Eyebrows are the frame of the painting that is your face, but there’s literally no reason to spring for some fancy custom frame when you can buy a perfectly good one at Home Depot. Or, not metaphorically, don’t get at a department store what you can get at the drugstore (or a drugstore via the internet). The best drugstore eyebrow pencils — aka the frame in question here — have fine tips that allow for lots of precision, waxy pigments that are easy to work with, and perhaps most importantly, under-$10 price tags. The very best ones, which are rounded up ahead, work just as well as their prestige counterparts, but their wallet-friendly prices make frequent repurchasing much more palatable.
But eyebrows are deeply personal — I won’t even let professional makeup artists touch them, such is the depth of my obsession — so the best brow pencils involve some variations on that basic theme to cater to your particular preferences. Maybe that’s an included gel or powder to layer over the top of your pencil, a small spoolie for blending, an angled tip for achieving an even fuller brow, or a tough-to-find shade to complement your hair color. (Pro tip: Your eyebrows should be a shade or two darker than your hair.)
There’s something for everyone on the list ahead, which features five of the best drugstore eyebrow pencils on the market right now.
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1. Best Angled Tip
When in doubt, go for the one with over 15,000 five-star ratings on Amazon. There’s a lot to love about this Maybelline brow pencil, but its main selling point is the versatile, teardrop-shaped applicator: Use the narrow tip to draw on individual strokes, and the longer, flat end to sketch along the bottom and top edges of your brows. The itty-bitty spoolie on the other end allows for precise blending and shaping, too. Although the consistency is on the softer side, reviewers confirm the pigment doesn’t flake or smudge, and it stays exactly where it should all day long.
- Available shades: Blonde, Deep Brown, Medium Brown, Soft Brown
2. Best Pointed Tip
Most brow pencil shade ranges are woefully limited, so the seven shades in this one feels like a personal gift from L’Oreal herself. Beyond the wealth of color options — including a few variations on blonde and brunette, plus a soft black, which is weirdly hard to find — the pencil itself is excellent. The ultra-fine tip gives you lots of control, so you can go as light or as bushy as you want; and it’s waterproof, so it’ll stand up to your daily dose of oil and sweat. I also love the retractable applicator, because honestly who has the time to sharpen their eyebrow pencils.
- Available shades: Blonde, Brunette, Dark Blonde, Dark Brunette, Light Blonde, Light Brunette, Soft Black
3. Best Pencil & Gel Duo
Define and set your brows in one fell swoop with this pencil-and-gel duo from Revlon (or two fell swoops, but with one product — you get it). The tip of this pencil is a little thicker than the micropoint tips you’d find in a mechanical brow pencil, so this is a good choice if you want to fill in larger gaps, or if you just prefer a thicker brow. Still, you can sharpen it into a nice pointed tip, so you can get pretty precise with it, too. Use the gel to blend and mold your brows for a full but natural-looking effect. Alternatively, you can use the gel on its own if you just want to keep your brows in place and tint them a bit.
- Available shades: Brunette, Dark Blonde, Dark Brown, Light Brown
4. Best Pencil & Powder Duo
Brow powders, like the one included in this Maybelline duo, are the way to go if you’re after the fullest, bushiest, Brooke Shields-iest brows possible. Use the super-slim pencil on one end to draw on your brows, then the powder on the other end to intensify the effect. Powders don’t get the best rap for their staying power, but tons of reviewers are impressed by the longevity of this one — one reviewer said their brows even withstood a shower. Still, it's not a bad idea to lock everything in place with a clear brow gel.
- Available shades: Blonde, Soft Brown, Medium Brown, Deep Brown
5. Best For Redheads
Lots of eyebrow pencils have red undertones, usually inadvertently, but there are precious few pencils made specifically for us precious few redheads. This NYX brow pencil in Auburn is undoubtedly one of the best (and only) you can get from a drugstore brand. It happens to be a great alternative to the cult-favorite Anastasia Brow Wiz in Auburn: Same tiny tip, same waxy consistency, same stiff, large-ish spoolie to blend to a crisp finish. The range boasts seven more shades other than Auburn, too. Impressive all around.
- Available shades: Auburn, Ash Brown, Black, Blonde, Brunette, Chocolate, Espresso, Taupe