14 of the Best Eyebrow Pencils for A+ Arches

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Any makeup artist will tell you, a filled-in brow is an essential step in any makeup look, from the most natural to the most dramatic. You certainly have no shortage of products to choose from to do said brow filling—the market is saturated with gels, powders, and pomades galore. But truly, of all the choices out there, it’s the humble brow pencil that we reach for time and time again. More foolproof than the other formulas, you really can’t mess it up, a boon for brow beginners. Not to mention that it’s ideal for filling in sparse areas (and let’s be real, we’ve all gone through an unfortunate over-tweezing or over-trimming incident), though a pencil can also be used to create shape, definition, and fill in your arches.

When it comes time to penciling, think about drawing on short, tiny, for lack of a better word hair-like, strokes. “For the most realistic effect,  flatten the tip of a twist-up brow pencil or brow definer by pressing it perpendicularly against a flat surface, like a sanitized makeup palette. Then, tilt it at a 45-degree angle to your skin and draw quick, thin strokes to simulate hair,” suggests celebrity makeup artist Bryan Cantor.  Then blend, blend, blend with a spoolie brush. 

Color choice also matters. Blondes should opt for a shade that matches their darkest roots, while brunettes and redheads should opt for a hue no more than one shade darker than their hair for the most natural result.

Take your pick from any of the best eyebrow pencils below to score brows that really wow.

Our Top Picks
This top pick comes in 12 creamy shades to match to your brow color.
This brow pencil is retractable and comes with a built-in spoolie—oh, and it's under $5.
This mechanical and retractable pick offers great color payoff and won't break the bank.
Although there’s only one blonde shade offered in the line-up for this pencil, it works on a wide array of blondes.
With a few choices in darker shades, you'll be able to find the one that's right for your hair.
Redheads out there in dire need of a color to match their hair can find it here.
Don't let the price scare you, this pencil is smooth and highly pigmented.
This formula does the job of three products, making for a natural brow that's completely waterproof.
The taupe shade has a cool undertone that works well with a variety of hair colors.
If the clean and cruelty-free formula wasn't enough of a reason to buy it, this pencil also comes in 10 stunning shades.

Best Overall: Benefit Goof Proof Brow Pencil

Benefit Goof Proof
What We Like
  • Wide range of shades

  • Waterproof

  • Easy to use

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

  • Not cruelty-free

There’s arguably no beauty brand better known for owning the brow category than Benefit Cosmetics. They have a dizzying array of brow products to choose from, but we come back to this classic time and time again. (And per our point about pencils being foolproof, please take a moment to appreciate the name.)

The custom tip on this has a soft, creamy texture, and glides on seamlessly, no matter whether you’re looking to shape, define, or fill in brows. A built-in spoolie helps you blend everything in, and it also comes in 12 shades and has a 12-hour waterproof claim.

Shades: 12 | Size: 0.01 ounces | Waterproof: Yes | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Budget: Wet N Wild Ultimate Micro Brow Pencil

Wet N Wild Ultimate Micro Brow Pencil
What We Like
  • Great size tip

  • Extremely affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Not waterproof

  • Tip can snap off easily

True story: We stumbled upon this guy on a whim when we frantically ran into a drugstore during a vacation when we had forgotten our brow pencil (the horror). We bought it because it was the cheapest option, but it quickly became one of our go-tos. The ultra-fine (only 1.5 millimeters) tip makes for super natural-looking strokes, it’s retractable and comes with a built-in spoolie, and the pigment is creamy and lasts forever, though never looks or feels too waxy.

Shades: 4 | Size: 0.002 ounces | Waterproof: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Drugstore: L'Oreal Paris Brow Stylist Definer Waterproof Eyebrow Pencil

L’Oréal Paris Brow Stylist Definer
What We Like
  • Wide range of shades

  • Waterproof

  • Easy to use

What We Don't Like
  • Fine tip is hard for large areas

  • Not cruelty-free

Mechanical and retractable, there’s no need to worry about sharpening this guy, which always has a ready-to-go tip. More specifically, an ultra-fine, 0.5-millimeter tip for drawing on even the tiniest of brow hairs. It’s waterproof, blends nicely, and comes in 10 shades, an impressive number for a drugstore product.

Shades: 10 | Size:  0.003 ounces | Waterproof: Yes | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Blondes: PYT Beauty Brow Goals Pencil

PYT Beauty Brow Goals Pencil
What We Like
  • Pigment is easily buildable

  • Clean, cruelty-free, and sustainable

  • Easy to use

What We Don't Like
  • Not waterproof

Finding the right shade of blonde for your hair can be tough, but finding the right shade of blonde brow product can be equally challenging. Even though there’s only one blonde shade offered in the line-up for this pencil, we’ve found it to be surprisingly complimentary on a wide array of blondes. Not to mention that the warm brown shade also works well on darker blondes. Bonus points for the fact that the pigment is easily buildable and that the pencil itself is made with 47% recycled plastic. 

