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Unless you’ve been blessed with a set of thick brows like Dua Lipa’s, you likely turn to eyebrow pens to create the full, brushed-up look that’s so popular these days. But not all eyebrow pens are created equal: The best eyebrow pens have ultra-fine tips to allow for precise, natural-looking application, and won’t smudge or take too long to dry when you step back from the mirror. Of course, a pen’s shade range is important too, because we all have different eyebrow colors.
To learn more about how to fill in your brows with a pen, Elite Daily spoke with celebrity eyebrow artist Kristie Streicher, creator of The Feathered Brow™. She prioritizes eyebrow fullness — from the inner corner of the eyebrow’s “sprouts” to the lengths of the tail — and is the master of achieving natural-looking brows that are both full and feathery. “Start with a clean brow, as brow pens work best when applied directly to clean, dry skin,” she says. “Begin by applying [strokes] to the middle of your brow, working toward the end first — that way you get used to the flow of the ink and how much pressure to use. Then when you get to the front part of the eyebrows, [use] less pressure for a lighter look.” She recommends using soft, precise strokes and always working in the direction that your hairs naturally grow. Finally, to keep the felt-tip saturated with ink and ready for use on the next application, Streicher advises that you store your eyebrow pen capped and facing down.
As Streicher reminds us, practice — and an ultra-steady hand — makes perfect. And as some final words of wisdom, remember that the spoolie is your friend; always comb your brows before using any of the best eyebrow pens below.
1. Pro Pick: Best For Bushy, Feathery Brows
To achieve the look of all your favorite celebrities, Streicher recommend’s Lime Crime’s Bushy Brow Precision Pen to do the trick. “This is a super fine-tipped pen [that is] ideal for creating realistic hair strokes that deliver the most natural-looking, filled-in brow,” she says. This felt-tip pen gets bonus points for its playful pink packaging and vegan, cruelty-free certifications, but note that it isn’t waterproof, in case that’s a priority to you.
- Available shades: 5
2. Pro Pick: Best Classic Drugstore Pen
Makeup artist Rose Siard prefers the affordable Lift & Snatch Brow Tint Pen from NYX (it’s also a favorite among Amazon reviewers, who have awarded it over 1,000 five-star ratings thus far). “I use it daily,” Siard tells Elite Daily. While being affordable enough to use on the regular, it also comes in eight different shades — aka the widest range on this list. The brand even offers a handy guide to help you figure out your exact shade, as well as a tutorial video.
- Available shades: 8
3. Pro Pick: Best For Precision
As celebrity makeup artist Erin Parsons tells Elite Daily of Stila’s Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Color, “It gives long-lasting color and the pointed tip gives the most precise application. I’m obsessed.” Unlike the first two picks on this list, this eyebrow pen is waterproof — so it’s great if you’re looking for a pen that’ll last you through sweaty commutes, beach days, and trips to the gym. If you’re feeling adventurous, the brand recommends trying multiple different shades to “balayage”(aka highlight) your brows.
- Available shades: 6
4. Pro Pick: Best Liquid/Powder Duo
While difficult to find, it’s worth the effort if you can get your hands on the K-Palette 2-Way Eyebrow 1-Day Tattoo Liquid. “This brow pen is my all-time favorite,” makeup artist Omayma Ramzy tells Elite Daily of the liquid and brow powder duo. “The fibers of the brush don’t fray, so it stays sharp and fine for ages. Then on the other end there’s brow powder to fill in any bigger sparse areas. I absolutely love it.” As its name implies, this should stay on throughout the whole day, as the formula “repels water, sweat and sebum,” claims the brand.
5. Best Pen/Pencil Duo
If you like to use both brow pens and brow pencils for different purposes, Urban Decay’s Brow Blade duo is for you. Both sides have precise, pointed tips, though the creamy pencil side — which is waterproof — is ideal for shaping and filling in your brows, while the inky pen can be used to mimic natural-looking strokes. Hence the beauty of this versatile pen/pencil hybrid.
- Available shades: 5
6. Best Pronged Eyebrow Pen
Rather than sketching on individual hairs one-by-one, this three-pronged eyebrow pen creates three strokes in one swipe. If you don’t have the patience for the stroke-by-stroke approach, or if your brows have larger areas of sparsity, this affordable pick could be a great option for you. Impressively, over 8,000 Amazon shoppers left this a five-star rating after purchasing it: “Quality hair-like strokes, lasts all day, a variety of colors to choose from, and it won't put a hole in your wallet,” summed up one person.
- Available shades: 4
7. Honorable Mention
Anastasia Beverly Hills is synonymous with eyebrows, so you can’t really go wrong with any of their brow products — including their classic eyebrow pen. The waterproof, vegan formula comes through an ultra-fine tip for creating micro-strokes that allow for natural-looking results that build the illusion of fullness — and it won’t smudge, as long as you allow it to fully dry. If you already own a bunch of Anastasia products, this is worthy of adding to your collection.
- Available shades: 6
Kristie Streicher celebrity brow artist
Erin Parsons, celebrity makeup artist
Rose Siard, makeup artist and beauty influencer
Omayma Ramzy, makeup artist