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Brow Pencil vs. Powder: The Ultimate Comparison
Your eyebrows help frame your face and give definition to your entire look, but using the wrong brow product (or even too much of the right brow product) can ruin your look faster than the removal of a waxing strip.
Together, we’ll talk about what creates a perfect brow and whether brow pencils or powders are best.
What Creates a Perfect Brow?
The ideal eyebrow has a few easy elements.
Brows Should Be Intentional
Eyebrows that don’t get much attention (like grooming) are incredibly noticeable. Stray hairs visible on the forehead or between the eyes can look messy, and hairs left too close to the eyelid can interfere with your makeup application. Eyebrows should look manicured and purposeful.
Brows Should Look Natural
If you’ve ever had a bad experience with a brow artist or perhaps gone a little too tweezer-happy at home, you know the horror of realizing you’re going to have a few uncomfortable weeks until your brows grow out.
Keeping your eyebrows natural means grooming them around their natural shape instead of trying to force them to be something they aren’t (which usually involves excessive waxing and painting arches where they don’t belong).
Brows Should Be Understated but Defined
When someone looks at your face, you don’t want the attention to go straight to your brows, but you want your brows to be clearly defined. That means creating a natural look that doesn’t look like your brows are stenciled on.
What Should I Know About Brow Pencil?
Brow pencils are just what they sound like: wooden pencils that are used to add the illusion of extra brow hairs to your eyebrows with precise strokes. Eyebrow pencils are a classic makeup product, and when used properly, they can help someone who has a good brow shape fill in sparse areas without looking heavy or too dark.
How Do You Use Eyebrow Pencils?
You can use a brow pencil to fill in the gaps. While it may be popular to outline your eyebrows with a pencil and color them in like a coloring book, we 0/10 recommend this technique if you’re going for a natural look — it tends to turn out looking a bit block-y.
It can be hard to keep brow pencils natural because their waxes and oils can give your eyebrows a shiny, unnatural appearance. As such, it can be best to use them sparingly to create tiny hair-like strokes in the brows.
One last tip is to choose a brow pencil that is the same color as your natural brow hair or a shade darker if your eyebrows are very light. This will help you avoid a heavy, angry-looking brow and also add definition to brows that are barely visible.
To use a brow pencil:
- Prep your eyebrow by using a spoolie brush (like the kind you get with a tube of mascara) to pull the brow hairs upward and outward.
- Make sure your brow pencil is sharpened and begin to fill in thin areas with small, quick strokes of the pencil.
- Blend. Using the spoolie end, blend the brush strokes into your brow so that they don’t look harsh.
Start out with fewer strokes than you think you need, remembering that it’s easier to add more later but much harder to remove additional strokes.
Using a brow pencil is easy. You only need the pencil and a spoolie brush, and RMS Beauty’s Back2Brow Pencil gives you both in one tool. Brow pencils are perfect for adding definition and pigment to your brow and work great as a filler for sparse brows.
The Scoop on Brow Pencil Ingredients
You know the team at RMS Beauty is always inspecting product ingredients. Brow pencils can contain unsafe ingredients like parabens and carbon black. These ingredients are carcinogens and can also result in eye sensitivity.
Instead, look for brow-nourishing ingredients. Remember that eyebrow hair growth matters, and using ingredients like organic jojoba oil and vegetable squalane can help hydrate hair follicles and delicate skin around the brows.
What Should I Know About Brow Powder?
Unlike brow pencils, brow powders come in a compact similar to eyeshadow. They are more finely milled than eyeshadow, which makes them the perfect eyebrow makeup. Their fine-milled finish allows them to penetrate eyebrows and reach the skin, where they can create a completely natural, slightly accented look.
How Do You Use Eyebrow Powder?
Using eyebrow powder like a makeup artist is easy with the right tools. You’ll need an eyebrow powder and an angled brush, like our Back2Brow Brush. Our angled brow brush easily sweeps powder through your brow hairs, helping you get a natural makeup look with ease — without leaving powder on your brow hairs that could end up falling below your eyes and creating a mess.
To use an eyebrow powder like a pro, try these steps:
- Using your brush, pick up a small amount of powder from the palette. You only need a little; remember, you can always add more.
- Sweep the powder upward and outward through the arch to the outer edge of your brow.
- If you have spare areas, add a few sweeps of powder through them.
- Use the spoolie end to define your arch, but smooth the powder upward and blend it in.
Because brow powder is lighter than an eyebrow pencil, you may want a slightly darker shade than you would typically use, especially if you have lighter-colored eyebrows.
Brow Powder Pros
Practically every brow stylist can agree that brow powder creates a more natural, less obvious look. Brow powder also has a better reputation for staying in place (i.e., it’s less likely to sweat off or fade during the day) than brow pencils.
Powders have more of a matte finish than pencils, which can look waxy or shiny. Your natural eyebrows aren’t waxy or shiny, so powder will give you a more natural look.
Brow Powder Cons
If you have really, really thin brows, it can be hard to pump up their volume without looking like you have a “powder brow” or a brow that has been completely powdered onto your face. Powders usually have a much lighter tint than pencils, which can be problematic if you need a darker shade for extremely light colored brows.
Brow Powder Ingredients You Should Know
Just like any beauty product, eyebrow powder can contain ingredients that aren’t safe for your skin or your body. Talc is a predominant ingredient in traditional beauty brow powders and is generally best avoided because of its carcinogenic properties (and dryness).
Synthetic color additives are also common in brow powders, which can also be dangerous and irritating to your eyes. You’ll never find these ingredients in RMS Beauty’s brow powders or in any of our products. Instead, we use natural ingredients like mica and titanium and iron oxides.
Which is Better: Brow Powders or Brow Pencils?
Comparing brow pencils to brow powders is kind of like comparing highlighters to bronzers; they both do different jobs and aren’t really interchangeable. If you have thicker eyebrows that only need a little definition and filling in, a brow pencil is a great tool for the job.
If you have thinner or lighter-colored brows that need a little plumping up, a brow powder is the solution for adding believable volume without looking artificial.
What Are Some Tips and Tricks for Brows?
Brows can make or break your look. Too much can look cartoonish and overdone, and too little can look washed out or vacant. Looking for a few tips for getting fabulous brows? We asked our founder, Rose-Marie Swift.
- Avoid using an eyebrow gel. Brow gels are unnecessary brow products. They can give your eyebrows a matted-down look and an artificial sheen that isn’t natural.
- Less is more. With eyebrow products, less is always more. The idea is to use enough to make the brow defined but not the center of attention and focus of your look.
- Should you get microblading? Sure, if you want to. As for Rose-Marie, she prefers tweezing as the easiest and most precise way to get clearly defined, well-manicured brows and the best brow arch possible.
If your brows need a little attention, a professional brow artist is best for helping you define your natural brow shape and tame any wild hairs.
Everything You Need for Amazing Brows
Whether you’re a pencil purest or a brow powder pro, RMS Beauty has everything you need to create the perfect brows that look and feel natural. As always, you can trust that our products are completely safe for your eyes, skin, and body and will outperform traditional beauty favorites. The cleanest, greenest, and best-looking brows start with RMS Beauty.