I’ve never done anything with my eyebrows. I didn’t even pluck them until one of my college friends suggested it (and thank goodness she did! I was oblivious to how caterpillar-like my eyebrows were!).
With the resurgence and fashion world’s love for a fuller brow, I’ve decided I need to jazz up my makeup routine and thicken up my brows. My hair is naturally dark brown, but I currently have auburn/copper highlights. I’m looking for an eyebrow product that will help fill in the sparse ends of my brows and the tiny hole in my right brow from my over-zealous plucking of my early 20’s.
Initially, I thought I would like to find a gel to fill in my brows, while still looking really natural. As I started testing products, I figured out that I do need the heavier coverage of a pencil, but still like the finishing effect of a gel.
I quickly realized the perfect product for me would have both a smooth pencil and gel that are easy to apply and look very natural and subtle. The results of that search, I share here with five eyebrow shapers and definers under $7 and that can be found in your local drugstore.
For a proper comparison, I used the following criteria to rate each of these products:
- Look: Natural look, shapes brows softly, not rigidly
- Application: Applies easily without skipping or tugging, type of applicator
- Finish: Long-wearing finish that resists smearing and flaking
- Shades: Offers shades that work for most brow colors
I chose the Brunette color and was immediately drawn to the double tip applicator, gel on one end, pencil on the other end. The gel was great. The pencil texture was natural and didn’t clump at all, although I found the tip to be a little hard. I would like a softer formulation that glided a bit more smoothly. The color was also subtle enough to add some color, but not make my brows too dark or dramatic. The pencil was also a good color match. Although the color did work well for me, I could see how easy it would be to overdo it with this brow pencil and add too much color. I need a light hand with this product, especially the pencil end. I wish the applicator didn’t require sharpening, as I prefer the automated pencils. The standout part of this product is the gel. If Revlon sold just the gel separately, I would definitely buy that alone. I don’t think I will use the pencil end very often, but can definitely see the gel being a regular addition to my makeup routine—it gives subtle color and fills in just a bit, but looks so natural.
The brush pulled off when I first tried to open it. I was immediately concerned about the quality of this product. I was able to put the brush back on, but a brand new product shouldn’t break before you even use it. The color had too much of a purple hue to it so the color was just really off in the Brown color. Also, the pencil color remnants were very flaky and did not have a nice even or smooth texture. I liked the fuller brush for blending, but the color and texture were so bad, it didn’t really help much.
I chose the taupe color because it was the best match for me. The medium brown was just way too dark and unnatural looking. My eyebrows are very sparse, so if I choose too dark of a color they just look very fake and dramatic. The color was on the light side for me, but I prefer that than being too dark so I can just add/layer more color and its hard to overdo it like it is with a darker color. I also like that the dispenser is automated so you don’t have to sharpen this like some of the other eyebrow pencils. I also really liked the texture of this pencil. It glided on smoothly and added subtle color. I really didn’t like the brush on this product. It was very flimsy and almost seemed useless. I actually used another cleaned mascara wand instead because I found this brush so useless. They got the color, texture and application right, but I just wish it had a better brush.
I chose the soft brown color and was pleasantly surprised the color was a perfect match for me. Although I wish it weren’t a pencil that had to be sharpened, I found the texture of this pencil to be softer than some of the others, so it didn’t have that stiff pencil feel when applying it. The brush at the other end was great for blending and getting my brows in line. Of the five products I tried, this was my favorite because the color matched the best and the pencil texture wasn’t too hard. I do wish this product also had a gel at the other end, as I love the idea of a dual ended product, but overall, I could see keeping this product in my makeup arsenal.
I was excited to try this gel, but was disappointed that the one neutral color just wasn’t right for me. The color was too ashy and dark for my sparse brows and didn’t look as natural as I was hoping. I really liked the applicator, much like a mascara wand, which made it easy to apply the gel evenly. I also liked the texture of the product. It wasn’t sticky or clumpy, but went on smoothly. I would definitely consider this product if they came out with more colors that better matched my brows/hair color.
I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of most of these drugstore brands. As I noted in the reviews, I especially liked the Maybelline pencil and brush and Revlon’s gel. I didn’t find an all-in-one pencil and gel in the drugstore that I loved, although Revlon came the closest. If I were to regularly buy both products, I would be spending $13 on eyebrow products. Although that is still a reasonable price, I plan to check out other higher-end brands to try to find the perfect combination of gel and pencil. The lowest priced option, the NYX, was my runner-up. If it had a better brush and/or gel, it might have been my favorite.
What I learned from these product reviews is that the drugstore does offer good makeup options at reasonable prices. The only downfall is having to try a lot of different items before finding the right one. Unlike a higher-end beauty store, drugstores very rarely offer testers or samples, so the trial and error process can be costly. However, there are good products out there if you are willing to take the time (and expense) to try them.
Do you have an eyebrow product you love that you think I should try? Tell me about it!