What Are Shadow Brows? Here’s How To Achieve The Look

By Katarina V.| Last updated on August 11, 2022
What Are Shadow Brows? Here’s How To Achieve The Look
⏱️ 4 min read

Shadow brows emerged as a new makeup trend and soon eyebrow pencils were once again replaced by eyebrow powders. The main focus of shadow brows is creating the subtle blurring effect on the brows that opposes the harshness of a drawn-in “Instagram brows”.

So if you want to achieve a fuller brow look, but still make it seem natural – shadow brows do just that. Let’s see what exactly shadow brows entail and how you can achieve the look yourself.

What Are Shadow Brows?

Shadow brows is a relatively new eyebrow makeup technique. This look is achieved by using powder to fill in the eyebrows, faking the appearance of thicker brows. While other products such as eyebrow pencils and pomade focus on making the brow hairs more defined, powder fills in the brows in a way that creates fluffier-looking brows.

By mimicking the shadow thick eyebrows cast, the powder creates the illusion of dimension. Naturally full and thick eyebrow hairs cast a shadow withing the arches which is what this trend tries to mimic. By softening the contrast between the hairs and the skin, shadow brows result in a softer and subtler finish.

what are shadow browsImage source: Instagram @nikimetzbeauty

Shadow Brows Done with Makeup

The shadow brows makeup technique is great for thinner brows because the powder used creates dimension and fills in sparse parts, making them appear denser. On top of that, you can add in hair-like strokes with a pencil or pomade later on.

This method also works amazing if you’ve already been blessed with a good amount of eyebrow hairs. Adding in the powder to already full brows makes them seem well-shaped but natural at the same time.

Because this method works for both thick and thin eyebrows, it quickly gained popularity. Soon, shadow brows evolved into ombre-shadow brows. These brows are more realistic-looking because they play with shades you’d have in your natural eyebrows.

To achieve ombre shadow brows, use two colors – a lighter one you’d put at the beginning of your brow, and a darker one used more towards the arch and near the tail of the eyebrow.

shadow brows done with makeupImage source: Instagram @shaymitchell

Permanent Shadow Brows (aka PMU Shading)

As with every other beauty trend, shadow brows done with regular makeup progressed into a permanent makeup trend.

While other permanent makeup trends like microblading and nano brows, focused on making the brow hairs more defined with precise hair-like strokes, this trend focuses more on closing the gaps and creating the illusion of fullness that comes from within the brow.

Permanent makeup shading, or permanent shadow brows, can be achieved with a few different techniques. Here’s a quick glance at them.

permanent shadow browsImage source: Instagram @marina.ultrabeauty

Powder Brows

Powder brows, otherwise known as shaded brows, is a technique that falls into the category of machine brows. It is done by implementing the pigments into the top layer of the skin with a tattoo machine using a dotting technique.

The powder brows technique is great for achieving fullness and a well-defined arch. This technique can also be done in an ombre style if you wish to get more natural-looking results.

What makes the ombre brows different from “regular” powder brows is the shading placement. Unlike powder brows which have the same amount of pigment placed throughout the brow, the ombre style is achieved with color gradation. The beginning of the brow has the least amount of pigment applied and as we are nearing the tail the color intensifies. This makes the arch really well-defined.

Learn more about Powder Brows in our Ultimate Guide.

powder brows Image source: Instagram @melissamaycosmetics

Combo Brows

Combro brows (or hybrid brows) are a combination of microblading and microshading techniques. Used together, these two permanent makeup techniques result in defined, yet natural-looking eyebrows that have just a hint of that powdery effect to them.

This style gained popularity because it is suitable for all skin types. It’s a great choice for people with oily skin, as they aren’t good candidates for microblading since the strokes tend to get blurred over time. But combo brows technique combines realistic hair strokes done with microblading tool and also adds in some powdery shading that blends in with fake hairs, hiding the fading hair strokes.

The procedure is done with both manual tools and machines to insert pigments into the skin. But lately, even the microblading which is usually done manually, is being done with a machine. Artists find it to be more precise and clients find it to be less painful.

Most often, microblading part is done first. That is the “skeleton” of the eyebrow. Having the hairs drawn makes it easier for artists to know where to shade. But combo brows can also be created the other way around. Albeit a bit harder to do, artists claim it gives more realistic results.
No matter which technique is done first, shading has to be super light to recreate that “soft” and airy look, and hair strokes aren’t done as densely.

If you want to learn more about the difference between combo brows, check out this guide.

combo browsImage source: Instagram @kenziefreshpmu

In Conclusion

Shadow brows technique makes the eyebrows appear natural and light but still give off the look of wearing makeup. The main focus of shadow brows is to make them appear fuller from within the eyebrow itself.

That can be achieved with powder brow or combo brow technique.

Powder brows ensure natural-looking fullness of the brow while combo brow also adds in fake hair strokes.

No matter which permanent makeup procedure you choose to book, you will have great-looking brows for months to come!

Cover image source: Freepik



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