We tried Benefit's new Microfilling Pen and here's what we thought

No pain, all gain?

Digital Beauty Editor / August 10 2020

Before we kick this thing off, there's something you should know about me. I am a long-time sufferer of something I like to call feathery brow FOMO – okay, okay, sufferer may be a touch dramatic, but you get the point: I see a pair of full, fluffy arches and I’m envious as hell.

Because with the pain tolerance of a five-year-old and a raging fear of semi-permanent treatments (um, what if ridiculously thin brows do, god forbid, come back in?!), I’ve just never been able to commit to a microblading situation. And so I’m filled with jealousy every time I see a glorious brow.

As for my own brows, they’re not awful, but they’re certainly not great. It probably doesn't help that I haven’t had them shaped or tinted in a solid three years… it’s not that I don’t enjoy the results of a salon visit, but I’m a big fake tan fan, and unfortunately for me, the two don’t get along. Any kind of wax or threading inevitably strips away the faux colour, and tint reacts against the tan, leaving my brows looking, er, a little more green than one would prefer. It only took me one Grinch-esque colour treatment to make a defeated return to the ‘unruly arches’ club.

And so I’m left with two major issues: sparseness, particularly around the centre portion of my brow, and a head and tail that are just a bit all over the place in terms of shape. Realistically, a microbladed effect would be ideal for me, but again, I’m a massive chicken, so here we are. My daily routine tends to involve just a little bit of powder smudged through to fill in any glaring gaps, and adding a little definition to the inner and outer angles, but I do find myself wishing they looked a little less ‘block-y’ on the daily.

All things considered, I was quite intrigued when the news of Benefit’s latest launch dropped into my inbox. Let’s just say the new product's promise of “the look of microbladed brows without the commitment” was tempting to say the least – especially considering it retails for $45, compared to the high hundreds you'd have to shell out for a brow tattoo treatment.

How does it manage to give off the same effect, you ask? It’s all in the tip. The nifty three-pronged marker applicator allows you to create three tiers of hair-like strokes with every sweep; great when you’re after a feathery microbladed aesthetic but don’t have the time or patience to carve in every single hair. If you do have areas where you need a little more precision, though, just rotate the tip and you can go in with the thin side for the effect of a single hair – genius.

The tip in all its three-pronged glory

A single sweep of the three-pronged tip

The tip, rotated for a single-hair effect

As for the application process, it’s actually ridiculously easy (and obviously entirely pain free, hallelujah). I held the three-pronged tip parallel to my brow, and just swept it across in small horizontal strokes going the same direction as the hairs naturally grow, building out a shape far fuller and fluffier than my powder kit allows in mere seconds. The ‘hairs’ it added to my sparse sections looked completely legit, and I was still able to carve out a little more definition on the edges without losing the natural look.

TBH, I was pleasantly surprised by how well the colour blended with the brow; it added a tint, but the hair-like effect remained, regardless of how many times I swept it over an area – so don’t stress that the natural 'feathered' effect will disappear if you over-apply. I would advise keeping a spoolie on hand, however – the marker is single-sided, so you'll need to BYO brush to this particular brow party.

I did flip the tip onto its side for the arch and the tail as I needed a little extra precision, but once I had my general shape in place, I added a few last strokes with the three-pronged side to up the feathery factor. The tip definitely lived up to its ‘firm-yet-flexible’ claims too; it held enough strength to create smooth lines where I wanted them, but bent to the shape of my brow when I needed it to twist.

FYI, there are four shades available: blonde, light brown, medium brown, and dark brown. I was working with medium brown, which was a touch dark for my liking, as I'd love to keep the texture and lose a little bit of the colour for a slightly more natural vibe – I think light brown would do the job perfectly. I must say, though, the results were still far tamer than if I’d used a pomade in the same shade. I can vouch for the smudge-proof status, too; every hair was still in place, several hours later.

My natural brow, AKA gaps galore

Tools at the ready

The full yet feathery finished result

My verdict? It’s a damn good product that does precisely what it claims to do, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who’s looking to amp up their natural shape with a little extra fluffy fullness.

If you're looking to carve out a whole new arch, though, keep in mind that a marker obviously can’t tint the actual skin with the same power as a tattoo gun (it works best in areas where you've already got a decent amount of hair for the tip to grab onto), but if it’s sparse spots you’re hoping to ditch and a feathery finish sans pain that you’re after, this is totally your guy. 

Main image credit: @benefitcosmetics

After a fluffy finish without a hint of tint? Give comb over brows a try...