Our love for the nineties knows no bounds. The decade is being revived in everything from fashion (see the return of stretchy Steve Maddens) to TV (all hail Sabrina) to hair (scrunchies! barrettes!)—and now they're here for our brows.
Sorry, is that triggering? Let me backtrack: You remember those four-color clicky pens all the cool kids had in school? You'd fidget all of homeroom by pushing down a clicker to change the color of your pen? Well, Benefit Cosmetics resurrected them, but instead as a brow pen to more easily help you get perfect, full-looking eyebrows. Thankfully, divisively skinny brows aren't back. Yet anyway. If they do return, you've got Rihanna to blame.
The Benefit Cosmetics Brow Contour Pro comes in five shade ranges, each comprising four products in one tool: a lighter and a deeper filler shade, an edge definer, and a highlighter. The idea behind it is based on the brow contouring or "carving" technique most Instagrammers use to get that ultraprecise, ultrathick brow. But instead of needing to deal with multiple brushes, products, and concealer, you can achieve all this with a single pen.
Brand reps recommend choosing your perfect color based on the edge definer shade, which should be just slightly lighter than your skin tone. The key is to start off tracing the shape of your brow from corner to tail with the light filler shade, fill, then add dimension with the darker shade. A little goes a long way (and the formula lasts all day), so you don't want to go too heavy. Personally, I'd fill in a couple of strokes and then blend in the color with a spoolie. Next it's edge definer time. This is where the "carving" technique comes in: This more or less involves tracing directly under your brow with the definer shade to sharpen the line. Last up: the highlighter, which you want to put just under the arch to make the shape appear more sculpted.
Benefit's already got a strong knack for brows. Its Gimme Brow gel has long topped the best-seller charts in the brow category (far before Boy Brow was thing), while you'd be hard-pressed not to find one of its pencils in most makeup pros' kits. What makes this tool so interesting, though, is that its consistency is neither marker, nor gel, nor pencil. Rather, the product goes on like a pomade that's meant to be blended.
Navigating this pen isn't quite as intuitive as writing with those ballpoint clickers was. Despite being lightweight, it feels a little bit clunky to trace with at first, and I wish it came with a built-in spoolie. But its ease for travel more than makes up for that, and getting the motions down is pretty easy after a few initial test runs. As celebrity makeup artist Mélanie Inglessis put it while judging the Glamour Beauty Awards: “I'm not sure how no one thought of this before, because it’s truly genius. I use at least two shades to fill in brows for the most natural look; you don’t always want the beginning of your brow to be as strong and defined as the arch. So this is a great do-it-all option versus carrying around a bunch of different pencils and gels. And the colors and consistencies are great—not too oily and slick so they actually stay put.”
Plus, it's fun as hell to click and twist all day. What can I say? I'm a sucker for nostalgia.
Lindsay Schallon is the senior beauty editor at Glamour. Follow her at @lindsayschallon on Instagram.