Brows before or after your foundation? It’s a debate as old as time that has caused a divide between beauty obsessives everywhere. Regardless of your preference, it’s a known fact that a makeup look isn’t complete without a good brow. Pomades, powders, and gels can bring you closer to the Zendaya-esque brows of your dreams, but nothing comes close to the flawless precision and finish a brow pencil provides.
There are a few things to consider before shopping for an eyebrow pencil. “Know what kind of brows you want to create and let the style you want to create lead you to the format of pencil you choose,” Jared Bailey, global brow expert at Benefit Cosmetics, tells ELLE.com. If you prefer fluffy, feather-like strokes, micro-liner brow pencils are better options. “If you are looking for more of a wash of color through the brows with a bit of definition then look for a broader tipped, creamier pencil—this style is easily buildable and most importantly, blendable,” he adds.
Next, understanding the undertone of your desired brow look will help you choose the right shade. “The only thing that truly matters when it comes to choosing a brow shade is the undertone of your hair and the undertone of the product. People with cool-colored hair should use cool products, people with warm-colored hair should use warm products, and people with neutral-toned hair (or both warm and cool tones) should use neutral-toned products,” he explains, as this will make your brows look more natural and “believable.”
Once you’ve found your shade, it’s time for the fun part: filling in your brows. Bailey suggests using a gel to “brush and organize the hairs into place,” he says. After the gel dries, he advises going in with a brow pencil “to spot fill any sparse areas in my brows by making tiny flicks in the same direction the rest of the hairs are going. The trick is to be really intentional with where you place them, making sure to leave pops of skin between each stroke,” he adds.
Think you’re up for the challenge? Ahead are 16 fool-proof eyebrow pencils to get you started.
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1 Brow Pop Clean Dual-Action Defining Eyebrow Pencil
The triangle tip helps you create thin, hair-like strokes while the flatter side fills in sparse areas with ease. With all the manipulation your brows are subjected to, Kosas added castor oil to the formula to nourish the hair throughout the process.
Just as meticulous as you are about keeping your baby hairs in place, Uoma Beauty’s Brow-Fro pencil aims to do the same thing. Focusing mainly on precision, this pencil comes with an ultra-thin tip to easily draw natural sharp lines.
3 Morphe Micro Brow Pencil
For the price of your morning coffee, Morphe’s micro-tip pencil comes in 10 different shades in a slew of different undertones for your desired look. Double up on the shades to create an ombre brow.
4 NYX Professional Makeup Micro Brow Pencil
NYX’s eyebrow pencil has the creamiest formula that latches onto your brow hairs for a seamless application, without looking too muddy or over-shaded.
5 Benefit Cosmetics Precisely, My Brow Pencil Waterproof Eyebrow Definer
“You know it’s your favorite brow pencil when you travel with two,” Bailey says. Benefit’s Precisely, My Brow Pencil is his favorite in his stash, thanks to its versatility. “A solid micro-lining pencil is one of the most versatile tools you could keep in your makeup bag. They can create soft, subtle texture (my go-to), or be used to create something pretty bold and defined,” he adds.
6 Brow Wiz Mechanical Brow Pencil
ABH’s Brow Wiz Pencil has reached cult status and it’s all thanks to the definition each stroke provides. This one pencil is all you need to define, shape, and fill your brows.
7 Total Temptation Eyebrow Definer Pencil
If you don’t have enough time to fill in your brows stroke by stroke, Maybelline’s teardrop tip covers more space in less time.
8 Brow Lift Refillable Eyebrow Pencil
Charlotte Tilbury’s Brow Lift pencil is built around carnauba wax, which creates a nice structure and base for the product, along with nourishing oils, to take the guesswork out of a typically tedious brow application.
9 Brow MVP Ultra Fine Brow Pencil & Styler
Featuring a tiny paddle brush that resembles the one you use for your hair, Fenty Beauty’s Brow MVP will easily earn that honor over your other brow products. The formula is long-wear, smudge-proof, and super thin, which means your brows are staying put no matter what may threaten them.
Unlike your typical brow pencils that are, well, pencils, Glossier’s version is actually a pen. It fills the brows just as easily as a pencil, but with a finish that looks similar to microbladed brows.
11 Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez Brow Harmony Pencil & Gel Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez
Rare Beauty’s contribution to the brow game comes in the form of a creamy gel shaped like a pencil. The butter-soft formula glides onto the brows to make it easy for the spoolie on the other end to blend flawlessly.
Tom Ford’s Brow Sculptor is designed with a firm slant that delivers wispy strokes for those who desire fluffier brows or sharp lines.
13 Brow Collection – Dark
Everything you need to morph your brows to perfection can be found in this kit. Fill in sparse areas with the fine tip pencil, then set it all in place with the gel. Once you’ve achieved the right shape and color, fluff your brow hairs with the comb/brush side for neatly molded brows.
14 BrowKiki Micro Brow Defining Pencil ONE/SIZE by Patrick Starrr
With a round tip, One/Size’s BrowKiki shades in the brows like a dream. The waterproof formula allows the brows to keep their shape throughout the day, while vitamin E keeps your brows nourished.
15 Brow Trio Eyebrow Liner
This three-in-one pencil from Valentino Beauty features a super-thin liquid liner to create precise lines, while the pencil follows up by shading in any missed areas. The other end of the stick has a short spoolie to make sure each hair is coated properly.
16 The Edge Micro-Tip Precision Brow Pencil
Gaga’s Haus Laboratories brow pencil delivers a pigmented, matte finish in an blendable formula with over 13 shades to choose from.
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