Monday, March 7, 2011

Filling in black eyebrows: Why is it so complicated????

To fill in or not to fill in . . . 
For those of you who have naturally black eyebrows you know how absolutely difficult it can be to find the right product or combination of products to fill in your brows. Let me start by saying that I actually like the way natural eyebrows look in person most of the time (unless they're super sparse or badly groomed). On the other hand, filled in eyebrows photograph so much better, especially in Macro! I personally (and this is my personal opinion) do not think everyone needs to fill them in. Some people have VERY thick brows and simply need to groom them and perhaps use a little something to keep them in place. It's all about personal preference to me.

For those of you who have struggled to fill in your brows without looking as though you drew them on with black magic marker, you're not alone! If you're wondering, what's the big deal? You either don't realize yours look like this (hopefully not the case) or you've already perfected your method and you have the holy grail solution. If either of these apply, this post may not be for you. For those of you who are saying, "Yes! Oh my gosh I thought I was alone in this!" then let's commiserate together!

What's the main issue with filling in black eyebrows?
If you have black hair, and I mean truly black hair, it's hard to get a natural black color in any form that can really emulate your color. Black hair isn't one-dimensional, there are typically highlights of different colors mixed in such as blue. A lighter color will show up and look funny. Not to mention that the red in brown tends to contrast severely with the black of your natural color. I had a period of time where I highlighted my hair. I got sick of it one day and decided to dye it back to black. Needless to say, it looked like dolly hair by the time I was done and I wanted to die! Moral of the story, natural black can't be bottled.

Back to the topic of this blog--filling in black eyebrows without looking odd. So basically if you try to use a brown, you often find that it's:
  • Not dark enough
  • Has too much red in it
Natural black hair doesn't have a warm tone to it like brown, so the contrast sticks out like a sore thumb! At the same time, using black on your eyebrows isn't usually the right solution. I say usually because I know some companies and individuals who use black brow pencils or powders for their black eyebrows and swear by it. I personally think it often stands out as shocking, flat black too much, but then again I like a more natural look. I have an olive complexion naturally, and I find that even with a dark tan, fake black still looks so sharp against my skin that it's all you can see when you look at my face. I feel like people would see nothing but black eyebrows walking towards them.

The Solution!
The solution is simple and complex at the same time. The best color to use on black brows from what I've seen, tried and read is a super flat, DARK cocoa brown with NO reddish hue (meaning neutral or cool as opposed to warm). The problem is, where do you find this color? I've looked at tons of colors and seen that most companies offer their darkest shade in what I would consider a chestnut brown. Not dark enough and not the right tone in my opinion! There are a couple companies that offer shades that seem to do the trick. Two of them are Benefit's Brow Zing in Dark and Urban Decay Brow Box in Brown Sugar. The one negative that I've seen in reviews, but haven't experienced myself, is that people felt the Urban Decay box broke over time.

  • They both have wax and a setting powder

  • Urban Decay's has two colors for the powder and natural colored wax so you can mix the colors, but in my opinion if you have black hair you only need the darker color powder, not the light.
  • Benefit's has a colored wax and powder. I spoke with a few other people who use this one and one said she actually only uses the pigmented wax because the powder was a bit lighter.
I think it's probably a good idea to read as many reviews as you can, go to the store and check them out in person then make a decision for yourself. Anastasia also has brow duos that have caught my eye. They come in a number of different colors including one called Ebony, which has two deep neutral brown shades (not reddish).They're supposedly smudge-proof and offer light to medium coverage--sounds perfect for someone looking for a more natural look. Again, I haven't tried this one yet, but it looks and sounds promising.

The only other option is doing what I have done until recently and mix your own color. I would take a soft black and mix it with a brown until it looked right. This is time consuming and not convenient.Whatever works though!

B.Koi does not currently offer any items specifically for eyebrows, but I have considered creating something many times . Perhaps in the future you'll see something from us! Until then, take a look at the three I mentioned above if you're on the hunt for brown powders and waxes for black hair.


  1. I'm so glad I happened upon this post! I literally just started using a semi-dried out black gel eyeliner. It's one of the generic ones you can get from Coastal Scents. When I was little, I had a deep olive complexion but as I've aged, I get paler and paler. Now, I have soft black hair and NC 20 skin. Against that . . . I have about 20 wiry, CURLY, long, eyebrow hairs. They are super sparse and unruly. With this eyeliner, I can draw in individual hairs and they look whispy instead of sharp or stark. Because the liner is a little dry, it's not as dark as it usually is. I thought it would look ridiculous, but to my surprise, it didn't.

  2. I'm so glad you liked this! I'm actually NC30 in the summer and NC25 in the winter, so I hear you. Glad you found something that works for you. I think more than anything it's about trial and error, taste, and what you want to work with!

  3. I am NW15, with black hair. My brow hairs are unruly, and there aren't many of them. The tails are pretty much non-existent.

    I use MAC's concrete eyeshadow, and I seal it with Model in a Bottle Eyebrow Sealer.

  4. Janice, that's great! Concrete is a good color. I've seen Model in a Bottle before but never used it, do you find it gives you a natural looking finish?

    Thanks for sharing!


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