These Brow Gels Tint and Tame Every Stray Hair into Place

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These Brow Gels Tint and Tame Every Stray Hair into Place
Glossier/ InStyle

How you shape and groom your brows can define and accentuate some of your best facial features. One brow product that is key to helping you do that is a brow gel. "[Brow gels] allow you to style them, fill them in, and to cover each individual hair so as you go about your day they won't move," says celebrity brow artist Joey Healy. "It is one of the easiest and quickest ways to groom them especially if you're on the go."

We are beyond blessed to have so many options on the market, but having too many choices can be overwhelming. Besides, when it comes to your brows, you want to get it just right. To help you out, we asked Healy and Benefit global brow expert Jared Bailey for tips and tricks on how to pick the best brow gels and what products they recommend. Glossier Boy Brow claimed the top spot for its flexible hold and natural shade options.

For quick and easy brow grooming, these are the best brow gels on the market.

Our Picks

Best Overall: Glossier Boy Brow

Brow Gel
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What We Love: It gives the most natural looking color and volume, while being a flexible hold that doesn't flake or crust.

What We Don't Love: It's small, so you'll be going through this quickly if used everyday.

You can't go wrong with this InStyle 2021 Best Beauty Buy winner and personal fave of Glossier's first celebrity ambassador Olivia Rodrigo. The Glossier Boy Brow gives your brows a flexible hold for natural-looking volume in brows. It's also got nourishing ingredients like oleic acid and soluble collagen to moisturize hair.

Price at time of publish: $17

Type: Pomade | Shades: 5 | Size: 0.11 oz

Best Value: Maybelline Tattoo Brow Waterproof Eyebrow Gel

Brow Gel
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What We Love: Its formula is waterproof and lasts up to two days.

What We Don't Love: It's highly pigmented, so you might need to go a shade lighter than you normally would or it will look unnatural.

If you're looking for a vibrant brow gel that lasts, go for the Maybelline Tattoo Brow Waterproof Eyebrow Gel. It boasts staying power for up to two days and offers an intense color payoff to really fill in brows. Plus, it's a good deal at under $13 a tube.

Price at time of publish: $13

Type: Gel | Shades: 4 | Size: 0.43. Oz

Best Splurge: Chanel Le Gel Sourcils Longwear Eyebrow Gel

Brow Gel
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Why We Love: It gives a nice hold that doesn't feel too stiff or done-up.

What We Don't Love: $32 is a lot to ask for when there's only three shades available.

The Chanel Le Gel Sourcils Longwear Eyebrow Gel is described as giving a "comfortable" hold and honestly, that's the best way to describe how flexible it feels on. Your brows will be defined and held in place, but the formula is so lightweight that it won't weigh brows down. We do wish it was offered in more shades, so all brow hair colors could experience the luxury.

Price at time of publish: $32

Type: Gel | Shades: 3 | Size: 0.21 oz

Best with Brow Growth Benefits: Wander Beauty Frame Your Face Brow Gel

Brow Gel
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What We Love: It gives great hold and has nourishing hair growth benefits.

What We Don't Love: Dark brunette is the deepest shade.

The Wander Beauty Frame Your Face Brow Gel is great all-around. You get a nice hold that doesn't flake or clump and there is precise application thanks to its cone-shaped brush. As an added bonus, its ingredients include Hinoki oil to promote healthy hair growth in the brows. Who doesn't love a good two-in-one product?

Price at time of publish: $22

Type: Gel | Shades: 4 | Size: 0.2 oz

Best Tinted: Kosas Air Brow Tinted Clean Volumizing Eyebrow Gel

Brow Gel
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What We Love: It comes in 10 shades to match every brow hair tone.

What We Don't Love: It doesn't offer much hold.

The Kosas Air Brow Tinted Clean Volumizing Eyebrow Gel is a tinted, mousse-like gel that goes on so light to give you feathery brows while also packed with ingredients like castor oil and pro-vitamin B5 to nourish and condition hair. It also has one of the more extensive brow shade ranges out there for a true match.

Price at time of publish: $24

Type: Gel | Shades: 10 | Size: 0.12 oz

Best Hold: Benefit Cosmetics 24-HR Brow Setter Clear Brow Gel

Brow Gel
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What We Love: This locks brows in with a flexible hold for up to 24 hours.

What We Don't Love: It has a glossy finish, so if you're not looking for a laminated brow look, this might not be for you.

You can't think of well-groomed brows without thinking of Benefit Cosmetics. Their 24-HR Brow Setter Clear Brow Gel is a classic for good reason. "[The] 24-Hour Brow Setter allows the hair to be redirected but still maintains its natural bounce and bend even as it dries down and sets," says Bailey. "When we created [it], it was really important to us to develop a custom molded applicator that really controlled the amount of product that went onto the hairs." And we can confirm: once this gel dries, your brows will stay in place until it's time to remove your makeup.

Price at time of publish: $24

Type: Gel | Shades: 1 | Size: 0.23 oz

Best Volume: Milk Makeup Kush Eyebrow Gel

Brow Gel
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What We Love: This gel perfectly fills in brows to make them fuller and more defined.

