To define and fill in your brows, you don’t have to splurge on a trip to the salon to get microblading, lamination, or brow-tinting. Hell, you don’t even need to reach for an expensive, high-end brow product if you don’t want to. Your local drugstore offers plenty of affordable brow-grooming options — no matter what state your brows may be in. It’s got everything, whether you need an amazing clear gel because you’re blessed with perfect arches or a pencil to will fill in even the thinnest, sparest brows.
Keep scrolling to discover 17 drugstore eyebrow products beauty experts always keep in their kits!
Maybelline New York Brow Fast Sculpt Brow Mascara
Filling in super-dark brows can get messy without the right products, and that’s why Allure beauty editor Devon Abelman sticks to Maybelline New York Brow Fast Sculpt Brow Mascara. Its deep and widely spaced bristles coat every single brow hair, and its hardening formula holds them in place all day.
If you like fluffy, pushed-up brows, look to Revolution Beauty’s Soap Styler, a sticky formula that’s perfect for achieving the soap brow trend. It looks white in its pan but glides on clear, so someone of any skin tone or hair color can use it.
The trio of shades in CoverGirl Easy Breezy Brow Powder Kit add extra depth and dimension, creating the illusion of fullness — and never the reality of smudginess, which is why it took home a 2018 Allure Best of Beauty Award for best brow powder.
L’Oréal Paris Brow Stylist Boost & Set Brow Mascara
The angled brush on the L’Oréal Paris Brow Stylist Boost & Set Brow Mascara perfectly fluffs and arranges arches to give them perfect definition. The 2018 Best of Beauty winner for best clear brow gel holds hairs in place but also comes in three other shades (blonde, light brunette, dark brunette) to fill in any gaps.
For those who have natural brows that are hard shade to match, New York City-based makeup artist Stevie Huynh suggests the Nyx Eyebrow Cake Powder. “It comes with a wax that you could use before to intensify the powder and to groom the brow to shape,” he explains.
Thanks to fibers in the formula that cling to individual brow hairs, this Best of Beauty winner helps thicken and elongate your natural brow hairs. The Maybelline New York Brow Precise Fiber Volumizer is also a favorite of New York City-based makeup artist Ashleigh Ciucci because its formula has a “slight reflective quality which mimics the natural highlights in our brows.”
If you want a sharper tail, she has a quick tip for you. “Dip into the applicator tip with an angled brush and paint the gel on for precision,” Ciucci recommends.
Allan Avendaño, a Los Angeles-based makeup artist, has several drugstore brow product picks, but he calls the L’Oréal Paris Brow Stylist Definer his go-to. “It has a fine point that you can use to draw fine lines to mimic hair,” he says. “The end has a brush that you can use to blend those lines in and comb brows into place.”
“For those who are all about all-in-one products, I love the Revlon Brow Fantasy Pencil and Gel,” Avendaño says. On one end, you’ll find a traditional brow pencil formula that fills in the gaps along your brows. Then, you can comb it before locking it into place with the brow gel on the other end.
Allure editorial director Sam Escobar likes to refer to the CoverGirl Easy Breezy Brow Fill + Shape + Define Powder Eyebrow Makeup as the ultimate lazy-day brow definer. The Best of Beauty Award winner is that easy to use. All you have to do is sweep the spongey applicator over your arches, and the powder fills in gaps while defining their shape.
New York City-based makeup artists Vincent Oquendo and Nina Park are fans of the Joah Brow Down To Me Precision Brow Pencil, a super fine-tipped pencil inspired by K-beauty. “The colors it comes in are spot-on,” Oquendo says. “I find it very hard to get a good ashy brow pencil with depth beyond the makeup counter, let alone the drugstore. So when I stumbled upon this pencil, I was like, ‘Sign me up.'”
Maybelline New York Brow Drama Sculpting Eyebrow Mascara
Los Angeles-based makeup artist Fiona Stiles prefers this brow mascara option from Maybelline because of its the curved spooley. “I find it gives more control than a mini, straight one,” she explains. Plus, the Brow Drama Sculpting Eyebrow Mascara’s formula isn’t too thick or too thin, Stiles adds, and the color selection covers all the bases.
Maybelline New York makes several brow products that professional makeup artists swear by, though. If you prefer a pencil, Carissa Ferreri, who works with Gina Rodriguez, recommends the Total Temptation Eyebrow Definer Pencil. “This mechanical pencil with its unique diamond shape allows for defined strokes of hair that look very natural,” she explains. “It’s perfect for subtly filling in or adding a bold, bushy brow. It’s also my favorite because it has a short round spooley brush on the other end, which is essential when shaping brows.”
L’Oréal Paris Havana x Camila Cabello Gotta Give Liquid Brow
The L’Oréal Paris Havana x Camila Cabello Gotta Give Liquid Brow could easily be mistaken for a liquid eyeliner in your makeup bag. It has a similar formula, but touts an angled applicator that helps you outline and fill in your brows. Avendaño says the unique way to fill in brows may be weird to use at first, but it’s easy to get the hang of. “I like to put the product on a brow comb or spooley brush to blend it and create a full brow,” he says. “It’s actually quite an easy way to do your brows.”
