The idea of using a pencil to draw your eyebrows onto your face sounds scary; after all, there’s a good reason that ‘funny drawn on eyebrows’ exists as one of the top image searches ever.
But, in the interest of our selfies staying far away from that particular humiliating albeit hilarious corner of the web, we have some advice for you: think of these pencils as tools for ‘colouring-in’ and building the brow you’re already working with, rather than just drawing on whatever the hell you want (or god forbid, outlining only; that’s a definite no-no).
To define and fill in your brows, you don’t have to splurge on a trip to the salon to get microblading, lamination, or brow-tinting. Hell, you don’t even need to reach for an expensive, high-end brow product if you don’t want to. Your local drugstore offers plenty of affordable brow-grooming options — no matter what state your brows may be in. It’s got everything, whether you need a fantastic clear gel because you’re blessed with perfect arches or a pencil to fill in even the thinnest, sparest brows.
To prove it, we asked professional makeup artists and beauty editors to share the drugstore brow-grooming products they swear by. Their gel, pencil, and powder pick range from $6 to $16. Want to know what they are now?Looking for eyebrow feathering salon? Look no further,Cosmetic Tattoo by rach got you covered.
Keep scrolling to discover 17 drugstore eyebrow products beauty experts always keep in their kits, including one editor’s must-have gel for dark brow hairs and several picks from a self-professed brow product snob who usually reaches for high-end options.
It’s about creating natural hair-like strokes rather than any harsh lines, so go in with a light touch, softly etching the pigment along with the shape of your brow in the same direction as the hairs, faking a few extras where genetics (or your damned teenage tweezers) have left you a little short.See more of our eyebrow feathering services.
The thing is, despite the dodgy rep that ‘drawn on’ brows deal with, pencils are actually super buildable and blendable, and so indeed offer the most believable-looking brow finish when applied lightly enough.
Ironically, nailing the product application will leave your face looking like it was blessed with full, fluffy, feathery brows sans product. Sorcery.
A pencil doesn’t have to look like the ones we used in primary school, either—some do come in classic form, but there are a whole plethora of options depending on your formula and wind vs. sharpen preferences.
Brow makeup can be a tricky category to navigate – there are so many options that it can be really tough to figure out which one is best for you. (FYI, here’s exactly how to find your fit)…
But if you’ve arrived here, the chances are that you’ve decided on an eyebrow pencil (which is excellent for filling in gaps and building brow density with hair-like strokes), so allow us to help you find one that’s worth your money and time.
Your eyes may be the window to your soul, but we’d argue that your brows might even be more important. Brows frame the face, so getting your hands on a really good eyebrow pencil is essential. The right brow pencil will fill in any spaces you might be missing hair, bulk up the thickness of your arch, and define your shape all while looking like you naturally have Brooke Shields’s glorious brows.
We love a good brow moment, and whether you love them feathery and full or arched and defined, there’s a product out there to cater to you. Some products are ideal for making your brows look fuller while others will help create the look of hair-like strokes where you might have sparseness that you want to be filled in. And of course, we’ve got all the brushes you’ll need to complete the look. Keep reading for our guide to Sephora’s top-rated brow products.
Pencil Them In
Brow pencils are pretty much a must-have for quick and easy brows. Whether it’s a retractable one or a classic pencil that requires sharpening, they come in enough shapes, sizes and levels of pigmentation to suit any brow goal. Pencils that taper to a skinny point are especially great for defining your brows and drawing hair-like strokes to fill them in. They’re also handy for outlining the shape of the brow you’re drawing in.
Best Eyebrow Pencil in the Market
NYX Professional Makeup Auto Eyebrow Pencil
Defining brow is a total cinch with this fuss-free formula. Its blend of vegetable, soybean and coconut oils makes for very velvety pigment, and the built-in brush is there to help you soften the colour and fine-tune your shape if you go OTT.
The formula of the NYX Cosmetics Micro Brow Pencil ($17) is stiff and waxy, ensuring it will stay on all day and keep your hairs in place.
Brows are undoubtedly the darling of the beauty world, a once overlooked feature that’s been emphasized more than ever as of late. And with that attention comes the accompanying onslaught of any and every type of product meant to beautify your brows, from powders to pomades.
You can definitely go ahead and get complicated with your arch perfecting protocol, mixing and matching multiple different formulas in your quest to channel Cara Delevingne. But if you’re searching for one, foolproof, do-it-all product that can define and fill in your brows—and generally make them look SO much better—the humble pencil is your best bet. The cherry on top of the sundae? There’s an astounding assortment of top-notch options at the drugstore; this is one makeup category where you can certainly save some of your hard-earned cash.Our exclusive range of eyebrow feathering services will help you in eyebrow microblading, feathering or hair stroke eyebrow tattooing procedures.
Nyx Micro Brow Pencil
Robin Black, the founder of Beauty Is Boring, is a self-professed brow product snob who generally gravitates towards higher-end picks. However, she finds the Nyx Micro Brow Pencil “surprisingly good.” Reason being? “The thin tip allows for precise application,” she explains. “And I love that it comes in eight shades, including deeper cool tones.”
Revlon ColorStay Brow Pencil
Another one of black’s drugstore exceptions to her high-brow product taste is the Revlon ColorStay Brow Pencil. “[Revlon has] revamped this classic with an angled tip that makes filling in your brows easily and quickly,” she explains. It comes in five shades, but Black wishes it came in a medium taupe and a cool dark brown. Let’s put that into the universe.
