Middle-aged women are forgotten about by retailers. I offer help with clothing choices, skincare, and healthy eating for the mature woman.
Matching Eyebrows and Hair Color
Recently a friend of ours asked my husband, who is a professional photographer, to take a photo of her for her website. He agreed, and we showed up at the arranged time. This only needed to be a headshot, so we didn't anticipate being there long. Our friend is in her early 70s with a shock of light gray hair. We get together most weeks for a casual outing, so I was a bit taken aback to see her with a full face of makeup. It wasn't the touch of lipstick or blusher on her cheeks; it was the eyebrows. White hair, light pink cheeks and lipstick, and then POW dark brown eyebrows. Where did they come from?
I knew I had to say something to her because her eyebrows were the main focal point on her face. We went into the bathroom and toned them down with a cotton ball.
Instead of reaching for that same old colored pencil you've always used, it's time to test some new colors and products.
Finding the Right Color for Greying Eyebrows
The best thing to do is to test the product before you buy it, if possible. While you're testing different colors, ask yourself...
- How dark (or light) do you want to go? The color you choose should look only slightly darker or lighter than the color of the hair on your head, depending on your hair color, skin tone, and preferences. Most women prefer their eyebrows to look just a bit darker than their hair color, as this tends to look most natural. It's important not to go too dark, however, as this will make your eyebrows too dramatic and overpowering for your face. If you used to use black, you'll likely want to choose something lighter now that your hair and skin has changed. If you prefer darker brows, try black-brown, dark brown, dark grey, or taupe. If you prefer lighter brows, try light brown, dark blonde, or light gray.
- How warm (or cold)? As we age, our coloring tends to get a bit cooler. As all those pink and red tones fade from our hair and skin, the colors left behind grow a bit colder as we get older. So if you used to use a reddish-brown pencil, you might want to try ash brown or grey now.
- What type of application works best for your needs? Eyebrow pencils have changed a lot since you were a teenager, and they're not all pencils anymore. Below, you'll find a list of options (pencils, brushes, pens, powders, etc.).
Shades of Gray Hair
It's not easy to maintain great-looking eyebrows when going gray. It doesn't matter what color hair you used to have; all that matters is that you are now a glorious gray or heading that way. It might be either dark or light gray or a combination of the two commonly called 'salt and pepper.'
When you stop to think about it, there are many variations in what we generally think of as gray hair or going gray. Some people may have dark hair with streaks of gray, and others, such as myself, who have light hair, turn from blond to white.
Although it's generally thought that you won't get gray hair until you're older, now it's becoming a fashion statement, and women are choosing to color their hair in various hues of gray, from slate gray to smoky blue-gray to light platinum.
Not all grays are the same. Although the eyebrows don't need to match the color of your hair, they should complement it. Even if you had flowing locks of auburn hair and now you are donning silver ones, let's get a color that will help you look your best, whether your hair is...
- platinum (dark, cold grey),
- mushroom (dark, warm, taupe-grey),
- grey (ranging from dark to light),
- salt 'n pepper (streaks or varied sections),
- silver (lighter and shinier than grey), or
- white (or near-white).
Getting the Color Right
Once when visiting my mother, we were getting ready to go out for dinner. Although we weren't going anywhere fancy, she still wanted to put on some makeup. I had my makeup bag in her bathroom and told her my eyebrow pencil was in there.
My mother had used an eyebrow pencil for more than 65 years and didn't need to look in the mirror. It was like signing her name on a check; she had done it so many times, it was second nature to her. Well, she should have glanced in the mirror.
When she came out and said she was ready to go, my sister and I looked at each other and burst out laughing. She hadn't grabbed my light brown eyebrow pencil; instead, she used a green eyeliner pencil. Our mother stood before us with a matching pair of green eyebrows while my sister and I were bent double laughing until we were gasping for air.
Best Eyebrow Color for Silver or White Hair
Whether your hair is silver, salt-and-pepper, gray, white, or a combination of these, there's an eyebrow pencil color for you. Now you can buy various shades of gray pencils to compliment your color of gray hair. Before, it was a kohl pencil that needed to be rubbed out to achieve this effect.