Shades: 5 | Size: 0.006 ounces | Waterproof:  No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean:  Yes

Best for Black Hair: NYX Professional Makeup Micro Brow Pencil

NYX Professional Makeup Micro Brow Pencil
What We Like
  • Very affordable

  • Great size tip

  • Wide range of shades

What We Don't Like
  • Not waterproof

Yes, this comes in a black shade (obviously), and one that isn’t too harsh or intense at that. But it also comes in a rich espresso, which is deep enough that it can also be a good option for those with black hair. No matter which shade you choose, the waxy formula grips—and stays put—on even the finest of hairs for a long-lasting result.

Shades: 7 | Size: 0.31 ounces | Waterproof: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

What Our Editors Say

"This is my ultimate brow pencil—I'm not sure I'll ever use another. The price point can't be beaten, and the fine tip (which doesn't break as easily as other brands can) is perfect for drawing thin, natural-looking strokes." — Kathryn Vandervalk, Editorial & Strategy Director

Best for Redheads: Maybelline New York Brow Precise Shaping Eyebrow Pencil

Maybelline New York Brow Precise Shaping Eyebrow Pencil
What We Like
  • Very affordable

  • Has built-in spoolie

What We Don't Like
  • Not waterproof

  • Classic pencil requires a sharpener

Redheads always seem to get the short end of the stick in the beauty world, but at least with this option, they’re definitely not getting the short end of the brow pencil. The auburn hue works surprisingly well with a wide range of different red hair colors. It boasts a built-in spoolie (always a plus), and we can’t forget to mention the affordable price, too.

Shades: 4 | Size: 0.02 ounces | Waterproof: No | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Splurge: Chanel Crayon Sourcils Sculpting Eyebrow Pencil

Chanel Crayon Sourcils Sculpting Eyebrow Pencil
What We Like
  • Highly pigmented

  • Smooth texture that sharpens well

What We Don't Like
  • Only comes in five shades

  • Not waterproof

It may seem a little wild to spend this much on a brow pencil, we get it, but this one really is worth the price. And no, not just because it’s Chanel. The color it packs is super pigmented, meaning you only need to use it a little bit at a time, meaning one pencil lasts forever (which should help take the sting out of the price). It sharpens beautifully every time and has the nicest, smoothest texture. We just wish it came in more than five colors.

Shades: 5 | Size: 0.03 ounces | Waterproof: No | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Waterproof: Chantecaille Waterproof Brow Definer

Chantecaille Waterproof Brow Definer
What We Like
  • Offers several benefits in one

  • Waterproof

What We Don't Like
  • Only comes in three shades

Cantor is a fan of this multi-tasker: “​​It combines the benefits of a waterproof brow pencil, wax, and powder in one formula,” he says. “I love it because it not only defines, fills, and details for a natural-looking brow, but also provides some hold due to the pomade in the formula.” What more could you ask for?

Shades: 3 | Size: 0.012 ounces | Waterproof: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean:  No

Best Universal: IT Cosmetics Brow Power Universal Eyebrow Pencil in Universal Taupe

It Cosmetics Brow Power Universal Eyebrow Pencil in Universal Taupe
What We Like
  • Universal shade really is universal

  • Good-for-your hair ingredients

What We Don't Like
  • Tip can snap off easily

  • Only comes in three other shades

If your arches could use a little TLC, why not use a brow product that’s going to give them exactly that, all while making them look good? This guy does exactly that, thanks to the addition of hair-strengthening biotin and saw palmetto extract, coupled with green tea and antioxidants, too.

Also nice? It takes the guesswork out of finding your right shade since it comes in just one universal color. Don’t freak out, it actually really does work, transforming to match your hair color based on how much pressure you apply. Really.

Shades: 4 | Size: 0.005 ounces | Waterproof: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Clean Beauty: Kosas Brow Pop Clean Dual-Action Defining Eyebrow Pencil

Kosas Brow Pop Clean Dual-Action Defining Eyebrow Pencil
What We Like
  • Comes in 10 shades

  • Good-for-your hair ingredients

  • Clean and cruelty-free

What We Don't Like
  • Needs to be blended well

  • Not waterproof

There’s a lot to love about this pick. The clean, natural formula is a huge plus, as is the unique triangular tip; use the thick side to help fill in more sparse areas and the thinner side for more precise definition. Speaking of sparse areas, the formula also touts conditioning castor oil and panthenol to leave brows looking lush and shiny.

