Updated May 2022
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Buying guide for best eyebrow pencils

Your eyebrows frame your face, which is why a good eyebrow pencil is just as important as foundation, mascara, or lipstick when it comes to a flawless look. With an eyebrow pencil, you can fill in sparse brows and refine your brow shape.

But finding the right eyebrow pencil can be challenging. You not only have to choose the right shade, but you also have to figure out the best type of pencil and tip shape to suit your look. With so many of these brow definers on the market, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

At BestReviews, we strive to make shopping simple. With our recommendations and shopping guides, you can choose products with confidence and save yourself time. If you’re on the hunt for a new eyebrow pencil, check out the product list above for our top picks. For tons of tips on what to look for in a brow pencil, just keep reading.

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Eyebrows should be sisters, not twins. Don’t worry if your brows aren’t exactly the same after you’ve filled them in with an eyebrow pencil.

What is an eyebrow pencil?

There are many different eyebrow products on the market, including pencils, gels, pomades, powders, and dyes. With an eyebrow pencil, you get unparalleled precision and a natural look.

An eyebrow pencil’s sharp tip allows for precise brow definition. A pencil also works well for filling in your brows if there are any gaps or sparse areas because you can create a hair-like effect with the point. You can also use a pencil to make uneven brows look more symmetrical.

When used lightly, an eyebrow pencil gives a soft, natural look. But you can also amp up a pencil by pressing a little harder. If you prefer bold brows, an eyebrow pencil makes a good base for other products like brow powders or brow gels.

Eyebrow pencils are quick and easy to use, too. Most makeup artists recommend having an eyebrow pencil in your makeup bag for days when you’re in a hurry and need a quick brow fix.

How to use an eyebrow pencil

Before using an eyebrow pencil, always make sure the tip is sharp for the most precise application.

Don’t start the pencil right at the front of your eyebrows – you’re more likely to apply too much product initially and wind up with overdrawn brows. Instead, begin applying the pencil in the areas where your brows are sparse, making sure to draw in the direction of your hair growth. Run the eyebrow pencil through your brows in short, light, upward strokes to mimic the look of natural brow hairs.

When you’ve worked your way to the tail of the brow, go back and apply pencil to the front in upward, outward strokes. Then use a clean spoolie or brow brush to brush through your eyebrows. This helps blend in the pencil for the most natural look.

Eyebrow pencil features to consider


There are two types of eyebrow pencils: traditional pencils that can be sharpened and mechanical or automatic pencils.

Traditional eyebrow pencils are like writing pencils – the eyebrow pencil’s pigment is housed inside a casing, which is usually made of wood. As you use the pencil, the tip wears down until it becomes blunt. Use a makeup pencil sharpener to sharpen the eyebrow pencil. Traditional eyebrow pencils usually contain more product than mechanical pencils, so they’re more cost-effective.

With a mechanical eyebrow pencil, instead of sharpening the pencil, you twist the end to push up more product. While some mechanical pencils have built-in sharpeners, it’s usually impossible to get the tip as sharp as it was once you start using the pencil. Most automatic eyebrow pencils are plastic.

Texture and consistency

Eyebrow pencils are typically either soft and waxy or hard and dry.

Soft, waxy pencils have a creamy texture that blends easily. They work well if your main objective is to fill in gaps or sparse areas as quickly as possible. These eyebrow pencils don’t tend to last as long on your brows, though, particularly on oily skin or in hot weather.

Hard, dry pencils allow you to make more precise hair-like strokes, so they’re the best option if your main priority is soft, natural-looking brows. But pencils that are too hard and dry can sometimes apply unevenly or skip across the skin, making them a poor choice for dry skin.

Tip shape

Mechanical eyebrow pencils have either pointed or angled tips.

Pointed tips are the most common, and they work well if you want more defined brows. They’re an ideal option for thin brows because they offer more precision, but beginners might find pointed tips harder to work with than angled tips.

An angled tip is wider and usually shaped like a triangle. These eyebrow pencils work well if you have fuller brows because they allow you to fill in your brows more quickly. However, an angled tip is not the best choice if you have thin eyebrows because it’s thicker than a pointed tip. An angled tip can lose its edge easily, too, but you can usually get it back into shape by running it over a piece of paper.


For most people, the most difficult thing to get right about an eyebrow pencil is the color. The most common mistake is going too dark with your pencil shade, so makeup artists typically recommend choosing a shade that’s one to two shades lighter than your hair color.

In general, it’s best to start with a taupe shade, which is a universal brow color for many people. That said, you should always take your hair color into account:

  • If you have black or brown hair, avoid eyebrow pencils that have too much red in them. Instead, look for cool shades that have a hint of gray.

  • If you have strawberry blonde or red hair, opt for eyebrow pencils with warm, reddish tones.

  • If you have blonde hair, taupe is often the best eyebrow pencil shade. Avoid shades that are too green, though.

Built-in tools

Some eyebrow pencils come with built-in tools to make applying the product a little easier. Many pencils feature a spoolie or comb on the other end of the pencil, which allows you to blend the pencil through your brows after you’ve applied it. Mechanical pencils often have a built-in sharpener that you can remove from the end and twist over the tip to help get it back into shape.

Eyebrow pencil prices

The price of an eyebrow pencil varies based on the quality of the ingredients and whether the pencil includes any built-in tools. Eyebrow pencils typically range from $2 to $52.

Budget-friendly eyebrow pencils that use carnauba wax as their main ingredient and don’t include built-in tools usually cost $2 to $10. Eyebrow pencils that use carnauba wax and other emollients like dimethicone and glycerin as their main ingredients and include built-in tools, however, usually cost a bit more – between $10 and $25. And premium eyebrow pencils, the type that use high-quality natural fruit waxes and other emollients like dimethicone and glycerin as their main ingredients, usually cost $25 to $52. These high-end eyebrow pencils also tend to come with their own built-in tools.

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If you want natural-looking brows, use an eyebrow pencil to create feathery, hair-like strokes. Don’t underline your brows as that can create a harsh, blocky look.


Q. Can I use an eyebrow pencil with other brow products?

A. Yes. In fact, it’s usually a good idea to use more than one brow product. Pencils pair particularly well with brow powders and brow gels. Apply the pencil first, and then fill in any areas that still look sparse with a brow powder. If you want to make sure your brows stay in place all day, brush on a brow gel as the finishing touch.

Q. Do eyebrow pencils expire?

A. Like any makeup product, an eyebrow pencil can go bad over time. Pencils that you can sharpen typically last for about three years because you’re constantly revealing fresh, new product. Automatic pencils usually only last for a year. Pay attention to the color, smell, and texture of your eyebrow pencil. If you notice a change, the pencil has probably expired.

Q. Can an eyebrow pencil double as an eyeliner pencil?

A. While an eyebrow pencil can technically be used to line your eyes, it’s usually not the best option. Eyeliner pencils tend to have a softer, creamier texture so you can smudge them along your lashes. Brow pencils have a harder texture, which means they may pull and tug if applied to your eyelids.

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