My new trick to transforming naturally dark eyebrows to match dyed red hair

Here’s a relatively unusual post from me today! I have a makeup tip. It’s something I found so profoundly changed my perception of an area on my face that was bugging me, that I had to share. So today’s post is an ode to MAC Browset! Not a sponsored review or anything, just a girl who fell in love with a new product she bought. πŸ˜‰

This is for those faux redheads out there who, like me, have naturally dark and relatively full eyebrows, that they wish were just a touch lighter, to better match their red hair! Or for that matter, anyone who’d like to temporarily lighten and change the appearance of their eyebrows a tad! In my case, it’s to give an overall slightly lighter and more auburn look.

I have annoying eyebrows. To me, anyway. They have a pretty nice natural shape but they’re long, they grow down, they’re unruly, they grow like weeds, and if I’m not careful, I can wake up looking like a gorilla if I’m a little lax about my routine. I could probably make them look even tidier, but man, there’s only so much effort I’m willing to put in. Lazy vintage girl sometimes, sorry.

Anyway, the one thing that really bugged me when I last went red was my dark eyebrows. I could (and did, and do) use products to add more of a red tone to them, but it always felt like it was just red hanging out with dark brown. Which it was. It worked, but it never satisfied me completely. Especially in artificial light where they looked even darker and the auburn didn’t shine through. I know some redheads pull off dark eyebrows fantastically, but on me, to me, it never jived the way I wished it could. And I know that’s just me being super critical of myself, but such is life.

I didn’t want to lighten them with bleach or dye them because I have enough hair maintenance going on as it is, and that just seemed like a big drag! What if they go too light? How do they look growing out? How often? Etc… etc… nope, sorry. So it had to be a product I could apply temporarily.

I looked at lots of tutorials and articles online and none really fit the billβ€”the majority just said what I was already doing. Using some combination of dry products (pencils or powder), with a brow gel or mousse to tame. Been there, was doing that already. Marginal results. You can make light eyebrows dark but it’s damn near impossible to get dark eyebrows light.

Then I just randomly stumbled across one tutorial and it changed everything! I watched the woman transform her naturally very dark eyebrows to a somewhat lighter brown, and the product she used that pushed it over the edge was MAC Browset in Girl/Boy. The key to my eyebrow castle! All I needed to do was combine it with my products for more of an auburn result, suitable for redheads.

Let me tell you, eyebrow life changing product for me, here!! MAC Browset comes in a little mascara tube with a spoolie. Girl/Boy is a light brown copper color. Way lighter than my eyebrows so I was worried at first, but it blends in easily by just carefully applying it with very small strokes with the spoolie (I really use just the tippy top for extra control, and let it all dry a minute and go over a second time if needed). It essentially paints the hairs, but when you then use a dry spoolie or brush to brush the eyebrow hairs into place, it ends up looking pretty natural, and not like you’ve painted a product over your brows. Which you know, you have.

MAC Browset in Girl/Boy

Here’s my face with only one eyebrow done, the other is completely natural, with no eyebrow products applied at all. Look at the difference! Obvious, but my left eyebrow is fully done my normal way (I’ll explain the other products below, don’t worry) but finished off with MAC Browset, and my right is the one that was left natural (but I see has a bit of a white cast to it from my foundation and powder, sorry).


Here’s a closer up (it’s really hard to photograph eyebrows!)…


While that’s the most dramatic difference, for a better comparison, I wanted to show you what one of my eyebrows looked like doing my previous “normal” eyebrow routine for red hair, but without the MAC Browset on top (and actually skipping the last step, which would have been to use a gel or mousse to keep them in place).

This to me is the clincher:


Totally nothing wrong with that other eyebrow, but can you see how much darker it looks? Almost darker than my natural brows, in a weird way. Yeah, it has a bit of an auburn appearance to it from the other products I used, but it’s still pretty dark in comparison to the eyebrow using Browset. And up close below, I think you can see that’s even more noticeable, especially at the fullest part of my eyebrow (oy, I can also see it’s time to wax again, story of my life, ha ha).


So then, all we have left is to see what it looks like when both brows are done up. Voila!



In case you’re wondering, here’s the full product rundown of what I’m using here on the “new and improved” eyebrows. The only change is the last product:

  • penciling in the shape with Anastasia Brow Wiz pencil in Auburn, using small strokes
  • adding Illamasqua Eye Brow Cake in Stark Auburn (a powder), with an angled brush
  • highlighting above/below brow slightly with MAC eye shadow in Blanc Type (I alternate between this and Benefit High Brow pencil, which is better for hot days when powder tends to disappear in a flash)
  • finishing off with MAC Browset in Girl/Boy (MAC describes the color as “fawn blonde”), using just the tip of the spoolie applicator to lightly coat the strands, then using a dry spoolie to brush the hairs in place, going over it again a second time if the result isn’t what I want the first time (usually because I’m being very light handed, so I don’t overdo it!)

eyebrow products

Yeah, seems like a lot, but honestly, it just takes me a couple of minutes. And I can now achieve somewhat lighter looking eyebrows, but more importantly, they go even better with my red hair than what I was doing before, and they no longer look like the dark brown eyebrows they really are. I was just missing that final product!


Gigantic transformation? Okay I’m probably being a little dramatic because I’m excited, but I do think it makes a pretty big difference. It’s $17 and I know that’s a bit steep for one little product to finish off your eyebrows, but I do think one tube is going to last me ages. You could also investigate dupesβ€”a very light brown mascara might do the trick, too. For me though this was $17 extremely well spent!

Of course like anything makeup-related, it all boils down to personal preference. Most people don’t give a flying fig about your eyebrows. But if something makes you feel better, that’s what it’s all about! And now that I have MAC Browset in my arsenal, I definitely feel a lot happier about my eyebrow situation. πŸ™‚

transforming dark eyebrows to red

Cheers to the little things that bring us joy! Have you found a makeup must-have lately??

