I don’t think I am alone when I say I am officially over The Instagram Brow. You know exactly the one I mean – beginning with a blunt, harsh vertical line, extending into a super high arch. Darker than nature ever intended, it’s part-Kardashian, part-very talented makeup artist, often even part-tattoo. This is the brow look for the ultimate perfectionist, and it might have its place if you ever want to do such a full face of perfected makeup that Kimmy herself would be proud of. Unfortunately for those of us sorely lacking our own personal Marios, and who might just be donning said intense brow to catch the bus, it usually just ends up looking, well, slightly crazy. Here at Beauticate we love a moment of glamour perhaps more than the average person, but we don’t love looks that are overdone, too harsh, and ultimately unflattering. So then, what is a person to do who wants a groomed brow, possibly even something quite a bit fuller than they were blessed with, but is over the idea of the ‘perfect’ brow? We’ve done some investigating and have discovered truly fail-safe options to suit every brow need.

Best For: Speedy Brows

Benefit Gimme Brow+ Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel

Full disclosure – no, a brush on brow gel does nothing for the sad patches where I have no hairs growing at all. But the fibers contained in this little wand do add nice fullness at the start of the brow, and catch and define tiny blonde hairs throughout, giving an overall groomed look while still remaining fluffy and natural. After applying this, you won’t look like you just got out of bed, but you won’t look like you’ve tried too hard… which you haven’t, really, as putting it on only takes a few seconds. I like this casual brow to balance out a bold lip.

Best If: You’re Talented

IT Cosmetics Brow Power Universal Brow Pencil

This clever little pencil has a brush on one end and pencil at the other, which pleases me enormously. While trialing these products, I have found that a good, thorough brush through at the start and at the end of your brow makeup application is essential to get a good shape and a natural finish, so to have a brush attached to your colour product is very convenient. A word of warning: this pencil’s formula glides on so easily that it is unfortunately very easy to go overboard. More than once have I finished applying this one, only to pass by a mirror later in the day and realise I had veered into serious Joan Crawford territory. However, if you have a dab hand and do get it right, it’s a great look, and not at all harsh like you might expect a pencil to be.

Best For: An Everyday Look

Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined Long-Wear Brow Pencil

This was my very first eyebrow love (although, spoiler alert for what’s to come, not my last). Why do I care for it so? Firstly, for all that this is called a pencil, it’s much more like a crayon in texture, which really makes it stand out from the crowd. It gives almost the same definition as a pencil but is a bit softer, resulting in a more natural shape and finish. It does drag a little on the skin, owing to its waxy nature, but this also slows you down just enough to stop you from going over the top. (I often try to rush my brows and, of course, only end up wasting more time undoing my mistakes.) Secondly, it features a built-in brush, for which it gets a gold star from me on the practicality front. This product makes it easy to create either a really natural or fairly groomed appearance, depending on how you layer it. Whichever look you go for, it lasts well, although it’s also easy to smudge excess off with your finger if you end up being too liberal.

Best: Surprise Find

Browco Brow Ink Kit

When I opened this palette, it was a total no from me. An inky sponge pad split half into a deep chocolate and half jet black, it looked like the product one would use to create exactly the type of brow I, frankly, never want. Well, it’s always a pleasure to have a good product change your mind! Both colours are much softer once applied than they appear at first glance, while still being pigmented enough to give good definition. For bringing some brow drama to a night out, this is absolutely my pick. I like to use the black at the start of the brow, tapering off into the brown towards the tail end so the overall look is not overdone. It comes with a tiny double ended folded brush, which features an angled brush at one end to apply the product with, and a tiny mascara wand at the other end to brush it all through.

Best For: When You Have Time and Energy

Laura Mercier Sketch & Intensify Pomade & Powder Brow Duo

This sleek little palette contains both a powder and a waxy pomade, effectively giving you three different ways to do your brows (using the two options individually or together), provided you have a decent mirror and level of patience. This is the option that feels most like applying makeup to your brows. To add light definition while still keeping the overall effect low key, use an angled brush to add some pomade through the entire brow, or go for a bolder look using the powder only, though do ensure you brush through thoroughly afterwards to keep it from being too harsh. If you’re after the most realistic effect and a groomed look that will last, I like to run the pomade through first, which corrects the overall shape while providing a textural base for the powder to stick to, and then add powder over the top, particularly in areas where the hair is sparsest.

Best For: A Bold Brow

Amy Jean Brow Veil

The creation of one of Australia’s top brow queens, Amy Jean, this is another of the double ended wonders. One side houses a powder-covered doe-foot applicator that lives in its own little powder house, so you have to be careful when you pull it out not to drop excess. You can carefully sweep it across your brow to fill any gaps in and then use the convenient brush which is housed in the other end to sweep through for a natural effect. My tip is to get a shade lighter than you would if choosing a pencil to avoid it going into that Insta-brow territory. The powder has good staying power and is great if you like a powdered brow but don’t want to fiddle around with brushes.

And finally… Best In Show

MAC Shape + Shade Brow Tint

Like the palettes mentioned above, this dual-ended pen gives you multiple options for how to do your brows, but I implore you to just use both ends and not to consider either one optional. First, I draw on little hair-like strokes with the pleasingly primary school-esque felt tip pen end. This helps to thicken the look of the whole brow and allows me to realistically recreate the areas where there’s (sadly) no hair at all. Then I go over the entire brow to create my desired shape using the other end, which holds a nifty little powder-dispensing bullet. I only have one issue with this process, and it’s that if you’re doing a painstaking job that takes time, you will need to stop every so often and shake the pen to redistribute product back into whichever end you’re using. This is only a minor gripe over something that gives such fantastic results, though. If you are rather more nimble of finger than I am, this could easily be crowned your everyday ride or die brow choice, truly covering your bases from desk to disco. Even my fairly uncoordinated self is willing to try occasionally to get my look just right, and this has become my ideal companion when making all of the bold-lipped, faux-lashed effort and putting on A Proper Face.

Story by Zoe Briggs and Sigourney Cantelo. Main image via Instagram @bobbibrown.

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