All About Brows

If you follow makeup artists on any type of social media you know that eyebrows are kind of a big deal right about now. Also, if you’re like me, getting an “Instagram brow” is basically out of the question unless you learn witch craft. For me, my eyebrow routine consists of filling in bald patches and adding some color to my blonde eyebrows so they aren’t completely invisible. I can’t help you with the gradient brow or anything like that, but I CAN give you some comparisons of a few different brow products and how they perform. Hopefully this will be helpful! Or at least, not completely boring!

Naked brows for reference:

Right now they are actually kind of brown! In the summer they’ll bleach out to a nice white color on the tails.

Maybelline Define A BrowΒ  (Dark Blonde):

Probably the most basic way to fill in brows is with a brow pencil of some sort. I think this is also the easiest way to fill them in. There are multitudes of different brow pencils out there to choose from. Maybelline Define A Brow is the first brow product I ever tried.


  • Easy to use.
  • Cheap (around $5.00)
  • Very fine tip that gives a natural look.


  • I find this pencil to be a bit hard which results in pulling out a few hairs every time I use it.
  • Does fade a bit through out the day.

Nuance Shape & Define Brow Kit (Medium Blond):

Using a powder to fill in my brows might just be my favorite method of defining my brows. It’s fairly quick and easy and as long as the shade used isn’t too dark, it tends to be fool proof. The Nuance Brow kit made it into my yearly favorites this last year. The kit comes with two brushes which are decent quality and I’ve used them both numerous times (although I have another brush that I prefer, we’ll get to that later). It also includes a brow wax and a cream brow bone highlight. I don’t really use the wax or highlight all that often. For me, the powder is the magic of this kit.


  • Easy to use.
  • Comes with everything you need to make your brows look good.
  • Lasts all day long.


  • Possibly being discontinued??! (it’s still listed on the CVS website but I can’t seem to buy it online. It’s still carried in my local CVS as of a few weeks ago…)

Maybelline Define & Fill Duo (Auburn)

The define and fill duo is a relatively new product (but it’s been around long enough that I have the color corresponding to my red hair). One end has a pencil that is remarkably similar to the Define A Brow pencil. The other end has a sponge tip applicator (I don’t know why I didn’t take a picture of the applicator) that dips into a well of loose brow powder. The sponge tip is about the diameter of a pencil eraser with a slightly tapered end. Honestly, it’s bulky enough that for me with my relatively thin brows, I can’t actually contain the placement of the powder to my actual brow (see above picture). If you have full brows (you lucky dog!), this may not be an issue for you.


  • Easily accessible and inexpensive (around $7.00)
  • Could be great for those with a larger brow area.
  • Lasts most of the day before fading.


  • The powder sometimes has a bit of fall out.
  • Not easy to use the powder if you have smaller brows.
  • The pencil can pull out brow hair.

Maybelline Master Shape (Auburn)

Maybelline has a lot of brow options. This particular pencil is a wax pencil that requires a sharpener and doesn’t have such a fine point. It does actually hold brows in place to some extent (not as strong as a brow gel). Also, this particular shade is a throwback to my auburn tresses. Obviously.


  • Again, easily accessible and inexpensive (around $8.00)
  • Provides some amount of control for unruly brows.
  • Includes a spooly.


  • Can smear or melt.
  • Only really lasts around 5-6 hours before fading.
  • The tip is wide enough that you can’t “draw individual brow hairs”.

Milani Brow Tint Pen (Natural Taupe)

First, this is not taupe. It is red. Which is great if you’re a redhead! Not so much if you were actually expecting taupe. This comes in one other shade which I believe is a darker brown but I’m uncertain of whether it also has warmer tones. This is a felt tip pen, not unlike a felt tip eyeliner pen. I find this product to be incredibly easy to use and I can get a subtle OR dramatic look with it. It’s one of my favorites honestly and I need to check out the other shade. Personally I prefer the felt tip pen to most pencils that I’ve used and this product was my brow pick for my 2014 favorites.


  • Darn near fool proof.
  • Easily accessible and inexpensive ($6.00 approximately).
  • Gives a nice natural look.
  • It’s easy to draw on individual brow hairs.


  • Limited shade selection.
  • Doesn’t last all day (it’ll get you through most of a work day unless you sweat or touch your face a lot).

