape of the eyebrows
– It can be time-consuming
– Over tweezing can affect the shape of the brow and may cause thinning
ThreadingThreading is one of the most widely used and preferred methods of brow hair removal across the world. Very popular in Eastern countries, this process requires one person to hold the skin in place (client or an assistant) and then a cotton thread is looped and twisted to remove hair as the cotton moves.– Very precise shaping
– Pulls hair from follicles
– Great at removing vellus hairs
– Chemical-free
– Is time effective
– Very painful
– The technique is very tricky and requires a lot of practice
– May cause itching and redness of the skin
SugaringSugaring is an ancient hair removal method that, like waxing, removes hair from the root. Sugaring uses a paste made up of lemon, sugar, and water.– All-natural
– Better for those with sensitive skin
– It may leave some hairs behind
– Can cause hair breakage and ingrown hairs
– The skin can develop a rash (if pulling incorrectly)
– Smooth hairless skin lasts for only 2 weeks
ElectrolysisElectrolysis involves inserting a probe into the hair follicle and sending an electric current through it. There are generally no permanent side effects, but sometimes a temporary, slight reddening of the skin may occur.– Chemical-free
– Permanent hair removal
– Effective for people with any skin type, skin colour, hair type, and hair colour
– People can resume their daily activities immediately after the procedure
– Several sessions required
– Pain and discomfort
– Potential for adverse effects such as scarring and infection
LaserLaser hair removal involves the use of lasers to deliver mild radiation to the hair follicles. Laser hair removal is a relatively painless process that permanently destroys the hair at the root. The light pulses emitted from the laser destroy the hair follicle and root so that hair can no longer grow in that area.– Permanent removal of hair
– The lasers quickly target coarse, dark hairs
– Many people see long-term results after 3 to 8 session
– Removes extra hair but does not provide actual shaping of brows
– Dark skin people should avoid this method as it has more side effects on dark-skinned people
– Some cases of eye damage due to laser have been reported
– Lasers can increase the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight
EpilatingTraditionally, epilators were used on the legs and arms, but there are now epilators on the market with attachments for eyebrows. An epilator works similar to waxing in that it removes hair by the roots, but it is more like lots of tweezers plucking out individual hairs– Leaves skin smooth
– Can last from 2-4 weeks
– No chemicals
– Painful, especially for the first few treatments
– Leaves skin vulnerable immediately after treatment
– Ingrown hairs – can be a side effect
– Tricky to use and may not be helpful in properly shaping and curving the eyebrows

If you would like to see all of these techniques in action, watch the videos linked:


Waxing is a popular hair removal method for shaping eyebrows as it can be quick and effective, as you can remove many hairs from the follicle at once. Usually, brow artists will use a combination of waxing, threading and plucking to achieve desired looks. In terms of the level of skill, waxing is less difficult to learn in comparison to threading but is a little more difficult than plucking.

Did you know… the skin around your eyebrows sometimes gets bumpy right after you tweeze or wax? Well, this is because the hair follicle is closing to try to save the hair.

When it comes to wax options, you can use strip wax or hot wax. Strip wax can be cold or warm and requires the use of strips, usually made from muslin. The table below outlines key differences of each wax:

Strip waxHot wax
· The consistency is thinner
· Must be used with wax strips
· It can be great for large areas like the legs and arms
· Adheres well to vellus hair
· It can be spread easily
· Excellent for speed waxing
· Has a longer setting time
· Exfoliates the skin
· Works well on both short to long hairs
· Applied in thin layers
· The consistency is thicker
· No wax strips needed
· Better for clients with sensitive skin
· Often less painful than strip wax
· Less mess
· It doesn’t stick to your skin
· Is excellent at grabbing shorter hair
· Ideal for working in smaller sections such as the eyebrows

The type of wax you choose to use comes down to preference and the needs of your clients. Hot wax is usually better for clients with sensitive skin because strip wax can be quite harsh on the skin when pulled. Additionally, if you miss any hairs with strip wax, you will have to do more plucking to remove any strays. You will find hot wax in your kit as this is our experts preferred method of wax hair removal.

Regardless of the type of wax you are using, you should always apply it in small sections. This allows you to be more precise and minimises the risk of issues such as taking too much hair off or damaging the clients’ skin.

