Aside from those few middle and high school years when I plucked my poor brow hairs to nearly nothing, I’ve always felt proud of my eyebrows. They’re naturally thick, and as the the trend pendulum swung back from ’90s Drew Barrymore to 2000s Cara Delevingne, they’ve been a huge part of my look. While I don’t wax, pluck, or thread them—I like them to look especially natural—I do take part in applying a few brow-specific products. Depending on the look I’m going for (more on that later), I mix a few different formulas together, use just one solo, or apply two favorites to get the desired shape, shade, or heft.
I’ve tried so many offerings on the market and come up with my top six favorites. Each one does something a little different or offers a slightly different texture or finish. I’m in love with all of them. And, because my DMs are usually filled with readers wondering my brow routine, I thought I’d list it out with reasons for why it works. As an aside, I use these products and then visit Josh at Shen Beauty for a brow tint every few months. You’d be floored at the difference, as tinting your brow grabs every last blonde baby hair to make everything look thicker, fuller, and generally more visible. Below, find the six brow products I use almost every day.
My brows are pretty much the centerpiece of my go-to makeup look—fresh, clean skin and a lot of brows. I’ve dabbled in a lot of different products over the years (gels, powders, pencils, et al.) and always come back to the original—Anastasia Beverly Hills Perfect Brow Pencil ($23). The shade and texture offer the right amount of natural feel, with long-lasting color, to provide the look I’m going for on a daily basis. It’s sort of waxy, but in a good way, as it really sticks to each hair and the skin in-between. I make sure to sharpen it so I can create those thin, hair-like lines throughout the center and outer sides of each brow, making sure to brush them up to evenly distribute the product as I go. Post-application, I swipe on Benefit’s Gimme Brow+ Volumizing Eyebrow Gel ($24) for a subtle tint.
On days when I want my brows to look especially bold, I reach for Make Up For Ever’s Pro Sculpting Brow Pencil ($27). The retractable pencil-powder tip is shaped like a brow brush (angled upward and wider on one edge), which allows for a smooth, natural-looking line. It’s beveled for precision, and the formula never smudges, courtesy of a combination of vegetable oils and carnauba wax. The opposite end houses a rounded bristle brush for grooming your brows, and the middle (just unscrew and voilà) has a sponge applicator to distribute a matte highlighting powder along your brow bone and above your arches. It glides on easily and illuminates in one quick swipe. It’s the perfect product for keeping my brows looking especially thick and dark on days when I really want them to stand out. Afterwards, I apply Glossier’s Bow Brow to add even more definition ($18).
This pencil is the perfect in-between formula—when I want my brows to look thick and taken care of but not entirely subtle. I keep it in my desk drawer for when I have an event post-work and decide to apply makeup on the fly. It really is that easy—the pencil allows you to shape, define, and fill your brows with just a few strokes. I use the wide base first, and then the pointed edge along the tail of my brows to polish everything off. It’s soft, it glides easily (but not too easily that it causes mistakes), and I’m obsessed with the cool beige shade. It perfectly matches my natural brow color. Also, it’s waterproof, so rainstorms and sweat are never an issue. I use Urban Decay’s Brow Finish Gel in Clear ($21) immediately after to give some natural shine and hold.
Benefit’s Gimme Brow+ Volumizing Eyebrow Gel ($24) has a cult following and was originally recommended to me by Faith—it’s the only gel she’s ever loved. It’s volumizing and tinted (but not clumpy, smudgy, or too pigmented) and uses tiny microfibers to created added fullness. They adhere to your skin and brow hairs to visibly increase volume, but in a really understated way. I don’t use it when I want to go full-on with my brows, but it helps them look thick and gorgeous without too much effort post-pencil.
I was shocked at how much I loved Boy Brow when I first tried it as part of my week using only Glossier makeup. I know it’s been a holy-grail item for the brand, but I was never previously into tinted gels until now. I thought they didn’t offer enough color and coverage to properly fill in my brows. I was wrong. Immediately my brows were beefed up, stayed in place, and feathered out nicely. It offers a nice glean once it dries, which is an added bonus, and the shade is ashy enough that it won’t read red against my pale skin. I like to use this one when I’m not using anything else, I’ll swipe it on when I don’t feel like applying any other makeup on my face, as it looks really natural and keeps things bushy, but groomed.
This may be controversial, but I believe this is absolutely the best clear brow gel on the market. It doesn’t flake (most do, I’m sure you’ve seen those annoying, crusty dry patches before), holds for hours (seriously, my brows are often still in place the next morning), and is perfectly glossy. The brush is double-sided, so the formula glides on and shapes your brow hairs exactly how you like them—I use the shorter side for the tail and longer side to feather out the rest. It works really flawlessly with Benefit’s Goof Proof Brow Pencil Easy Shape & Fill ($24) for a thick, but not over-the-top, brow look.