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NYX Micro Brow Pencil is the newest drugstore product to make me wonder why I even bother with high-end, pricier options. I used to be a makeup snob, thinking the options at Sephora, the prestige side of Ulta, and department stores were many times better than anything at the drugstore.
There was a time when drugstore gems seemed few and far between, which gave me that impression. However, those brands have been stepping it up in the last decade.
To my knowledge, NYX has always been a standout drugstore option. Still, it wasn’t available where I lived when I was forming my opinions about makeup brands. My options were minimal, and when I finally had access to the department store options, I spent way too much at Macy’s cosmetics counters.
Those purchases reinforced my beliefs for a while. Still, I started branching into drugstore brands to find pleasant surprises everywhere (mainly at Ulta and Target). I am now happy to admit that I’m no longer a makeup snob. And now NYX is one of my favorite brands all around. It’s not just this product that made me love them. I’ve been a huge fan of their Butter Glosses for years (I keep telling people to go out and buy them!), and I’ve liked everything from the line I’ve tried. They frequently outshine their more expensive counterparts.
Snapshot Opinion of the NYX Brow Pencil
Quick and easy: I’m never buying the more expensive Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz pencil again. I’ve used that one for years. I found an alternative from Benefit when I had two of those break in a short time, but I went back because I couldn’t find anything I liked quite as much (the Benefit one was close, though). That changed the first day I got the NYX Micro Brow Pencil.
Suppose you have oily skin or your brow products tend to wear off. In that case, you might not like this one as much as I do, but I have dry skin, and it stays on fine for me even though the product itself is creamy rather than waxy, like most other brow products I’ve used.
What the NYX Micro Brow Pencil Is Like
The NYX Micro Brow Pencil has a thin point on one end that allows you to twist the product up and down and a spoolie on the other end to brush the product through your brows. It’s comfortable to hold and easy to use. Both of the caps go on securely.
It comes in 12 colors, from blonde to black, and can be as intense as you’d like it to be. It’s creamy, with a natural (not too glossy or matte) finish. The spoolie seemed a little larger than what I’m used to, but it didn’t make a difference in how well it performed.
It’s designed to give you a natural look, but you could definitely go bold with this if you wanted to. I overdid it a bit, and it was comical. Once I’d brushed it through my brows well, they looked natural again, but the sparse areas were filled in.
It’s just over $10.00.
I applied it straight out of the box. Sometimes, I need to scribble a little on the back of my hand with brow pencils to warm them up, but this one didn’t need that.
The color was intense. It wasn’t quite the right shade for me–a little warmer than my natural brows–but it blended everything with my current hair color, so I’m not too disappointed. I ordered through the Ulta website and had a hard time choosing between a couple of shades. When I dye my hair darker and remove some of the red tones, I’ll go with one of the other choices for cooler undertones.
I overdid it when I first applied it, thinking I’d need to push harder to get the product onto my skin. Don’t do that unless you want a laugh. It’s creamy and pigmented. If you mess up, just brush it through a little more than you usually would, and it should be presentable enough to go out in public.
Everything about the NYX Micro Brow Pencil felt sturdy and well-made. I don’t see myself spending more on another brand again, and I had a couple of go-to products.
How to Apply It
Here’s what I did:
- I brushed all my brow hairs upward first.
- Then, I “underlined” my brows by tracing along the bottom edge with the pencil. I did this in short strokes, but not as short as the “flicks” I’d go on to create in my eyebrows, where I was filling in gaps and sparse areas. This also gave them a more precise shape.
- Once I’d traced a pretty crisp line on the bottom, I filled in sparse spots with short, flicking motions in tiny diagonal lines to match the hairs in my brows.
- Because the shade I chose was warmer than my hair color, I tried to evenly distribute the product through my brows. I did this by using a lighter hand at the front (closest to my nose) and tail of each brow (where the hair growth is naturally lighter).
- I didn’t line the top of my brow. Some people may prefer to do that, but it looks too bold on me.
- At this point, I was done applying the product. I uncapped the spoolie side and brushed the hairs up and out, at an angle, working from near my nose to the tail. In the spots where the product was a little too heavy, I applied more pressure. Sometimes I wiggled the spoolie from side to side as I brushed the product through.
- That’s it! I didn’t use any clear wax or any other brow product.
The Pros of the NYX Micro Brow Pencil
- It’s much less expensive than most of the other good options I’ve tried.
- It seems sturdy. I’ve had spoolie ends break off similar products more than once, and it didn’t even take all that long. This product feels like it’ll last.
- I also didn’t get any indication that the product side would break off at any point, either. It feels secure.
- If you love strong brows or hate taking a long time to build your color up, you’ll love the intensity and creaminess of this product.
- There’s a good range of shades–some warm, some cool.
- You can get it at drugstores, Ulta, Target, Walmart, etc., so it’s easy to get your hands on.
- The double-ended design makes doing your brows less of a hassle. Apply the product, then brush through. All in the same pencil.
- The caps snap into place securely. I’d feel safe carrying it in my purse if I thought I might need a brow touch-up away from home.
…And the Cons
- The intensity of the color might surprise you.
- You won’t be able to try it before you buy it.
- Choosing a color was tricky (and I got the wrong one, but I’m just going with it).
- The creaminess could be a problem for someone with oily skin.
Is It Likely to Work for You?
