Staff tested: The best eyebrow groomers
We wielded the tools and makeup to give our brows that all-important face-framing effect
Elizabeth Arden Dual Perfection Brow Shaper and Eyeliner
This mirrored eyebrow powder compact comes with two brushes; the extra-stiff tiny slanted brush gives a crisp look, which is an option I like occasionally. (Daily, though, I would use my own longer-handled slanted brush-it’s not as stiff-for a softer effect.) It says you can apply the powder wet as an eyeliner, but I dotted it on wet to fill in little gaps in my brows, using the palette’s other tiny pointed brush. The powder was smooth and worked well. Tip: After applying brow colour, run a baby toothbrush dusted in translucent powder through your brows for a natural look.
-Rhonda Rovan, Beauty Editor
Elizabeth Arden Dual Perfection Brow Shaper and Eyeliner in Soft Blonde 01 ($24, 2.7 g)
Shiseido Natural Eyebrow Pencil
I’ve never used an eyebrow pencil, but envy people who have the skill to define their brows without them looking too severe. That’s always been my fear. My eyebrows are dark but they taper off at the ends, so they could use a little definition. This pencil has a colour called Deep Brown on one end (I’d say it’s actually closer to a medium-tone brown, but it worked well with my colouring) and a little brush on the other. The colour went on lightly; I had to work at it to make it noticeable-that’s a good thing in my opinion. Then I blended using the very fine brush and got a nice natural look that didn’t look or feel “painted” on.
-Jennifer Walker, Deputy Editor
Shiseido Natural Eyebrow Pencil in Deep Brown ($20, 1.1 g)
Smashbox Brow Tech Trio and Brow Brush
My blonde brows are naturally quite full but fair, so I keep my tweezing minimal. I rarely use pencils and have never tried a powder, so I followed the step-by-step application tips on the back of the box of this compact pot of two powders and a wax. First, I used the stiff angled brush to apply the lighter shade of powder throughout my brows, darkening them slightly. Then I added a little definition to the inner corners and both ends with the darker powder, blending it well so as not to over-darken. After dusting off the brush, I dipped it into the wax and stroked this upward through my brows, which added a soft sheen that subtly coated and set each hair. I loved the soft, polished look, and the palette’s versatility.
-Jennifer Massseau, Associate Editor
Smashbox Brow Tech Trio in Blonde ($30, 1.68 g) and #12 Brow Brush ($28)
Maybelline New York Master Shape by Eye Studio
When it comes to my brows, I prefer the natural look (read: get them waxed, let them grow back, repeat). I don’t love wearing brow makeup because I find that with my pale skin and dark hair and eyes, it usually makes me look like an irate evil-queen cartoon. Luckily, there are two sides to this shaping tool. First, I used the brush to put stray hairs back in place, then I lightly filled in sparse areas with the pencil. I liked how the brush kept my straggly hairs in check, and found the pencil application smooth. But this shade left my brows looking a little too thick and dark. I would probably be more suited to the Master Shape colour called Soft Brown.
-Katharine Watts, Associate Web Editor
Maybelline New York Master Shape by Eye Studio in Deep Brown ($10, 600 mg)
Tweezerman Professional TweezerMate Lighted Mirror and Slant Tweezer
My brows are mainly blonde, with a few darker hairs mixed in. I’ve never had my brows waxed, relying instead on tweezing with the help of my magnifying mirror in the bathroom. The problem is, with my eyes weakening (I now need drugstore glasses at 1.25 magnification when reading small print), I wondered if I was doing a good enough cleanup job. Enter this super-strong 10x magnifying mirror. Sure enough, I’d missed many blonde brow hairs, a fact further highlighted by the mirror’s nifty built-in light. (I almost wish I hadn’t looked into this mirror…. It showed far too much detail!) I tweezed them with the very precise tweezers, which are a cute pink. These are now my brow-grooming staples.
-Bonnie Munday, Editor-in-Chief
Tweezerman Professional TweezerMate Lighted Mirror ($18) and Slant Tweezer ($23)
Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Color
I almost always use a brow pencil to make my blonde eyebrows stand out more. I find that defining them makes my entire face seem a little more awake, so I was excited to try this product. It’s similar to a fine-tip marker, and I was able to make feather-like brush strokes that resemble tiny brow hairs. The colour I used was light, which matched nicely with my natural brow colour, and this product is waterproof, which meant no smudges. The only drawback? Like a marker, it can dry out if you leave it uncapped, so I’m guessing it may not last as long as a brow pencil.
-Melissa Greer, Content Producer
Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Color in Light ($27, 0.7 mL)