Brows have been big business for Benefit Cosmetics since the late ’70s, when identical twins Jean and Jane Ford opened their first beauty and brow-shaping bar in San Francisco. They did things differently from the start: Clients sat upright in chairs rather than lying flat, which is the norm for brow services and can distort face shape.

“They took a really couture approach to eyebrows, whereas in the past it had been very off the rack,” says Jared Bailey, long-time global brow expert for Benefit, of the sisters’ belief that the best brow is a custom brow.


Today, the dual-ended Brow Styler ($45) , available in 6 shades from cool light blonde to cool soft black, joins the brand’s existing 100-plus brow products as a solution for those wanting soft definition.

On one end is a fluffy, mousselike powder that thickens brows and stays put (the claim is 18-hour waterproof wear) thanks to an angled felt-tipped applicator. “You can actually work it under the [brow] hair, and the powder adheres directly to the oils in your skin,” says Bailey. The other end is a wax-based pencil designed to glide over the powder and add as much – or as little – definition as you like.

The consistency of the wax pencil differs from those already in the collection. “You have to formulate it quite differently to be able to lay this formula on top of another one [i.e. the powder] and get a smooth application that doesn’t deposit more colour in certain areas,” explains Bailey.


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“When you’re layering and using multiple brow products, you start with the most pigmented product first,” says Bailey. In this case, that’s the powder. Then follow with your next most-pigmented product – that is, the pencil.

You want to apply brow products using the same strategies you use to apply face makeup. You usually don’t just apply foundation everywhere and call it a day, says Bailey. There are different products to achieve different results.

“You might have a blemish or a dark spot, but you know you’re going to go in with some concealer and touch that area up and then set it with powder,” he explains. “Think about what the brow powder does. It gives you that soft, full-textured brow. And then when you’re done with the soft texture, that’s when you go in and you try to create more definition using that wax pencil.”

How To Choose A Shade 

When it comes to choosing a shade for your brow product, ignore your hair colour and look at your undertones – cool, warm or neutral – and pick a shade with those same undertones.

“If you’re a platinum blonde, which is a cooler colour, and you like bold eyebrows, you can go all the way to a shade six, which is a cool soft black,” says Bailey, who adds that you can change the opacity by applying the product with a lighter hand.


I’m normally a very (very) low maintenance brow person. I typically run a brow gel through my brows, brushing them up and out, and call it a day; it’s the anti-Instagram brow. So while the Brow Styler added an extra step to my routine, I was pleasantly surprised with the results. It did not take any longer to apply – a key factor for me. The fluffy powder, which I gently ran along the bottom of my brows where I’ve been trying, unsuccessfully, to grow hairs since 2012, made my brows look denser than my regular gel. The width of the wax pencil made it easy to sweep down the length of the brow to set everything in place, without having to worry about being super precise.

A version of this story originally appeared in the November 2019 issue of ELLE Canada.