We were all a little late to the beauty game in my time. In high school, only a handful of girls used lip and cheek tint, and even less used concealer, and they were the “maarte ones.” The rest of us didn’t really care about how we looked—most of us were still going through our awkward phases.

I had a classmate then who was a whiz with a pair of tweezers, and she always offered to clean up friends’ brows. I watched her at work one lunch break, wondering what the big deal was. When she got around to working her magic on a particularly bushy-browed classmate (who looked to be in tears after the experience), I finally understood why having shaped brows was so important. It made a world of difference for her face.

So I gradually learned to clean up my own brows. I’d pluck the strays along the lower part of my brows, leaving the top alone, thinking that was enough, until I got my arches threaded professionally for the first time and realized what a huge difference it made to have brows that were perfectly plucked above and below. I’ve since tried to make it a point to go to the brow salon once a month (though sometimes I get so busy that I go every other instead).

I’ve always had okay brows; dense enough that I didn’t think I needed further definition the way some women do. But when I first got my hands on a brow pencil and attempted to fill mine in, I saw the further change it did for my face.
Basically, brows help frame your features, and defined brows make you look instantly more polished. Unless you have Camilla Belle-level brow density, even good brows need further definition. Case in point: I took a photo of myself with a full face of makeup on—I’m going out tonight—without brows, and then exactly the same face a few minutes later, after filling in my brows with Tony Moly’s Lovely Eye Brow Pencil in 05 Black Brown. Minor detail, huge difference, right?

The trick to brow pencils is to choose one in a shade that’s lighter than your actual hair, assuming your hair is black or very dark brown. Usually, an ashy brown color is best. Using a black pencil would make your brows look way too stark; a soft ash brown defines without making you look sharp.
Follow the natural shape of your eyebrows—I’m a strong believer in the notion that the best brow shape for you is the one you’re born with—and just fill them in with soft, feathery strokes, as if you were drawing in little strands of hair. Then, if your pencil has something like a mascara spoolie on the other end (Tony Moly’s does!), use that to brush through your brows to soften the definition a little further and make it look more natural. Voilà! Awesome arches!