- Value: 17/20
- Functionality: 19/20
- Ease of Use: 20/20
- Aesthetics: 18/20
- Staying Power: 19/20
- TOTAL: 93/100
I vividly remember the first time I got my (very full) eyebrows waxed. My best friend’s aunt was a hairdresser, so she obviously knew what she was doing, right? She had me lie on her dining room table and then went to town waxing and plucking to oblivion. I can still feel my eyes watering, BTW. The result was two pencil-thin arches where bold, bushy brows once were. My 13-year-old self thought, Wow, I look good, and that’s how they stayed for the next few years.
Then one day someone realized that eyebrows are actually important in making your face look symmetrical. Cara Delevingne and Lily Collins shot to stardom and we all put down the tweezers. Lucky for me, the damage from those years of over waxing and plucking wasn’t irreversible, but I had to learn how to manage my newly unruly brows, and it took some trial and error. Cut to me trying every brow product on the market—from pomades to pencils to gels to powders. Yes, it meant adding a few additional steps into my makeup routine, but I had learned the joys of full, groomed arches and there was no going back.
While it took years to figure out which shade (definitely not black), combo of formulas and technique worked best for my brow shape, one product has been a constant, because it’s just that good: Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel. It’s basically impossible to mess up. For starters, it’s clear, so there’s no risk of any wrong color matches, which makes it great for first-timers. Then there’s the brush. It’s the biggest, coarsest brush I’ve found in a brow mascara (like the size of an eyelash mascara wand) and my thick Italian hairs responded to it—just a few quick strokes easily whipped them into shape. The formula isn’t tacky-feeling whatsoever and it leaves behind a light hold that neither flakes nor looks stiff (even on hour 12 of wear).
I’ll typically fill in my brows with a pencil or powder, brush through them a few times and finish with the clear brow gel to set everything in place. I’ve tried Glossier Boy Brow (hard pass), Milk Makeup Kush Fiber Brow Gel (OK, but still too waxy) and every single drugstore formula on the market (most of them have teeny, tiny brushes that barely grab one of my hairs), and nothing has been able to replace this beloved makeup-bag staple.