I am a light blonde/white gray, and I prefer a light gray pencil. This I combine with a taupe powder blended in to give depth and definition. I use my taupe eye shadow to soften the gray pencil coloring and as an eyebrow fill-in where I have gaps.
Types of Eyebrow Makeup: Pencils, Brushes, Powders, Etc.
This is probably the eyebrow product you used in high school, and it still works the same (although some pencils come with a brush on one end to aid with application). Some pencils need sharpening while others use plastic twist-up applicators.
Brow Markers or Pens
These look like felt-tip pens and work the same way. It's like using a little paintbrush that automatically inks itself with a sheer pigment: The more you brush on, the darker it gets, but the delicate tip allows you to create hair-like strokes and fill in blank spots by drawing on individual hairs.
These look like eyeshadows and often come with multiple colors in one palette for customization. Usually applied with a brush, powder can look soft and subtle: keep it light for just a little definition but layer it on for darker brows.
Brow Gels or Mascara
Usually applied with a mascara-style brush, these products go on light and get darker with additional applications. These not only color the skin under the brow hairs but can also coat and accentuate each hair.
Tattoo pens can last for days, but are not as permanent as tattoo tinting or a real tattoo. A temporary alternative to brow tinting.
Semi-perrmanent eyebrow color is possible—either done at home or by a professional.
Microblading is the latest technique for semi-permanent eyebrow tinting. Incisions are made that mimic strands of hair and dye is applied—the effect lasts from 18 to 30 months.
Some get permanent cosmetic tattoos on their brows. This option lasts the longest: tattoos will fade eventually, but not entirely.
What About Brow Waxes or Pomades?
These are not usually tinted. For longer-lasting coverage, pros always use a wax as a primer. Apply the wax first so that your pencil or powder has something to stick to. Waxes tend to last longer than creamy pomades.
Hair and Skin Change With Age
As if thinning eyebrows and gray hair wasn't enough to deal with, our complexion has also changed. Our skin has lost the elasticity and our coloring has changed. Where once we had a pinkish warm glow, our complexion can now look ashen and dull. If your skin is light, a dark gray eyebrow pencil will look too harsh. Your eyebrows should not be the first thing people notice when they look at your face.
Medical Reasons Why Eyebrows Fall Out
Thinning eyebrows can be a problem for mature women. There are various reasons this can happen, including over-plucking or waxing in the past. For example, I have a bald patch on one eyebrow where I was stung by a bee when I was in my teens, and the hairs never returned.
Some medical problems can cause eyebrows to fall out or become sparse; some of these include:
- Hormonal changes
- Autoimmune issues
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Thyroid issues
- Emotional or physical trauma
How to Draw Eyebrows
In this video, the woman shows you how to line up your eyebrows to get the beginning point, the correct location for the arch, and the tail.
Words to Know
Brow brush: This is used to apply a brow powder and is usually slightly angled and rather stiff. Excellent for adding additional color to those thinning areas.
Brow comb: Used to comb the eyebrows into shape.
The tail of the brow: This is the part nearest the temples; it's one of the areas where thinning may occur and drop out as we age.
Spoolie: This looks like a clean mascara brush. It is ideal for blending hairs, powder, and pencil.
Plucking: Removing eyebrow hairs with tweezers.
Eyebrow waxing: Like leg or bikini wax, warm wax is applied and, when removed, pulls hairs out that have stuck in the wax.
Eyebrow threading: Removing multiple eyebrow hairs using a circle of thread.
Eyebrow enhancer: This is a serum that you apply to reduce hair loss for eyebrows, reduce thinning, and aid in regrowth. Opt for one with organic ingredients if using.
The Best Eyebrow Pencil Remover
I know there are newfangled makeup removers specifically designed to remove this and that with promises to change my life for the better. At my age, I have heard it all before, and quite frankly, I am too old to believe the hyperbole dreamed up by an overpaid marketing guru. I am the type of person who buys a product, and if it works, I stick with it. That is the case with Ponds Cold Cream. It takes off mascara, eyebrow pencil, and eye shadow. For the rest of my face, I use Dove soap. I don't use an astringent as I don't want to dry out my face.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: Where can I buy gray eyebrow pencils? I've looked for years and can't find any! What are the brand names?
