Which eyebrow pencil is best?

A defined brow pulls together your look by framing your face and giving your eyeshadow a finished polish. Start with a well-defined, groomed brow, and then choose the right product to add depth and color. When you’re looking for an eyebrow pencil that gives natural fill-in capacity that matches your eyebrow color, Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz Ultra-Slim Precision Brow Pencil is a quality choice.

What to know before you buy an eyebrow pencil

Choosing the right color

Although it seems logical to choose an eyebrow pencil by matching the color of your eyebrow hair, that’s not the only thing to consider. Filling in your eyebrows is about creating additional shadow to add the illusion of depth and fullness. Shadows appear on your skin based on skin tone, so it’s important to take tone into account when choosing a pencil. 

Thin vs. thick

It used to be that eyebrow pencils were thicker and meant to create one continuous wash of color to fill in your entire brow. In recent years, the trend has been moving in the direction of ultra-fine eyebrow pencils that mimic the shadows created by individual eyebrow hairs. This tends to create a more realistic, natural eyebrow.


It isn’t necessary to opt for a waterproof eyebrow pencil for everyday use, though you may want to have a waterproof option in your makeup bag for humid, hot days or long events.

Filling in your brows

There are various schools of thought on how to properly fill in eyebrows. If you want a dark, stand-out eyebrow and don’t mind a filled-in look, you can darken with a pencil, powder or gel and fill in the area of your eyebrow completely. If you prefer an “I was born with it” natural look, use short brushstrokes to evenly fill in your eyebrows, approximating the look of more eyebrow hair and shadow. Doing so with a lighter and a darker pencil gives additional depth to your eyebrows.

What to look for in a quality eyebrow pencil

Spoolie brush

While not required, it’s always a bonus when an eyebrow pencil comes with its own spoolie, that brush-like end that you can use to soften the strokes created by your eyebrow pencil. If your preferred shade comes in a brand that offers a spoolie, it’s a helpful addition.

Light and dark shades

For the most natural and flattering eyebrows, choose an eyebrow pencil with two shades in the right tone for you: one about two shades lighter than your hair and one the same color and in the right tone for your skin.

Staying power

No one wants their eyebrow fill-in rubbing off or getting runny, so be sure to pick a product with day-long wear.

How much you can expect to spend on an eyebrow pencil

Good drugstore finds can be as little as $3, while premium brands with spoolies or sharpeners run in the $20-$30 range.

Eyebrow pencil FAQ

Can overuse of an eyebrow pencil cause my eyebrows to get thinner?

A. There’s some discussion that overuse of eyebrow pencils can cause eyebrow thinning. Often, those who consider their eyebrows to be thinning begin penciling in their brows, and thus are more observant of the state of their brows. There’s nothing in eyebrow pencils except pigments, waxes and oils, and none of those ingredients are known to cause eyebrow hair loss. Over-plucking or waxing can damage your hair over time, causing it to grow in thinner, but you should be safe with your eyebrow pencil.

What if only one part of my eyebrow is thin?

A. Particularly in aging eyebrows, you may find that only a part of your eyebrows is thinning. There are predictable patterns of eyebrow hair loss, like fading outer edges or patchy thinning in the center. Even if only one part of your eyebrows is thin, you’ll achieve a more natural look if you pencil in your full eyebrow, making sure not to over-pencil or trying to make the outline of your eyebrows larger than it is naturally. 

What are the best eyebrow pencils to buy?

Top eyebrow pencil

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz Ultra-Slim Precision Brow Pencil 

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz Ultra-Slim Precision Brow Pencil 

What you need to know: Anastasia Beverly Hills is the gold standard in eyebrow care, and this is one of their flagship products. 

What you’ll love: The selection of true-to-life, vibrant colors means you can definitely find a match for your skin tone and eyebrow color. The ultra-thin, retractable tip means the pencil is ready to go when you are, giving you optimal control.

What you should consider: Some users complain of flimsy packaging and report that the spoolie is apt to break off.

Where to buy: Sold by Sephora

Top eyebrow pencil for the money

CoverGirl Micro-Fine + Define Pencil

CoverGirl Micro-Fine + Define Pencil

What you need to know: A solid option from the drugstore beauty giant, this pencil is long-lasting and gets the job done.

What you’ll love: The retractable, non-sharpening tip keeps this pencil sharp with minimum effort. This long-wearing and smudge-proof formula stays where you put it.

What you should consider: This pencil only comes in three shades, so not everyone will find a perfect match. Fairer people, in particular, may find these options dark.

Where to buy: Sold by Ulta

Worth checking out

Benefit Cosmetics Precisely, My Brow Pencil Waterproof Eyebrow Definer

Benefit Cosmetics Precisely, My Brow Pencil Waterproof Eyebrow Definer

What you need to know: A full array of color options means you’ll find the right match for you with this rich waterproof line.

What you’ll love: This is one of the few premium brand eyebrow pencil lines to offer an option for gray hair. It’s waterproof and long-wearing. 

What you should consider: Although it’s waterproof, it can smudge, so apply setting spray if you’re concerned about transfer.

Where to buy: Sold by Sephora


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Maria Andreu writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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