Eyebrow Mapping: What Is It And What Are The Benefits?

They say eyebrows are the frame of the face and hold the power to transform your look completely. A well-shaped brow can highlight your best features, providing balance and structure. On the other hand, a less-than-stellar brow can, well, really work against you when it comes to facial symmetry. And there's a lot to be said for working with — rather than against — your natural brow shape, despite whichever current trends are sweeping the beauty realms.


So, how do you achieve the perfect brows for your face? That's where eyebrow mapping comes in. The technique, while seemingly intimidating, is pretty simple and can easily be done at home — though a professional will likely be able to yield better results. All you need is an eyeliner pencil to mark points on your face, a straight-edged tool, and a visual example to follow. 

Eyebrow mapping is like a blueprint for your brows

So, in simple terms, eyebrow mapping is a technique to lay out your ideal brow structure. It is quite literally a map showing you the best path for your brows using your other facial features. The technique creates symmetry and balance. And the well-groomed, intentional shape of your brows post-mapping will likely enhance your overall look. Your friends might not know what's different about you immediately, but they'll definitely notice the glow-up. 


You might consider eyebrow mapping when simply filling your brows with a brow powder, but the technique is also used before other brow treatments — like microblading and waxing — as a guideline. When eyebrow mapping, the "golden ratio" is at play. And if you have a bit of a math phobia, don't fret — it's not as complicated as it might sound.

"[The golden ratio] is the mathematical ratio of 1.618 to 1. It represents the ideal visual harmony and balance," Peaches, a master instructor, director, and co-founder of SIX+AIT, told Byrdie. "It's often used in design, architecture, and fine arts. Like the complex human body and objects found in nature, the 'perfect brows' follow the golden ratio rule."


How to prepare for eyebrow mapping

If you're heading into the salon for a brow mapping session — or staring at yourself in the mirror ready to DIY it — you're probably wondering what you need to do beforehand. Should you tweeze out some stray hairs first? Maybe give yourself a rough shaping so you or your brow professional knows what kind of shape you're aiming for? 


Friend, it may be a relief to learn that you don't need to do anything before getting your brows mapped! In fact, it's better if your brows are as natural as possible when you go to get them mapped. That way, your brow professional (or you!) can determine the shape that will best fit with how your brows naturally grow. Not to mention that tweezing them ahead of time could actually affect your brow mapping procedure, as you could accidentally tweeze hairs that should be left alone. Bottom line: Before eyebrow mapping, go au naturel for the best results. 

A beginner's guide to basic eyebrow mapping at home

If you're ready to give eyebrow mapping a go at home, grab the items mentioned above and prepare to don some of the most beautifully balanced brows you've seen. To start, you will use your marking instrument — a white eyeliner pencil is great — and your straight-edge tool. Place your straight edge at the dimple of your nose (the corner of your nostril) and align it straight up past the inner corner of your eye. This is where your brow should begin and may or may not start growing there. Mark two dots with your white pencil at the bottom and top of your brow. 


Next, you will place your straight edge at the same point on your nostril and align it diagonally across the outer edge of your iris. This pinpoints your arch; mark it with the white pencil above and below. Lastly, take your straight edge and, once again, align it from the dimple of your nose out past the edge of your eye. This marks the end of your brow — mark it with your white pencil.

Carve out your perfect eyebrow shape

Now, it's time for the magic. Seeing your new, idyllic brow shape emerge from your efforts is quite the thrill. First, you will play connect the dots with a brow pencil. Start from your first white points and lightly follow the shape you've outlined. "These three points will help you to determine the basic shape of your brow," Melanie Marris, founder and CEO of Brow Code, explained to Real Simple. "From there, outline the top of your brow by connecting these points with your brow pencil. Then, outline that same shape along the bottom of your brow."