L’Oreal Brow Stylist Plumper (Light to Medium)

Brow mascaras are kind of cool in that you can use them in conjunction with other brow products OR on their own. This particular one gives a moderate hold and a moderate amount of color. Again, if you have thick brows, you might love this whereas if you have thin brows, the brush might be a little unwieldy.


  • It’s great when you’re pressed for time.
  • Drugstore so…cheap and easy to find! ($8-10)
  • Does have small fibres so it can add some volume to the brows.


  • Difficult to “stay in the lines” if you don’t have full brows already.
  • If I use this for a few days in a row I’ll start breaking out around my eyebrows.

Milani Stay Put Brow Color (Medium Brown)

I think that out of all of the brow options, pomades are the trickiest to use. For me at least, there is a huge learning curve and I’m pretty darn sure I’ve walked out of the house with some seriously chunky looking brows on multiple occasions. I’m getting better at using these but they take a bit more time and care and practice than pencils or powder. To my knowledge, Milani is the only brand with a pomade at the drugstore (but that’s bound to change any day now). I would say that this isn’t necessarily a “dupe” for the ever popular Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade, but it’s a perfectly acceptable alternative AND it doesn’t flake like the ABH Dipbrow.


  • Lasts all day.
  • Can give you the “Insta-brow” if you have the know how (I do not) and the will.
  • Drugstore! ($6-8)


  • A bit more difficult to use until you get the hang of it (and even then sometimes I’m scrambling for makeup remover in the mornings)
  • Dries out in a matter of a few months.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade (Medium Brown)

Medium Brown is probably a smidgen too dark for me. The next shade down is quite a bit warmer though so you win some you lose some. I find this to be a little bit creamier than the Milani which makes application smoother but it makes it a bit harder to get a subtle look. This also flakes on me which is irritating and weird. Maybe I’m doing something wrong?


  • So creamy!
  • So pigmented!
  • A decent range of shades within the brand.
  • Lasts all day.


  • Not quite as easily accessible.
  • $18.00
  • Flakes.
  • Can create an odd patchiness on skin.

Sephora “Must-Have Angled Liner”

I want to touch quickly on the brush I use to do my brows. I use this with the pomades AND with powders because the brush itself is incredibly fine “tipped” and yet firm so it just makes doing my brows much easier.

Here is a side by side comparison of each of these products on my brows so you can see the more subtle differences in the overall effects:


And here are some swatches:


Do you do your brows on a regular basis or is it just an extra step that you’d rather skip? Do you have a favorite brow product format?


34 thoughts on “All About Brows

  1. Great reviews! I have to pencil in my brows because despite being a brunette naturally, my eyebrows are mostly invisible unless you are up close! I find a pencil easier to use, the brow pomade type products are very difficult for me to control and I feel like I look like I used a sharpie marker, haha!
    My holy grail pencil is from crispy brows, but the Anastasia Beverly Hills one is my replacement while the Exchange rates are so high.

    1. Thank you!
      I normally have a similar problem with my eyebrows, particularly the “tails”.
      Yes! I feel like I look a little “sharpied” with pomades too! They’re fun to use but man is it easy to end up looking harsh.
      I’m not actually familiar with crispy brows so I’ll have to check them out. I like using a pencil but I just haven’t found one that I love yet.
      These exchange rates though! I feel like I need to be buying more Canadian products so I can take advantage of it πŸ™‚

  2. Nice roundup! I have black hair, but my eyebrows are sparse. I don’t always bother to fill them in, though I really should! I like powders the best – currently using Clinique’s in a dark grey, as browns make my brows look really weird. I do like a Korean soft angled pencil I have, but it gives such a full, deep look that I don’t like it for everyday. Never tried a pomade – it does sound tricky!

    1. Thanks!
      I can imagine that a brown powder (however ashy it may be) might look a little odd if you have black hair.
      I think that powders are definitely the easiest way to get a soft look. Maybe I just have ham hands and can’t really use pencils lightly πŸ™‚
      Pomades are really fun! But super tricky. They make me feel a little paranoid that I’m running around with crazy brows πŸ™‚

  3. The Nuance one looks fantastic! I read somewhere that they’re repackaging the brand, so maybe this will resurface in a different packaging – fingers crossed.
    I never knew Maybelline had so many brow products! I tried one of their auto brow pencils before and that thing ran out after a couple of weeks – total scam! I found it a bit waxy too – I don’t like brow products that are too waxy.
    I think the colour of the Anastasia Dipbrow is my favourite on you – the most natural looking even thought it’s dark if applied full on. Weird that it flakes though.
    I HAVE to fill in my brows on the daily or else I look like an alien. I currently use the Shiseido Brow Sword thing, you probably saw my review. I tend to stick to brow pencils or powder – have you ever tried brow markers? I actually quite like them even though they seem like they would give you Sharpie brows but no, they’re really faint and very fine tipped so you can create little individual hairs. I haven’t ventured much into the brow mousses… I did try the MUFE Aqua Brow and that was a huge fail. It was waaaay too harsh looking and the tube separated so quickly.