A simple process for wax application and removal (not including brow mapping, skin preparation or brushing the brows) is as follows:

  1. Prepare your treatment area if you are using strip wax ensure you have strips pre-cut
  2. Warm the wax to the correct temperature, and ensure it is the right consistency (thinner for strip wax, thicker for hot wax)
  3. Patch test the wax on your own arm before applying to the client to ensure it is not too hot
  4. Apply wax in the direction of hair growth in one section at a time – a good guide is to do the inner, then the body and then the tail
  5. Pull the wax away in the opposite direction of the hair growth, ensuring this skin is pulled taut

Once the area has been waxed completely, you will then likely need to go in with tweezers and pluck any stray hairs or to define the shape further. We will look at the entire brow enhancement process later in this module.


Given the eye area will already be warmed up from the wax, the skin should be soft and supple enough for the hairs to slide out. If you are conducting a full tweeze or pluck end to end, then you can warm the area with a warm cotton pad. Be sure to make sure the eye area is completely dry before you start plucking so that you can get a good grip. From there, you isolate the hairs you want to remove and pull the hairs in the direction of growth (opposite to waxing). There are many tweezer shapes you can use for plucking hairs and some that you should avoid, and you will learn more about these in the ‘Tools of the trade and your kit’ module.

Effects of waxing and tweezing on hair

As you have learned already in this lesson, there are pros and cons to waxing and plucking hair. It is important that you are aware of common effects so that you can explain these to your client during your consultation.

As an overview, common effects include:

  • Pain
  • Redness and irritation
  • Rashes
  • Temporary bumps
  • Ingrown hairs
  • Allergic reactions
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Scarring

The effects of waxing and plucking will differ from person to person, and some of them cannot be avoided. For example, most people will experience a bit of pain, discomfort, and redness when hair is being removed, and this is completely normal.

One contra-action (reaction) that is completely within your control is skin lifting. Skin lifting, also known as a wax burn, is caused by pulling off the clients’ skin. For a minor skin lift, the top layer of skin is removed; however, a major incident could result in serious damage.

The following are factors that can cause skin lifting:

  • Using low-quality wax
  • Using the wrong wax for your client’s skin type
  • Applying wax that is too hot or too cold onto the skin
  • Waxing over the same area more than once
  • If a client is using any medications or products with retinol
  • Using excessive force when removing a wax strip or hot wax
  • The clients’ skin was not prepared correctly
  • The client has very thin skin

The following images provide visual examples of skin lifting:

Some minor skin lifting may occur even if you do take precautions, but severe skin lifting is absolutely the brow artists error. This is why waxing small sections at a time is super important because you will be able to gauge the amount of redness and pain level from the client from the first section. If you apply one huge line of wax, you can cause serious issues. We will look more at contra-actions (reactions) later in this module.

For now, if you would like to learn more about the effects, access the articles linked:

Eyebrow colouring

Colouring the eyebrows can occur before or after waxing, and it depends on your preference. Sometimes it can be very useful to colour the brows first because this can identify additional hairs that were difficult to see, and darker brows make it easier to see what you are doing. Additionally, if you tint after you wax, you might be applying pigment into open pores, and this could cause a reaction. As such, we recommend doing eyebrow colouring before hair removal. Many brow artists who do brow lamination tend to tint the brows after the lamination process; however, it is recommended that you do not use henna in the same treatment because it can sometimes react to the lamination products and cause some discomfort. To colour eyebrows, there are many options that you can choose from, which include, but are not limited to:

  • Bleaching agents
  • Dyes and tints
  • Henna brows
  • Makeup products

Essentially, if you want to lighten the brows, you will use bleaching agents or makeup, and you want to darken brows, you will use dyes, tints, henna or makeup. The more common methods are tints and makeup products to finish the brows, and you have been supplied with tints and brow pencils in your kit. Henna brows are very popular in Eastern countries, and they are becoming more popular in Australia, so you also have a Henna kit in your pack! So, how do you choose the perfect colour? Before we look at colouring methods in more detail, we take a quick look at colour theory.

Colour theory 101

To be able to provide sound advice to your clients about which eyebrow colours will work best for their skin tone, it is important for you to have a good understanding of the colour wheel and colour theory. Many of us learned the basics of colours at school, and you may even remember songs about the colours of the rainbow! The easiest way to think about the colour wheel is to look at the categories of colours. According to colour theory, there are primary colours (red, yellow and blue), secondary colours (green, orange and purples) and tertiary colours (blue-green or red-violet).

