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10+ Tips for Sparse Eyebrows (Demos Using Different Techniques and Products)

If you are over 50, chances are you’ve noticed a few changes in your eyebrow area. Figuring out how to get the shape just right without making your brows look drawn on, too dark, too thick or uneven can be challenging. But with the right products, techniques and some practice, you can create beautiful, natural-looking brows.

Now, I’m going to be perfectly honest here. There’s no one product or technique that will work for all of us. So, learning what works best for you will most likely involve some experimentation with different techniques and products and take some time.

But I will tell you that spending some extra time to practice various techniques and try out different eyebrow products will definitely be worth it. Why? Because filling in our brows is one of the top four things those of us over 50 can do to look out best.

Helpful Eyebrow Tools – Including Several You May Not Have Used

First let’s focus on the necessary eyebrow tools. In addition to a small scissors and tweezers, another necessary tool is a firm, thin, angled eyebrow brush that has a spoolie on the other end.

Other helpful tools are eyebrow stencils, a primer pencil and loose translucent powder. A stencil can help guide us in creating a great shape for our brows, especially if they’re sparse. You can purchase a single stencil, or a stencil kit. Some provide an elastic band that holds the stencil in place while we apply our eyebrow product.

The primer pencil and powder can help create a base which helps eyebrow products adhere better to sparse brow areas. The primer pencil I use in the video is from Anastasia of Beverly Hills (ABH Pro Pencil) and the translucent powder is from Laura Mercier.

The Right Color and Eyebrow Products (Including a Newer One!)

Just about every makeup line makes eyebrow products, but the two brands that carry the widest selection of eyebrow products and colors are Benefit and Anastasia of Beverly Hills (ABH). Since it’s important to match our brow color as closely as possible, these two makeup lines could be helpful in your search.

Brow colors – even with the same name – can vary a lot from brand to brand. Some will have more of a warm undertone. Others will have a cool or neutral undertone. I always suggest starting with a brow color that’s one shade lighter than you think would match your brows.

An eyebrow product that’s too dark can end up looking very harsh and age us. And since we’re sometimes applying quite a few strokes with a powder, pencil or pomade when we have sparse brows, the brows can darken very quickly.

Be sure to check out Elise’s YouTube channel which specifically focuses on makeup tips, techniques, and product reviews for those of us 50+. Don’t forget to subscribe!

I get many questions about the best brow color for those of us with gray or salt and pepper brows. If there is more gray than natural hair color in the brows, you may want to try a gray powder or pencil. If the brow hair is more salt and pepper, going toward a taupe color might work well. It’s helpful to try out both color options to see which looks and feels most comfortable.

Other brow products are pomades (which are creams) and gels which keep the brows in place and can add color if we choose a tinted gel. There’s also a newer product: eyebrow tint pens. The tint pens have a very fine tip which allows us to create hair-like strokes. There is a bit of a learning curve with these pens, but the results can look beautifully natural.

Brows Filling-In Process

So now let’s walk through the steps to fill in our brows.

#1: Trimming

Check to see if you need to trim any wayward brow hairs. To do this, brush up the brow hair with a spoolie to see if you need to do any snipping with your small scissors.

#2: Tweezing

If there are any brow hairs that are really outside your brow shape, tweeze them.

#3: Primer (Optional)

The application of an eyebrow primer pencil and translucent powder will help the next products adhere better.

#4: Shape and Fill In

If you feel comfortable using an eyebrow pencil, this is the time to do it. Then you can either fill in your brows with an eyebrow pencil using very short, hairlike strokes or fill in the brows with a powder.

If you have very sparse brow hair, powder won’t adhere as well to the skin as a pencil or pomade will. No matter what product you decide to use, it’s important to slowly build up the shape of the brow and start soft and light.

#5: Excess Powder

Next, take the spoolie, and work it through the eyebrows to remove any excess powder which helps the eyebrows look more natural.

#6: Outlining (Optional)

Very lightly outline along the top and bottom of the brows with a very thin eyebrow pencil. Then run the spoolie through the brows one more time.

