There are so many new and exciting makeup products for brows on the cosmetics market right now. From brow gel to brow powder and brow mascara, there’s plenty to choose from when it comes to achieving the sculpted, defined brows of your dreams.
However, the downside to the rise in diverse eyebrow products is that it’s become easy to overlook the ultimate staple of the eyebrow definition: the drugstore brow pencil.
While it can be tempting to branch out and try new (and expensive) formulas on your brows, the quality of drugstore brow pencils has skyrocketed in recent years. This means that you can often achieve high-end results for a fraction of the price by finding a drugstore pencil that works for you.
Today, we’ll be presenting you with our selection of the 5 best drugstore eyebrow pencils that you can buy right now through online retailers or from your local drugstore. Using our product reviews and tailored buyer’s guide, you’ll be well on your way to finding your new favorite eyebrow pencil!
- Best Drugstore Eyebrow Pencils Reviews
- Best Overall: Maybelline New York Ultra Slim Defining Eyebrow Pencil
- Runner-Up: Covergirl Easy Breezy Brow Micro-Fine Fill + Define Pencil
- Best Budget: E.l.f Instant Lift Brow Pencil
- Best Waterproof: L’Oreal Paris Makeup Brow Stylist Definer
- Best Vegan (and Cruelty-Free): NYX Professional Makeup Micro Brow Pencil
- How to Choose the Best Drugstore Eyebrow Pencil
Best Drugstore Eyebrow Pencils Reviews
Best Overall: Maybelline New York Ultra Slim Defining Eyebrow Pencil
The Maybelline New York Ultra Slim Defining Eyebrow Pencil is proof that you don’t need to venture outside of the drugstore for amazing quality and stunning results.
This is a mechanical brow pencil, which means that it never needs to be sharpened and will ensure consistency as well as precise strokes.
Maybelline’s Ultra Slim Defining Eyebrow Pencil applies smoothly thanks to its creamy and break-resistant formula. This formula allows for effortless application and highly-pigmented brows that last all day.
Something we especially appreciate about this drugstore eyebrow pencil is the built-in spoolie brush that allows you to neatly groom your brows, enhancing the appearance of individual hairs.
Plus, the shade range of the Maybelline New York Ultra Slim Defining Eyebrow Pencil consists of 8 shades for maximum inclusivity. The range encompasses the entire spectrum of brow colors from light blonde to black.
Our only significant critique of this brow pencil is the fact that the pencil itself is very small, and therefore, contains less product than some other pencils on the market. While the quality is phenomenal, you’ll probably need to replace it fairly often.
- Mechanical pencil – Designed for consistent precision
- Smooth consistency – Easy to apply
- Break-resistant formula – Even, long-lasting application
- Built-in spoolie – Allows for grooming
- 8 shades available – Covers light blonde to black
- Small amount of product – Will need to be repurchased regularly
The Covergirl Easy Breezy Brow Micro-Fine Fill + Define Pencil has received rave reviews from experts and influencers since its release, so it’s no surprise that this product ranks highly on our list of top drugstore eyebrow pencils.
This brow pencil ticks almost all the boxes that define a high-quality drugstore eyebrow pencil.
Covergirl’s Easy Breezy Pencil has an ultra-fine tip, ensuring maximum precision. The pencil is capable of creating both bold and natural-looking brows for any occasion, and can even be used to mimic the appearance of natural brow hairs.
The spoolie brush built into the end of the Covergirl Easy Breezy Brow Pencil is one of the product’s most important features. Using the spoolie, you can tidy up and enhance the definition of your brow hairs.
This is not a waterproof formula, but the good news is that the lack of waterproofing in this product has an advantage: it’s really easy to remove.
If you’ve ever spent 10 minutes furiously scrubbing at your face trying to lift product out of your eyebrows, you’ll know how frustrating (and uncomfortable) this process can be.
With the Covergirl Easy Breezy Brow Micro-Fine Fill + Define pencil, all you have to do is apply a little soap and water, meaning you won’t be irritating your skin during the removal process.
Although the shade range for the Covergirl eyebrow pencil isn’t as extensive as that of the Maybelline New York pencil, it still covers the spectrum of brow shades from soft blonde to rich brown.
The only thing we would recommend readers bear in mind is that the pencil needs to be pressed quite firmly against the brow for maximum pigmentation. Because of this, application can require more effort than with some other products.
