When you want a quick brow pick-me-up, gel is the way to go. It typically comes in a mascara-style tube with a spoolie brush, perfect for distributing the buildable formula through every single one of your brow hairs. But what differentiates one brow gel from the next? We took on the super-tough job of testing seven new ones to find out which one truly stands out.
The seven brow gels up for review were Maybelline Tattoo Waterproof Eyebrow Gel, Guerlain The Brow Mascara, Nude By Nature Precision Brow Mascara, Tarte Busy Gal Brows Tinted Brow Gel, Nudestix Eyebrow Stylus Pencil & Gel, Estée Lauder Brow Now Stay-In-Place Brow Gel and L’Oréal Brow Stylist Boost & Set Brow Mascara.
We spent a week testing and talking out our feelings, and in spite of our different arch situations, we all landed on a favourite: Tarte’s Busy Gal Brows Tinted Brow Gel. Read on to find out what we loved about it and it and its formula — and which products were a close second.
Erinn Stewart, Assistant Fashion & Beauty Editor
On Busy Gal Brows: “I love that it sets your brows in place without giving them that tight texture that feels like you have old-school hair gel in your brows. Plus, it dries almost instantly. What I like most about the product, however, is the applicator, which is small and slightly flexible so it’s easy to control placement and how much is deposited.”
On her other fave, Guerlain The Brow Mascara: “The teeny-tiny brush head makes this product super easy to apply, giving me maximum control over each stroke. I love the buildable formula and the shade matches my hair perfectly. The highlighter component is a nice added bonus, too. It’s a great two-in-one for my gym bag or for travelling.”What No One Tells You About The Eyebrow-Tattooing Trend Microblading
Mishal Cazmi, Associate Fashion & Beauty Editor, Hello! Canada
On Busy Gal Brows: “I love the look of brushed-up brows and this tiny mascara wand lets you zero in on individual hairs and define them with ease. The slim, lightweight packaging was an instant win for me. The cap is long enough to get a proper hold on it and light enough to maneuver. And I found the bristles softer than other brow mascaras, although it did take a bit of work to blend.”
On her other favourite, Maybelline Tattoo Waterproof Eyebrow Gel: “Important lesson: read instructions properly so you know to use the accompanying spoolie instead of applying the mascara directly to your brow hair. I obviously didn’t and ended up making a mess. Even though I found this brow gel the most difficult to apply, it’s also the one that looked the best—the deep brown shade didn’t look red against my skin, it locked in for the long haul and filled in my brow hairs almost as well as a brow powder.”
Charlotte Herrold, Acting Style Director
On Busy Gal Brows: “I’ve been using Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Waterproof Brow Mousse for years now — it’s my Holy Grail brow product and I’ll probably never stray. But the brand’s new gel makes a great complement. Now, instead of painstakingly filling my brows with the mousse and a slanted brush, I line my arches with it and then more easily fill them with the gel. It shaves a mere minute from my morning routine, but anyone who knows me (and my embarrassing tendency to arrive places juuuust on time), knows that minute matters!”
On her other fave, Guerlain The Brow Mascara: “At first, I was like ‘ugh, I really don’t need another highlighter,’ but after one use I actually really appreciated this two-in one product. The brow gel has a perfect consistency and great hold without feeling clumpy or crispy, and the highlighting pencil on the other end is the perfect size to get right under your arches, so you don’t end up with shimmer where you don’t want it.”
Alexandra Gater, Home Editor
On Busy Gal Brows: “The first thing I thought when I put this on is that it’s like hairspray for my brows in the best possible way. It didn’t make them overly wispy, but made them look full and groomed. The product goes on thick but doesn’t feel hard once it dries. The tint is good, but I’d go a shade darker than normal if you’re looking for something to fill in gaps.”
On her other fave, Guerlain The Brow Mascara: “The brow mascara on this wasn’t too sticky (a major plus!) but I didn’t really see a difference in tint. The brush did comb through my brows and keep them groomed and in place. But can we talk about this highlighter?! It’s so creamy and did really define my brow bone. I keep reaching for this product now just for the highlighter. If you’re looking for a good brow gel with a bonus, this is definitely a good pick.”Why This $5 Mascara Will Be Your New Holy Grail Beauty Product
Emily MacCulloch, Contributing Style Editor
On Busy Gal Brows: “I love this gel’s formula — it’s super pigmented so it covers well (it even looks great on its own without the help of a brow pencil), the brush is small and easy to use and it has great holding power, staying put for 12+ hours. But if you’re like me and prefer your brows to look on the ashier side, the shades do run warm. I test drove Taupe and I found that it looked a bit too red on my fair, pinky skin.”
On her other fave, L’Oréal Brow Stylist Boost & Set Brow Mascara: “This gel’s slanted wand makes application a breeze and I love the ultra thin brush. The formula adds a nice amount of volume to my brows without it looking too heavy and makeup-y. The gel has a great, firm hold that lasts all day and the shade range is neutral (not too warm or cool).”
Tara MacInnis, Associate Fashion & Beauty Editor, FLARE
On Busy Gal Brows: “I rarely come across a brow mascara I don’t at least like, because there really is no easier delivery method when it comes to brow prods. This one, though, is unlike all the rest I’ve tried. The brush is nice and small (perfect for getting all your hairs without overdoing it), the handle on the wand is long and thus easy to manoeuvre, and the formula adds just the right amount of pigment. Also, the packaging is so cute. Defs my new go-to.”
On her other fave, Nude by Nature Precision Brow Mascara (layered with a little of the Estée Lauder Brow Now Stay-In-Place Brow Gel): “Huge fan of this new-to-Canada brand, and this brow mascara was no exception. The brush is the perfect size, the formula is creamy and stays put, and it gave my brows just the right amount of definition. Sometimes, I found the brush did deposit a little too much product, but my quick fix? Layering on a little of the Estée Lauder clear gel to comb it through and soften it.”