Filed: Vintage Dibs and Dabs

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Golly, 18 Comments!

  • What a wonderful discovery! I’m a natural red head, but my eye brows are more of a brown and I’ve tried a few products and none have worked for me. I’m going to grab this the next time I am at the mall ?


    • Ooh I never thought it might help a natural redhead, but eyebrows do seem to come in all shades under the sun, whether they match what’s on our head or not, don’t they? πŸ˜‰ Hope it helps! My best tip is to go lightly, as you can always add another “coat” once you’ve brushed your brows into place, if needed!


  • As a natural redhead, it is so hard to find the right shade for my eyebrows, and not doing my eyebrows is the difference between me looking like a schlep versus polished. Thanks for the reference. I’m going to try Mac’s eyebrow wand for the opposite – to make my brows darker.


    • I agree, I feel way more polished with my eyebrows done! That and blush. I could skip all the rest but those are the two that really make me feel put together!


  • This post could not have come at a better time! I’ve decided to go red next month as a birthday present to myself – something I’ve been dreaming about doing for probably 20 years now, but have only just now gotten up the courage to do. Like you, I have dark eyebrows, and I would like them to be somewhat in harmony with my new hair color. Thanks so much for all of the details on your routine! MAC should give you some sort of commission…or maybe a lifetime supply of Brow Set. πŸ™‚


    • Happy early birthday, and what a great present to yourself! I dreamed about it for years too, and finally did it last fall but then when back to black hair in winter. This time around though, I’m even more thrilled, and as silly as it sounds, I swear this eyebrow trick is one of the things that makes me want to really keep it! I never felt it all fully worked for me before as a whole, but now I do! Good luck and have fun going red!


  • Really, really lovely brows! Thank you for this detailed, terrific post. What few wisps exist of my natural brows are super pale blonde (if I don’t enhance them, I will often have people ask me if I even have any eyebrows at all), so I colour them to both match my hair and give me brows in the first place. I have sensitive skin and tried many brow specific products over the years (including some rather pricey ones), but most bothered my skin. In the end, it was a twist up style Covergirl Perfect Point Plus eyeliner (in Chestnut 212) that came to the rescue and has been my faithful go-to ever since. If one has fair skin and auburn/red locks, but light natural brows, it really works wonders.

    β™₯ Jessica


    • Thanks, Jessica! Good tip on the pencil. I use the Anastasia Brow Wiz pencil in Auburn for the drawing in part between the hairs (which I have enough of to share– which I could send you some, lol), but it’s pretty pricey for what it is, so I may opt for a less expensive alternative once it’s done.


  • My dear…
    You’re not alone when it comes to eyebrows. All of us who had color change in our lives have experienced something like that (unless we’re one of those “oh, I don’t do my brows” kind of gals).. I believe that your face is not complete without mighty good brows.. actually, there’s a joke on my blog, on past few Wednesdays my “Burda magazine” posts featured a lady with some major eyebrow drama.
    My brows get “done” every morning, like this: I pencil them in, fill the “gaps” and draw some missing length. Than I take an eye-shadow, and complete the overall color-coding. πŸ™‚



    • I agree, and I love the term “mighty good brows”! It really can make a difference. Silly as it may sound, I feel my eyebrows now complete my red hair. Before, I always worried the red didn’t quite work with my skin tone (I’m obviously fair, but have a bit of a sallow/yellow undertone if I get any color at all) and didn’t work with my eyebrows, no matter what products I tried for them. Obviously there are redheads with all sorts of skin tones, so now with the eyebrows settled, it really just pulls it all together for me.

      That Burda lady DID have some eyebrow drama, ha ha!! I have a few vintage knitting magazines from the 50s with similarly head-turning brows! πŸ˜‰


  • Clever tip! I had red hair in college and it looked terrible with my nearly-black eyebrows (and also my yellow skin tone… it’s surprising based on how pale I am now, but back then when I lived in LA I was very tan and my skin was super yellow/green). If I had known about this tip I wouldn’t have to cringe when I see those photos! πŸ™‚


    • Dude you totally hit on something that I literally just discovered about two days ago! I’ve been annoyed that I have fair skin but a sallow/yellow undertone, until earlier in the week I compared my arm to my leg and realized DUH, I just have a little tan! I hate that yellowy undertone on me so I need to get a better SPF. ;P


  • LOVE your hair! And congrats on your Eureka moment!


  • Woah – that really is a huge difference! I never would have thought… The color matching really changes your face (in a good way to match the hair).


    • Thanks, Liz! I know, the longer I’ve been doing it, the more I realize how this has utterly changed my opinion on having red hair and not feeling it fully “suited” me. No more, happy makeup products to the rescue! πŸ˜‰


  • Hello,
    Not sure if this matter to you, but I found your website in a very odd way. I was googling for sew peasant blouses and then went to images. I saw your image, you in a light blue and white gingham short sleeve blouse and clicked on it. It took me to Grrrrrr! Then, I went back and right-clicked to find the url and it said I googled that to make sure what it was, it said clothing, I clicked and BAM! right back to aliexpress. So irritating that they steal people’s images and creativity for mass production and in this case, hijacking your image to direct people to their commerce crap. I finally got here (YAY!) by doing a TinEye search and Eureka! I found you!

    Kindest regards,


  • Yaaaaay!
    I’m a natural brunette who’s just gone very nearly the same shade of red as yours and wasn’t quite loving it for some reason until I realised it was my brows, they’re very similar in color to yours but much thicker and it looked odd, based off your results I’m going to hazard a guess that this product might be a problem solver for me too!


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