Some are born with great brows, some achieve great brows, and some have to make peace with the fact their brows may always be less hirsute than desired, and that’s okay. Firmly in the latter camp here, btw. At least three family members have gone down the eyebrow tattooing route and you’ll find a well-stocked collection of brow pomades and brow tinting kits spread through our homes. Suffice to say, thanks to the double whammy of light eyebrow genes, I’ve gotten real comfy with brow pencils throughout my life.
It begs the over-thinking question: which brows are our real ones? The ones we wake up with on our faces after going to sleep far too late bc TikTok and poor self-control, or the ones that we actively, purposefully add to our faces with various brow pencils and brow accoutrements? Which matters more when debating the ontological status of our brows: our unmodified biological hair growth or personal agency and the deliberate action of drawing on some extra hairs? To be honest, idk.
If you’re a fairly regular eyebrow augmenter, you’re probably already aware that not all brow pencils are created equal. Pencil shape, shade, waxiness, undertone—all crucial factors when choosing your brow tackling tools. After thorough testing, these are the ones that have our stamp of approval.
The Best Brow Pencils For Real (?) Brows
Kevyn Aucoin The Precision Brow Pencil
The classics are classics for a reason, and legendary makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin made a banger with this brow pencil. While it only comes in three shades, there’re all blessedly cool-toned, which is the hair undertone *most* of us have. The brow pencil’s ‘lead’ is also extremely skinny, meaning you can very quickly sketch in light hair strokes. This brow pencil is p ~versatile~ as a result, ideal for those just adding a tiny bit more definition in sparse areas or for those who want to map on a whole new eyebrow.
Kevyn Aucoin The Precision Brow Pencil, $42 from MECCA.
Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil
This is the one if you want uber quick but still cleanly defined eyebrows. The Hourglass brow pencils are mechanical (just twist ’em up) like the Kevyn Aucoin option above, but with a very different shaped tip. Instead of the micro lead, this brow pencil features a kind of triangle wedge. Holding the buildable pencil at different angles will give you different effects: thin hair strokes or a thicker “shading” for quickly filling in larger areas of the brow. Plus, the slightly waxy formula can lightly hold your brows in place too.
Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil, $54 from MECCA.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer
Potentially controversial, but I might prefer the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer to the Brow Wiz. Yes, the latter is a skinny legend in the world of brows, but like the Hourglass option above we just really enjoy the slanted triangle tip. This one feels a little more pigmented than the Hourglass option, handy if you want a slightly stronger look, but both are v buildable. One little hack is running the edges along a piece of paper so you can keep getting those crispy clean hair strokes and edges.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer, $47 from Sephora.