Shades: 10 | Size: 0.002 ounces | Waterproof: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

What Our Editors Say

"My brows are distant cousins at best. Both are sparse and have random bare patches. It’s this brow pencil—combined with the brand’s brow gel—that makes them look more uniform. (Dare I say—even sisters?!) Short, quick sweeps of this pencil fill in areas where hair refuses to grow, and make my brows look lush and full." —Jesa Marie Calor, Editor

Best Classic Pencil: Laura Mercier Eyebrow Pencil

Laura Mercier Eyebrow Pencil
What We Like
  • Very versatile texture and finish

  • Easy to use

What We Don't Like
  • Only comes in four shades

  • Needs to be sharpened

For those who don’t love twist-ups, this classic pencil is an excellent choice. It’s a top pick for Cantor, who lauds the unique wax/powder texture that makes for “an incredibly realistic finish.” He adds that it’s both firm enough for detailing yet creamy enough to fill in brows with ease.

Shades: 4 | Size: 0.04 ounces | Waterproof: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Shade Range: Fenty Beauty Brow MVP Ultra Fine Brow Pencil and Styler

Fenty Beauty Brow MVP Ultra Fine Brow Pencil and Styler
What We Like
  • Comes in 14 shades

  • Unique brush

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

  • Not waterproof

While some brands are (finally) starting to wise up, generally speaking, brow products often come in a very limited array of colors. Not this one from Ri-Ri’s line, which boasts a whopping 14 shades. If you have yet to find a brow pencil that works with your hair color, try this one, we promise. Also worth noting: Rather than having a traditional spoolie on the other end, this has a small brush, great for both blending color and brushing/grooming brows in general.

Shades: 14 | Size: 0.0024 ounces | Waterproof: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Fine Tip: Uoma Beauty Brow-Fro Baby Hair Pencil

Uoma Beauty
What We Like
  • Long-lasting

  • Easy to use

What We Don't Like
  • Not waterproof

This high-precision pencil fills in brows with thin hair-like strokes that rival some of the most well-known brands in the brow game. Users rave that it goes on naturally without a shiny or wax-like finish and lasts all day long.

Shades: 6 | Size: 0.002 ounces | Waterproof: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean:  No

Best for Beginners: Arches & Halos Micro Defining Brow Pencil

Arches & Halos Micro Defining Brow Pencil
What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Easy to use

  • Wide range of shades

What We Don't Like
  • Not waterproof

If you're new to using a brow pencil, this user-friendly pick is a great place to start. It has a precision fine, retractable tip on one end for easy, natural application and a super soft spoolie brush on the other end great for shaping and fluffing. “It makes creating natural-looking brows a breeze, given the realistic, hair-like strokes it delivers and comes in a wide range of colors,” says Cantor of another one of his favorites. 

Shades: 8 | Size: 0.003 ounces | Waterproof: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Final Verdict

The Benefit Goof Proof Brow Pencil (view at Sephora) (from a brand that reigns supreme in the eyebrow category) is our overall fave, available in a dozen shades and boasting a creamy texture that blends in beautifully. Speaking of shades, if you want to take the guesswork out of which color to go with, try the It Cosmetics Brow Brow Power Universal Eyebrow Pencil in Universal Taupe (view at Ulta), one color that really does blend in well with pretty much any and every hair shade. The L’Oréal Paris Brow Stylist Definer Waterproof Eyebrow Pencil (view at Ulta) is our favorite drugstore option, super affordable, waterproof, and retractable so you never have to worry about finding a sharpener, while the Kosas Brow Pop Clean Dual-Action Defining Eyebrow Pencil (view at Sephora) is our favorite clean option, touting a formula that’s also infused with good-for-your brow ingredients.

What to Look for in an Eyebrow Pencil 

The Formula

Not all pencils are created equal, notes Cantor. Classic pencils are great for filling in brows, while softer, twist-up, or retractable formulas typically create more hair-like strokes and are a good option for those with thinner brows, he says.

Built-in Spoolie

Since blending the pigment thoroughly is paramount for creating a natural-looking end result, pencils with built-in spoolies are always a win and make the process easier,  no extra tools are required.

FAQ
  • How do you use an eyebrow pencil?

    First, try flattening the tip slightly, pushing it perpendicularly against a flat surface, says Cantor. Then, hold it at a 45-degree angle to your skin, and draw on quick, thin strokes that mimic hair. 

  • Can you use an eyebrow pencil as an eyeliner?

    In a word, yes, though not all eyebrow pencils will work as well for this purpose. A soft, sharpened pencil will work, but twist-ups usually won’t, says Cantor. And regardless, keep in mind that any brow pencil is going to be less pigmented than a traditional eyeliner and that it shouldn’t be used in the waterline, he says.

Why Trust Byrdie?

Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. “Blessed” with both very fine and very blonde brows, a brow pencil is an absolute must for her, even on no-makeup days. She’s used most of the ones on this list and is currently rotating between the IT Cosmetics, PYT Beauty, and Kosas options. 

Meet the Expert

Bryan Cantor is a celebrity makeup artist and beauty expert based in New York City. He brings his impressive knowledge of makeup products, skincare, application techniques, and professional tips and secrets to clients and companies in New York City and across the globe.

According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find enough eyebrow pencils from Black-owned and/or Black-founded businesses to meet this percentage. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at contact@byrdie.com and we will evaluate the product ASAP.

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