    1. I’m so glad to hear that it might just be a repackaging situation as opposed to a discontinued situation. That powder is really very good and it lasts forever!
      I think it isn’t uncommon for automatic brow pencils to have very little product. It seems like I hear people say things like that semi regularly. I HATE waxy brow pencils too. They make the texture of my brows look so strange.
      I generally look like I have NO brows if I don’t fill them in. And not in the cool, edgy editorial “I bleached my brows” kind of way either so I feel your alien pain lol.
      Tell me more about this brow marker business! That actually sounds kind of awesome! I dig the pen format, so a marker sounds like a step up from that.
      Brow mousse seems like something that might be way beyond my skill level. πŸ™‚

      1. Here’s that article I saw about the revamp of the Nuance line:

        And brow markers are available at various price points – I’ve tried MAC’s, NYX and some Japanese brands. I really liked MAC’s and NYX. I have an unopened Stila one I found in my stash recently 😳
        I’ll be opening the Stila one soon and I’ll do a review ok!

  4. I like the ABH Dipbrow Pomade on you most! I think it goes the best with the colour of your hair, and isn’t too warm or red-toned. Really strange that it flakes, though – I also use the Dipbrow Pomade and it doesn’t do that to me! The Nuance one looks really nice on you, too!

  5. Great in-depth read! I was using the Anastasia Dip Brow Pomade for a long time, but recently switched to the pencil. Really like pencil – there is more control, but doesn’t last nearly as long. Your brows look great!

    1. Thank you so much!
      I really enjoy using the pomade but man, it takes some serious time. I definitely can’t use it if I’m in a hurry πŸ™‚ I think maybe I’ll try out the ABH pencil next. Pencils are so much easier!

  6. Great post! I am just starting to dip my toe into the whole filling in my brow thing. I am just using eyeshadow (like MAC Omega) on a Real Techniques Brow Brush. I am scared of over-doing it!

    1. Thanks! πŸ™‚
      I think powder with a brush definitely gives the most natural look. It’s so hard to tell if I’ve actually over filled my brows or if I’m just unaccustomed to actually being able to see them. It’s stressful!

  7. Great overview, so helpful! =D NYX has a brow pomade too, but they don’t carry NYX at most drugstores, at least in my area. =( Your brows look great in all of these.

    1. Why thank you!
      Two drugstores in my town have recently started carrying a very small selection of NYX products. It’s kind of nice! But NYX has such a huge range of products that the little corner displays here are just the very basic products. I’ll have to check out the brow pomade the next time I’m at Ulta.

      1. Oh yeah, so true. =( Our ULTA subtly punishes NYX’s rebellion from drugstore status and only displays a handful of their products.

    1. Thanks so much! I totally get a thrill from high end makeup but my true love is drugstore or indie makeup. It’s so much more satisfying to NOT have to spend a ton of money to make my eyebrows visible!
      Does the elf kit have wax and the whole shebang? I never really know what to do with the other products that are typically included in kits.

  8. Thank you for this review! So helpful especially since I have barely any, lol!! I’ve been using benefits powder but its to expensive to repurchase at this time($30 but it does last me a year) Thanks again Love your reviews and your Indie eyeshadow looks!!! So pretty!! I need 2 make an order to MPZ ,F.F. and Hello Waffle !! Have you tryed H.W. at all?Also Notoriously morbid’s subscription is lots of fun!! Love seeing the oct look you did!! Very Beautiful!!:)

    1. Thank you so much, you just made my day!
      I can totally sympathize with the no brows situation. It took me ages to grow my brows back in after lots of over plucking. I didn’t think they would grow back to be honest πŸ™‚ Definitely check out some of the drug store options! There are some great products out there for sure!
      I bought a couple of sample sets from Hello Waffle about a year or so ago and I really liked them. If you like rose gold or gold eyeshadow I think that’s really Hello Waffle’s strong suit so definitely check them out!

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