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In the season finale of Broad City, Abbi Abrams reflected on her proudest accomplishments of the year: “When I figured out my eyebrows,” she finally decided. “They’re sisters, they’re not twins. They need to be treated as such.”
Eyebrow maintenance is a challenge that many women struggle with. But what about guys? If you have unruly eyebrows, reminiscent of a dense forest thicket, should you do something about it? Should you manscape your eyebrows?
The answer, of course, is maybe. It really depends on your unique eyebrow situation.
“The confusion lies with rogue long hairs hiding inside bushy brows and what to do with them,” says Joe Miragliotta, founder of men’s lifestyle blog JoesDaily.com. “Thick, natural looking eyebrows, made famous by celebs like Darren Criss or one of the Jonas brothers, look untouched but in fact they are just strategically groomed that way.”
An easy rule of thumb: If you have hairs extending beyond your brow line or hairs congregating to form the beginnings of a uni-brow, manscaping is a must.
The next hurdle is deciding how to hack away at that mess. To pluck or to tweeze (is there even a difference?), to shave or to wax, or even to thread—there are an abundance of options.
“The rule of thumb when manscaping your eyebrows is, less is more,” says Van Capizzano, head barber at Boston’s Ball and Buck.
Capizzano breaks down the two types of eyebrow hair growth that require immediate action: Individual long hairs growing within your eyebrows natural hair pattern, and wiry, rogue shorthairs that won’t get in line.
The easiest method for taming individual long hairs is to take a comb, place it under your eyebrow, and pull up. When you reach the top of your eyebrow hairline, lightly trim anything that’s sticking out between the bristles.
For the stray hairs, Capizzano suggests purchasing a pair of needle nose tweezers and plucking the hairs bordering your eyebrows. Make sure to stay close to the base of the brow, paying keen attention not to over-shape.
One method to avoid: Waxing. “Since men’s brows and facial hair tend to be thicker than women’s, eyebrow waxing can look more dramatic and less natural on men,” says Beverly Hills-based dermatologist Michael Lin, MD.
Sometimes it’s best to avoid potential snafus by engaging with a professional. Options like classic threading can provide a subtle, “natural” looking brow. It removes hair strands in rows, making for a speedy treatment that doesn’t leave the brows looking overly-sculpted.
If your issue is sparse or uneven brows, you might want to consider bringing in a team of professionals. But that can be pricey.
So here’s a free tip: according to Kristan Serafino, celebrity hairstylist and men’s groomer—whose clients include Matthew McConaughey and Norman Reedus—using a tiny dab of styling cream will help efficiently weigh down and smooth out unruly brows without making them appear shiny.