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The Ultimate Guide to Brow Products: What to Buy, How to Apply

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Face it: your brows are kind of needy. They demand lots of TLC, constant maintenance, penciling, threading, waxing, and on and on. These days, with all the different types of brow boosters out there (do you go for powder, pomade, or gel?)—not to mention all the new formulas developed on the regular—it’s difficult to know the best way to get the look you want. Enter brow queen Anastasia Soare, founder of Anastasia Beverly Hills, who knows a thing or two about navigating the brow aisle at the beauty counter. Here she shares her best eye-opening tips.  

Brow products in action

All of the above can be layered together. Mixing formulas and shades “really gives dimension and texture to the brow that one product can’t achieve on its own,” says Soare. For example, for a defined look, start with a pencil to fill in sparse areas, smooth over with a layer of powder and set with a wax or pomade. If you want a more natural brow, “you might want to stick to a light filler alone like a powder,” she says.

Before you begin

Although products are your best friend for everyday upkeep, “you’ll want to visit a pro for waxing, threading, or tweezing every six to eight weeks to nix strays and overgrowth, says Anastasia. Then, when you go to do your makeup, start with clean brows brushed into a shape that suits your face (check out advice on that here). The rest of your prep will depend on what products you’re using. Pencils, waxes, and pomades don’t need any special base, but if you opt for a powder, Soare suggests prepping the brows with some sort of primer or wax pencil. “This will help the powder adhere to the hairs and skin,” she explains.

After you apply

“Always set brows with a gel,” says Soare. “This helps to seal the color and keeps hairs in place, regardless of which type of filler you’ve used. Brow gels are especially helpful when you use a pencil or powder—both of which can sometimes wear off during a long day.”

Finding the right product(s)

Pencils

Best for:
• naturally thick eyebrows that need shape and definition
• a quick fix

Anastasia’s advice: “Apply in short, upward strokes along the length of the brow. Then use an attached spooley brush or a dry, unused mascara wand to blend the color into each hair fiber.”

OUR CURRENT FAVES

1) Kevyn Aucoin Precision Brow Pencil, if you prefer a feather-light look | shop it
2) Anastasia Perfect Brow Penci*l in Blonde*, for fairer types | shop it
3)
Too Faced Brow-nie Brow Pencil, if you need a waterproof formula | shop it
4) Inglot Cosmetics Full Metal Eyebrow Pencil, for unruly brows  | shop it

Gels

Best for:
• barely-there brows that need a pop of color
• unruly hairs that need to be kept in place

Anastasia’s advice: “Everyone needs a brow gel, whether you use a tinted formula for color enhancement or a clear version as a ‘hairspray’ to keep the shape locked in all day. Apply with short upward strokes in each section of the brow and let dry, then blend through the hairs with a clean spooley brush for a natural look. I have clients who love tinted versions—using them to cover up grays or soften overly dark eyebrows with a lighter shade.”

OUR CURRENT FAVES

1) Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel, for an extra color kick | shop it
2) Anastasia Clear Brow Gel, to set brows sans pigment | shop it

Waxes and Pomades

Best for:
• all type of brows
• those who want a super sculpted look

Anastasia’s advice: “Waxes and pomades fill and set, all in a single product. They’re goof-proof, waterproof, smudge-proof, and will last throughout the day without needing touch-ups. Use an angled brush and saturate your bristles by using the back of your hand or the cap as your working palette. Apply the color by gently outlining the entire shape, paying close attention to outlining the upper and lower arches. Blend the product through with a spooley brush before it dries. Then, take what’s left on the brush and apply it again to the brow for instant definition and color.”

OUR CURRENT FAVES

1) Anastasia Dip Brow Pomade, if you have oily skin | shop it
2) Inglot Cosmetics Freedom System Brow Wax, for a gel-like texture | shop it

Powders

Best for:
• sparse brows that need a lot of filling in
• hair that needs customized color

Anastasia’s advice: “The Brow Powder Duo is the first product I developed, and I still use it every day for a polished, clean look. The best quality of products like this is you get multiple shades, perfect for adding dimension and definition. Start by applying the light shade all over the brow with an angled brush and blend through. Then spot-fill any bare areas using the darker shade.”

OUR CURRENT FAVES

1) Anna Sui Eyebrow Color Compact, to get multiple shade options | shop it
2) Inglot Cosmetics Freedom System Brow Powder, for a softer look | shop it
3) Too Faced Brow Envy Kit, for a full tool-belt with powders and tools | shop it
4) Anastasia Brow Powder Duo, to find a perfect match (10 options!) | shop it

Extras

We’ve pretty much covered everything, but there are a few handy helpers to consider to really up your brow game. Everything here is from Anastasia’s line.

1) Brow Stencils | shop it
These employ her patented Golden Ratio Technique based on individual bone structure, in order to help you create the optimal shape to complement your features.

2) Brow Fix | shop it
Acts as an invisible liner to keep hairs in place and erase any product that falls outside the lines as you fill in brows.

3) Brow Duality | shop it
A dual-ended, multi-purpose highlighter designed to add a glow to the brow bone; Soare recommends using the matte side during the day and the shimmer side at night for more sparkle.

4) Brow Enhancing Serum | shop it
With an advanced pentapeptide chain clinically proven to grow hair thicker and longer with twice daily use, this product is ideal if you’re feeling sparse.