Not to exaggerate, but I would die without my eyebrow pencil. You know how Abbi Jacobsen says in Broad City, "I finally figured out my eyebrows. They're sisters, not twins"? Well, my eyebrows are distant cousins with nothing in common who are dying to log off their family Zoom call. They're just fundamentally different. Without my trusty pencil, my right brow is missing a chunk of its arch and I am compelled to stare at it in every mirror I pass. I've labored and fought and wasted time with eyebrow pencils that are too brittle, too soft, too harsh, or too liable to smear in my lifelong effort to find brow makeup that gives the illusion of my arches being twins. But finally, I've found the brow pencils that really, truly work.
What kind of brow pencil should I use?
Everyone needs a different brow pencil, depending on what they're trying to accomplish. If you over-plucked when those skinny Xtina Aguilera brows were en vogue, a skinny, slanted pencil can help you add faux hairs and create a new shape where you need it. Or maybe you've got a ton of hair on those arches, but you just need to add some shading to some sparse spots, and a powdery chubby option might be a better fit. No matter what your brow situation, we've got you covered. Here, the absolute best of the bunch.
The One-Size-Fits-All Pencil
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz
If you're not sure what you're looking for in a brow pencil, start with Anastasia Beverly Hills' Brow Wiz. It comes in a dozen shades, can provide light or heavy coverage (depending on how much you use), and looks super natural—like your existing brows, but better.
The One That Lasts
Benefit Precisely, My Brow Pencil
I often fall asleep in my eyebrow makeup (I know, I know, don't yell at me), and few things are worse than finding pencil stains on your pillowcase the next morning. Enter Benefit's Precisely, My Brow Pencil, which is waterproof and super durable, so you won't accidentally smear it while touching your (newly gorgeous!) eyebrows.
For a Smooth, Waxy Finish
Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil
Hourglass' super-luxe Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil is made from a combination of powder and wax, so you don't need a lot of it—one sweep and you're good. It's more expensive than its competitors, but it does so much that you don't have to use as much of it, so really, it's a cost-saver in the end.
Brow Lift Eyebrow Pencil
Charlotte Tilbury Brow Lift Eyebrow Pencil
A 2-in-1 pencil seems so passé when Charlotte Tilbury delivers a 3-in-1 so effortlessly. The angled tip for precision comes with a thick brow spoolie for grooming the most unruly hairs and evenly distributing color throughout your arch. The best part? The bonus of a built-in highlighter shadow to brush under your brows for a truly lifted effect.
The Microblading Dupe
IT Cosmetics Brow Power Micro Defining Eyebrow Pencil
This micro pencil is a new rendition of IT Cosmetics' traditional eyebrow pencil. and it's perfect for creating believable hair strokes. If you're fascinated by microblading brow videos on Instagram but aren't ready for the commitment of an invasive procedure, this pencil mimics those results without any down time.
For a Subtle Fill
Valentino Brow Trio Eyebrow Liner
You know those babushka dolls that keep opening to a smaller little hand-painted grandma? Well, Valentino brought that same principle to an eyebrow liner and I think did a better job. It’s a smooth, creamy pencil, then a pigmented defined marker, and finally a spoolie to keep those real hairs in place.
For a Defined Brow
Refy Brow Pencil
This one brings the pigment, the definition of individualized strokes, and the magic of a sweat-resistant formula that survived a very sweaty ride on the R train. The rounded thin tip differs from the square shape to provide more control in whatever brow design you’re doing.
Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez Brow Harmony Pencil & Gel
Brow trends are changing all the time: Some days you want a full-brow look, and others you might want a simple brush-through. Rare Beauty isn’t going to make us decide, offering this duo brow pencil and gel as the alternative. Brush brows with the tinted gel to hold into place while filling in sparse spots lightly with the slanted pencil for Selena Gomez-approved brows.
The Innovative Packaging
MAKEUP BY MARIO Master Blade Brow Pencil
I’m a sucker for innovative products, but the push-up slider on this brow pencil is so user-friendly and convenient—you don’t have to find a sharpener or awkwardly twist mid-fill. If your brow inspo is Cara Delevingne, then the thick angled tip will help create long hair strokes that make it seem like you have more brows than you do.