- Micro-fine tip – Ultimate precision
- Spoolie brush built in – Grooms and defines
- Easy to remove – Just use soap and water
- 4-shade range – From soft blonde to rich brown
- Requires significant pressure during application – Not the easiest to apply
Best Budget: E.l.f Instant Lift Brow Pencil
One of the main reasons for choosing drugstore brow pencils over high-end brands is the lower prices. If you’ve been struggling to fit your brow routine into your budget, we recommend the E.l.f Instant Lift Brow Pencil.
E.l.f has outdone itself with this creamy, super smooth formula that glides onto brows for a clearly-defined, yet natural-looking finish.
Something else to mention about the formula is that this E.l.f pencil is free from irritating substances, including parabens and phthalates.
But the benefits of the E.l.f eyebrow pencil don’t stop at the formula itself! The pencil is actually dual-sided, meaning that it’s a two-in-one product.
There is a pencil on one end and a spoolie on the other. This allows you to comb your brows into shape before you apply the product to fill in any sparse areas.
The end result is a pair of well-defined brows that can either be toned down with soft, hair-like strokes for a more natural look or turned up to look more striking.
This brow pencil is available in four shade options. The range consists of versatile colors that can be built up for more pigmentation if necessary.
Available colors include Taupe, Neutral Brown, Deep Brown, and Auburn. However, it should be noted that the Auburn shade is much more brown than red.
Additionally, for our animal-loving readers, the E.l.f. brow pencil is both vegan and cruelty-free. That means that no animal-derived ingredients are featured in the formula, and the product has not been tested on animals at any point during or after its development.
- Creamy formula – Glides onto brows
- Dual-sided – Comb and define
- Safe formula – No phthalates or parabens
- Vegan and cruelty-free – No animal testing or ingredients
- 4-shade range – Versatile
- Auburn color not as described – More brown than red
Best Waterproof: L’Oreal Paris Makeup Brow Stylist Definer
If you’re looking for a waterproof eyebrow pencil that you can wear in the rain, to the gym, or even in the shower, our top recommendation is the L’Oreal Paris Makeup Brow Stylist Definer.
The main attraction of this L’Oreal brow pencil is its ultra-fine point, which never needs sharpening due to the mechanical nature of the pencil.
Because the tip is so fine, it can be used to create soft strokes that will make the shape and color of your natural brows pop without taking attention away from the rest of your look.
If you have naturally sparse brows, this pencil is the perfect way to fill in the gaps.
Meanwhile, the built-in spoolie brush means that you can comb your brow hairs into place before using the pencil tip to enhance and define.
We’ve mentioned that this brow pencil is mechanical, meaning that you won’t need to sharpen the tip yourself.
However, this pencil is also retractable, which means that you can lower the tip back into the body of the pencil after use. This goes a long way towards extending the longevity of your pencil because there is less risk of damage to the point.
Even better, the L’Oreal Paris Brow Stylist Definer has the most extensive color range of any product in our review section.
It’s available in 10 shades, including light blonde, blonde, dark blonde, taupe, light brunette, ash brown, brunette, dark brunette, soft black, and black. No matter your brow hair color, you’ll be able to find this L’Oreal pencil in a shade that suits you.
Due to being waterproof, the Brow Stylist Definer is long-wearing and suitable for any occasion, whether you’re going to the office or to the beach.
Unfortunately, much like our top pick, this brow pencil doesn’t contain very much product, which means that it runs out quicker than we would like.
- Ultra-fine point – For clear definition
- Built-in spoolie – Tames and shapes unruly brows
- Mechanically retractable tip – Extends longevity
- Waterproof – Wear all day for any occasion
- Available in 10 colors – Light blonde to black
- Limited product – Runs out quickly
Best Vegan (and Cruelty-Free): NYX Professional Makeup Micro Brow Pencil
The Micro Brow Pencil from NYX Professional Makeup is an amazing product in its own right. However, one of the major advantages of this brow pencil over the majority of the competition is the fact that the formula is both vegan and cruelty-free.
While our budget-friendly pick, the E.l.f Instant Lift Brow Pencil, is also cruelty-free and vegan, this is the product we’d recommend for vegans or cruelty-free shoppers looking for slightly higher quality as opposed to the lowest price.
This eyebrow pencil features a fine, pointed tip that classifies the product as a precision brow pencil. With the delicate strokes made possible by the NYX eyebrow pencil, you’ll be able to create a signature brow look to rival the work of makeup artists.
