Here’s the thing: these days, brows are intimidating. Everyone is so obsessed with getting them on fleek, on point, perfectly on your goddamm face, that for someone who’s just starting to figure out what’s best for their own brows, it’s kind of terrifying. It can easily feel like people–especially on social media–are gonna be judging you for your forehead ‘staches. Are you supposed to make them look natural, subtly balancing out your features and the rest of your makeup? Or, wait, are they supposed to be sculptured, carved, bold facial parentheses that involve 5 different intense shaping stages and a highlighting portion that make them look practically 3D?
The good news and the bad news is, yes, some people are going to have opinions about your brows no matter what you do. But that just means that, like everything else, you can free yourself from the weight of their opinions and focus on what works for you.
It took me a long time to feel like I really got the hang of filling in my brows–we’re talking well over a year. I still have days when I look in the mirror–normally when I’m out somewhere busy or at a social event without my makeup bag, of course–and feel like I overdid it, or oh god, is that arch slightly flatter than the other? Damn you left brow, why are you always messing with me?
I probably tried a dozen or more brow products before I felt I’d found the products I liked best and really developed the knack for getting my brows right. I won’t and can’t claim to be an expert, but I do know how hard it can be to know where to even start in approaching the brow game as a newbie. Powder or pencil, oh, or pomade? Gel or wax or special brand new technological makeup advancement that will last 5 days but OH GOD WHAT IF I APPLY IT WRONG I’LL BE STUCK WITH IT FOR FIVE DAYS?!
It can be an overwhelming choice. Especially since, additionally, a lot of the most lauded products are not cheap. If you’re picking up an angled brow brush for the first time, the idea of spending £20 on a product that may not even work for you can seem steep, especially if products in that price range just aren’t in your typical cosmetics budget.
Well, I’m here to help. Whether you’re restricted by your budget or by your fear of accumulating 20 products you don’t like in the search for one you do, I’ve chosen and demonstrated my favourite 3 brow products. Since I have dyed red hair the process of finding cheap products hasn’t always been easy, because ‘dark unnatural red’ isn’t one of the colours typically represented in a basic shade range, so for my fellow red headed ladies this may be especially useful.
All 3 products are available for order internationally online, if not also found in stores.
So, let’s begin with a look at my natural brows when the rest of my face is made up.
I know, it makes me look vaguely terrifying.That’s why I had to work on getting the brow thing down. It kind of became an essential non-choice if I didn’t want to look like I had some kind of eyebrow-specific hair loss issue.
Freedom Eyebrow Pomade
Freedom Eyebrow Pomade in auburn is a warm toned brown pomade, which for those who don’t know, is kind of like a dense, highly pigmented paste. You apply it with an angled liner brush, like pretty much all brow products, and pick up only a little bit on your brush at a time before working it through your brows, so as not to overload them.
For a few months this was my absolute favourite product, but I always flit back and forth between my top faves so currently this is my go-to for a more defined brow. It gives a more sculpted result than powder does, but I also find it the easiest kind of product to apply. It lasts well, though it’s not infallible against moisture or touch, but a dusting of setting powder or a light top coat of a matching brow powder can help it stay in place if you’re a face toucher who sometimes accidentally rubs off a small part of your brow arch (guilty.)
Available in 11 shades, the Freedom Eyebrow Pomade costs £5 for a pot which will last you an age. It can be bought online from Tambeauty.com (the parent company of both Freedom and Makeup Revolution,) and superdrug.com, as well as in store from Superdrug.
Freedom Duo Eyebrow Powder
Another Freedom product, this Duo Eyebrow Powder compact is the first brow powder I’ve found that matches my hair colour well. A small black compact, it comes with two shades and a mirror in the lid, making it super easy to stash in your handbag for touch ups on the go–just remember to also pack a brow brush.
You apply it the same as above, with an angled brow brush, but the powder gives a much softer finish than pencil or pomade products tend to. It can also be used over other such products in a setting fashion or to add extra intensity. It’s my current go-to for my brows and I like that I can achieve a more natural finish with it easier than I can with other products.
The two powder shades mean you can use the lighter or darker colours on different parts of your brow to create definition. The lighter, warm shade on the left is such a good match for me that I use that all the way through my brow. It lasts well and can be touched up easily if need be.
Available in 10 shades, Freedom Duo Eyebrow Powder costs £4 and is available to buy, again, from Tambeauty.com or online and in-store from Superdrug.
Finally, it’s the only brow pencil I’ve ever liked.
Colourpop Brow Pencil
Colourpop Cosmetics Brow Pencil in Redhead is a mid-toned red brown. I actually find brow pencils to be the hardest brow product to wield, which I suspect is an unusual reaction, perhaps because I feel there’s a fine line between over-applying with them. I apply this pencil in short strokes throughout my brows and use an angled brow brush to brush it through evenly, adding more product where necessary to get an even finish.
The wire brush on the end of the pencil is a useful addition, particularly if you take this pencil with you on the go. I usually like to use the Duo Eyebrow Powder from above in a light layer atop this product to seal it in and add a little extra depth, since I’m not the best with pencils and am wary of overdrawing my brows. (I haven’t added the powder in the picture above, so you can see I ought to have been a little more heavy-handed with the application to get a little more pigmentation. Why do pencils scare me?!)
The product itself is easy to use, with the brow pencil mechanically advancing from the crayon casing with a twist movement. It doesn’t retract back into the crayon, so make sure to only advance it in small increments so that the tip doesn’t snap off.
There we have it, brow buddies, my budget favourites. Hopefully there’s something in there that you feel you can have success with. Are there any other over-arching deals I should know about? (See what I did there?) What are your favourite products for taming your brows? Feel free to discuss further in the comments.