Friday, March 18, 2016

Brow Battle Royale: Benefit Gimme Brow, Glossier Boy Brow & Essence Make Me Brow

Few parts of one's makeup routine bring out one's idiosyncrasies like eyebrows do. Some people really don't fuss too much in terms of shape or finishing touches while others will go all out with pencils, powders, pomades and gels for an ultra-groomed look. I personally have a couple sparse spots in my brows (half my left brow waxes and wanes in terms of growth) so I tend to start with a pencil or pen (Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Colour in "Dark" and/or L'Oreal Brow Stylist Definer in "Dark Brunette") and then move on to a gel. My brows aren't that unruly, but they can stray here and there so brow gel is a staple in my makeup routine.

Benefit Gimme Brow (C$30) has been on my radar since it launched and its teensy wand and fibrous formula made it stand out from the run-of-the-mill brow gels that had stiff hold, little to no volumizing properties and unusually large brushes that often glopped on excess gel to the skin surrounding brow hairs. The shade selection is minimal at best (which seems to be the case with most brow gels) and the steep price point has left something to be desired for a product that is obviously quite tiny and can get used up pretty quickly. This product in "Medium/Deep" and do love the precision that the wand offers up since I have those aforementioned areas in my brows where hairs are virtually non-existent to so this helps maximize

When Glossier launched Boy Brow (US$16) back in October, I was curious about how it would stack up to Gimme Brow, primarily because of the visual similarities of the product - teeny tube, teeny wand, precise application. My dear friend Marina was kind enough to send me a tube of Boy Brow in "Black" (Glossier is still working on that whole international shipping bit) this week after Glossier *finally* restocked this sought-after product. According to all the coverage regarding the Glossier Phase 2 Set, Emily Weiss stated that Boy Brow has a 10,000-person strong wait list. At this point, I felt pretty fortunate to get my hands on this brush-on pomade! Thanks again to Marina for sending it my way, because I actually really like this stuff! I think I could probably get away with a lighter colour (3 offered total), but this works totally fine too! The product uses waxes and silicones for a softer approach to the whole brow definition thing. The instructions actually state to "fluff and shape" brows into place, which is pretty apt for how this product performs. It's the most laid-back brow pomade I've come across, especially when I think about how it applies and wears versus Anastasia Dipbrow or Maybelline Brow Pomade Crayon (which I still enjoy, btw). All in all, this stuff looks natural, holds hairs in place without weighing them down or making them look overly slick and the price point is reasonable.

I was perusing the aisles at Shoppers Drug Mart the other day and spotted Essence Make Me Brow (about C$3/US$3), which is touted as a 3-in-1 to address your needs for density, colour and shape. It's also available in 2 shades, so I grabbed "Browny Brows" and gave it a whirl. This stuff is fantastic given the price point. The fibres are definitely more visible on the wand than Benefit Gimme Brow, but it ultimately applies the same as Gimme Brow does. There are many overlapping ingredients between the two, and ultimately Gimme Brow has a longer ingredient list, adding things like panthenol (vitamin B5) and marshmallow root extract into the mix. Truthfully, if you're on a budget or if you find yourself burning through brow products (I know I certainly do, simply because they are a non-negotiable element of my look on a daily basis), this is a sound option.

As illustrated above, Benefit Gimme Brow offers up the lightest pigmentation for brunettes, likely making it the most user-friendly/foolproof. Overall, I'm happy to use any three of these formulas, but Glossier Boy Brow has stolen the show for me since it's such an usual offering of soft hold and definition. This formula allows the wispy, feathery element of my brows to be emphasized, not shellacked down to my face. Low-key, easy to use and unfussy - just as I've come to expect from Glossier. [Sidebar: thoughts on the brand's Milky Jelly Cleanser - been test-driving it for a month - are also coming up shortly!]

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