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Best eyebrow pencil 2023: Create perfect arches every time

Fake your way to fuller brows with the best natural-looking eyebrow pencils available now

From the pencil-thin, overplucked arches of the 1990s and early 2000s to the low-maintenance, fluffed-up power brows of Cara Delevingne and Zendaya, there’s no denying the face-framing potential of a pair of perfectly groomed eyebrows. However, though trends will come and go, there’s no real one-brow-fits-all. Ultimately, it’s about finding the right shape to suit your face.

To help you hack your way to perfect brows, you’ll find a range of products on the market – from waxes and powders to gels and pomades – to help you achieve your best set of brows. But the one item that you can count on for creating perfect arches every time, whatever the trend, is the humble pencil. Whether it’s to give your brows some oomph, coax wiry stragglers into shape or add extra “hairs” at the flick of a wrist, the perfect eyebrow pencil is out there, and we’ve found the best of the best.

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Best natural-looking eyebrow pencils: At a glance

How to choose the best eyebrow pencil for you

What kind of brow pencil should I use?

Everyone’s go-to pencil will be different, depending on the look they’re trying to create. If you’re someone who has thin or sparse brows, opt for a skinny-tipped pencil to help you add in faux hairs and create a new shape where it’s needed. However, if you’re blessed with naturally full brows and you just want to pencil in a few patchy sections, a thicker tip with a waxy or powdery finish will suit you best.

“As a general rule, look for firmness and precision when choosing your pencil,” adds Nick Lujan, director of Artistry & Education at Kevyn Aucoin Beauty. “Test the product by applying both gentle and heavier pressure to check the colour payoff. A waxy, pigmented option is always preferred for enhanced wearability and colour.”

How do I choose the right colour?

Since there are thousands of hair colours and skin tones, choosing a brow colour isn’t as simple as picking between “blonde” or “brunette”.

For a natural finish, choose a shade that matches as close to your natural brow hairs as possible; but failing that, most makeup artists recommend that you choose a product one-to-two shades lighter or darker than your hair colour. If your hair is dark – such as black or brunette – go lighter. Choosing something darker can make your brows look too blocky and drawn on.

Those with blonde hair should go a maximum of two shades darker: for those with cool, ashy undertones, taupe or a golden blonde is generally a good option; those with warmer, caramel undertones can get away with light-to-medium browns.

How do I use a brow pencil?

“Start by grooming the hairs using the comb or spoolie, then fill in any sparse areas by sketching in one hair at a time,” says Nick. “Keep in mind that the more pressure you apply, the more colour payoff you’ll get – this allows you to create both lowlights and highlights for a more three-dimensional-looking brow.”

“And here’s a pro tip for you,” he adds. “Before applying any brow product, cleanse the area with a water-based make-up remover. Removing any skincare, powder, foundation or other products from the eyebrow hairs and underlying skin will result in a longer-wearing, true-to-colour pencil application.”

How we test eyebrow pencils

Our testers ditched their usual brow products in place of these pencils, testing them over the course of a typical week. This meant wearing them to the office, at the gym, out for dinner and drinks and around the house. These brow pencils have also been put through their paces on a range of brow thicknesses and colours. Throughout tests, we take note of colour payoff and the length of time the colour lasts, how easy a brow pencil is to use and blend, the range of shades available, whether or not the pencil is waterproof and, finally, any additional features and the price point.

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The best eyebrow pencils you can buy in 2023

1. Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz: The best eyebrow pencil for beginners with blonde hair

Price: £23 | Buy now from Boots

Even if you’ve never used a micro-fine pencil, we found Anastasia’s Brow Wiz – which caters to almost every kind of brow shape and colour – to be one of the easiest to grasp. The brand is known for its professional-grade eyebrow products and is well-loved by makeup artists and celebs alike, and for good reason. The ultra-fine pencil allows you to fill in sparse areas with ease; it even smudges well so you can blend along the hairs naturally, if you need to cover more space in less time. The waxy texture offers brilliant hold and adds real definition and colour. And with such a varied shade range – including a few different hues for blondes and red hair – you’re sure to find a colour that works for you.

Key features – Shade range: 12; Waterproof? No

Buy now from Boots

2. Charlotte Tilbury Brow Cheat Micro Precision Pencil: The best eyebrow pencil for a laminated look

Price: £23 | Buy now from Charlotte Tilbury

The fine, angled tip of Charlotte Tilbury’s latest brow launch allows you to glide the pencil upwards to shape and elongate the brow with featherlight strokes – the result is fluffy, natural-looking brows that stay put all day. We found the colour payoff to be excellent, which means it fills in sparse areas nice and evenly, but you may well need to loosen your grasp to ensure you don’t go overboard. We were also impressed by the eight-shade range that varies from Light Blonde to Natural Black, and we loved how thick and firm the spoolie was – great for taming even the unruliest of hairs.

