We Tried The Thinnest Brow Pencil Ever Made & The Hype Is Real

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In a game of word association, “brows” might prompt responses like “threading” or “lamination”, but most beauty editors will say benefit. Since its inception in the late ’70s, sculpted arches have been the brand’s forte; its Fluff Up Brow Wax and Precisely, My Brow Pencil are bestsellers for a reason. But in a world filled to bursting with exceptional brow products, there’s always room for improvement.
This month, benefit unveiled Precisely, My Brow Wax, $27, (a wax with brow-building pigment in 12 shades) and the Precisely, My Brow Detailer, $25, which it claims to be the thinnest pencil out there right now. Of course, the latter is no mean feat. Countless brands have not so secretly competed with each other to create the finest pencil, all in a bid to mimic our brow’s natural hair strands. While the tinted wax lends body, benefit’s Detailer adds dimension — but it’s unlike any other brow pencil you’ve used previously. 
I was lucky enough to try the product before most, and had Lauren Hogsden, natural brow and beauty authority at benefit, on hand to show me exactly how to use it. As the pencil is so minuscule, it’s housed in a tiny silicone sleeve (almost imperceptible to the naked eye) which prevents it from snapping. The key is not to twist the product up too much. Hogsden told me to ensure that the tip of the pencil is always level with the silicone protector, then all you have to do is swipe. “There is a spring just underneath the silicone tip,” Hogsden explained. “It’s a ‘push to propel’ system, so just glide it through your brows following the direction of your hair growth and it will deliver the product.” Pretty smart. 
The brow wax is just as clever, proved Jared Bailey, global brow expert for benefit, and it’s all thanks to the double-sided brush: “The side with the dense bristles, which are shorter, will give you more pigment and higher colour,” Bailey told me. “This colour will be deposited on the skin as well as the brow hairs,” which is perfect if your brows are very sparse and you like more of a filled-in effect. “If your brows are on the thicker side and don’t require much pigment, use the domed side, which has more space between the bristles. This will simply amplify your brows,” said Jared. 
It isn’t all about aesthetics, though. Alongside shea butter, jojoba seed oil and argan oil, the wax features glycerin combined with other fatty acids to moisturise hairs deeply. “When it comes to the condition of our brows, glycerin is going to be a buzzy ingredient,” confirmed Bailey. It’s essentially brow makeup and a conditioning hair treatment in one. Lastly, if you aren’t sold on brow tinting, this is the next best thing: it captures the fine vellus hairs that tend to sit above our natural arch to help you achieve more of a shape without having to do too much.    
It’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into both brow products, but how are they really? Three Refinery29 staffers put them to the test recently and here is their honest verdict. 

Jacqueline Kilikita, deputy beauty director

Shade in Precisely, My Brow Detailer & Precisely, My Brow Wax: 4, Warm Deep Brown
“I didn’t think that brow pencils could get any thinner than Kosas Brow Pop Dual-Action Defining Pencil — but benefit has proved me wrong. This is tiny, and for good reason: It allows you to mimic natural brow hairs in a single stroke. Lauren Hogsden, natural brow and beauty authority at benefit, told me not to twist the product up too much; the protective cover is there to stop it from snapping. Make sure that the tip of the pencil is level with the silicone protector, and you’re good to start swiping. The product may be minuscule, but the result is mighty. In a matter of seconds (10 — I timed it) I’d filled in all of my sparse areas without the need to clean up or use the spoolie brush to blend.
“For me, though, the star of the show is Precisely, My Brow Wax, which has replaced every single brow product (gels, tints, pencils — the entire lot) in my makeup routine. The curved brush makes light work of laying my long (sometimes curly) brow hairs flat without making them look stuck on, while the tint beefs up scant patches. The best part is that it doesn’t leave behind flakes like most tinted brow products I’ve tried in the past. My thick brows feel soft and conditioned, too, even after I’ve removed the product, and that’s all thanks to the shea butter and jojoba seed oil. Most days, this is all the makeup I throw on. If my brows are done, I’m good to go."

Karina Hoshikawa, senior writer

Shade in Precisely, My Brow Detailer & Precisely, My Brow Wax: 5, Warm Black Brown
“I’ve used benefit’s brow products (plus in-store services like laminations and waxes) exclusively for years, including my favourite pencil of all time, the Precisely, My Brow Pencil. When I got word that the Precisely family was growing, it was music to my ears; I have naturally thick, lush brows so most days, a little filling in on the tail end of my brows and clear brow gel is all I need. The brand’s Fluff Up Brow Wax has been a personal go-to since it debuted last year, so you can imagine my delight when a tinted version was among benefit’s latest launches. It truly does it all: shapes, fills in and holds brows all day without looking flat (a common gripe with many tinted gels), or giving Groucho Marx vibes. The Detailer pencil is so fine and pigmented (a rare combo), it allows me to create truly the most natural effect I’ve ever achieved with a brow product with minimal effort. (Be sure to follow the instructions carefully to avoid breakage — this is not your average pencil!) With these two products alone, my brows look like they’ve been touched by an angel: Fluffy, naturally full and impeccably shaped.”

Sara Tan, beauty director 

Shade in Precisely, My Brow Detailer & Precisely, My Brow Wax: 5, Warm Black Brown  
“In my humble opinion, no one can do brows like benefit. The innovation behind formulas and the product components never cease to impress and the two latest launches are no exception. I have been using both the Precisely, My Brow Wax and Precisely, My Brow Detailer pencil since I received samples in December and I haven’t used anything else since. 
“Let’s start with the Brow Wax. I’ve been raving about this product since the brand launched the clear version, so I was beyond thrilled to hear they were coming out with a tinted iteration. This product is perfect for filling in and fluffing up if you’re aiming for ‘Your brows but better’ vibes, especially when applied with the domed side of the brush applicator. I love that the wax is buildable and flexible — I can comb through my brows several times without having to worry about it looking too intense or pigmented. 
“Then, we have the Detailer pencil. I don’t know how it was possible for them to create such a teeny tiny tip, but wow, they’ve done it. This is exactly what you expect when brands describe their product as creating ‘hair-like strokes’. It’s as thin as the finest brow hair. I love to use this alone or in conjunction with the Brow Wax. Together, they make for the only two brow products you’ll ever need.”

Megan Decker, beauty editor

Shade in Precisely, My Brow Detailer & Precisely, My Brow Wax: 2, Warm Golden Blonde
“This is the teeniest brow pencil I’ve ever used — it’s razor thin — and I don’t think I can ever go back to my Anastasia Beverly Hills pencil (my mainstay prior to finding this) because it feels too chubby! As someone who prefers the lightest touch when it comes to my brows, I love that this skinny tip creates micro-fine strokes, so I never accidentally overdo it. It truly is more of a Detailer, perfect for filling in any sparse or light areas. Some of my brow hairs are boarding on translucent but this keeps my brows looking completely natural.
“While most brow waxes are pretty waxy, leaving my brows a little hardened, Precisely, My Brow Wax is much softer. I brush it through my brows and get a faint colour deposit, just evening out the tone. The formula works to keep the hairs fluffed up but amazingly, it’s not sticky at all so when I touch my eyebrows later in the day, the hairs feel soft instead of crunchy.”

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