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7 best eyebrow pens for feathery, natural-looking brows

Forget pricey salon microblading – create flawless brows at home, with no fuss

Olivia Perl
Thursday 09 May 2024 12:05
We judged our favourites based on how easy they were to use, and how well they mimicked the microbladed effect
We judged our favourites based on how easy they were to use, and how well they mimicked the microbladed effect (The Independent)
Our Top Picks

If our eyes are the windows to the soul, our eyebrows are the window frames – and they have certainly been through a lot over the years. From ultra-skinny styles worn by 1920s flappers and, more recently, all of us in the early Noughties, to Instagram 2016 brows, how we style those few hairs above our eyes makes all the difference.

With the full but natural look now taking centre stage, there is a plethora of different options for styling your brows – whether it’s with a quick brow gel, a classic pencil or a trusty pomade.

One iteration of product that gets a little less airtime than the others is a eyebrow pen. At first, the idea of using a pen might make you think of a permanent marker which, granted, could feel a little daunting, but fear not, because a brow pen is all about recreating natural, hair-like strokes that stay put all day.

Mac’s global senior artist and one half of the judging panel for BBC’s Glow Up, Dominic Skinner says one of the biggest mistakes people make happens when picking a shade: “Most people pick a colour that matches the colour of the brow hair. However, what this does is give you a very dark, blocky brow.

“In reality, you should be looking for a colour that is one or two shades lighter than your natural brow. This gives a shadow effect, making the brow more visible but not heavy. Then when you brush the hair, they look full, textured and, most importantly, real.”

With that in mind, it’s also worth thinking about your hair colour, because, if you’ve dyed it a different shade to your natural strands, you may want a warmer or cooler tone of eyebrow pen to match.

How we tested the best eyebrow pens

To make sure we only included the best eyebrow pens here, each offering got a full day’s wear, including at the gym, on the London Underground, in the rain and on one of the hottest days the UK has ever seen. Through that, we noted how easy it was to use each eyebrow pen, what the colour was like and, of course, whether it lasted all day.

The best eyebrow pens for 2024 are:

  • Best eyebrow pen overall – Glossier brow flick: £18,
  • Best budget eyebrow pen – Revolution hairstroke brow pen: £6,
  • Best eyebrow pen for natural strokes – Anastasia Beverly Hills brow pen: £23,
  • Best shade range – Nyx Professional makeup lift and snatch brow tint pen: £9,

Glossier brow flick

  • Best: Eyebrow pen overall
  • Shades: Black, brown, blonde
  • Size: 0.48ml
  • Why we love it
    • Thin, natural strokes
    • Smudge-resistant

Having been avid users of the brand’s boy brow product for many years, it wasn’t a huge surprise to us that we truly loved Glossier’s brow flick. The nib is ultra-thin, meaning you have complete control over how much product you want to use – the lighter you press, the more subtle the colour.

Regardless of the pressure you apply, the result is natural, creating hair-like strokes, which means there’s no chance of a blocky finish. The product claims to be smudge-resistant, and we can confirm it is. Once it’s on and dries down, this product stays put. It comes in three shades – brown, blonde and black – which are subtle enough to suit a whole range of colours within each category.

The product glided on smoothly and didn’t dry out in the way that you may sometimes get with liquid eyeliners, which made us think it’s here for the long haul.

  1. £18 from
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Revolution hairstroke brow pen

Revolution Hair Stroke Brow Pen.jpg
  • Best: Budget eyebrow pen
  • Shades: Dark brown, medium brown, light brown
  • Size: 0.5ml
  • Why we love it
    • Easy to use
  • Take note
    • Best for creating a bold, microbladed brow effect

The Revolution hairstroke brow pen is just £6. Yes, you read that right, £6. That means you can get enviable brows for less than the cost of a pint in London.

The colour selection is limited, to say the least, with only dark brown, medium brown and light brown on offer, but the pen itself is easy to use, with a tapered nib, to help create hair-like strokes.

The point itself is less flexible than others we’ve tried, which makes for a slightly bolder line, but it is advertised as creating the illusion of an at-home microbladed brow, which it certainly does.

The product isn’t too dark or false-looking, and we were able to create a feathery, natural finish that perfectly complemented a fuller make-up look.

More than anything, we love that Revolution is still producing high-quality make-up products, such as this brow pen, for incredibly accessible prices, so, if you’re thinking about building up a make-up kit, we’d recommend giving the brand a go.

