Brow products I have known: reviews, swatches

Left, before; right, after. I actually cheated -- the before was taken after I removed the Clinique Superfine Liner for Brows, hence the blotchy forehead. Concealer, Soap and Glory Kick Ass; powder, & Other Stories Powder; lipstick, & Other Stories in Montagnac Berry; mascara, & Other Stories Curling Mascara.

Left, before; right, after. I actually cheated -- the before was taken after I removed the Clinique Superfine Liner for Brows, hence the blotchy forehead. Concealer, Soap and Glory Kick Ass; powder, & Other Stories Powder; lipstick, & Other Stories in Montagnac Berry; mascara, & Other Stories Curling Mascara.

Beyond a bit of plucking or the occasional threading, I rarely do anything to my brows. They're not particularly full, and they're kind of uneven, but I'm fairly happy with them from day to day.

Even so, I can't deny that they look just that little bit better when I fill them in, particularly in photos. So I'll do them on a whim -- mainly when I'm putting a full face of makeup. It just seems to balance things out, and help frame the face.

Brow products: powders. Clockwise from top left: Benefit Brow Zings in Dark, Burberry Complete Eye Palette in 01. Smokey Grey, Bobbi Brown Eye Shadow in Taupe.

Brow products: powders. Clockwise from top left: Benefit Brow Zings in Dark, Burberry Complete Eye Palette in 01. Smokey Grey, Bobbi Brown Eye Shadow in Taupe.

I was first introduced to the idea of filling in my brows at a Benefit counter in Sydney two years ago, when I had a brow shaping and the brow tech consciensciously upsold me on their Brow Zings kit in Dark. "See!" she said, showing me in a handheld mirror. "Look what a difference it makes." 

I wasn't convinced -- it was a bit too much, especially since I'd never filled in my brows before and I wasn't used to seeing my face like that. I felt top-heavy.

I played around with the kit a little, but found that the colouring was just a bit too warm for me at the time. A year later I tried out the Clinique Superfine Liner for Brows (04 Black/Brown), which was a much better fit. It's a very fine tipped pencil, with a cooler, ashier tone than the wax and powder of Benefit Brow Zings, and was much easier to use -- no faffing around with brushes, although I do use the spoolie that came with Brow Zings to soften things up slightly after application.

Swatches, left to right: 1, Clinique Superfine (04 Black/Brown); 2, Soap & Glory Archery brow tint; 3, Soap & Glory Archery brow pencil; 4, Benefit Brow Zings (Dark, wax); 5, Benefit Brow Zings (Dark, powder); 6, Bobbi Brown Taupe; 7, Burberry 01 Smokey Grey palette (matte grey).

Swatches, left to right: 1, Clinique Superfine (04 Black/Brown); 2, Soap & Glory Archery brow tint; 3, Soap & Glory Archery brow pencil; 4, Benefit Brow Zings (Dark, wax); 5, Benefit Brow Zings (Dark, powder); 6, Bobbi Brown Taupe; 7, Burberry 01 Smokey Grey palette (matte grey).

More recently I bought the Soap & Glory Archery in Brownie Points, a tint and pencil duo. I didn't really need it -- I had the Benefit and Clinique after all, but Boots had a Buy One Get One Half Off deal, and I was itching to spend money I didn't really have, obviously. 

Bad idea.

Clinique Superfine Liner for Brows (04 Black/Brown) vs Soap & Glory Archery (Brownie Points): top, brow tint; bottom, precision shaping pencil.

Clinique Superfine Liner for Brows (04 Black/Brown) vs Soap & Glory Archery (Brownie Points): top, brow tint; bottom, precision shaping pencil.

It's not the formula or the results, but the design. There's a finely tipped brush for applying the "tint", which works well to fill in gaps and conveying a believable "shadow" on your skin. It's just a shame that the tiny holes in the pen sporadically splodges the tint everywhere -- I always get it inexplicably on my fingers, or on the floor, or on my forehead whenever I try to use it.

As for the waxy pencil -- the hardness of the formula helps to make sure that you don't over-apply, but it's so dry that it randomly breaks off in big chunks. It's also on the thick side (see the comparison photo). 

On the brows: Clinique Superfine liner for brows, Soap & Glory Archery brow tint and precision shaping pencil

On the brows: Clinique Superfine liner for brows, Soap & Glory Archery brow tint and precision shaping pencil

I've also played around with using eyeshadows as brow filler. Bobbi Brown Eye Shadow in Taupe works as a really subtle shade on me, while the matte grey in the Burberry Smokey Grey Palette is cooler-toned, and more pigmented. As convenience goes, though, I still greatly prefer the Clinique pencil.

On the brows: Benefit Brow Zings, Bobbi Brown Taupe, Burberry Smokey Grey

On the brows: Benefit Brow Zings, Bobbi Brown Taupe, Burberry Smokey Grey

My brow hairs do tend to stick out a bit as they're kind of thick and long, so I find the Benefit wax helps to tame them a little. To that end, I want to look at using brow gels like the Benefit Gimme Brow, or the ones from Anastasia, MAC, and Eyeko. Revlon's and Maybelline's are too crunchy, so they're out. Any suggestions on that front?