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When it comes to goods in your cosmetics case, brow makeup is truly the unsung hero. We all pay so much attention to concealer, never forget to reapply lipstick, and won’t leave the house without mascara, but when it comes to finishing off your makeup look, few things can make as major of an impact as filling in your brows. Think of brows as the picture frame, framing your entire face and overall makeup look. No matter whether you were born genetically blessed with luscious arches and simply want to groom them, or you’re struggling with sparse brows and want to create the illusion of fuller ones, the right brow product can do just that.
Generally speaking, pencils—and their precise tips—are ideal for adding definition and a more structured shape. Powders are ideal for creating the illusion of volume and fullness, while gels and pomades tend to have slightly more grip to help tame unruly hairs. Our suggestion? Play around with any—or all—of these standout options below until you find your favorite formula.
Best Overall: Benefit Gimme Brow+ Volumizing Eyebrow Gel
Teeny-tiny microfibers in this gel adhere to your brows, instantly making them appear fuller, while the subtle tint simultaneously adds definition. Easily buildable, you can swipe on a small amount for a more natural effect, or add more when you’re going for a truly bold brow look. Plus, the small and tapered brush makes precise application incredibly easy, and the formula is also long-wearing and water-resistant. Available in nine shades, reviewers with all different hair colors rave about how well the hues match their brows.
Best Budget: Wet n Wild Ultimate Brow Retractable
This twist-up pencil delivers the precision of a traditional pencil (and also has a triangular tip for extra detailing), but because the consistency is slightly softer, makes for an even more natural effect. Not to mention that because it’s a twist-up, there’s never any need to worry about having a sharpener on hand. A built-in spoolie brush on the other end makes it easy to brush through brows and blend everything once you’re done. And ringing in at less than a latte, the price truly can’t be beat.
Best Natural Effect: Glossier Boy Brow
When your brows need just a little something something, reach for this brow filler and shaper. Beeswax and carnauba wax help hold hairs in place, while lecithin (a natural fatty substance) and oleic acid (derived from olive oil) nourish and moisturize to leave your brows silky and soft. Available in blond, brown, and black, there’s also a clear version when you want just a little hold without a color. Top tip: When brushing it into your brows, do so with upward strokes.
Best for Blondes: L’Oréal Paris Brow Stylist Brow Plumper in Light to Medium
Another fiber-infused formula, this plumps and sets brows to create those full and luscious arches everyone wants. While many other products do offer multiple lighter shades, this one only comes in three colors, total, which we actually consider to be a major benefit. The light to medium shade is surprisingly universal, a fool-proof option for most blondes. It adds definition and color without ever looking too dark, taking the guesswork out of searching for the perfect shade for your pale brows.
Best for Dark Hair: Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Gel
The eponymous product line created by the brow guru to some of Hollywood’s biggest stars is appropriately riddled with plenty of amazing brow products. But this newbie is noteworthy for being the first brow launch in three years; the highly-pigmented, waterproof gel lasts more than 12 hours. Plus, not only does it come in an impressive array of 11 shades, they also come with cool, neutral, and warm undertones, an added benefit especially for dark tones, which can often come across as flat or simply too black.
Best for Sparse Brows: Urban Decay Brow Blade Waterproof Eyebrow Pencil
Microblading—a semi-permanent tattooing technique—is all the rage for creating defined brows these days. But if you’re looking for a less permanent (and less expensive) option, this is the perfect alternative. A dual-sided product, start by using the soft pencil end to shape and fill-in sparse spots. Finish by using the tiny-tipped ink stain side to add in hair-like strokes, creating dimension and finishing off that more intense microbladed effect.
Best Long-Lasting Formula: Maybelline New York Tattoo Brow 3 Day Gel-Tint
As anyone who has had their brows tinted will tell you, it’s nice to simply darken them once and then not have to think about it. This offers a similar, if slightly shorter-lived, solution, packing on waterproof pigment that lasts for up to two days, ideal for times when you truly statement-making brows. Use the sculpting tip to brush the product (which comes in eight shades) onto brows, then finish by brushing it through with the included spoolie brush. It delivers a lot of color, so start with less and add more as needed, and be sure to let it set it dry to ensure ultimate staying power.
Our writers spent 6 hours researching the most popular brow products on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 40 different brow products overall, screened options from 45 different brands and manufacturers, read over 30 user reviews (both positive and negative) and tested 10 of the brow products themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.