When it comes to selecting colours of brows for clients, you need to consider their eye colour, skin colour and the look they are going for. Colours that are opposite each other on the colour wheel are categorised as complementary, and they will result in a vibrant, strong contrast. We can further categorise colours into warm, cool and neutral. If we draw a line and chop the colour wheel in half, cool tones are to the left, and warm tones are to the right:

As you can see, cool tone colours include greens, blues and blue-based purple. Warm tone colours include orange, yellow and red. Neutral colours tend to include black, white, brown and grey. There are certain colours that will look better on certain skin tones and undertones.

Key phrase | Skin tone versus undertone: Skin tone (overtone) is the surface skin colour (fair, medium, dark), whereas skin undertone is the subtle hue underneath the surface (warm, cool or neutral).

Knowing which colours work best with your own skin tone and undertone is an excellent place to start when learning to apply colour theory professionally. Most of us know our skin tone in terms of whether we have fair skin, medium skin or dark skin. Our skin tone can change throughout the year, depending on how much sun we are exposed to, whereas our undertone never changes.

Key phrase | Melanin: a natural skin pigment found in hair, skin, and eye colour in both people and animals. Variation in colours depends on the type and amount of melanin they have.

A good way to think about the impact of a client’s natural melanin is to compare an olive skin client (more melanin) and a fair skin client (less melanin). The sort of coverage and colours you will need to select for each skin tone (melanin level) will obviously vary between someone who is very fair versus someone with a darker complexion. We will look more at colour matching later in this module.

As a general overview, consider the following recommended colours, which can apply to makeup, clothing and brow colours with regard to skin tone:

Skin toneRecommended coloursColours to avoid
Fair and light skinDark brown, burgundy, grey, blues, deep purples, lavender, lilac, sapphire, and emerald greens.Yellow and orange, as well as any pastel shades or soft colours as they may wash you out.
Medium skinDusty pink, soft rose, peach, jade green, taupe, grey, off-white and blue.Bright red, bright yellow and neon colours as they can look overpowering.
Olive skinOrange, red, golden yellow, amber, warm greens, blue, turquoise, moss green, magenta, purple, chocolate brown and creamy whites.Colder blues, soft greens and yellows as they can be too similar to the undertone of your complexion.
Dark skinPurple, pink, peach, orange, yellow, jade green, cobalt blue and bright colours in general.Brown, navy and lots of black – these dark colours won’t contrast nearly enough with dark skin and can blend in rather than be complementary.

Determining your undertone can be a little tricky and can sometimes seem like a bit of a guessing game.To determine your undertone, consider the following questions:

What jewellery looks best on you?

People who look better with silver jewellery tend to have cool-toned skin, and those who wear gold usually have warm-toned skin.

What colour are your veins?

People with blue or purple veins are generally cool-toned, and those with green coloured veins are usually warm-toned, and if your veins are blueish-green, then your tone could be neutral.

What colour are your eyes?

People with green or brown eyes tend to have warm undertones, and people with blue or grey eyes tend to have cool undertones.

If you are still struggling to identify your undertone, carefully examine your skin and see what hues appear. If you have pink or red hues, then it is likely you are cool-toned. If you have yellow or golden hues, then you are likely warm-toned. If you have a balance of hues or have olive skin, then it is likely you have a neutral undertone.

Practical exercise – determining skin tone

Look at the celebrities below and see if you can determine who has warm, cool or neutral skin tone:

How did you go with your undertone assessment? If you assessed the celebrities toward the left to be warm toned and those on the right to be cool toned, then you are correct!

As a quick reference guide, identify skin tones by looking out for:

Veins on the underside of the wrist appear green
Suits gold jewellery
Skin tans easily
Veins on the underside of the wrist appear blue/green
Suits silver or gold jewellery
Skin tans well but may not burn
Veins on the underside of the wrist appear blue/purple
Suits silver jewellery
Skin burns easily and rarely tans

Most clients will want a colour that is similar to their hair colour so that the brows look as natural as possible. When we are determining colours, we also need to consider the persons face shape. The colour of our brows can give off either a heavy or light appearance to the face. Having brows that are too light or too dark can actually detract from our natural beauty. A few tips for selecting darker or lighter colours include:

  • Darker brow colours are great for people with chiselled faces and prominent bone structure
  • Chubby and softer faces suit lighter colours
  • If in doubt, use a lighter colour first, as you can always go darker!