Suppose you don’t have a problem with your brow products or eyeliner pencil rubbing off throughout the day. In that case, I don’t think you’ll have a problem with the NYX Micro Brow Pencil. It’s not as waxy as others I’ve used. Instead, it’s creamy and reminds me of gel eyeliner pencils (not quite that creamy, but somewhere in between that and the typical brow pencil). If you have a clear brow wax on hand, you could use that in tandem with this pencil and make it last longer.
I have dry-normal skin, and my eyeliner occasionally smudges, but the brow pencil stays in place for me. It’s fall, and I live in Georgia, so my skin’s not as dry as it gets yet.
Are you afraid of strong brows? You can vary your application and use a lighter hand if you are. Still, the color that comes off this brow pencil is more intense than Brow Wiz and most others. It’s not a good or bad thing; just something to adjust as needed. I appreciate both formulas.
Where to Buy It
You can find the NYX Micro Brow Pencil at:
Other Brow Pencils to Try
Though I’ve decided NYX Micro Brow Pencil is most likely the one I’ll be sticking with long-term, I know it won’t be for everyone. Here are a few alternatives to try:
#01 Anastasia Brow Wiz
Anastasia Brow Wiz is the brow pencil I have the most experience with. I used it for years, then had a couple break before I’d had them for very long. I stopped using it, switched to the Benefit Goof Proof Brow Pencil, then switched back. (The issue with breakage seems to be resolved; I haven’t had any issues lately.) This one also has a precise point and spoolie on the end, and it comes in 12 shades.
It costs over twice as much as the NYX option. At a glance and without the opportunity to swatch all the colors from each line side by side, the color range looks almost identical.
One thing I like about this one is how well it feels like it grabs the skin. It feels waxier than the NYX one. The wear (on my skin, at least) is about the same. However, if you were to test the two of them–one on each brow–for the first time on the same day, you’d probably have a lot more confidence in this one than the NYX one during application.
#02 Benefit Goof Proof Brow Pencil
The Benefit Goof Proof Brow Pencil feels the same as the Anastasia one when you apply it. It’s still got that grippy, waxy feel. The color isn’t as intense as the NYX Micro Brow Pencil, but that might be because it’s harder and less creamy. It’s also waterproof and meant to last 12 hours.
This tip is slanted and broader than the others. That’s ultimately why I chose to go back to the Brow Wiz after a while. It’s just a personal preference to have the precision tip vs. the slanted one. My brows are naturally pretty thick, so they don’t need a lot. I’d rather have more control.
This one costs $25.00, so significantly more than the NYX option. Still, if you want to move fast and have a lot of filling in to do (or your skin is oily and you want something that’s likely to last longer), this might be the one for you. There are 12 shades to choose from, including a range of undertones and a gray.
#03 Benefit Precisely, My Brow Pencil
I haven’t tried this one, but I ran across it while looking up how many shades the Goof Proof pencil comes in. Based on my experience with that one and the similar descriptions between Precisely, My Brow and Goof Proof, I would say those two are about the same. One is wider and angled, while the other creates a thin, precise line. Precisely, My Brow sounds similar to the Anastasia pencil–waxier and potentially longer-lasting than the NYX one.
#04 Maybelline Express Brow Ultra Slim Pencil
This one is a few dollars cheaper and will be available everywhere the NYX Micro Brow Pencil is and some. It provides a natural finish and precise line. Because the tip is so thin, it’s easy to make hair-like strokes (try the diagonal flicks or tiny checkmarks).
There are only six colors, though; from the looks of it, there’s not much for redheads or anyone with gray/silver hair to choose from.
#05 L’Oreal Paris Brow Stylist Definer Mechanical Waterproof Eyebrow Pencil
Here’s another option on the more affordable end of the spectrum (about $10.00), available in drugstores, Target, Walmart, and Ulta. You have 10 shades to choose from here, and it, too, has a fine point for drawing individual hairs and getting that natural appearance. The color range isn’t bad, but they don’t have a gray one.
#06 e.l.f. Instant Lift Brow Pencil
There’s good news and bad news about the e.l.f. Instant Lift Brow Pencil. First, the bad: It only comes in five shades. The good? If one of those shades works for you, you only need to spend $3.00 on your eyebrow pencil. It’s pigmented, creamy, and stays on well.
Question: What brow product is best for sparse brows?
Answer: An eyebrow pencil like the NYX Micro Brow Pencil works wonders and offers good coverage and intensity of pigment. The tip is fine enough to draw lines that look like individual hairs, so you can get a natural look without much work.
Question: How long does NYX eyebrow pencil last?
Answer: I don’t see any promises on their part other than to say that it’s long-lasting. On me, it lasts all day. I even tend to touch my face a lot, and it still survives.
Question: Which eyebrow pencil is best for a natural look?
Answer: I like the NYX Micro Brow Pencil and Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz.
NYX Micro Brow Pencil Review: Final Thoughts
One hundred percent, yes! As I mentioned above, this will be the pencil I will buy going forward. I don’t have anything negative to say about the other ones I’ve tried and loved over the years, but this one gets the job done, and it’s less than half the price of the others. You need to be careful about the shade you select. I’ll be choosing a different one with cooler undertones next time.
You can’t beat this NYX pencil’s performance, price point, and precision. Plus, it’s easy to find. You can pick it up on a whim at Target when you’re there for something else.