Answer: There is an Amazon link in the article for my favorite gray eyebrow pencil.
Question: What do you do when your eyebrows are dark black and your hair is white and grey?
Answer: If your facial coloring is complementary, then that's great. If you are quite pale, you could tone down the black by using a gray pencil or a lighter eye shadow and blending it in. Because the coloring is natural, I'm sure they look fine.
The example I gave in the article, the woman normally has very pale eyebrows and applied a dark pencil which seemed too harsh.
Question: Where can I buy Cover Girl brow enhancer in pewter?
Answer: Normally Amazon carries that color, but they could be out of stock at the moment. You can also opt for a mid-gray tone, that would be close to pewter.
Question: I cannot find the Amazon link in your article. What eyebrow pencil do you like best?
Answer: The link to my favorite pencil is just above the video about brow correction. If you are using an ad blocker, you may have to disable it to see the link.
Question: I'm looking directly "above the video about brow correction." Still, I don't see a link. And I don't use an ad blocker. Can you just type the name of the site to visit for the video about brow correction?
Answer: Yes, go to Amazon and look for Etude House drawing eyebrow pencil. I like the No. 5 grey but there are various shades to choose from.
I mentioned to Hubpages that you couldn't see the ad, and they were stumped as to why it wasn't working for you. They checked it on various mobile devices and I use a laptop and I am able to see it.
I'm sorry for the problem you had.
Question: My eyebrows are turning gray, but my hair is still very dark. I have very little gray in it, but it doesn't even show up. Should I use a light brown eyebrow pencil?
Answer: Of course, you can use whichever color you feel comfortable with. A light brown pencil would be a good choice, its darker than the gray but not as dark as your hair.
As we age, our skin changes color too, so the light brown you suggest sounds like a good fit for you.
Question: My eyebrows are sparse. I really can’t see well enough to apply an eyebrow pencil. Would a permanent tint be best for my brows? I have salt and pepper hair.
Answer: It is an option to try, however, even with a tint, your brows will still be sparse. Eyebrows take anywhere from four to six months to regrow so you that will give you time to decide whether you want to have them tinted again. If you don't want to or can't use a pencil, other options include, tattooing eyebrows, a new hairstyle, or just live with them as they are.
It is easy to think that sparse eyebrows are noticeable but sometimes we can fixate on a problem and it isn't as bad as we think.
© 2017 Mary Wickison
Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on July 11, 2020:
If your current eyebrows are dark, then opt for a similar color. However, you don't say whether your gray hair is light or dark. If it is a dark gray, a darker gray pencil will work. If your hair is light (white gray) you could begin to tone down the color of your eyebrows using a grayish taupe color.
There are products from many manufactures that offer waterproof eyebrow pencils. L'Oreal for example. Those would also be smudgeproof.
Penn on June 28, 2020:
My hair is gray with auburn on ends.
My brows are dark but very thin.
What color should I use on my brows.And a product that is water and smudge resistant.
I really need help!
Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on June 26, 2020:
Thanks for your question. To avoid the look of pencil lines, you can still use a pencil but don't keep it to a point. A rounded smooth end will avoid those obvious lines.
In this article I have a video of a lady that has alopecia, she explains how to avoid that drawn on look.
JLR on June 25, 2020:
Question: I have tried many many brow pencils and, with all respect, I think they look well...like pencil marks! The gel eyebrow products (e.g. Bobbi Brown) leave my brows full and soft, which is the more natural look I prefer. Problem is I can't seem to find one in a taupe or soft color appropriate for my 68 yr. old grey hair. Any suggestions?? Thank You
Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on March 21, 2020:
You can try toning down your charcoal pencil with a bit of taupe eye shadow. Or alternatively the next time you purchase choose a mid to light gray shade.
If you can get a good point on your current pencil you can draw finer lines which will give the illusion that it's lighter. It helps to put it in the fridge if your home is warm . You can get a better point when sharpening it.
