The 8 Best Brow Pens Will Replace Your Microblading Appointments

According to the pros, these pens are a routine-saver.

A woman at fashion week with strong eyebrows illustrating a guide to the best brow pens of 2024
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When I was around ten years old—long before I discovered the best brow pens or eyebrow pencils—I went with a friend to have Glamour Shots taken at the mall. I will never forget the pride I felt when the makeup artist told me my brows were "perfect"—a compliment I carried with me for years until I had two major realizations. First, that compliment was granted in the early 2000s, when "pencil-thin" eyebrows were a reigning beauty trend. Second, that "perfect" is in the eye of the beholder, especially when it comes to brows. (And no, you can't see the photos.)

Don't get me wrong: I love my brows—even the half-blonde one that requires constant tinting appointments. They're manageable, they fit my face, and I've never once dealt with an evil eyebrow hair growing where it's not welcome. And yet! There's a part of me that craves caterpillar-level brows. Unless I spring for a transplant, this will never happen, so the best brow pens have become my saving grace.

"Brow pens are an easy way to create a natural, fluffy brow with little effort," celebrity makeup artist Judi Gabbay Braha tells Marie Claire. Specifically, they add more dimension by allowing you to target any sparse area with tiny, precise strokes of pigment. You see? Exactly what I'm looking for.

Ahead, I've consulted makeup experts to compile the very best brow pens—whether you have glamour shots coming up or not. I've also asked celebrity stylists to share the qualities defining brow pens that really work, and their tips for picture perfect application.

What to Look For in a Brow Pen

  • Applicator: Brow pens typically have a unique applicator that's incredibly fine, delivering a hair-like effect. "A brow pen is essentially a felt tip pen that helps to create hair-like strokes in a sparse area of your brows," Braha explains. These thin applicators, along with lighter pigments, give brows a more natural finish.
  • Ease of use: Brow pens are famously easy to use—an excellent choice if you're just diving into the world of brow care. With most versions, you can create fuller brows by flicking the pen in light, upward strokes along the natural direction of your hair's growth.
  • Waterproof: Fuller brows look great until you accidentally wipe them off. Double check that the brow pen's formula is long-lasting and resistant to water, sweat, and other unpredictable elements. "If you have oily skin and want the appearance of fuller brows, opt for a brow pen that is waterproof," celebrity makeup artist Elaina Badro agrees.

The Best Brow Pens

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How to Use a Brow Pen

A post shared by Kristie Streicher

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There can be a bit of a learning curve even with the best brow pens—it's all about the right amount of gentle pressure and the application angle. But once you get the hang of it, you'll wonder why you weren't always going full Brooke Shields.

Start with a clean face free of oil or makeup. Then, Braha explains, "Simply brush your brow hairs upwards and flick the pen lightly in the direction of the growth of the hairs to add fullness and volume to brows."

Soare, who Kim Kardashian trusts to perfect her brows (using ABH's Brow Pen, naturally), recommends shaking the product and wiping the tip on a clean piece of issue before getting started. "This makes sure you have the perfect amount of product," she explains. "Next, start applying hair-like strokes at the highest point of the brow and work toward the end. Use light pressure and apply in the direction of hair growth. Then, lightly etch throughout the brow for added detail and definition, focusing on sparse areas." For a natural finish, make sure you blend as you go with a spoolie brush.

Who Should Use a Brow Pen

Brow pens are best for someone who wants their brows to have a microbladed appearance, Braha says. Streicher agrees, adding that a brow pen is great for "anyone interested in filling in their brows."

While the final look is precise, you don't need a makeup artist's technique to master the art of brow pen application. "Because of the sheer nature and color range of these pens, even the most untrained hand can use it with ease, making it super user friendly and forgiving," Streicher tells Marie Claire. "Think of it as a soft fill that an eyebrow powder would achieve, but in a precise pen application."

Meet the Experts

Anastasia Soare
Anastasia Soare

Anastasia Soare is the creative force behind Anastasia Beverly Hills. Anastasia’s groundbreaking Golden Ratio method creates the illusion of facial symmetry, balance and proportion, the secret to what makes us see a face as beautiful. You’ve seen her brows on the world’s most famous faces like the Kardashians, J.Lo, Kylie Jenner, Justin and Hailey Bieber, Victoria Beckham, and Michelle Obama.

Kristie Streicher
Kristie Streicher

Kristie Streicher is the founder of KS&CO, a celebrity brow artist, and creator of The Nurtured Brow philosophy.

Judi Braha
Judi Gabbay Braha

Judi Gabbay Braha started her journey as a makeup artist at the young age of 13 years old. Working summers at a beauty store, she swept floors and did simple inventory all to be a part of the magic of makeup. Finding her passion at a young age enabled her to hone her talents through dedication and the desire to learn. Not so shortly after, Judi was being flown around the world for her talents. She has shot for brands such as BEBE, Catherine Malandrino, Buxom Cosmetics, and English Laundry. She's worked with networks such as Bravo, TLC, ABC, and more. Judi continues to create polished and flawless looks for all of her clientele. 

Elaina Badro Headshot
Elaina Badro

With more than 15 years of working as a professional makeup artist with M-A-C and Gucci, Elaina Badro has extensive experience working with all skin tones and skin types. She has gained international recognition through her work as a celebrity/high fashion makeup artist who has worked with hundreds of A-list talent including Carrie Underwood, Olivia Wilde, and Kris Jenner. Elaina is also the creative force behind the prestigious Elaina Badro Luxury Brush Line, which is available on and at The Wynn Las Vegas.

Freelance Writer

Sophia Vilensky is a freelance beauty writer at Marie Claire, where she writes about the latest and greatest skincare launches, hair colors, and Cardi B manicures. Her work can also be found at Byrdie, Bravo, and Us Weekly. You can find her on Instagram @sophiavilensky.