To achieve natural looks, if you go one shade darker or lighter than a client’s natural colour, you can’t really go wrong. For red-headed clients, it is usually best to opt for light browns rather than copper tones. The reason for this is that most redheads don’t have naturally red eyebrows; they are usually strawberry blonde. When making colour choices, always discuss options with your client and ensure they are happy with the decision before you start applying anything!

If you would like to learn more about eyebrow colour choices, access the resources linked:

Bleaching agents

Bleached brows are not super common for the average client, but in the fashion world, bleached brows strut their way down the catwalks in most fashion shows. Eyebrow bleaching is a chemical process that permanently lightens brows, whereas eyebrow lightening lifts the colour a few shades lighter. If a client has naturally dark hair and has dyed their hair from super dark to blonde, they may need to bleach or lighten their brows for a softer appearance.

There are a range of bleaching agents that can be used, including bleach creams and pastes. Hydrogen peroxide is the main lightening ingredient, and it comes in various strengths (%). You can use ready-made creams, or it may be a bleach powder with a developer.

When using bleaching agents, you should always follow the product instructions. To protect the skin, you should always apply a barrier cream or Vaseline around the perimeter of the brow and always ask your clients to keep their eyes closed! The images below show some before and afters of bleached eyebrows:

Brow bleaching isn’t for everyone, and ultimately, like all of the colouring options we are looking at in this lesson, brow bleach is only short term. In the exact same fashion as hairdressers, if your brow bleach throws a yellow colour, you can use toning products with purple tones (applying colour theory!) to achieve the colour you need. As the hairs in the brows start growing out of the follicles, the natural colour of the hair becomes visible at the roots again. If a client wants to maintain a bleached look, they will need to book you in for regular touch-ups!

If you would like to learn more about bleaching eyebrows, access the resources linked:

Dyes and tints

To darken clients brows, dyes and tints are simple and effective. There are a range of colours and formulations that you can use. Like hair colouring products, brow dyes and tints come in permanent and semi-permanent colour formulations. Put simply, a semi-permanent dye sits on the outside of the hair shaft, coating it and is unable to cling to anything for too long, so it washes out. In comparison, a permanent colour enters the hair shaft and alters the pigment. Given the growth cycle of eyebrow hairs is much shorter than our scalp hairs, there isn’t really too much difference between the two options!

Professional eyebrow tint ranges tend to include colour charts, which can be really handy when deciding on which colours to use for your client. A sample colour chart from the RefectoCil range is provided below:

It is also quite common for brow artists to mix certain colours to achieve the perfect blend. There are loads of professional-grade tints and dyes on the market for brows, and as you begin to build your client base, you should test a few products to determine your personal preference. Regardless of the dye and tint that you choose to use, always follow the mixing instructions and processing times provided.

Henna brows

Henna has been used for thousands of years and is used all across the globe. In fact, the ancient Egyptians used to use henna to dye their skin, hair, fingernails, and fabrics. So, what is henna exactly?

Key phrase | Henna: Henna is a dye derived from the leaves of a flowering plant Lawsonia inermis which is also known as a henna plant, an Egyptian privet or a mignonette tree. The henna plant contains lawsone which is a reddish-orange dye that binds to the keratin (a protein) in our skin and safely stains the skin. In the ancient art of mehndi, the dye is applied to your skin to create intricate, temporary tattoo patterns.

As explained, henna is a natural dye that is derived from the henna plant. Henna has a range of uses due to its dying and medicinal properties. Medicinal properties of henna are said to include, but are not limited to:

  • Healing properties for headaches, stomach pains, open wounds, and fevers
  • It can help to protect the skin from the sun and has often been used on the noses of animals to help prevent sunburn
  • Repels insects
  • Has anti-fungal properties

When working with henna, you may also see it referred to as ‘Mehndi’. The difference between mehndi and henna is that henna is a medicinal plant with several uses, whereas mehndi refers specifically to henna leaves that have been grounded into powder or paste for dying and tattooing purposes. Mehndi is also an art form where artists draw designs on the hands and feet with henna (Mehndi) and are often used in cultural ceremonies, events, and festivals. It is said that mehndi has cooling properties, so applying it to the body will help to relieve stress and can prevent nerves from tensing up on a brides big day! The images below provide visuals of the henna plant, henna and mehndi:

Henna plant
Mehndi art

Henna dyes on the skin tend to last 2 or so weeks, whereas henna on eyebrow hairs will usually last up to 6 weeks or until the hairs shed. For henna on our scalp hair, it is a natural permanent dye, so it enters the hair shaft and alters the pigment permanently, and the richness of colour will usually last 4 to 6 weeks.