Redenia on March 19, 2020:
Because I'm tan skin with gray hair what color eyebrow pencil should I use. I tried charcoal grey and it looked to dark on me pls help
Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on February 03, 2020:
Because your eyebrows are light brown with some gray, you have options. You can use a gray pencil or a light brown one. Or a combination of two blended together. I use a pencil and then a bit of taupe eye shadow.
Even though your hair is light, it sounds like your eyebrows are muted enough not to be overpowering.
Thanks for your question.
Linda on February 02, 2020:
Just found your site.
What colour pencil would one use if your hair is white and grey, but your brows are light brown and grey mix?
Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on November 14, 2019:
Glad you found it useful, thanks for reading and your comment.
Kari Poulsen from Ohio on November 14, 2019:
Thanks for the tips. The video is worth watching if anyone is hesitant. This has been very helpful!
Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on September 22, 2019:
Try Amazon, the pencil I mention above suits my skin tone. I too have light eyes and hair.
Plus, if you don't like the color, it's easy to return it to Amazon. The price is great as well.
Catherine Blaine on September 22, 2019:
I have a lot of problems. My eyelashes have fallen out and I mean completely. I am more than half gray and have pale skin with blue eyes. I am over 70 years old. Almost every eyebrow pencil I have used it too dark. I have been using taupe which is still too dark. I want to us a medium or light gray but cannot find it stocked in stores near me. They are supposed to have them. What do you suggest that I use?
Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on September 10, 2019:
Thanks for sharing your favorite color with us.
Your question is a good one, and the answer is, I don't know. Women of a certain age, have money to spend and show brand loyalty. To my way of thinking, that makes a perfect customer.
Kell Brigan on September 09, 2019:
My fave is Jordana's "khaki" eyeliner. It reads as a light, cool gray on the brows. Getting harder to find, though. Why are American retailers ignoring us?
Dana Kramer on October 10, 2018:
I’m 54, been slowly graying since late 20’s and stopped coloring A couple of years ago. My hair is almost all white now, but my brows are half and half, the first half are dark and the end halves are white! Not sure what color to use, I would like lighter tho..
teresa feagins on April 08, 2018:
I want to order the products as seen in your video "Correction and Eyeliner for the Mature Eye". Products used were Pebble Eyebrow, Tape pencil to finish, taupe/grey shadow for below eye, Gel liner for underside of upper lid. I am overwhelmed trying to find the correct products to order. Can someone please help me to order?
Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on November 10, 2017:
There are some women whose eyebrows never go gray, but sometimes thin out. It is always good to have a plan, just in case.
Thanks for reading and your comment.
Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on November 05, 2017:
My hair is graying but my brows are still a soft brown so I do not have a problem yet but something to think about. I do like the soft gray ones above, would probably go with that!
Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on November 01, 2017:
It helps to not have a stark contrast between the hair color and eyebrows. Even putting a hint of a gray eyebrow pencil will calm the usual brown pencil. Our hair isn't one shade and our eyebrows needn't be either.
I'm glad you found the article useful, thanks for reading.
Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on November 01, 2017:
What a great article! I'm turning gray now and haven't thought about changing my eyebrow color. Love these tips. Looks like I'll be making some changes in my make up too. :)
Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on October 18, 2017:
The time comes to us all. I tell myself, I am just a light blonde when in fact I am a combination of white, light blonde and silver. Just as our hair color changes so too should our makeup choices.
Glad you found the article useful, thanks for reading.
Kari Poulsen from Ohio on October 18, 2017:
You bring up a good point. I'm getting to that point where my eyebrows are starting to thin and my hair is going white. I need to invest in a grey pencil I think. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. :)
Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on October 17, 2017:
I can't save I've used Nivea but anything which works and moisturizes (and doesn't cost a fortune) has got to be good.
Thanks for your visit.
Nell Rose from England on October 16, 2017:
LOL! I just totally cheat with my eyebrows! get eyeshadow brush, rub across brow and go! great ideas and effects. I used to use Ponds, but swear by Nivea thick cream for removal of makeup, cleaning, moisturising etc.
Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on October 12, 2017:
This is an interesting question.
I've never had red or auburn hair, although my mother did when she was young.
You have an interesting situation because your eyebrows are thick and your hair is now a red/copper color.
I've looked at images of women with red/copper hair and the eyebrow color ranged from extremely pale, to black. There were some lovely shades of light brown with a hint of red. Naturally dark hair will have highlights of copper or red, so I would suggest a medium brown with reddish or copper tones.
The problem women have as we age, is our skin becomes less vibrant and we don't want anything too stark. We want people to look at us for the right reasons. LOL
Something else worth mentioning, I feel is it is necessary to pick a focal point. If you opt for makeup on the eyes including eyeliner, mascara, and eyeshadow, choose a low key lipstick.
I hope that helps, thanks for the question.
Natalie Frank from Chicago, IL on October 10, 2017:
Great information! I have always had thick black eyebrows. Luckily my mother always told me never to pluck to try to think tbem and I did on lyrics the bare minimum (a friend had told her whenot she was a teenager if she ucked out her eyebrows she cod shape them more easily when they came back in. They never came back in and she spent hethe life pending them on). Now that I am starting to go grey I am coLoring my hair red and am pencil the grey in my browser black to match the rest. I know you never dye you eyebrows but would you suggest using a red pencil to get lighten my browser not that my hair is a light red/copper instead of dark brown? Thanks for the article. Very informative!
Dianna Mendez on October 02, 2017:
Thanks for answering my question, Mary. I remember my mother using Ponds as a moisturizer. I will have to give it a try.
Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on September 30, 2017:
The way I use the cold cream is to apply it with my fingers and remove it with a cotton ball. I know people are concerned about putting an oil based product near their eyes. I have checked the Pond's site and it will even remove waterproof mascara. They recommend removing it with a damp cloth.
I also use Vaseline at night on the wrinkles around my eyes and don't have any problems from doing this.
Thanks for reading and your question.
Dianna Mendez on September 30, 2017:
This was so timely for me to read. I am in search of better makeup for my eyebrows and eyes. Age being a factor, one has to keep up with what looks best. Does the Ponds cold cream affect your eyes? I would love to try it if it is safe.
Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on September 27, 2017:
I'm glad you found the information useful. It's always a good idea to keep abreast of the new products which are available for women of our age.
Thanks for your visit, and congratulations on your recent HP award.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on September 27, 2017:
Badly in need of beauty secrets for the mature woman. Thanks for sharing. You convince me to go look for an appropriate eyebrow pencil.
Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on September 26, 2017:
I've always thought it must be more difficult for a dark haired woman to go grey. For blonds, it seems it is just a continual lightening.
Regarding the lingo, it can be so confusing with regard to cosmetics. It seems new words are being created daily to keep us on our toes.
I'm glad you found the article useful.
Thanks for reading.
Marlene Bertrand from USA on September 26, 2017:
I'm going grey. Fortunately, so far my eyebrows have not started greying yet. But, I did wonder what I would do when that happened, so I am glad I discovered your article. I learned a lot. For example, I have never heard of a spoolie before now. It helps to know such things to get the best results. This is truly, a valuable article.
Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on September 25, 2017:
I think the women who rock gray hair are those who are confident and not afraid of getting older.
My husband took a picture of a friend and I asked her if she wanted some of her wrinkles removed using a photo editing program.
She was adamant that she wanted to keep them because that was who she was. It was refreshing to hear that.
Thanks for reading and have a great week.
Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on September 25, 2017:
There was never a doubt in my mind and I appreciate your support. I hope you have a wonderful week as well.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 25, 2017:
You know I'm a fan of yours when I read an article on eyebrow pencils. :) Have a great week, Mary!
FlourishAnyway from USA on September 25, 2017:
I bet those green eyebrows were hysterical. It's sometimes hard to know how to yield gently to greying. I've known some ladies who absolutely rock grey hair, however, and they must coordinate their brows because they don't stand out as strange and dark. Thanks for the tips. We will all need them if we are lucky!