Maybelline New York Great Lash Clear Mascara for Lash and Brow
If you don’t need any added color and just want to tame your brow hairs, the Maybelline New York Great Lash Clear Mascara for Lash and Brow is a great option. “It’s invisible but helps keep the brows in place,”Quinn Murphy, a makeup artists who has worked with celebrities like Lily Aldridge, Dakota Fanning, and Isla Fisher, explains. You can seal in powders or pencil with it, too. “It’s a great grooming product or final touch to the brows,” he adds.
Robin Black, founder of Beauty Is Boring, is a self-professed brow product snob who generally gravitates towards higher-end picks. However, she finds the Nyx Micro Brow Pencil “surprisingly good.” Reason being? “The thin tip allows for precise application,” she explains. “And I love that it comes in eight shades, including deeper cool tones.”
Another one of Black’s drugstore exceptions to her high-brow product taste is the Revlon ColorStay Brow Pencil. “[Revlon has] revamped this classic with an angled tip that makes filling in your brows easy and quick,” she explains. It comes in five shades, but Black wishes it came in a medium taupe and a cool dark brown. Let’s put that into the universe.
When Avendaño needs a basic tinted brow gel, he reaches for the Wet n Wild Ultimate Brow Mascara. “Sometimes you don’t even need to fill in your brows with a pencil,” he says. “This tinted brow gel does all the work with a couple of simple swipes.” He loves how it comes in three shades, which he considers to be great universal hues that suit most brow colors.
Because the ink doesn’t go as deeply into the skin as body art, microblading fades over time. Depending on your skin type, it could last one to two years. Sometimes, you even need a touchup four to eight weeks after your first appointment.
However, getting that touchup right now isn’t exactly an option. With salons across the U.S. shuttered due to the COVID-19 outbreak, people have been trying professional services on themselves, like facials and haircuts. But at-home microblading is absolutely not an option. Luckily, brow pens that create the same effect — no painful incisions necessary — exist. Sure, their hair-like strokes for the illusion of fuller, defined arches last only about two days, but the pens work in a pinch. They provide a quick touchup for your next Zoom meeting and will hold you over until you can finally make an appointment with your favorite cosmetic tattooist once again. For those who’ve never gotten the procedure done before, consider this a way to satisfy your microblading curiosity, too.
Most of the brow pens on this list take a three-pronged approach to master a microblading effect — literally. Milk Makeup and Maybelline New York launched pens with toothed applicator for quickly etching on lines that look just like naturally grown brow hairs. MAC and Urban Decay also make ones with felt or brush tips like your go-to liquid liner, so you’ll be used to maneuvering it. No matter what applicator you prefer, you’re sure to find a suitable option for your brow grooming routine on this list of best brow pens for creating a microblading effect, below.
Essence The Eyebrow Pen
The Essence The Eyebrow Pen is a no-nonsense take on the toothed marker trend. Rake it through your arches with short, upward strokes, and your handiwork won’t budge until you wash your face. Fans of the tool also speckle on faux freckles with the pen.
Glossier Brow Flick fills in where Boy Brow doesn’t. The latter tames and fluffs up arches; the paintbrush-like applicator of Brow Flick, on the other hand, focuses on the details.
Fill in gaps and add definition where you need it, but keep this tip from New York City-based makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes in mind: the pen works best on “completely clean, oil-free brows, so you shouldn’t have any moisturizer on them or any oils or serums or any skin-care product — and no highlighters.”
Comb the L’Oréal Paris Micro Ink Brow Pen through your brows like a little brush to bolster every hair for up to 48 hours straight. Its applicator has the sharpest edge on the market. Flip it over and elongate the tails of your arches with it.
The ingredient list for the Milk Makeup Kush Triple Brow Pen could be confused for a skin-care product as it touts aloe, sunflower oil, and CBD oil – all to help nourish your brows and the skin underneath them. The pen is offered in a whooping eight hues in warm, cool, and neutral tones of blonde and brown, as well as auburn and black, so you’re find to find your perfect match.
The Revolution Pro Build & Grow Brow Serum Duo wants to be a part of all of your beauty routines. While doing your makeup, uncap the pigmented side in one of three variations of brown: ash, warm, and dark to sculpt your brows.
When it’s time for your nighttime skin-care regimen, remove the white cap to reveal a market-like applicator to coat your arches in a transparent serum. We can’t attest to its hair growth claims, but millet seed extract and panthenol are sure to moisturize the area.
The forces of a pen and powder join together in one powerful baton. One of the MAC Shape + Shade Brow Tint is an ultra-fine felt tip liner to fill gaps; the other houses a self-depositing sheer pigment in its cap that clings onto the spongey tip. Smooth it onto arches to add dimension and lock in your brow look all day long.
Press down the tip to conveniently replenish the long-lasting inkiness of the Maybelline New York TattooStudio Brow Tint Pen — a genius feature most of the other pens lack. (For the others, store them cap side down to force the pigment to collect at the tip.)
Another thin brush tip option if the three-pronged applicators intimidate you: the Sephora Collection Microblade Effect Brow Pen. You can pick from two universal shades – light and deep – to make the faux microblading process that much more foolproof.
Although the Urban Decay Brow Blade is the priciest option on this list, it’s the perfect selection if your partial to a pencil. The two-in-one solution has a tiny retractable one that’s equally as neddle-like brush applicator for a subtle stain. Its shade range is also the most numerous with nine to choose from, including a universal color called Taupe Trap.