Burt’s Bees Eyebrow Pencil
In theory, traditional, wax pencils like this one are harder than the creamier, twist-up variety, and can pull a bit on the skin. Not this one. It glides on super smoothly, thanks to the addition of hydrating jojoba oil and shea butter. In true Burt’s Bees fashion, the formula is 99.9% natural, and even the cedarwood used for the pencil is sustainably sourced. We just wish it came in more than two shades.
Revlon Brow Fantasy by Color Stay
Yes, brow pencils can do a lot, but the one thing they admittedly can’t do is hold hairs in place. That’s where a brow gel comes up huge; happily, this dual-side pick houses both formulas in one place. Use the pencil to fill in and define your arches, then brush through with the tinted gel to deepen the all-over colours and tame any unruly hairs.
Almay Brow Pencil
We’re always a little bit sceptical of any type of ‘universal’ shade, but even we were surprised by how well the universal taupe colour of this pencil works on lots of hair colours. It’s incredibly flattering on a range of different lighter blondes, and for those with deeper blonde hair, there’s also a dark blonde option. Bonus points for the unique, teardrop-shaped tip, which both has a threshold for defining your brow shape, and a flat edge for filling in with colour.
Fenty Beauty Brow MVP Ultra Fine Brow Pencil & Styler
Even when you brush through) and yet still feels delightfully creamy
Rimmel London Professional Eyebrow Pencil
Great for beginners (as the colour payoff is super subtle), this kohl pencil is a breeze to build and blend with, so there’s no need to fear those dreaded ‘blocky’ brows we’ve all heard horror stories about. We’re big fans of any option with a brush included, too.
Lancôme Brow Shaping Powdery Pencil
If you’re after a precise yet natural-looking finish, give this one a go. The dual-ended pencil has a powdery, long-lasting formula at one end and a spoolie brush at the other, so it’s incredible for filling in sparse areas, especially if you’re happy with your overall shape.
Maybelline New York Brow Ultra Slim Defining Eyebrow Pencil
If you prefer working with a pencil, but still love a feathery finish, don’t stress: the extra slim 1.5mm tip of this one makes building up believable fine hair strokes outrageously comfortable, and its blonde shade options are legitimately light enough to work a treat.
MicroPrecise Brow Pencil by Estée Lauder
This smudge-proof precision pencil tip makes creating ultra-convincing hair-like strokes a total breeze.
Joah Brow Down To Me Precision Brow Pencil
New York City-based makeup artists Vincent Oquendo and Nina Park are fans of the Joah Brow Down To Me Precision Brow Pencil, a super fine-tipped pencil inspired by K-beauty. “The colours it comes in are spot-on,” Oquendo says. “I find it very hard to get a good ashy brow pencil with depth beyond the makeup counter, let alone the drugstore. So when I stumbled upon this pencil, I was like, ‘Sign me up.'”
Revlon Brow Fantasy Pencil and Gel
“For those who are all about all-in-one products, I love the Revlon Brow Fantasy Pencil and Gel,” Avendaño says. On one end, you’ll find a traditional brow pencil formula that fills in the gaps along your brows. Then, you can comb it before locking it into place with the brow gel on the other end.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz
A favourite among brow devotees across the board, it’ll turn you into exactly what it’s called (spoiler alert: a brow wiz) in no time. Why is it so universally beloved, you ask? The lightweight waxy formula is a dream to apply and blend, and it effortlessly creates fuller brows that still look natural. Plus, it comes in a wide array of shades.
The ultrathin Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz ($38) is perfect for achieving a natural-looking brow. It also has a spoolie on the other end of the pencil to comb through your hairs.
The name may seem confident, but the highly pigmented matte formula lives up to its self-proclaimed ‘perfect’ status.
Benefit Goof Proof Eyebrow Pencil
This fan-fave pencil’s colour repertoire boasts an impressive 12 shades, able to complement brows with warm tones, cool tones and neutral tones from blonde to black. But while that’s impressive, we must admit the waterproof status and angled tip are still our favourite features.
Amy Jean Brow Agency
It’s like drawing one strand of hair at a time. The pencil is micro-sized, so it’s perfect for filling in the gaps or lengthening your shape for more definition. The pencil itself is extra-long, so it sits comfortably in hand. At the opposite end, it has a spoolie for blending, which comes in handy if you just want to brush up your brows and not add any colour.
Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil
The unique formula combines all the perks of a powder, pencil and wax in one while the triangular shape delivers a natural-looking finish. The fine tip is perfect for drawing in hair strokes while the wider edge fills in gaps.
Get Set with Brow Gels
Brow hairs refusing to stay where you want them? Make unruly brows a thing of the past with a great brow gel. Some of them even contain little fibres that give you fuller-looking brows.
Tinted brow gels are an easy way to alter the shade of your brows or even cover grey hairs while keeping them in place. It’s especially handy when you’ve got hair that’s a different colour and wants to keep everything looking cohesive.
Go Natural With Powders
Want fuller-looking brows that aren’t too defined? A brow powder and an angled brush can help fill in any sparseness. If your brow kit comes with a darker and lighter shade, fill in the front of your brows with the lighter shade and the tail with the darker shade for more dimension.
If you’ve accidentally gone in with too much product, simply brush through your brows with a spoolie to diffuse the excess powder, so it looks more blended and natural.Check out our eyebrow feathering page which has everything you might need near you.
Use The Right Tools
While most brow products like pencils and gels don’t require additional brushes, powders and pomades typically do. The most popular option is a double-ended brush that has an angled brush on one end and a spoolie on the other, so you don’t ever need to take more than one brow brush with you.
When working with powders, natural hair brow brushes work great for packing on more product. If it’s a pomade you’re after, a synthetic brush that’s slim is ideal for greater precision.