When it comes to boldness, you're the artist at the wheel. Determine how thick you'd like your brows to appear and make the vision a reality. From there, you can tweeze or wax any stray hairs outside of your mapped brow. YouTuber Smitha Deepak portrays this step perfectly in a YouTube video. "I'm going to go up to the border that I just drew over my brows," she says as she tweezes the hairs above her brows. "I'm also going to pluck between my brows, again, keeping everything between the borders."

It's possible that the method could take some trial and error, but the benefits of a perfectly sculpted brow specifically designed to best fit your facial features are well worth it.

If you opt for professional brow shaping, make sure mapping is included

If brow mapping at home isn't quite going as you envisioned, then making an appointment with a beauty industry professional who knows the ins and outs of the technique is a wise move. You'll notice the technique a professional will likely employ is much more complex than at-home brow mapping. Typically, brow mapping is done prior to permanent or semi-permanent brow procedures.


If you notice this step is skipped when you have your brows shaped, tinted, microbladed, or microfeathered, then it may be time to consider other options. "Likely everyone should choose brow mapping over a brow service where the esthetician is just waxing whatever shape they like. That's like driving blindfolded—insane!" Catherine Wright, the owner of Holiday Organic Skin, told Byrdie. One of the biggest perks of brow mapping is the visual it gives you of what your brows should look like to highlight your facial features. Once you know the lay of the land, so to speak, you'll definitely notice when something is off.

What does professional eyebrow mapping cost?

We've already talked about how to map your eyebrows on your own, but maybe you've tried that, and your results were less than you were expecting. Or, maybe you'd rather forego the DIY route and opt for professional help when it comes to your brows. Whatever your reason for not wanting to brow map yourself, it's more than acceptable to head into the salon for some brow mapping action (and you might as well get a tweeze or wax while you're at it). 


The typical cost of a brow mapping session generally ranges from $35 to $120, depending on the salon you book your brow mapping session with. Some salons, like Sephora's Benefit Browbar, include brow mapping with all their brow services — and since Sephora's brow wax costs $28, that puts its cost below the average.

If you want to get a wax anyway, it's worth calling the salon to see if brow mapping is included in the service — or at an additional price — even if it isn't listed on their website. For example, Ulta doesn't list brow mapping in its list of brow services online, but an arch expert for Ulta said on Reddit that it's "definitely included ... just mention it during consult!"

How often should you map your eyebrows?

To put it simply, it's a good idea to map your brows anytime you're ready to shape them. In fact, some brow experts, like esthetician Nicky Cayot, recommend her clients do it frequently to "maintain their eyebrows in between appointments," which could help "avoid any over tweezing" when they haven't made their way back into the salon yet (via Makeup.com). So before you take your tweezers to your brows for even the quickest shape-up, it's a good idea to re-map your brows to keep them in tip-top shape. 


Though it's a general rule of thumb to map your brows pre-shaping, a ton of factors come into play when determining how often to map your eyebrows, meaning there's no set interval between brow mappings that will apply to everyone. One of the biggest factors in determining when you'll need to map next is the method you choose to remove your brow hair. For example, a brow microblading treatment could last anywhere from 12 to 30 months, meaning you're likely looking at a yearly brow mapping schedule. Waxing, on the other hand, lasts about three to six weeks and will probably have you mapping your brows at least every other month to keep up with your look. 

The benefits outweigh the risks

This surely isn't the case with all beauty procedures, but there are virtually no risks when it comes to eyebrow mapping — while the benefits are vast. Understanding the architecture of your brows and how to make sure they complement your features rather than garnering all the attention in a less-than-desirable manner goes a long way. You may not have even really noticed previously if your brows were uneven, too short, or the wrong shape for your face. 


But, after brow mapping, it'll be glaringly obvious if you or a beauty professional doesn't map out the correct ratio for your brows. Following the simple steps of brow mapping and experimenting with a few different brow products until you find the magical spell for the perfect brows is worth navigating. "Brows frame your face," Catherine Wright told Byrdie. "A good set of brows, a swipe of mascara, and you're ready for anything the day might throw your way."