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Can Charlotte Tilbury’s new eyebrow products give us supermodel brows?

These tools aim to fill, feather and fix for a laminated look

Ellie Fry
Tuesday 23 March 2021 08:10
<p>The range centres around the pursuit of the fluffy, lifted ‘supermodel’ brow</p>

The range centres around the pursuit of the fluffy, lifted ‘supermodel’ brow

When make-up artists departed from the perfectly sculpted, tattoo-like brow in favour of a more lifted, laminated look, many of us wondered if the new, unrulier format would take hold. Two years on from the birth of the trend, it’s safe to say that its critics have been persuaded, as the blocky brow circa 2018 has left the building. The new, bushier style has inspired a whole host of new products, most notably the rise in gels and soaps to achieve thicker, fuller hairs that don’t budge.

Charlotte Tilbury is a brand that’s no stranger to innovation, with new products launching thick and fast– even during the pandemic – but, unusually, it’s taken its time to jump onto the brow lamination trend, in order to bring something new to the table other than a classic brow pen or pomade. 

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While some of its launches can feel excessive, the brand’s extensive new brow range has certainly piqued our interest. Encompassing a three-step “fill, feather and fix” system, it features a micro-fine pencil for filling sparse areas, a tinted brow gel for adding definition and fluffiness, a thicker, angled brow pencil for carving and defining, and a clear brow gel to set.

Tilbury, celebrity make-up artist and face of the eponymous brand, was inspired by the lack of shade ranges in the brow market when formulating the new products. She also hoped to create a brow gel that didn’t leave hairs feeling crispy – a problem she found with other brow products when working on clients. Just like the brand’s bronzer compact, which launched last year, two of the four products are also refillable in a commendable step towards more sustainable packaging.

But has the brand really brought something new to the market? The debut collection faces fierce competition, with Anastasia Beverly Hills’ new brow gel being a continuous sell-out and influencer Jess Hunt’s brow brand Refy taking social media by storm. We put Charlotte Tilbury’s whole range to the test, judging it on ease of use, longevity, price point, innovation and of course, the end results.

Given the range centres around the fluffy, lifted “supermodel” brow, we judged the products on their ability to deliver this look. We wanted defined, bushy hairs, or the ability to feign them, with a full, lifted finish that stayed put all day.

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Charlotte Tilbury brow lift: £22,

One of two products in the range that’s designed to fill in your brows, the angled pencil already exists in the brand’s line but has been reformulated and is now available in eight shades, with three new colours to choose from.

This is the most “traditional” brow product in the line-up and is best suited to those who have thin or sparse brows that lack shape. We’re lucky to have quite thick brows that have a naturally defined arch, so found that this product actually left us with blockier brows than we had hoped for, as the natural shape and definition didn’t need adding to.

However, the formula impressed us: it strikes the perfect balance between being creamy enough to manipulate on the brow and not too moist so it doesn’t slip everywhere. You barely have to touch the brow for great pigment pay-off, and the angled pencil allows you to achieve the lifted shape that Tilbury vouches for. The pencil delivers natural-looking pigment, but if you’ve already got full brows that don’t need added shape, we’d suggest buying the new microfine brow cheat pencil instead.

Charlotte Tilbury brow cheat: £22,

Super-fine pencils can feel more daunting than brow products that don’t demand as much precision, like a pomade, or the thicker, angled pencil above. They are, however, the best way to add natural definition and achieve that laminated style by feigning extra hairs at the front of your brow, for example, where you want to emulate that fluffy look.

After using the three steps, brows are fuller and fluffy

While this product does take a few goes to perfect, particularly if you’ve never used a micro-fine pencil, it really helps to achieve the laminated style, with a tiny angled nib that aids you in gliding the product upwards in order to elongate the brow, rather than dragging the pencil, which can look blocky and unnatural.

The emollient-rich formula helps the pencil apply with ease and promotes long wear; our brows stayed defined all day and didn’t budge, even after a run (note, we did use the brow gel below to set). It creates featherlight strokes that look really natural, but we found we had to try this a couple of times before perfecting our desired look, as you can go overboard and end up with one block of pigment rather than defined “hairs”.

We used this on its own without any other pomade or filler and found it to be sufficient, gently filling in slightly sparser areas and the tails of our brows effortlessly. Other similar products on the market can be either too creamy, meaning it slips and slides throughout the day, or too chalky, making application difficult, but this formula has now become our new go-to.

Charlotte Tilbury legendary brows: £19,

A tinted brow gel is one of our favourite revelations from the fluffy brow trend, as it lifts the hairs, helping you to achieve that laminated look, while adding definition and pigment, all without the heavy feel of a pencil or pomade. The likes of Benefit, Glossier and Refy all have their own takes on this product, so we had high expectations from Charlotte Tilbury’s.

The first thing that struck us was how small and long the brush was – this cleverly gives you greater control over application, as you can focus the gel on particular areas you want to lift and define, which in our case was the front of the brow.

You can barely feel the pigment go on as the brush is so fine, but it does manage to lift every single hair while coating them in pigment, adding to the textured, feathered effect. Although this worked well, we found the brush to be quite small for naturally thick brows, as it took a few coats to achieve our desired coverage. With that said, we’d recommend applying it very lightly to ensure each hair remains individually defined, otherwise you can end up with a blocky-looking brow.

Read more: Eyeshadow palettes to recreate Nicola Coughlan’s neon pink Golden Globes look

The formula is well pigmented and doesn’t leave a stiff or shiny finish to the brows, which many other products on the market tend to do. Living up to its 10-hour wear claims, our brows stayed put all day – for more natural make-up days, we’d wear this on its own too. If you have naturally very bushy brows, we’d suggest skipping this step and just going for the clear brow gel below.

Charlotte Tilbury brow fix: £19,

This was our favourite product in the range, as the formula is the most innovative of the bunch. The clear brow gel feels completely weightless when you apply with the chunky brush, which we loved for really pushing up and defining each hair, and it dries down without any stickiness or stiffness.

Most brow gels we’ve tried have given the desired laminated effect but with a shiny-looking finish that isn’t flattering. However, this looks completely natural and keeps hairs in place all day. It lives up to its sweat-resistant claims too – after a run, our brows were still perfect. If we accidentally added too much pigment with either the pencil or tinted gel, we loved using this to add the definition back in that we’d lost, as it managed to coat and lift each hair individually.

This is a universal product that would work on both thicker and sparser brows and is our must-have pick from the collection.

The verdict: Charlotte Tilbury supermodel brows range

This collection feels well thought out and inclusive with its extensive shades and products that cater to every brow type.

You definitely don’t need every product here – for thicker brows, our favourite was the microfine brow cheat pencil, but for thinner brows, we’d suggest the brow lift pencil and legendary brows tinted gel.

With that being said, every brow look needs setting, and the clear brow gel is a winner for us, regardless of brow shape. While it is pricey, (Glossier’s boy brow is £5 cheaper, for reference) it’s the type of product that will last a while, and has really upped our fluffy brow game. Both brow pencils are also refillable which is a bonus, so would work out at £13 to replace, instead of the initial £19 cost.

For more beauty holy grails check out our round up of the 14 best eyeliners that are foolproof and won’t smudge

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.

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