Key features – Shade range: 8; Waterproof? Yes

Buy now from Charlotte Tilbury

3. Huda Beauty Bomb Brows Microshade Pencil: The best eyebrow pencil for HD brows

Price: £15 | Buy now from Feel Unique

This pencil is a winner in our eyes thanks to its sharp, thin-as-a-pin tip (0.09mm, to be precise) that allows you to draw on soft, realistic-looking hairs with ultra-precision. Since it’s so fine, it’s great for over-plucked brows and offers brilliant definition that still looks natural. It may be thin but it’s highly pigmented, which means only light pressure is needed. In addition, we found it worked better when using the pencil straight on as opposed to at an angle, particularly if you want to emulate a microbladed look. It also lives up to its waterproof promise – so much so, we found that an oil-based cleanser is the best way to remove it before you hit the hay.

Key features – Shade range: 8; Waterproof? Yes

Buy now from Feel Unique

4. Barry M Brow Wand: The best eyebrow pencil for fuller brows

Price: £6 | Buy now from Superdrug

Instead of a traditional comb or spoolie, Barry M’s Brow Wand comes with a tinted gel to coax stragglers into place. We loved the pigment and shape of the angled pencil; but it’s thick, so better suited to those who have been blessed with naturally full brows simply wanting to add definition and colour. You also get a lot of pigment in the gel, so you could even use this on its own when you’re strapped for time in the mornings. It proved to be smudge-proof and long-lasting – a great budget buy that does the job of similar products twice its price.

Key features – Shade range: 3; Waterproof? No

Buy now from Superdrug

5. No7 Eyebrow Sculpting Pencil: The best eyebrow pencil for blending

Price: £9 | Buy now from Boots

The unique structure and butter-soft formula of this sculpting pencil makes filling in, shaping, and defining your brows a breeze – simply sculpt with the flat edge and use the pointed tip to draw on hair-like strokes and fill in sparse areas. It stays put all day but is equally easy to remove in the evening. We found the colours to be versatile – Blonde was, in fact, quite a good match for our tester’s light-brown eyebrows. We also really liked the quality of the fibre brush, which is great for blending.

Key features – Shade range: 4; Waterproof? No

Buy now from Boots

6. Clinique Quickliner For Brows: The best eyebrow pencil for thin brows

Price: £17.50 | Buy now from Clinique

Formally known as the iconic Superfine Liner, Clinique’s Quickliner does it all. It effortlessly fills in patchy areas, has an ultra-fine, self-sharpening tip that serves up even the finest hair-like strokes, and it offers great colour without having to press down with a Hulk-like grip. Plus, it promises to be 24-hour smudge- and budge-resistant. Did it deliver? It did indeed. Our tester loved this stay-put formula for her thin yet textured brows, and it helped create the extra-full look she likes with ease.

Key features – Shade range: 6; Waterproof? No

Buy now from Clinique

7. Sienna X Brow Pencil & Fixing Serum: The best eyebrow pencil for textured brows

Price: £20 | Buy now from Look Fantastic

You can fill in your brows and set them in place with this multi-tasking product. The sculpting pencil has a triangular-shaped tip that allows you to create definition and shape. It takes some practice, especially if you like a more precise look, but we love how pigmented the colour is and a little goes a long way. The fixing serum is excellent and will whip even the most wiry of brows into shape. It has a brilliantly strong hold that lasts all day and night. The only downside of this product is that we wish it had a more varied shade range, in particular a hue for blondes – and if you’re someone who wants to brush your brows with a spoolie or comb first, you’ll need a separate tool.

Key features – Shade range: 3; Waterproof? No

Buy now from Look Fantastic

8. Morphe Micro Brow Pencil: The best value for money eyebrow pencil

Price: £7 | Buy now from Morphe

For the price of lunch, Morphe’s Micro Brow Pencil comes in 10 different arch-enhancing shades, and does a brilliant job of defining and shaping your brows with ease. The hard-wax tip is super-fine, but it glides on with zero tugging or force, and we found it effortless to draw in soft, hair-like lines in thinner areas to create a perfect shape every time. The brand (and most makeup artists, too) recommends using two shades for a more dimensional look – and at this price, you can.

Key specs – Shade range: 10; Waterproof? No

Buy now from Morphe

9. Ecooking Eyebrow Pencil: The best eyebrow pencil for a softer finish

Price: £12 | Buy now from Ecooking

If you’re a fan of a more classic, no-nonsense pencil, then this waxy option from Danish organic skincare label Ecooking is a brilliant choice. It’s sweat-proof, smudge-proof and, yes, you’ll have to sharpen accordingly; but it does exactly what it’s supposed to and is great for everyday wear. The powdery finish is easy to blend and the fact that you have control over how sharp it is allows you to get as defined or smudgy a look as you want. It comes in three versatile shades – taupe, light brown and dark brown – and contains natural sunflower seed oil to protect and moisturise the hairs and skin.

Key specs – Shade range: 3; Waterproof? Yes

Buy now from Ecooking

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