10 best eyebrow products: Pencils, gels and pomades that shape and define

Tame unruly hairs, build a flawless arch and set brows in place with these must-haves

Pippa Bailey
Monday 29 July 2019 11:26
We’ve been testing these for months, putting them through their paces at work and play, the gym and holiday, to see which held best
We’ve been testing these for months, putting them through their paces at work and play, the gym and holiday, to see which held best

Many years on from Cara Delevingne’s bushy brow debut and our obsession shows no sign of abating.

Whether they’re fair, patchy, plucked into oblivion or naturally thick and unruly, every brow can use a little help.

Our favourite products cover classic pencils, twist-up sticks, pens, gels and pomades, so there’s sure to be a formula and shade to suit everyone.

We’ve been testing these for months, putting them through their paces at work and play, the gym and holiday, to see which held best. We also looked for good shades (many products are too warm and reddy toned), how quick and clean application was, and how natural the result.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Glossier brow flick and boy brow duo: £25, Glossier

Glossier’s cult-product boy brow – a tiny-wanded brow mascara that’s great for big, lazy arches – is joined by recent launch brow flick in this power duo. It’s a brush-tip pen that paints on individual hairs in lovely cool shades. Use both for your best ever brows – and buying both together is a bargain too.

Buy now

Mac shape & shade brow tint: £19.50, John Lewis & Partners

Much-loved shape & shade is our pick for fair hair for it’s brilliantly natural light shades. It’s double ended, with a liquid pen applicator on one end and a sponge that lightly dispenses powder on the other. We like to define the softer edges of our brows by drawing on individual hairs with the pen, then fill any sparse areas with the powder.

Buy now

Charlotte Tilbury brow lift: £22.50, Charlotte Tilbury

Brow lift has one of the easiest applicators we’ve tried; a twist-up, wide, flat cartridge with an angled end. You can use the flat or point as you like to best fill in different parts of the brow. It also has a spoolie (brush) to blend and shape and a highlighter-dispensing sponge hidden in the middle to lift under the brows.

Buy now

Hourglass arch brow sculpting pencil: £31, Space NK

The simplest, most forgiving product we’ve tried, if you struggle with doing your brows then this is for you. The formula is creamy and slightly waxy for an easy application and good hold, while the twist-up cartridge with an angled nib makes it easy to fill brows in. This also comes with an obligatory spoolie.

Buy now

Benefit gimme brow: £21.50, Boots

This is the best brow gel we’ve ever used. The tiny spoolie allows you to have a light touch and it isn’t too loaded with product – as many mascaras can be – making it mess-free. This coats existing hairs while also filling in any gaps – giving the appearance of volumised brows without being caked in product. For a fuller look, use it to finish brows you’ve already filled with a pencil or pen.

Buy now

Anastasia Beverly Hills power duo: £25, Cult Beauty

ABH started life as a brow brand and though it has since expanded its offering beyond, its eyebrow range is one of the best on offer. This is a pairing of two of the brand’s best: a full-size brow wiz; a natural-finish, narrow-tip, twist-up pencil that’s perfect for drawing in individual hairs; and a mini edition of dipbrow gel, its new brow mascara which adds volume and holds hairs in place.

Buy now

Nars brow gel: £19, John Lewis & Partners

This mascara lifts and coats hairs, setting them in place without sticking them down to your skin and lightly filling where your brows are sparse. It has a slightly larger wand than most, which dispenses a lot of product; we had better results when we wiped the brush a little on the top of the tube before applying. We love the Athens shade.

Buy now

YSL dessin des sourcils: £21, Look Fantastic

Sometimes the classics are the best, and you can’t go too far wrong with a traditional brow pencil (yes, it’ll need sharpening). The formula is soft and creamy but doesn’t smudge easily once on and, of course, it comes with a spoolie to shape and blend. Some may find the brown shade a little warm but the ash is perfect.

Buy now

Suqqu framing eyebrow liquid pen: £22, Harrods

This has been a firm favourite for years for the way its thin felt-tip nib mimics fine hairs, giving an almost imperceptible, matte, natural finish. It stays put once dry, but is easy to correct with a damp cotton bud if you’re a bit heavy handed while applying. The shade khaki may sound alarming but it’s perfect for ashy blondes.

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Too Faced bulletproof brows: £30, Too Faced

This is a sort of midpoint between a powder, wax and pencil. Applied with the included slanted brush after shaping brows with the spoolie, it dries to a smudge-and sweat-proof finish. It does set fast so you have to work quickly; we found that wetting the brush slightly before dipping it in the product gave us slightly more time. It comes in a pan with a double lid (one that fits closer to the surface of the product, inside the outer casing) to stop the product drying out.

Buy now

The verdict: Eyebrow products

Glossier’s power duo is everything we could need from a brow product, while Benefit’s gimme brow and Hourglass’s pencil are brilliant and foolproof. You can’t go wrong with any of them.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.