We’ve seen a lot of trends come and go in the last decade, but we’ve got a hunch that bold, well-groomed arches are here to stay for the foreseeable future (and thank goodness for that because we’re still growing out our brows from the ‘90s).
A strong brow accentuates your eyes and frames your face. They add structure and symmetry in a few, quick strokes. In short, if you have little time for much else in the mornings, we’d say drop the eyeshadow and get thee a brow pencil for maximum effect.
And fear not, if you weren’t blessed with ample arches, there are plenty of brow pencils—in all shades and textures—to give you a hand. Of the hundreds of options out there, these 11 have been personally vetted by staff and reviewers. (Plus, you can find them easily at your local drugstore.)
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1. L’Oréal Brow Stylist Definer
Brows made simple: The ultra-fine tip on this pencil measures in at 0.5mm, which makes sketching precise, hair-like strokes a downright breeze—even for beginners. Blend everything in using the spoolie brush on the end and you’ve got yourself a fuller arch in seconds. A bit of advice when filling in your brows: Avoid the impulse to go all in. Brows are supposed to have some skin show through them, so use a light hand and leave some space between each stroke.
2. NYX Professional Makeup Micro Brow Pencil
If the over 4,400 positive reviews on Ulta alone are any indication, this pencil is (pardon the pun) on point. The creamy, long-wearing formula goes on smoothly but stays put and the super skinny tip is made for filling in sparse spots with ease. And it comes in a range of shades from blonde to black and every shade of brown in-between.
3. Ofra Cosmetics Universal Eyebrow Pencil
If the thought of choosing a brow pencil is daunting (what, pray tell, is the difference between taupe and ash brown?!), this no-frills pick is made for you. It comes in one universal shade that’s not too dark and flatters most skin tones and hair colors, and the beeswax base gives it glide and grip for an even application. The only downside we can think of is that it needs occasional sharpening.
4. E.l.f Cosmetics Instant Lift Eyebrow Pencil
Prefer a more pigmented pick? This one needs no warming up and fills in flimsy arches in a few strokes. In fact, we’d recommend using a light hand to keep the effect more natural looking. Luckily, the attached spoolie brush is nice and fluffy, which makes blending downright enjoyable. (And, hey, at two bucks a pop we’d maybe even splurge for a second, slightly lighter shade to add depth for when we’re feeling fancy.)
5. Maybelline Eye Studio Brow Define and Fill Duo
We love the sheer versatility of this duo. One end features a slim, waxy pencil to sketch in fine lines and lay down the exact shape you want; the other end holds a powder that tints your hairs just so. The result? Naturally thicker-looking arches that don’t look, well, drawn on. (Speaking of natural-looking brows, if you’re worried about choosing the right shade, just match it to your hair color.)
6. Ardell Beauty Stroke a Brow Feathering Pen in Dark Brown
We’re going to state it up top that this pen is for someone who maybe just needs a little extra help with their brows—as opposed to a full-on makeover. The fine-tipped felt pen (say that 10 times fast) is made for adding feathery strokes to your arches and will last all day without smudging. A bit of parting advice: Store the pen upside down to keep the ink at the tip of your brush.
7. Wet n’ Wild Ultimate Brow Pencil
We first tried this pencil on a whim—and we’ve since restocked it multiple times because it just works. This slanted tip is surprisingly easy to maneuver and can be used to customize your desired arch depending on the day. Use the flat edge to draw in deliberate strokes (for when you want a bolder brow) and the tip for etching in light, feathery fullness (for when you want a softer look). Either way, wiggle the spoolie through as a finishing touch.
8. Burt’s Bees Natural Brow Pencil
For the ingredient conscious crowd (or for people with sensitive skin that tends to react easily), we recommend giving this gentle pick a try. Made from 99.9 percent natural ingredients like jojoba oil and shea butter to nourish your brows, it also lends a creamy texture for an easy application. Heck, even the pencil itself is made of responsibly sourced cedar wood. Choose from two shades: blonde (for light to medium blonde hair) or brunette (for brown hair or darker strands).
9. Revlon ColorStay Brow Pencil
Color stay is right. We’ve seen this pencil withstand a humid subway ride, a sweaty spin class, a 12 hour hike up the Half Dome and, most recently, a full marathon through the five boroughs of New York. And yet, it glides on just as easily as the rest of them. It’s also a favorite for many of our fair-haired friends, as it comes in blonde and light brown shades.
10. Soap & Glory Archery 2-in-1 Brow Sculpting Crayon & Setting Gel
Who doesn’t love a good 2-in-1? Especially when both things actually do what they’re supposed to do. Use the angled crayon on one end to shade and fill in any sparse areas before flipping it over to brush the gel through any wayward hairs for added definition. (Tip: Sweep the bristles against the grain of your hairs, let it set for a minute or two, and then run the spoolie through once more in the right direction for added volume.)
11. NYX Professional Makeup Fill & Fluff Eyebrow Pomade Pencil
Patchy brows got you down? We’ve got another double-ended wonder for you. This one is especially adept at filling in any bald spots from overplucking thanks to the pomade pencil formula—which, we’re aware sounds goofy, but it truly is a pomade in pencil form. Waxy, pigmented, and packed with hold, it beefs up wispy hairs like no other. The tear-drop shape tip makes lining and shading simple and the micro paddle brush on the other end smooths every last hair into place. (Plus, it feels nice against our skin.)
Final tip: Accidentally overdo it? No need to start over. Clean up any errant lines using a touch of concealer and a flat, angled brush for crisp, defined edges.