If there’s one move I rely on to give my curly shag that extra oomph before I walk out the door, it’s a tried-and-true flip and shake, which instantly lifts the roots and gives me more volume. Now, in the same spirit, I’m doing the brow-grooming equivalent, otherwise known as the pro’s secret for how to get fuller brows fast: backcombing. ‘It’s basically the ‘flip-your-head-over-and-shake-it-out’ move, but for your brows!” explains L.A. natural brow expert Kristie Streicher, who counts Vogue cover stars Adele and Lorde as clients. The technique entails using a spoolie to brush brow hairs against the direction of their natural growth pattern to achieve lift and volume.
According to Streicher, the plumped-up approach is most commonly utilized when working with clear or tinted brow gels, but also works great with pencil, shadow, or wax. “Backcombing creates instant volume and lift by allowing you to move the hair out of the way, so you can deposit color and product to not only the skin underneath the hair, but the under belly of the hair instead of just on top of it,” explains Streicher of its multi-faceted appeal for those vying to know how to get fuller brows fast.
Whether you’re going for a more bare au naturel look or stronger filled-in arches, Streicher recommends backcombing using a clear or tinted gel with microfibers, like the Kosas Air Brow Tinted Volumizing Gel or the Hourglass Arch Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel, with a small brush applicator.
“Starting at the tail of your brow and working toward the front, use one hand to hold the brow skin taut and the other to make short feather strokes, pushing up and into the hair against the growth pattern,” she instructs, adding that using the tip of the brush will give you more control and a cleaner application for natural-looking fluffy, feathered brows.
Backcombing is one of the myriad ways that Streicher’s signature, sought-after feathered brow look— “like a feather…soft, fluffy, and wispy,” as she describes it—is brought to life. “They have sprouts at the beginning of the brow and soft, tapered tails with a feathered line of hair under the tail to create softness and a sort of ‘undone look,’” she explains of the overall effect of her strategy for enhancing the natural shape of one’s brows with a well-honed, lighter-handed approach.
As someone with naturally thick brows that lie stubbornly neat and flat, backcombing my brows has been a fruitful way to achieve long-lasting fluff and volume, and an overall more bushy, boyish set. Better yet, it’s gratifyingly easy—just as a quick beauty pick-me-up should be.