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In May 2016, over 100 beauty editors and YouTubers gathered in Las Vegas for the reveal of Benefit Cosmetics’s most colossal makeup launch to date. Ring lights, mimosas, and open Snapchat accounts blanketed the room, as the brand’s Benebabes introduced us to a total of NINE cutting-edge new brow products.
From nourishing primers and highlighters to pencils and pomades, the collection features brand-new SKUs, as well as reformulations of old favorites, all presented in fairytale-like silver packaging. The products can be layered over one another or used individually, depending on the look you’re going for.
Once we got our hands on the products, we oohed and aahed as we played with each one, filling in our brows, then wiping them off, and doing it all over again, just so we could test them all. By the end of the trip, I was certain: This new launch is one of the biggest beauty events of the summer.
Full disclosure: We Byrdie editors actually received an exclusive peek at the collection a month before the official reveal. Since then, we’ve gotten to know the ins and outs of these little gems and are ready to give you the exclusive dish.
Keep scrolling for our reviews of Benefit’s brow collection! (If you want to see the products in action, click over to our Facebook page for a live demo!)
A Nourishing Primer for Sparse Brows
Think of this as a makeup primer with skincare benefits… for your brows. This genius gel comes in a pen-shaped tube with a slanted rubber tip for convenient application. Just one click will dispense enough product to coat both brows. Like a face or eye shadow primer, the product makes your brow pencil or pomade stay put longer and look more vibrant. Plus, the nutrient-rich formula promises to make your brow hairs grow if you use it every day for a month. #Realtalk, I haven’t been using it as often as directed, but my brows are looking very full, almost too full, these days. Perhaps I have this product to thank!
(Also pictured here is Benefit's $20 Defining & Blending Tool, which is great if you're not much of an included-brush gal.)
A Slanted Pencil for Brow Beginners
I believe I have found my favorite new brow pencil. In fact, every Byrdie editor who's tried it has absolutely fallen in love. If you’re new to filling in your brows (or just prefer not to spend 20 minutes on them), this thing is definitely for you. The tip of the pencil is shaped like a skinny teardrop, the perfect shape for both outlining and filling in your arches. I also adore the consistency of this product—it’s not so creamy that you end up with Sharpie brows, but it’s not too chalky either. When we say a product is “buildable,” this is the consistency we’re referring to.
Other perks include the product’s waterproof formula, wide range of shades (six in all!), and high-quality spoolie. I’ve been using this product almost every day for the weeks, and it stands up to some of my all-time-favorite pencils.
A Fine-Tipped Pencil for Optimum Precision
Want some inside gossip? At the Vegas event, Jeffree Star said this product was his favorite of all nine because it allowed him to realistically fake the look of natural brows. So if you aren’t inherently full-brow endowed, this ultra-fine pencil is your pick.
Personally, I use this guy to fill in my “sprouts” at the head of my brows, and the result is incredibly natural. Like the Goof Proof, the pencil’s consistency isn’t too creamy, so you can easily build and blend it with the help of the spoolie. It also comes in six shades, so you’re almost certain to find a perfect match.
A Tinted Gel for Natural Volume
If you’re already a fan of Benefit’s old Gimme Brow, you’re going to freak over this one. And if you never really liked it before, you’re definitely going to like it now. The new formulation of this brow gel feels similar to Glossier’s Boy Brow—it’s highly pigmented and pomade-like, which allows you to build up your brow hairs in a bold but natural way. The brush’s tiny head makes it easy to wield. This one comes in three shades you could layer for more dimension.
A Powder-Wax Kit for Shaping and Taming
Personally, I don't tend to reach for powder and wax to fill in my brows. But I can appreciate the top-tier quality of this kit. This updated version of the brand's old Brow Zings comes with a nice big mirror, a mini pair of tweezers, and a genius dual-ended brush that folds in half to fit in the little silver case. (I must say, this is one of the highest-quality included brushes I've ever found in a brow kit). Major kudos on the packaging here.
As far as the texture and formula go, our associate social media editor Aimee is a fan. Again, the consistencies are creamy enough to work with, but not so creamy that your brows end up looking painted on. These new and improved kits also come in six shades. If you're a shade 1 in the pencils, you'll be shade 1 in this (and so on).
A Creamy Pomade for Instagram Brows
Here at Byrdie we tend to prefer a more natural brow, but if you dig that high-impact look, this pomade might be your pick. The packaging seems a little extravagant at first (it looks like the turret of a castle, doesn't it?), but there's actually a practical reason for it. The tip of that turret is an included brush. If you unscrew the pot, pop the brush out, flip it over, and stick it back in the cap, now you've got yourself a longer, weightier brush. This allows you more control as you work with the pomade.
I recommend combining this product with the Goof Proof pencil for a balanced brow. Just remember to use a light hand with the formula—it's mega-pigmented!
A Setting Gel for Unruly Hairs
If I leave the house without setting my brows in a strong-hold gel, those hairs are sticking out every which way by noon. If you’re like me, you’re always on the hunt for a brow gel that lasts all day. This one is unique, because the brush head is flat, so you can really dig into your brows as you set them. (It takes a little practice at first if you're used to a traditional spoolie). I find that this keeps my brow hairs in place for a whole workday, which is just what I need.
Two Different Highlighters for Brow Lovers
The first time I used the "highlighting gel" pictured above, I did not understand it. It’s not a styling gel, like the Ready, Set, Brow—there’s really no hold. But it’s also not a brush-on pomade, because there’s not much pigment. In reality, the purpose of this product is very subtle, and it’s something I’ve never actually encountered before: It’s a highlighter for your brow hairs. Nope, not for your brow bone, but for your actual brows.
Brush this gel onto your brows as a last step to your routine to bring a dimensional shimmer to your arches. If you like to keep your brow regimen low-maintenance, this product might not be for you. But if you’re a product lover who likes her brows to look HD, this deserves a place in your shopping cart.
Speaking of brow bone highlighter though, this nine-piece collection also includes a re-imagining of Benefit's old High Brow highlighting pencil. The new High Brow ($22) comes in two finishes: one is more of matte pink and one is a gorgeous glowy champagne color (this one is called High Brow Glow). These formulas are way creamier than the old ones, so they're a dream to apply. I like using the Glow under my brow bone as intended, as well as in the inner corner of my eyes. I recommend repurposing the matte pencil as a nude liner to use on your waterline for a bright, wide-eyed effect.
Check us out as we demonstrate each of the nine products on Facebook Live!