If the eyes are the windows to your soul, then your brows are like the curtains. They help to frame your eyes and, more importantly, serve as an emotional indicator. You can look perpetually angry or shocked if your brows are too arched. Meanwhile, they can throw off the rest of your face if they’re too low or close together. Just as important as ensuring they’re properly shaped is making sure your brows look orderly and full.
Assuming you’re not angling for Mae West pencil-thin eyebrows, you want enough thickness to look lush but for the hairs to stay in place for a well-groomed effect. Whether you’re aiming for circa 2016 Instagram brows, the laidback fluffy brow, or just something more in line with your eyebrows’ natural shape, you should consider incorporating eyebrow gel into your routine.
What is eyebrow gel?
Eyebrow gel is a makeup product designed to act like mascara for your brows. Typically, it comes in a tube with a wand that you can use to apply the product directly. Like mascara, it applies damp and then dries down — locking your brow hairs in place.
If you’re trying to compare how well it works against other brow products, gel offers a medium hold. This puts it higher than a standard pencil, powder, or pomade brow product but makes it less strong than a soap brow or wax. It can work for anyone, whether you have full or sparse brows.
Eyebrow gel colors
Brow gel comes in a variety of tints in addition to clear. While it’s possible to find fantasy colors as well, most people tend to stick to either the clear or traditional natural hues that best match their brow hair color.
Clear gel is ideal for people with naturally full eyebrows who simply need to tame them. Or, you can apply it as a final step after using your standard brow grooming products to lock your brows in place.
Note that if you want a fantasy brow color (think pastels) and can’t find a matching gel, you can always mix your preferred eyeshadow color with a clear brow gel. Brush it through your eyebrows, and you now have a fun color that’s not going anywhere. Meanwhile, traditional tinted gels are great for those who need to fill in sparse areas.
Eyebrow gel formulas
Just like any other makeup product, eyebrow gels aren’t a one-size-fits-all affair. While the standard version is designed to groom your brows and possibly add a bit of color, there are other options depending on the state of your brows.
If you have sparse eyebrows, you can opt for a gel that volumizes. This product works by depositing fibers and is usually buildable. This is ideal for people who want their brows to appear natural but possibly need a lot of help to fill in patchy areas.
Picking the right gel
As we mentioned, brow gels come in clear or a tint. If you have naturally thick brows, dark brows, or simply don’t want to use pigmented brow products, stick with clear. It gives you the hold you need — minus the color. Keep in mind that some people with naturally light hair have experienced brow and lash products that have dyed their hair — another reason why clear brow gel is best.
Pick a tinted eyebrow gel if you have light brows but want a bit more color. Just remember not to stray too far from your natural color. In other words, if your hair is naturally light blond, avoid picking the darkest eyebrow gel on the shelf. It can wind up looking harsh.
Likewise, consider a volumizing gel if you have thin or sparse brows. Alternatively, you might want to think about brow gel as the last step in your grooming routine. You could benefit from framing and defining with a traditional powder or pomade and then locking those brows in place with a gel.
Tips for the best outcome
Eyebrow gel is one of the easiest makeup products to use. Dare we say it? It’s practically goof-proof. Still, the following tips will have your brows always looking camera-ready.
Order of operations
Brow gel can be used alone. Yet, if you’re using it with other brow products, the gel should be the last step. For those using multiple items to create the perfect brow, the order of operations is creams and pomades, followed by powders, and then eyebrow gels.
However, depending on your other makeup goals, the time at which you apply your brows can vary. If you’re wearing eyeshadow, styling your brows first is smart and helps frame your eyes and lids. If you’re not wearing eyeshadow, then you can apply brows at any time.
Don’t get carried away
Even if your brows are more barren than a grass field in the middle of winter, less is more. You can always add more gel if you need to. However, applying too much can leave you looking plastered — mainly if you apply additional layers too soon and don’t let them dry first.
A light hand is best
Especially when you’re applying gel to the front of your brows, light and short strokes are best. Again, this helps you to avoid harsh lines or apply too much product. Similarly, ensure your wand isn’t oversaturated in product before running it through your brows.
Don’t stray too far from your natural color
Yes, we mentioned this before — but it deserves to be repeated. Unless you’re going for fantasy brows, it’s best to stay within one to two shades of your natural brow color. Going too dark can look jarring.
How you apply matters
For a natural look, follow the direction of your brow hair growth. But if you want a fuller, bushier look, brush your brows up as you run the product through them.
The product you didn’t know you needed
Eyebrow gel is by no means new, but it’s having something of a heyday now that more believable, natural brows are back in style. We firmly believe that there’s a brow gel out there for everyone. Whether you need to tackle those errant hairs or give those brows some oomph, eyebrow gel is the simplest low-stress way to achieve your makeup goals.