What We Don't Love: Reviews say that it's a little messy when applying, so a little goes a long way with this.

A favorite of Hailey Bieber's, the Milk Makeup Kush Eyebrow Gel is perfect for giving brows volume. It's made with tinted heart-shaped fibers that fill in brows and give them definition. It also contains cannabis seed oil to condition hairs.

Price at time of publish: $20

Type: Gel | Shades: 8 | Size: 0.15 oz

Best Innovation: Guide Beauty Brow Moment

Brow Gel
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What We Love: It comes with a special applicator to help guide the hand for a steady application, making it the most accessible option for those with movement disabilities.

What We Don't Love: It only has three shades.

Makeup artist Terri Bryant created Guide Beauty after being diagnosed with Parkinson's and wanted to help make makeup applications easy and accessible for everyone. The Guide Beauty Brow Moment comes with the grip applicator you'll find on all the other products in the collection, which guides and steadies your hand when putting product on for precise application. Its formula is also buildable and long-wearing for natural-looking full brows.

Price at time of publish: $26

Type: Gel | Shades: 3 | Size: 0.19 oz

Best Precision: Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Brows Eyebrow Gel

Brow Gel
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What We Love: Its micro-fine brush mimics brow hairs for a natural filled-in look.

What We Don't Love: The tint is fainter than most.

The precision with the Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Brows Eyebrow Gel just can't be beat. It has a micro-fine brush to help you mimic hair-like strokes for natural-looking full brows. It's made with a natural elasticizing wax that holds brows in a soft flexible way so it doesn't look frozen. As an added bonus, it also contains vitamin E to condition hairs.

Price at time of publish: $25

Type: Gel | Shades: 4 | Size: 0.04 oz

Best Clear: Joey Healy Brow Structure Clear Set

Brow Gel
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What We Love: It offers a natural-looking glossy finish and hold.

What We Don't Love: The mascara-like brush may be too big for some brows.

Healy recommends his Brow Structure Clear Set — and for good reason. It has a mascara-like brush that sets brows in one clean swoop. You get a glossy finish that looks natural and it holds up all day without flaking.

Price at time of publish: $25

Type: Gel | Shades: 4 | Size: 0.25 oz

Best Clean: Saie Beauty Brow Butter Gel

Saie Beauty Brow Butter Gel
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What We Love: For a clean product, it holds up just as well as the other brow gels on this list.

What We Don't Love: It can go on a bit too dry.

The Saie Beauty Brow Butter Gel is an oil-based liquid pomade that feels buttery smooth when you apply for a lightweight application. It is made with plant fibers to fill in brows for added volume. Per Saie's intensive clean beauty standards, it's one of cleanest brow products on the market—and it actually works.

Price at time of publish: $20

Type: Pomade | Shades: 4 | Size: 0.16 oz

What To Keep In Mind

Formulas

There are a few types of brow gels out there, but the two most common ones are fiber brow gels and clear brow gels.

Healy reminds that the main purpose of a brow gel, regardless of formula, is to seal the hairs in place. It's all about personal preference when you're thinking about which one you should opt for. "The clear gels are the simplest of the bunch and help create a more awake affect for the whole eye by brushing the hair upward," he says. "[Using tinted gels] adds volume and density as it does fill in gaps in your brows, but it can also coat the individual hairs helping with color consistency too."

Hold

Fiber brow gels, Bailey explains, come in a variety of shades and typically have a light to medium hold to style brows. The biggest benefit is that they give brows instant volume, which he says is the easiest way to make them look more lush. Clear brow gels are — you guessed it — clear. He says these typically have a medium to strong hold and really lock unruly hairs in place.

"Different types of brow gels offer different benefits, but either way they are an easy solution for styling your brows," says Bailey. As he mentions above, fiber brow gels generally give brows volume and color, while clear gels set brows in place for a more groomed look.

Texture

Healy says that you'll find some brow gels get "crispy'' and feel crunchy once they dry and those with a high alcohol content tend to flake more and leave a film behind. "You really want to make sure you have a formula with the right texture for you," he says.

He also says to note that serious brow hold products can be too stiff and tugging at them can cause hair to fall out. Most brow gels are formulated so that it's not a common occurrence, but just something you want to be aware of.

Your Questions, Answered

What is the best way to apply brow gel?

In general, Healy says you're going to brush brows in the direction of hair growth. But if you're going for a specific type of brow, how you use a brow gel differs.

Bailey says that if you want wispy, feathery brows that are securely locked in, you'll want to use the side of the brush with longer bristles to stroke upward toward the hairline and outward to the temple. For straightening out brows that feel a little unruly, he says to use the side of the brush with shorter and tighter bristles.

If your brows are really hard to set, he recommends letting the formula air dry on the brush for about 30 seconds before combing it through the hair. He explains that this will thicken the formula and make it a lot easier to straighten and groom it.

How can you prevent a brow gel from flaking during the day?

According to Bailey, brow gels flake when there is too much product applied to hair. He recommends looking for products that come with custom molded wands as opposed to the standard twisted wire brush. Custom molded wands allow for the product to be buildable to your desired finish.

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