The Skinny Legend
Haus Laboratories The Edge Micro-Tip Precision Brow Pencil
Tiny. Small. Micro. All words to describe this very thin brow pencil that is the master of a detailed brow stroke. Whether you have no brows and literally have to draw them on in the morning, or just want a feather-like fill, Gaga did us right by this pencil.
The One-Two Punch
Dior Diorshow Brow Styler Ultra-Fine Precision Brow Pencil
There's more to building a good brow than a few extra strokes, and the Diorshow Brow Styler Ultra-Fine Precision Brow Pencil adds one more easy step. After you draw on a few extra wisps where your arches look thin, brush up your hairs with the spoolie on the other end.
The Chic Beginner Brow
Chanel Stylo Sourcils Waterproof Defining Longwear Eyebrow Pencil
This brow pencil is about as classic as you can get. The stylo pencil is shaped perfectly to easily create fuller-looking brows without needing the expertise of a makeup artist. A few strokes is all you need to create model-esque brows.
For A Soft Finish
Gucci Crayon Définition Sourcils
While some arches require fine lines to create the illusion of more hairs, this pencil is perfect for adding soft, subtle dimension and pumping up the pigment for a more voluminous brow.
For Wiry Brows
Kosas Brow Pop Clean Dual-Action Defining Eyebrow Pencil
Sometimes, raking a spoolie through your brows can make all the difference. Create a more defined shape with the slanted pencil, then brush them with the grain for a more polished look or upwards for some bold bushiness.
The Innovative Brush
FENTY BEAUTY Brow MVP Ultra Fine Brow Pencil & Styler
This micro pencil is all that you could want for your brows: it's waterproof, smudge-proof, and has an innovative brush on the other end. Instead of the traditional spoolie, it has a tiny paddle brush for a natural-looking, bushy brow.
For a No-Makeup Look
Tom Ford Brow Sculptor
This is among the most expensive pencils on the list, but bear with me—no eyebrow pencil holds a torch to Tom Ford's Brow Sculptor in terms of a natural finish. It boasts a "calligraphy" tip, is near impossible to mess up, and stays on all day.
For Lightly Filling In
Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined Long-Wear Brow Pencil
You know when you just want to fill in the sparser parts of your eyebrows, and leave the rest? That's when to turn to Bobbi Brown's Perfectly Defined Long-Wear Brow Pencil, which will give you gorgeously even, natural brows. It's particularly good for light hair and skin tones, which need less definition as a rule.
The Triple Threat
Sisley-Paris Phyto-Sourcils Design 3-in-1 Pencil
For a three-pronged attack against weak brows, toss the Sisley-Paris Phyto-Sourcils Design 3-in-1 Pencil in your bag and go. Fill in sparse spots with the angled wax, shade in the shape you desire with the powder pen, then brush up the hair with the spoolie for maximum impact.
For A Swim
Thrive Causemetics Infinity Waterproof Eyebrow Liner™
Whether you're taking a dip or an extra-sweaty virtual Pilates class, the un-budgeable Thrive Cosmetics Infinity Waterproof Eyeliner will keep your penciled-in brows put. But don't worry, the formula doesn't get chunky like other water-resistant options.
Essence Eyebrow Designer
Yes, that price is actually less than $2. A latte costs more than this cheap, cheerful, and shockingly effective eyebrow pencil. The Essence Eyebrow Designer is a great option if you don't want to do too much to your eyebrows—just a little touching up here and there. It'll take you literally 15 seconds to apply, and did I mention it's $2?
If You Have Oily Skin
Wander Beauty Frame Your Face Micro Brow Pencil
A waxy eyebrow pencil plus oily skin can spell disaster. Fortunately, Wander Beauty's Frame Your Face Micro Brow Pencil won't slip or blur throughout the day. Plus, it's sturdy, easy to apply, and blends in well with your natural brows.
For an Invisible Boost
Maybelline New York Maybelline Brow Ultra Slim Defining Eyebrow Pencil
Consider the Maybelline Brow Ultra Slim Defining Eyebrow Pencil as the James Bond of brow saviors, because this formula is stealthy in the best way. The super-skinny tip allows you to create wispy, natural looking strokes that look completely natural, and the wax won't bleed or flake.
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