Did you know… Tradition holds that for as long as the henna stain appears on the bride, she doesn’t have to do any housework! It is said that the darker the stain, the better the marriage and the better the mother-in-law will be, so you can imagine why the bride would want the stain to come out dark and last as long as possible!

Natural henna with no other additives will give an orange to red stain, so how come that are different henna shades on the market? To create browns and blacks, henna is mixed with other herbs such as indigo or other colour pigments to darken the colour, and these are known as ‘compound hennas’. The end colour result also depends on the colour of your client’s natural hair. Henna products for eyebrows these days come in a range of shades, just like brow tints, so you can mix custom colours. Remembering your colour theory when mixing any dyes and it is important to remember that some henna-based dyes can take up to 48 hours to express true colours and undertones.

Here are some examples of all the Supercilium Brow Henna colours:

Like anything, there are pro’s, and there are cons to henna brows. One major advantage of henna brows is that they are a more natural product, so clients who do not want chemicals used near their eyes may prefer henna. The henna colour options may also be more suitable for red-heads and people with grey hairs in their brows rather than tint options. The table below outlines additional pros and cons:

– Henna also stains the brow skin, which can give a fuller 3D effect, without the need for microblading or tattooing
– It’s great for clients who have sparse or over-plucked brows
– It contains fewer chemicals and harsh ingredients, so it is a great option for clients with sensitive skin
– It will last on the hairs for up to 6 weeks which is almost twice as long as a regular tint
– Henna can tint the skin anywhere from 2-10 days
– Henna takes beautifully to grey hairs
– It can be difficult to apply, and extra caution is needed to ensure skin outside of guidelines is not stained
– The oiler a clients skin, the less the skin stain will last
– You will need to instruct clients to clean around their brows and to avoid touching them to help the dye last longer
– Henna will not last as long for any clients who have any skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, or dermatitis
– Sometimes henna does not colour all brow hairs

If you would like to learn more about henna brows, access the resources linked:


As part of finishing off your services, you will use a range of brow products to fill in any gaps or to enhance the brow bone. There are lots of brow products you can use from pencils, powders, pomades, and gels. When selecting your brow product colour, you will want to choose a shade that is close to the eyebrow colour (natural or dyed). When finishing off the brows, it can be really useful for the client if you explain what you are doing and show them how to do it themselves. There’s no point having perfect brows for one day, and then the magic disappears once the client has had a shower and wiped off the makeup! Makeup applications should be a light amount and should never be a substitute for sloppy work. If you created a symmetrical brow shape and have dyed the brows correctly, there should be minimal touch-ups needed. If you have the time and skills, you may also apply other makeup products to enhance your clients’ natural beauty – we want all clients to feel their best when they leave our treatment area!

Product ingredients

If you have ever looked at the ingredients list on any of your beauty products, it may look like they are written in another language! As a professional brow artist, it is absolutely essential that you know and understand all of the ingredients in your products and how they might react with other products. The key ingredients present in most cosmetics include water, emulsifiers, preservatives, thickeners, moisturisers, colours and fragrances. Depending on the formulation, ingredients can be synthetic (made by humans) or natural (made by nature).