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Anastasia Beverly Hills brow pen

Anastasia Beverly Hills brow pen indybest.jpeg
  • Best: Eyebrow pen for natural strokes
  • Shades: Blonde, caramel, dark brown, ebony, medium brown, soft brown, taupe
  • Size: 0.5ml
  • Why we love it
    • Flexible tip
  • Take note
    • Lacking ginger and strawberry blonde shades

Like Glossier, Anastasia Beverly Hills is also famous for another brow product: brow wiz. Its pen offering is just as good, though, as it has a flexible tip that has been designed to create micro-strokes for the most natural finish, while allowing for the colour to be built up for a bolder brow, too.

We love how natural the end result is – the pen didn’t catch as we flicked it through the hairs and there weren’t any blobs where we touched the pen to skin. It comes in a good range of shades, with a variety of cool to warm undertones, meaning finding one to suit you should be fairly straightforward – although, those with ginger or strawberry blonde hair may have a little less luck, as the shades focus on browns and blondes.

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Nyx Professional makeup lift and snatch brow tint pen

Nyx Lift and Snatch Brow Tint.jpg
  • Best: Shade range
  • Shades: Blonde, auburn, taupe, soft brown, caramel, ash brown, brunette, espresso, black
  • Size: 1ml
  • Why we love it
    • Great for both thick and thin strokes

Red heads, rejoice – Nyx has a shade just for you. As Dominic Skinner explained, choosing the right colour is imperative for good-looking, natural brows, so, it’s always handy when a brand gives you a wide range of options.

This brow tint pen glides smoothly over the brows to recreate natural hair-like strokes, it also allows you to change the angle of the nib, for a thicker or thinner line, depending on your style. We found it stays put all day without a hitch, and includes shades from blonde to black.

We loved the flexibility of the nib, which made creating our look easy and didn’t have us wishing we could blend out the colour like we might with a brow pencil or pomade.

  1. £9 from
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Mac shape & shade brow tint

MAC Brow Pen.jpg
  • Best: Waterproof brow pen
  • Shades: Deep rich blackened brown, rich brunette, light taupe ash blonde, soft taupe blonde
  • Size: 0.95g
  • Why we love it
    • Double-sided (powder and liquid liner)
    • Waterproof formula stays put
  • Take note
    • Lack of shade variation

With the only dual-ended option in this edit, Mac took your average brow pen and said: we can do a little bit more, and better.

One side has a liquid brow liner, to sketch out the shape and create natural, hair-like strokes, whereas the other side holds a tinted powder to shade and set for even longer-lasting wear. The day our reviewer tested this brow pen, she went to the gym, travelled on the London Underground (twice, in 30C heat) and walked around central London for quite some time and, despite the fairly constant sweat, if there was one part of her make-up that stayed put, it was her brows. The waterproof element works.

The colours are a little stingy, but this brow pen lasts and gives an extra something the other brow pens don’t, which, in our opinion, justifies its slightly higher price tag.

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Ciaté London microblade brow pen

Ciate Brow Pen.jpg
  • Best: Eyebrow pen for nib design
  • Shades: Soft brown, deep brown, charcoal, light brown
  • Size: 0.7g
  • Why we love it
    • Several nibs in one
  • Take note
    • Very subtle, so takes more time to build up

The nib design for Ciaté London’s microblade brow pen is pretty cool. Unlike most other brow pens, it doesn’t have just one felt-tip-like nib but rather four mini ones, which create hair-like strokes all at the same time. The lines are so fine and subtle, they look completely natural.

Our only gripe is it took a few tries to fill the gaps in the brow, because the colour and lines are so subtle. Otherwise, the formula was smooth, it didn’t catch, and it did give the promised microblade effect.

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Stila all day waterproof brow color

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour.jpg
  • Best: Eyebrow pen for blondes
  • Shades: Light brown, auburn, medium brown, dark brown, light ash, medium warm brown
  • Size: 0.02fl oz
  • Why we love it
    • Won’t budge
  • Take note
    • Nib can get caught while in us

This waterproof eyebrow pen lived up to its “all day” claim – it lasted through sweat, rain and some very stuffy journeys on the London Underground. The product did not move.

Apart from its staying power, it’s the blonde offering that we really love when it comes to this pen. Out of the colours available, we think the colour “light brow” is one for blondies to get to know. It’s got a golden tint that makes very fair hairs visible, while still looking natural. We did find the nib got a little bit caught as we were using it but, overall, the formula was smooth and the pen itself easy to use.

  1. £15 from
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The verdict: Eyebrow pens

Our favourite eyebrow pen overall is the Glossier brow flick, because it comes in three distinct shades, creates natural-looking brows and is smudge-resistant. We also loved the Mac shape and shade brow tint and the Nyx Professional makeup lift and snatch brow tint pen, with the latter having a great range of shades.

If you’re looking to make a statement with your eyes, read our review of best waterproof mascaras that won’t smudge or crumble

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