$5 dupe that will change your face
THE day I plucked my monobrow to its untimely death still haunts me.
Some kids at school had teased me about the "stripe" across my forehead, so I decided to perform an emergency separation - one my brows never recovered.
Ever since then I've had eyebrows that are too far apart, but Benefit's National Brow Artist Hannah Mutze says I'm not alone, with over-plucking one of the most common mistake she sees.
"It's so easy to tweeze a few hairs too many," she told The Beauty Diary, adding the brows are a feature we notice when they're not right as they "provide a frame to the eyes".
"When well-shaped, brows can take years off the face and open the eye area. They literally change your face," she said.
Even after having my brows microbladed a couple of years ago (I went to Kristin Fisher Eyebrows which I can't recommend enough btw), I still have a bald patch where my brows used to start.
Because I can't go back and tell 14-year-old me to step away from the tweezers, I've tried pretty much everything in my quest to recreate glorious bristles. Here are the products I can't live without and an easy three-step guide to creating full, natural looking brows.
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STEP ONE - OUTLINE AND FILL
The first thing I do when filling in my brows each day is draw on an outline using an angled brush as I find slanted bristles help create a natural curve of an arch. Once I've got my shape in place I'll fill in using this product. It's my fave - and honestly I've tried more than a few - simply because the formula actually stays in place.
Once, when I used to use a pencil for filling, I remember kissing a guy I was dating and later seeing the product had transferred onto his face. It was so AWKWARD and enough to make me search for something better.
MY PRODUCT PICK: BENEFIT FOOLPROOF BROW POWDER
Available at Sephora, Myer, Adorebeauty.com.au and benefit.com
I've never had any issues with this powder and the darker shade blends better with my natural shade than anything else I've tried.
The trick to filling in without looking too blocky is to apply lightly with gentle strokes. Hannah says: "It's far easier to add more product than to remove it" but if you do go a little too hard, use a spoolie to soften the colour and brush out excess powder."
BUDGET DUPE: REVLON COLORSTAY BROW KIT
Available at: Chemist Warehouse, Priceline, Myer, Big W, Amazon, David Jones, Target, and Woolworths
Price: RRP $23.95 - but you can regularly snag it for $15 in Chemist Warehouse
While the above powder is my go-to, there have been times when I simply couldn't afford to buy it and I've turned to my fave drugstore brand (which you're probably already sick of me talking about). But I'll keep harping on about Revlon as the brand producing excellent products for great prices - and this brow kit is no exception. There's one pan of shade and another of wax, which I don't really use because taming hairs isn't a concern for me, but it's great if you like a bit more control. The powder wears really well and it lasts most of the day without touch ups. A winner for those on a budget.
STEP TWO - ADD HAIR-LIKE STROKES WITH A FINE PENCIL
This step can be a little fiddly but once you've nailed it, you'll never go back. It adds a 3D dimension to your features by creating strokes that look like hairs in places where there you have none. It's basically magic.
"This technique is about only applying product where your brows need it most," Hannah says. "Use the fine tip to flick hair like strokes through the brows, paying extra attention to any bare spots/holes in the brows."
MY PRODUCT PICK: ANASTASIA BROW WIZ
Available at Sephora, Mecca
The trick to pulling off this brow wizardry is all in a fine tip, which is why Anastasia's Brow Wiz is my fave as it has a super slim pencil that's perfect for this sort of detailing. The wax formula glides on easily, even over brow powder, and creates light, feathery lines.
The retractable pencil is easy to use too and makes sure there's no waste. I'm also a fan of the spoolie as it's super soft, making blending a dream.
BUDGET DUPE: REVOLUTION DUO BROW DEFINER
Available at: Priceline
I'm all about the multifaceted head of this brow pencil, as it lets you use it for different jobs. You can use the large flat side to fill and the thinner side to draw and shape. But it's its fine tip that makes this such a great dupe of Anastasia's Brow Wiz, as it can be used to create the thinnest hairlike strokes. I love adding fake hairs in patches where I have no hair and it can be done throughout the entire brow if needed.
As well as being fab at mimicking hairs, the product stays in place and is really affordable. Plus there's even a spoolie brush at the other end, which always comes in handy.
STEP THREE - GIVE VOLUME WITH BROW GEL
It might not seem like it, but this is probably the most important step when transforming brows. A quick brush-through of your hairs with this volume-boosting gel really elevates your brows and sets them in place.
Product layering is great for a natural-looking brow, Hannah says, adding that tinted fibre gels, which distribute tiny fibres that grip onto your brow hairs providing instant volume, "make brow filling easy".
MY PRODUCT PICK: BENEFIT GIMME BROW
Available at Sephora, Myer, Adorebeauty.com.au, benefit.com
My favourite product to do this is Benefit's Gimme Brow. I know it's my second Benefit product in this column, but that's because I believe the brand's brow products are next level. After just one application my brows look thicker and more groomed - the perfect finishing touch to any brow 'do.
It's also my go-to for when I'm in a rush and don't have time to do a full fill. I'll just swipe this on and be ready to roll. With a variety of shades from cool light blonde all the way up to warm black, it offers the best variety in hues compared to any other brow product too.
BUDGET DUPE: ESSENCE MAKE ME BROW EYEBROW GEL MASCARA
Available at: Priceline, Target
Don't be put off by the budget price tag, this baby delivers more bang for your buck than you'd ever expect. Sure, the packaging isn't as pretty as Benefit's, but the product is very nearly as good. Essence is microfibre gel too, applied with a mascara wand that you brush through your brows. It also delivers a good amount of thickness to brows that holds throughout the day.
Benefit pips it to the post though as the product is much smoother and easier to apply with its smaller brush head. The formula lasts a little longer too. All in all though, for $5 - this ticks a lot of boxes.
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