Like most millennials, my eyebrows suffered from the tweezing epidemic of the mid-2000s, but since then, I divorced my Tweezerman, I found solace in threading, and, luckily, I recovered. Now, I walk into every eyebrow appointment and the first thing that comes out of my mouth is, “Just clean ’em up; don’t touch the shape.” As someone with coarse brows, the shape is everything, and while I don’t always leave my appointments with a smile on my face, the truth is, I can always rely on makeup to get these brows back to precise perfection.
Naturally thick, bushy eyebrows like Brooke Shields’s in the ’80s have been back in style for quite a few years now, and with celebrities like Lily Collins and Sofia Vergara boasting their thick arches, it’s clear this “trend” is here to stay. With the burial of the overtweezed brow trend from the 2000s came a slew of new makeup products to help us get just a tiny bit closer to thick eyebrow symmetry. So like I said, when brows don’t feel bold enough, there’s a pencil for that!
I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect eyebrow pencil for coarse brows — one that won’t make me look like an airbrushed Instagram star, but also will give my brows the respect and recognition they deserve — and thanks to the POPSUGAR Beauty editors’ recommendations, I was able to test some of the best ones out there.
I tried 12 retractable eyebrow pencils to see how they fared on coarse eyebrows, and I was definitely surprised by the overall results. In each of the photos, I have my everyday makeup on — primer, foundation, cover-up, bronzer, blush, and mascara — and on the right eyebrow, I have the tested product topped with the Anastasia Beverly Hills Tinted Brow Gel ($22) in Espresso to keep the hairs in place. The only change that has been made to the left eyebrow in all photos is that it’s been brushed through.
Read on to see the results of the products with my honest feedback and join me on this eyebrow journey.