The days when brows were a beauty afterthought or simply not touched at all are long gone, and our obsession with thick, full, fluffed-up furrows is here to stay.
Whether you want to build colour, cover greys or fill in gaps, or maybe give shape, volume, and staying power to yours – or all of the above – brow gels are a brilliant tool to have at your disposal.
You can use them alone for a more natural look, over the top of whatever you use to fill in your brows – pencil, powder or pen – or invest in one like some of the products we’ve tested, which take on both roles through a two-step application.
A coloured gel is particularly good for those who want to cover over any gaps, whether caused by over-plucking, chemo or alopecia, without going for a super-defined, dark, filled-in look.
For those who have light or white hair that needs picking up and highlighting, as mascara does for pale lashes, these will also do the trick. But if you just want something clear just to give hold, we’ve got products for you too.
All of these have been tested on real brows, looking at shade range, spoolie and packaging, application, finish and staying power, to give you brilliant and easy arches.
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Milk Makeup kush fibre brow gel
This gel gives incredible colour and fluffy volume all on its own, and in just one or two coats. It’s got a very delicate spoolie – surprising, compared to the pleasingly chunky packaging – so it’s easy to build up colour with precision. It also delivers good lift and hold, but doesn’t feel tight or crispy on the skin when it dries. The sheer amount of pigment however means it’s easy to make a mess; it took us a few goes to get just the right amount of product and pressure, but it’s well worth the practice. It also comes in eight colours, which is pretty good for a brow product.
Kevyn Aucoin true feather brow marker gel
We’ve used this every day since we first tried it. It’s a perfect two-in-one, with a gentle bristle (rather than felt-tip) brow pen tip at one end and a clear gel at the other. Draw on individual hairs in sparse areas first – a much more natural effect than filling with solid colour – and then brush up and out with the clear gel for gloss and hold. We were happy to find that our brows stayed lifted all day but still felt nice and soft.
Benefit gimme brow
This has a very small spoolie so you can get into those tiny hairs with precision, giving volume and colour without being OTT or overly dark, so it is the best of both worlds. It’s light enough that you can wear it alone or over other brow products and gives a good all-day hold and lift with a slightly crispy texture. It comes in particularly lovely shades for blondes and redheads; shade three is perfect for mousy hair or blondes with darker eyebrows, being neutral toned and not too dark.
BBB London brow build gel
Blink Brow Bar is all about brows, so you can be sure they’ve put plenty of time into getting this one right. If you’ve got lots of hairs but they’re fine, this coats them beautifully and adds volume and depth, and it also has a tiny spoolie for precision. It dries very quickly to a natural, powdery, matte finish and contains macadamia oil and argan oil to condition your brows, too.
Glossier boy brow
Slicked-up, full brows are key to the minimalist, easygoing Glossier look, and boy brow is one of the brand’s cult products. We like it best in its clear formula, used to brush hairs upwards and outwards once we’ve filled in the gaps with pencil or pen. It gives good hold throughout the day but is soft and doesn’t go crispy. It’s also quick to dry, meaning you can go back in after with a little more colour without sticking the hairs to your face.
Anastasia Beverly Hills dipbrow gel
Anastasia Beverly Hills is legendary for its brow products, and for good reason. This comes in a brilliant shade range if you have brown or black brows (we’d consider eight of the total 11 fairly dark shades). It has a smudgy, powdery finish – no need for a pencil underneath it – with a waxy hold that keeps unruly hairs tamed all day. The pigment is quite intense, so this is one for those who want strong, statement brows, not light, natural ones.
Suqqu volume eyebrow mascara
If you want something light and are concerned about your brows looking too harsh, this is gorgeous. It has an unusually large tapered spoolie, which is almost more like a mascara brush, and is very soft on the skin. The colour goes on with an almost powdery finish and it’s very pigmented – we were surprised by how much colour came off when we removed it – without being heavy.
Urban Decay brow endowed volumiser makeup
For those who have patchiness and don’t want to spend a long time drawing in tiny individual hairs, this two-in-one product is a gorgeous, easy and quick way to get fuller brows. Comb the neutral-toned primer through your brows first to thicken and fluff up what you’ve got, then follow with the tinted cream to fill out the gaps. It’s a natural, soft and smudgy finish that’s not too crispy.
The Verdict: Brow gels
If you only want to have to use one brow product for both fill and hold, Milk’s kush is the one for you. For the trendy, micro-bladed brow pen look, plus a clear gel, try Kevyn Aucoin’s double-ender for defined hairs and a glossy finish. Those who are after a light, soft look will love Suqqu’s brow mascara.
Want luscious lashes that pack a punch? Read our guide to the best eyelash curlers to enhance and lift your lashes
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