The realization hit me on day one of a semester abroad in Paris: The women here have incredible eyebrows. The allure of the French woman was and remains a tired cliché, but that doesn’t make it any less true — especially when you’re a 20-year-old college student who’s usually surrounded by people wearing sweatpants to class. Upon my arrival, I decided a lot of that appeal had to do with these bold, sculpted, untweezed eyebrows. It might have been the first cogent thought I had when the jet lag started to wear off.
Determined to get onboard, I made my way to Le Bon Marché, where a salesperson guided me directly to the Bobbi Brown cosmetics counter and pulled out the Brow Kit. She said it was the best thing they had for eyebrows, and started shading in mine (not sparse, per se, but certainly not dense or shapely) with the tiny angular brush. And then, voilà: my eyebrows graduated from merely existing to framing my face with some purpose. They had the full, brushed look of eyebrows that had never been over-tweezed, grew in perfect density, and had some shape without looking too sculpted. This is due to two things: (1) The diagonal brush is firm, so you can apply the powder in specific strokes and angles, and (2) each kit comes with two shades of brow color that’s slightly more ashen than you’d expect, not matching bright color-treated or artificially glossy head hair. But for a blonde or light-ashy brunette, that’s what makes the final result look so natural.
At Le Bon Marché, the price tag on the Brow Kit bit me. The exchange rate was unfavorable to Americans then, and I was a student. But time would reveal that this Brow Kit was no drugstore tube of mascara: It lasts for years. It’s been ten years since I bought my first Brow Kit in Paris, and I’m only just starting on my third one. By that math, my Cost Per Application is around three cents per day. And I do use it every day, without fail. These days, I’ll swipe a little Glossier Boy Brow over it, just to hold things in place for the day. And as a bonus: The kit — an all-in-one compact that makes this already-good makeup even better because it’s portable — includes a tiny pair of tweezers that are the best I’ve ever used, including full-size ones, full stop. I’ve worried over the last decade that Bobbi Brown might stop making this kit, but am at least reassured that if it goes extinct, I’ve got four or five years of full and soft eyebrows in the bank.
Other Strat-Approved Brow Fillers
Boy Brow — a universal favorite soon after Glossier launched it — is useful for combing brows and giving them some hold. I pair the brown Boy Brow with the Bobbi Brown kit.
“I love brow pencils. This M.A.C product is super easy to apply and very thin, so it does an excellent job of creating the illusion of individual hairs in patchy areas,” says brow-styling whiz Robin Evans, who recommended this pencil to Rio Viera-Newton.
“I have a lot of clients who either have extraordinarily light-pigmented, sparse brows or suffer from hair loss around the brow area. One of the most important things they can do for this is to go into a salon and get their brows tinted — this provides the illusion of thicker, bolder brows,” says Mitra Khazeni, of Matthew Preece salon in Santa Monica, who told Viera-Newton about this kit. “I also like to use powders on these kinds of brows instead of gels or pencils. Gels and pencils can look really intense and fake if the client is suffering from super-sparse brows. Instead, I use powder underneath the brows, which looks way more natural. My favorite is this kit from M.A.C that comes with two kinds of brushes, depending on what part of your brow you’re trying to tackle.”
Khazeni also recommended this brow powder to Viera-Newton. The two tones and the ashy shades are reminiscent of the brow kit — good for people who already have brushes and tweezers they like.
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