Which brow product should you use?

We’ve got the expert advice on how to pick your eyebrow tool

Beauty Crew Editor / May 25 2017

We can thank the likes of Cara Delevingne, Lily Collins, Lucy Hale and other bushy-browed celebrities for making full eyebrows a thing. 

And not only has the last few years has seen fuller, thicker brows become a huge trend, but there’s been a surge in brow products on the market, too. Pencils, powders, gels, mousses, pomades – the list goes on, and as the trend continues to grow, new brow categories are being introduced. Which means it’s probably become more confusing than ever to pick your brow defining and enhancing product. 

So we decided to speak to brow whiz (and artist) Jazz Pampling to find out what each brow product is best for achieving, and how you can use it for the best results. 

Brow pencils

With their pointed tips that can be used for precise application of colour, Pampling says, “A pencil creates quite a defined finish.” Because the design of a pencil helps you almost replicate a strand of hair when filling in your brow, this is the best option for those who are looking for a bolder result. 

But this can also be a double-edged sword. “Pencils help to create good definition in the brow, but can sometimes be too heavy,” warns Pampling. 

To find the right balance between definition and a natural finish, use a pencil that deposits subtle, buildable colour, and use gentle flicks to fill in and define your brow. 

And it’s also important to note that you should definitely steer clear of going too heavy at the front of your brow with your pencil. 

“We often get caught up in filling in the whole brow, but there are parts that have enough hair and you don’t need to fill those areas. The front of the brow should just have this soft fuzziness of hair that graduates into more density, so don’t get caught up in trying to make that area perfect when it’s not meant to be,” says Pampling. 

Try: Le Sourcil The Pencil; Revlon ColorStay Eyebrow Liner (a best-seller at Priceline!); Burberry Effortless Eyebrow Definer

Le Sourcil The Pencil

Revlon ColorStay Eyebrow Liner

Burberry Effortless Eyebrow Definer

Brow powders

“If you want more of a natural finish, try a powder. It’s a great way to add some definition to the brow without making it look overly defined,” says Pampling. 

Powders are best applied with angled brushes (make sure the bristles are firm enough to ensure precision when filling in your brows), and can be used to fill in gaps and define the edges of your brows. 

But it’s important to note that there is a very slight downside when using a powder to fill in your brows: “It doesn’t always last well in a very ‘gappy’ brow, and can be hard to create exact lines.” 

Pampling, of course, does have a solution for you. “There are ways around this. Such as, applying the powder with a damp brush. Using a damp brush keeps the powder contained on application, but dries like powder and doesn’t look too heavy. It won’t ruin the powder either.” 

Try: L’Oréal Paris Brow Artist Genius Kit; Estée Lauder Brow Now All-In-One Brow KitRimmel London Brow This Way Eyebrow Sculpting Kit

L’Oréal Paris Brow Artist Genius Kit

Estée Lauder Brow Now All-In-One Brow Kit

Rimmel London Brow This Way Eyebrow Sculpting Kit

TOP TIP: Pampling recommends using a combination of both pencil and powder for a defined and natural result. “Fill in the front of the brow with powder, then the remainder of the brow with pencil.”

Brow Mousses and Gels

You’ll find mousses and gels either in little pots or in tubes with mascara-like wands, and are best for those who have long or unruly brows, as well as those looking to add more punch to their brows. 

“Gels are possibly the best option for anyone wanting to add colour and definition to the brow and keep the hair in place, without looking like you have even done anything,” says Pampling. 

And while you can use a mousse or tinted gel on its own, Pampling recommends using one with a pencil or powder for a stronger finish. 

“Gels can't correct or create shape, so you may still need a pencil or powder first if you have gaps in the brow. When paired with powder or pencil, you get quite a fuller brow look, so experiment with just the gel or mousse on its own and then with pencil or powder.” 

Also good to know if you’re going to use a gel or mousse: as brow gels set and can leave your brows a little ‘crunchy’, they can collect any powder you use on your face, so Pampling recommends you make it the last product you use during your makeup routine. 

Try: Benefit Gimme Brow; Blinc Eyebrow Mousse; Maybelline New York Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara

Benefit Gimme Brow

Blinc Eyebrow Mousse

Maybelline New York Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara

TOP TIP: If you’re looking for added volume in your brows, look for a brow gel that has tinted fibres in the formula.

Brow Waxes

Waxes aren’t so much about creating or adding definition, but more about enhancing and maintaining it. And it’s a great go-to for those who love using a powder to define and fill in brows. 

“Wax is great way to keep powder in place. You initially place the wax through the brow and then powder on top. This keeps the powder in place for longer. You can also brush the wax through the brow much like a gel to help keep it in place after penciling or powdering your brows. Just be careful on really hot days the wax may move,” says Pampling. 

Try: Poni Cosmetics Poni Wax; Nudestix Brow Wax; MAC Brow Finisher

Poni Cosmetics Poni Wax

Nudestix Brow Wax

Brow pomades

Pomades are one of the newer categories of brow products, and, as Pampling explains, it’s not too dissimilar to a brow wax. “Generally a pomade is a product that creates hold without fully drying out, allowing it to remain flexible. Wax can be similar to pomade, however it's usually a thicker consistency. A wax is also usually little tackier than pomade.” 

So when or why would you use a pomade? It’s a great option if you’re if you’re after a more natural finish, but need long-lasting hold. 

To use it, Pampling explains, “Pomades paired with brow powders can often create a more natural finish than using a pencil, but still give you the ability to create and correct shape in the brow. You’d first apply the pomade to the brow and then a brow powder on top. This helps your brow powder to stay throughout your day. You can also run a brow spoolie through the pomade and over the brow hair to add a little extra hold to the hair.”

The best way to apply your pomade, Pampling says, is to use an angled brow brush that isn't too thick (she recommends the Rae Morris Angled brow brush), as this will give you maximum control and precision for your application. 

Try: ANASTASIA BEVERLY HILLS Dipbrow Pomade; NYX Tame and Frame Brow Pomade; Ardell Brow Pomade.


NYX Tame and Frame Brow Pomade

Ardell Brow Pomade

Now that your brow kit is sorted, make sure you avoid this huge brow-filling mistake at all costs.

Carli was BEAUTYcrew’s Editor from launch in 2016 until May 2020. You can find her words right here on BEAUTYcrew, and previously on beautyheaven.