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Besides the fact that I’ve spent the better part of the last decade hoarding magazine beauty closet swag from previous jobs, I wouldn’t consider myself a beauty expert. But I am a mom of two with a bit of time and at least a little motivation to look like a human being, whether I’m off to school pickup or simply want to face myself in the mirror without thinking, “Man, does that girl need sleep!”

Nevertheless, since I became a parent three years ago, I’ve ditched at least one step of my former beauty routine with each of my kids’ new milestones. Baby learns to crawl? Bye, eyeshadow! Toddler be toddling? Bye, tweezers! I just don’t have the time to chase my children and the dream 🙌💅.

Surprisingly, I’ve picked up one new routine since my second child was born: It’s filling in my eyebrows, something I never really thought I needed to do on the daily (despite many moons of cringey overplucking). The initiative was inspired by a conversation I had with Sania’s Brow Bar’s Sania Vucetaj on a previous assignment, when she told me she challenges her first-time clients to stop plucking altogether. To my delight, I was already practicing benign brow neglect, so I figured I might as well lean into step two: filling them in.

How to Fill in Eyebrows

Brow filling, I quickly learned, takes a whole lot less precision than eyeliner (ditched in 2020 with my son started rolling over). “Filled in brows are a perfect little pick-me-up and self-care moment that everyone can give themselves because they take just a few seconds a day,” Vucetaj confirms when I circle back with her. “It helps brows appear fuller and camouflages hairs while you’re growing them in so brows appear more polished and you feel more put together, even if you don’t apply any other makeup.”

No other makeup. What is this sorcery?

Vucetaj says filled-in brows brighten your eyes and give you a more youthful look. My take is that it has something to do with drawing the focus up and away from dark circles (and don’t get me started on trying to cover those up!).

But how, praytell, do you receive these results? “Many companies try to sell you a whole list of brow products like pomades, gels, and tints, that can feel overwhelming to busy moms,” Vucetaj acknowledges. But really, one product — a brow pencil — can do the trick, she swears.

The process is super simple, according to Vucetaj:

  • Use a finger to lift one brow at a time just above the arch, which should fall around 3/4 of the way to the end of the brow.
  • Next, place a vertical line where your brows should start, then fill them in lightly with horizontal strokes.
  • Blend (I use a spoolie for this).
  • Outline the top and bottom of your brows until the point where they should end. “Don’t be afraid to be a bit more daring when it comes to filling them in,” Vucetaj says, and I think of Lily Collins in Emily in Paris. “It will help enhance your overall look when done properly.”

More Brow-Grooming Tips From Vucetaj

1. Know where brows should start and end.

This helps you locate your ideal arch: “Eyebrows should always start by the bridge of your nose and end at a 45-degree angle with the outer corner of your eyes. Your arch should automatically fall 3/4 of the way back,” Vucetaj says.

2. Avoid gimmicks like lamination, microblading, and tinting.

“They only end up damaging the follicle and stunting hair growth,” she says.

3. Choose the right brow pencil.

The best pick has a powder-like consistency that’s soft, buildable, and never waxy, with an angled applicator to maximize precision, Vucetaj says. (She recommends Sania’s Brow Bar Pencil, natch.)

4. Avoid creams in the brow area.

That includes foundation, sunscreen, moisturizer, and oil, all of which are designed for the skin and can clog hair follicles, thus preventing growth. In fact, Vucetaj developed a brow shampoo to do away with these issues and promote brow health. Filling in brows before using these products can help create a barrier without creating extra steps — a good thing, since who has time for that?!

Feel better about your brow prowess? Now you can move on with the rest of your face — aka getting back to your life, because your kids are probably screaming your name/hanging on your leg/hungry again.

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