The table below provides an overview of the main ingredients in cosmetics:

WaterAqua or water is in nearly all cosmetic products. Purified water is essential in most product formulations as it acts as a solvent to dissolve other ingredients. Mixing water with other products can also form emulsions for consistency.
EmulsifiersEmulsion occurs when small droplets of one solution (which is often oil-based) are dispersed throughout another (which is often water-based). Emulsifying agents work with oil and water-based solutions to homogenise the mixing process to achieve the desired texture. Common emulsifiers are polysorbates, laureth-4, and potassium cetyl sulphate.
PreservativesPreservatives are added to products to help preserve shelf life and to reduce microbial contaminants. The most common preservatives used in cosmetics include parabens, formaldehyde releasers, isothiazolinones, phenoxyethanol and organic acids.
MoisturisersAny product that is left on the body for any period of time has an opportunity to enrich the skin and the skin condition. Many products will use ingredients to help boost moisture. Some compounds that provide moisturising effects are polysaccharides, proteins, acids and small molecules like aloe vera, glycerin and sorbitol.
ThickenersThickeners do what the name suggests; they can thicken up products to achieve a range of consistencies. Thickeners can be completely natural like waxes but also synthetic. Thickeners can also act as moisturisers because many can retain water. If you see polysaccharides, proteins, alcohols, silicones, or waxes on your ingredients list, they are likely thickening agents.
ColoursWhen it comes to the colouring of cosmetics, additives can be categorised as organic and inorganic. Now, this is not to be confused with synthetic or natural. Organic and inorganic can both have natural products; it just refers to the compound structures. The three main types of organic colour additives are synthetic dyes, lakes, and botanicals. In terms of inorganic colour additives, these are made from mineral compounds such as iron oxide and zinc oxide. Both organic and inorganic additives can then be classified as dyes or pigments. The main difference between dyes and pigments is that dyes are water-soluble, while pigments are oil dispersible.
FragranceFragrances in cosmetics can be synthetic or natural. Many brands will add in fragrances to help ensure products smell nice, and they can be great marketing tools. Some brands have formulations that smell like chocolate, coconut and various fruits. Many companies are actually allowed to just use words like parfum, eau de toilette or simply fragrance rather than listing ingredients. The reason for this is that fragrances are considered to be trade secrets, so they don’t have to list them! A common ingredient that will be in a lot of cosmetics is Phenethyl Alcohol. Phenethyl Alcohol is used in so many products, from shampoos, lipsticks, deodorants and creams. The reason products use Phenethyl Alcohol is because it is a preservative and fragrance ingredient and tends to have a floral and sweet odour.

The ingredients above are not exhaustive but should give you an idea of the sorts of typical ingredients to look out for. Cosmetic chemistry is a science in itself, so you are not expected to know every single ingredient off by heart. So, if you are unsure of what an ingredient is, you can:

  • Ask your supplier
  • Read the ingredients on the packaging
  • Request the safety data sheet (SDS)
  • Use good old google!
  • Purchase a cosmetics dictionary or access one online

As an example, let’s take a look at the Lucas Papaw ointment. This product is found in many Australian households as a bit of a cure-all product for dry lips, chafing, sunburn and nappy rash! Look at each of the ingredients and research and that you do not know using google or an online dictionary like the one here: Ingredient Dictionary.

Lucas Papaw Ointment


Asimina Triloba Fruit Extract, Rhus Succedanea Wax, Glycerine, Petrolatum, Canola Oil, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Beeswax, Corn Starch, Potassium Sorbate (0.1 Mg/​G).

How did you go with your research? The image below explains what each ingredient does:

Ingredient nameWhat does it do?
Asimina Triloba Fruit Extracthealing enzymes of papaw
Rhus Succedanea Waxviscosity controlling
Glycerineskin-identical ingredient, moisturiser/​humectant
Canola Oilemollient
Hydrogenated Castor Oilemollient, viscosity controlling, emulsifying, surfactant/​cleansing
Beeswaxemollient, viscosity controlling, emulsifying, perfuming
Corn Starchviscosity controlling, abrasive/​scrub
Potassium Sorbate (0.1 Mg/G)preservative

As people become more health-conscious, many of your clients will want to know the ingredients in the products you are using. One area of concern in recent times relates to the use of ‘parabens’ in cosmetics. Parabens are additives that many manufacturers add to products to extend shelf life. Further studies into the use have parabens have indicated that they can disrupt hormone levels, and some say they are linked to cancers. Studies into certain ingredients are still ongoing, and you will likely find many articles that will say these concerns are myths and others that say they are completely safe. If you and your clients are health-conscious, opting for more organic and natural products is the way to go. But remember, the fewer preservatives your products have, the smaller the shelf life!

If you are interested in learning more about different ingredients in cosmetics and ones to avoid, access the resources linked:

This site is registered on wpml.org as a development site.