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Brows are undoubtedly the darling of the beauty world, a once overlooked feature that’s been emphasized more than ever as of late. And with that attention comes the accompanying onslaught of any and every type of product meant to beautify your brows, from powders to pomades.
You can definitely go ahead and get complicated with your arch perfecting protocol, mixing and matching multiple different formulas in your quest to channel Cara Delevingne. But if you’re searching for one, foolproof, do-it-all product that can define and fill in your brows—and generally make them look SO much better—the humble pencil is your best bet. The cherry on top of the sundae? There’s an astounding assortment of top-notch options at the drugstore; this is one makeup category where you can certainly save some of your hard-earned cash.
Below, discover our picks of the best drugstore eyebrow pencils.
Best Overall: Joah Brow Down to Me Precision Pencil
‘Joah’ is Korean for ‘I like it,’ a very fitting name for the K-beauty brand that’s a favorite of Byrdie Senior Editor Lindsey Metrus. She loves many of their offerings, but it’s this brow pencil that earned the honor of replacing her longtime staple. The ultrafine tip leaves perfectly realistic, hair-like strokes, while a slightly waxy consistency ensures it’s completely budge-proof and transfer-proof.
Best Budget: e.l.f. Cosmetics Instant Lift Brow Pencil
Yes, all of the picks on this list are wallet-friendly, but this one really takes the money-saving cake. It rings in at just a few bucks. Still, it boasts everything you could want from a brow pencil—a precisely pointed tip, built-in spoolie for blending, and four shades, including a hard-to-find auburn that’s great for redheads.
Best Natural: Burt’s Bees Natural Brow Pencil
In theory, traditional, wax pencils like this one are harder than the creamier, twist-up variety, and can pull a bit on the skin. Not this one. It glides on super smoothly, thanks to the addition of hydrating jojoba oil and shea butter. In true Burt’s Bees fashion, the formula is 99.9% natural, and even the cedarwood used for the pencil is sustainably sourced. We just wish it came in more than two shades.
Best Retractable: Wet n Wild Ultimate Retractable Brow Pencil
Once upon a time we were on our way to a party and realized we had left the house without filling in our brows (horrors!) We popped into a drugstore and picked up this guy on a whim—and have been hooked ever since. It’s retractable, so there’s never any need to scrounge around for a sharpener, and has a unique triangular tip that makes filling in brows super easy and never breaks or snaps. Truly, it’s one of the most impressive drugstore makeup products we’ve ever tried.
Best Two-in-One: Revlon Brow Fantasy Brow Pencil and Gel
Yes, brow pencils can do a lot, but the one thing they admittedly can’t do is hold hairs in place. That’s where a brow gel comes up huge; happily, this dual-side pick houses both formulas in one place. Use the pencil to fill in and define your arches, then brush through with the tinted gel to deepen the all-over colors and tame any unruly hairs.
Best Waterproof: L’Oréal Brow Stylist Definer
When you want to ensure your newly perfected brows really aren’t going to budge, reach for this waterproof option. The mechanical pencil delivers color that stays put until you remove it. There’s also a great selection of seven varied shades to choose from.
Best Shade Range: NYX Professional Makeup Micro Brow Pencil
As a general rule, when it comes to choosing the right color brow product, anyone with dark hair should go for one to two shades deeper than their strands; blondes should choose a hue that matches their darkest roots. Most people can usually find what they need from the standard three to five shades offered, but if not, pick up this pencil. It comes in a great assortment of eight hues, ranging from a light taupe that’s great for blondes to a legit black. All of the colors are super intense, so you get full pigment pay-off with each stroke.
Best Fine Point: Maybelline Brow Ultra Slim Defining Eyebrow Pencil
This pencil, a top choice for Faith Xue, Byrdie’s Editorial Director, boasts an itty-bitty tip—only 1.5 millimeters to be exact. The fine tip is choice for creating precise, hair-like strokes that look completely natural, particularly in sparse spots like the tail. It also comes in an impressive array of six shades.
Best for Brown Hair: CoverGirl Easy Breezy Brow Micro-Fine Fill + Define
As any brunette will tell you, not all brown hair is created equal. That’s why we appreciate that this pencil comes in three picks just for dark hair—rich brown, hone brown, and soft brown. The waxy consistency is almost crayon-like, perfect for delivering long-lasting color.
Best for Blondes: Almay Brow Pencil
We’re always a little bit skeptical of any type of ‘universal’ shade, but even we were surprised by how well the universal taupe color of this pencil works on lots of hair colors. It’s especially flattering on a range of different lighter blondes, and for those with deeper blonde hair, there’s also a dark blonde option. Bonus points for the unique, teardrop-shaped tip, which both has a point for defining your brow shape, and a flat edge for filling in with color.
Best for Dark Hair: Morphe Micro Brow Pencil
This pencil comes in seven shades, five of which are geared towards those with dark hair. And, not only are they your standard black and brown tones, but they also have the distinction of having various undertones. In other words, there’s a shade that will match your particular brunette or black strands perfectly. The formula is also a bit on the harder side, choice if you’re looking for more price color that stays put rather than diffuses and blends.
Best With a Sharpener: IMAN Perfect Eyebrow Pencil
Fill in sparse brows, or just give your arches some definition with this precise eyebrow pencil. At the other end of this pencil, there's an eyebrow-shaping brush making this the only tool you'll need for a touchup. The protective cap that keeps the tip sharp also has a sharpener, so you'll always have a fine point. The formula glides on smoothly, is super blendable, and leaves no greasy residue.
Best Classic: Honest Beauty Eyebrow Pencil
Mechanical pencils definitely have their place, but those who are fans of an OG type pencil will appreciate this one. It’s infused with jojoba seed oil to keep it nice and creamy (and also condition brows, a nice added benefit), glides on seamlessly, delivers the featheriest of color, and has an oh-so-important spoolie built-in. The only bummer is that it comes in just two colors.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find the amount of drugstore eyebrow pencils from Black-owned and/or Black-founded businesses needed to meet this percentage. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will evaluate the product ASAP.