A built-in spoolie brush can be found on the end of the pencil for careful brow grooming. In combination with the precise tip, the spoolie helps to shape and define your brows to minimize sparse areas and make the most of your natural shape, whether you have thicker or thinner brows.
The pointed tip of the brow pencil is retractable, so you can house it safely inside the pencil body between uses. However, we did notice that the mechanism isn’t always consistent and the point can sometimes sink back into the pencil during use.
NYX Professional Makeup does not test any of its makeup products on animals. Nyx’s cruelty-free status was called into question in previous years due to the animal testing conducted in China by its parent company (L’Oreal).
However, as of 2021, animal testing is no longer mandatory in China. While the brand is not completely vegan, it does have an extended range of vegan products, including the Micro Brow Pencil.
The NYX Micro Brow Pencil is available in 8 colors: black, espresso, brunette, ash brown, chocolate, taupe, and blonde. The spectrum encompassed by this range makes it easy to bring out the natural beauty of your normal brow color.
- Extra-fine tip – Precision brow pencil
- Comes with spoolie attached – Tidy and shape
- Retractable – Minimal risk of damage/waste
- Cruelty-free and vegan – No animal testing or ingredients
- 8 color options – Blonde to black
- Occasional mechanism failure – Tip sometimes slides back into the pencil
How to Choose the Best Drugstore Eyebrow Pencil
The drugstore eyebrow pencils we’ve reviewed for today’s article are all of great quality and produce excellent results. That means that picking just one can be tricky!
Luckily for you, we’ve put together this buyers’ guide to help you make the best choice for your brows.
It’s absolutely crucial to choose an eyebrow pencil in the correct shade for your brows. At the end of the day, you can be using the creamiest, smoothest formula in the world, but if the color isn’t quite right, it’s going to throw off your whole look.
Luckily, most reputable drugstore brands provide their brow products in inclusive shade ranges, from various shades of blonde to deep brown or black.
Deciding whether to opt for a fine pencil tip or a thicker point can seem like a difficult choice. However, in the vast majority of cases, we would always recommend a fine point.
This is because fine-tipped eyebrow pencils are generally more versatile than their chunkier counterparts.
With a thin pencil, you can achieve light, soft markings that mimic the natural appearance of brow hairs. This is great for making your penciled brows appear as realistic as possible.
However, by building up your brow coverage using a fine-tipped pencil, you can also create bolder looks as needed.
We recommend investing in a mechanical, retractable pencil, if possible. This way, you never have to sharpen the pencil to achieve a fine point, and you can protect the tip of the pencil from damage between uses.
It’s always best to prioritize eyebrow pencils with creamy and smooth consistencies. This kind of formula will ensure that the product glides onto your brows and adheres to your brow hairs without clumping or drying them out.
There are several perspectives from which to consider longevity when it comes to drugstore brow pencils.
First, a good drugstore eyebrow pencil should always be long-wearing. A waterproof formula can help to extend the long-wearing nature of a brow pencil by limiting the impact of water.
There’s also the longevity of the product itself to consider. If you’re somebody who does their brows every day, or on a regular basis, then a product that runs out too quickly can be a real inconvenience. Therefore, it’s worth checking how much product comes in the pencil before you commit to your purchase.
As we mentioned earlier, retractability is an important function for preserving the longevity of an eyebrow pencil. If you’re worried about damage to the tip of your pencil between uses, investing in a retractable pencil is the best thing you can do.
You should also pay attention to any ingredients used in the formula of your chosen eyebrow pencil.
While you don’t need to know the science behind every single component of your brow pencil’s formula, it’s a good idea to be aware of some of the ingredients you should avoid so that you can make the safest possible choice.
For example, we would always highly recommend choosing a formula that is free from phthalates and parabens. Both of these substances have been linked to serious health issues, including asthma, hormone disruption, and reproductive-ill health.
If you’re vegan, or even simply against the use of animals in the cosmetics industry, you will also need to verify whether any animal-derived ingredients have been used in the formula. This is normally easily verifiable by establishing whether the company or product is labeled as vegan. If so, you can rest assured that no animal ingredients are present.
The single most sought-after additional feature for drugstore eyebrow pencils is a spoolie brush. This tool can often be found on the end of an eyebrow pencil, and its purpose is to groom and shape individual brow hairs before applying the formula.
Using a spoolie before filling in your brows is a great way to help define the individual hairs for a more natural look. It’s also useful if your brows have a tendency to get a little unruly – it takes literally seconds to correct stubborn or untidy hairs with a spoolie brush.