It’s also possible to make the brows look a little thicker by adding in a very small amount of a slightly darker shade. Then remove the stencil if you’ve been using one so you can see how the brows look.

Of course it sometimes works very well to combine eyebrow products on each eyebrow. This might work especially well if your eyebrows are fuller in front but are sparser in the eyebrow tail area. In this case, the powder would work well at the front of the brow and the pencil might work best on the tail of the brow.

#7: Pomade & Tint Pen

It can sometimes look especially natural to stroke in a few light, hair-like strokes with a brow tint pen on the very front part of our brows and then use other products to fill in the rest of the brows. Three companies that make especially good pomades are ABH, Benefit with their Kabrow product, and Maybelline. Many companies are making brow tint pens including NYX, Milani, Urban Decay and ABH. When finished, once again run the spoolie through each brow.

Help for Wiry Brows

If you have very wiry brow hairs, you may want to use a brow gel on top of another product to help keep those hairs in place. And if you have brow hairs that are really wiry and difficult to keep in place, Benefit has a great product called 24-Hour Brow Setter Clear Eyebrow Gel. Other brands with excellent products include Jason Ta (Major Brow Shaping Wax) and ABH (Brow Freeze).

3 Additional Products

And there are three other products I want to share with you all.

Fiber Products

Several companies make brow products that have fibers in them which can help create a thicker looking brow. The most well-known one is Benefit’s Gimme Brow.

Long Lasting Color

There’s also a product called Wunderbrow which is a liquid with a brush. It’s a longer lasting brow product that keeps the color in the brows for up to three days.


And if you have extremely sparse brows and are worried about brow products smudging off, let me share that many people with alopecia use a sealant lacquer that can be applied over a brow product to keep it in place. It’s called Bald Girls Do Lunch Sealant Lacquer.

Special Eyebrow Treatments

In addition to the usual techniques mentioned above, there are other available treatments you can choose to try.

Growth Serums

There are many eyebrow growth serum options on the market at a wide range of price points. And many of them do work. I actually tried one that I absolutely loved, but since my eyes are very sensitive (and I have undergone three eye surgeries), I was unsure if I might have a reaction.

I would always recommend checking with your eye doctor and thoroughly reading product reviews before purchasing any eyebrow growth serum product.


Tinting your own brows or having them tinted at a hair salon is another option. If you decide to do it yourself, a product that’s worked very well for many women is – believe it or not – a product called Just for Men Beard Dye.

Tattooing & Microblading

In my makeup classes, a number of women have shared their experiences with eyebrow tattooing and microblading. These range from very satisfied to mediocre. So, I would say much depends on the experience and qualifications of the person who’s doing the procedure. Ask around and get recommendations and feedback before you go ahead with either tattooing or microblading.

Here are just a few of the things to be aware of with tattooing and microblading. Very thin, brittle skin may not heal well from either procedure so it’s important to go to a licensed professional to get an evaluation.

Tattooing is done with permanent ink, and it’s applied either by hand or machine and involves insertion of needles in the skin. However, be aware that the ink does fade over time and can often develop a blue/green cast after a few years so the process may need to be repeated after five or so years.

Microblading involves the use of needles that make way for pigment to be placed in the skin. When the fine cuts of the needles heal, a crisp, thin line is formed which mimics the shape and texture of natural eyebrows.

Since only a little pigment can be put into the skin at one time during this process, microblading lasts anywhere from 6 to 18 months. So, it does need to be repeated quite often.

As mentioned earlier, always check with people who have had the procedure done to find out what their experience has been and carefully check out the qualifications of the person you are considering.

Do you have any favorite brow products that you’d recommend? Have you ever used an eyebrow growth serum? If so, how did it work for you? If you’ve ever tinted your brows or had them tattooed or microbladed, please share your experience.

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The Author

Elise Marquam-Jahns is a professional makeup artist who is passionate about helping women 50+ get their glow back. She is the founder of Boomer and Beyond Beauty and runs the “Boomer and Beyond Beauty with Elise” YouTube channel. Elise has authored the free guide The Top Four Research-Proven Makeup Techniques That Help Us Look Our Best Now.

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