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The best brow gel of 2024 will make even the thinnest arches look robust and refined

Sparse eyebrows? Our tested and reviewed brow gel picks define, shape and bring new life to your strands

woman brushing brows on colorful background
The best brow gel shapes, thickens, tints and keeps fine hairs in place. (Getty Images)

Eyebrow gels are a beauty multitasker, a one-stop-shop product that does it all: combs, shapes, tints, fills in sparse patches and keeps errant hairs in place. In fact, in the past few years, the popularity of brow gels has grown — mainly as an essential tool to achieve the once-trendy "laminated" brow look (best described as: extremely thick brows, brushed up and glued down). Because I'm a middle-aged mom who found her first gray eyebrow hair last year, this laminated look was never for me, and for a long time I thought brow gels weren't either. But as it turns out, the best brow gels (tested and reviewed, below) are meant for anyone who wants fuller, healthier-looking arches — at any age. I tested nearly two dozen brow gels before narrowing down my top five best picks. I graded them on pigment, texture, shade match, ease of application and value. These are my favorites.

Quick overview
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Best brow gels 2024

I've owned the same version of this highly compact brow treatment (technically a gel-pomade) for so long the label has worn off. It still works immaculately and effectively, leaving behind just enough product to temporarily tint and thicken my brows while also holding them in place in a non-stiff, natural-looking way. The formula itself is rich but not at all gloopy; it's both ophthalmologist- and dermatologist-tested, made with beeswax and other natural ingredients and comes in a skin-tone-inclusive five different shades. Since its launch in 2018, Boy Brow has been the go-to brow gel for celebrities and normies alike (in 2020, Glossier claimed the waiting list for the sold-out, bestselling product was 10,000 eager-fans deep) and it remains the simplest and best brow thickener I've tried. 

Pros
  • Dermatologist- and ophthalmologist-tested
  • Tube lasts forever
  • Moisturizing ingredients keep brow hair and skin underneath conditioned
  • Ample shade options
  • Highly pigmented color
  • Good for all skin types
Cons
  • Some users complain that the product flakes
$20 at Sephora

With more than 17,000 5-star Amazon reviews, NYX's Brow Glue is one of those in-the-know cult beauty products that's uniquely high-quality, particularly given the under-$10 cost. It comes in four tints (and one clear version) and stays in place with (from my experience) zero flakes all day (and even more: the brand promises a 16-hour wear). I found the tint a bit dark, so I used the product sparingly, which worked fine. Other users complained of a gloopy consistency, but while the formula is for sure thick, it's not so much to be ineffective or give you scary-monster brows. Bonus: Brow Glue contains castor oil, which some experts (and many TikTokers) claim promotes brow growth.

Pros
  • Extra-long-wearing
  • Affordable
  • Ample shade range
Cons
  • Some users were put off by the thick consistency
  • Pigments tend to run dark
$9 at Amazon
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$10 at Walmart$10 at Macy's

Each product in makeup artist Bobbi Brown's Jones Road line is created with the needs of older, "mature" women in mind. Her recently launched brow gel follows that theme: It's lightweight and (unlike some of the heavier/more shellac-like iterations I tried) easy to remove so it won't strain thin, fine or thinning brows. It's also designed to be easy to apply — the "spoolie" brush glides on, fills in and tints in just a swoop or two. I did find the consistency a little clumpier than I wanted, almost gritty, but it didn't get in the way of efficacy. Plus, it's made from clean ingredients and cruelty-free, and it comes in five natural-looking shades.

Pros
  • Easy to apply and remove
  • Lightweight formula
  • Cruelty-free
  • Works on even the finest brow hairs
  • Solid shade range
Cons
  • Texture can be a bit clumpy
  • Some users complained of a strong scent
$24 at Jones Road

Celebrity brow guru Kristie Streicher's line of products is (unsurprising) excellent, and I recommend her straight brow gel as well. But it's this award-winning, micro-fine gel pen — like a brow pencil/gel combo, the best of both worlds — that really stands out. The application is so precise that each stroke appears like a single, natural brow hair. The result is a thicker, fuller, authentic-looking arch — if you have the time and patience, it's the most real-looking brow filler I've seen. The pen comes in just three shades (though the light brown worked perfectly well for my brows — I'm a darker blonde) and the price is steep, but a little of the product goes a long way.

Pros
  • Clean, vegan and cruelty-free
  • Ultra-precise application (like drawing on individual hairs)
  • Staying power (stays on all day)
  • Natural-looking
  • Easy to use
Cons
  • Limited shades to choose from
  • Pricey
$42 at KS & Co

I loved so much about this Urban Decay brow gel: The applicator brush is fine and precise, and the product itself is highly pigmented but lightweight (no gloppiness here!). My one complaint is — because it's waterproof — it's a challenge to remove, even with makeup remover, which means if you go too dark (like I did at first), you could wind up looking like the Count from Sesame Street until it wears off.

Pros
  • Waterproof
  • Highly pigmented
  • Long-lasting (up to 24 hours)
  • Applicator brush is easy to use and precise
  • With 9 shades, it has the best shade range we tried
Cons
  • Hard to remove
  • Pricier than others in the category
$28 at Amazon
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$28 at Macy's$28 at Kohl's

Honorable mentions:

A high-quality product for sure but not significantly superior to our best overall pick from Glossier — at least not enough to justify the almost $10 increase in cost.

$29 at Amazon
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$29 at Ulta Beauty$29 at Nordstrom

I liked this NYX "eyebrow mascara" quite a bit, but I found the brand's Eyebrow Glue to be a superior product. This one gets the job done but is a bit underwhelming. Still, at $8, you can't beat the price. 

$9 at Amazon
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$9 at Macy's$9 at Ulta Beauty

Other brow gels we tested but didn't include

Anastasia Beverly Hills brow products sit at the top of many best lists, but I found the gel I tested disappointing; it was too dry and the pigment was too light to be effective (this was surprising, even to me!). Equally, since it sells at a higher price point, I felt the product was not the best value and not worth the cost.

Brow FAQ

How do I use a brow gel?

Pros like Kristie Streicher (her clients include Gwyneth Paltrow, Adele, Emily Blunt, Mila Kunis and Mandy Moore) advise using short, feathery strokes in an upward direction, shading wherever you have spare areas of hair, just above and below the brow hairline. After this, use a brush to blend (your finger will also work in a pinch). And, especially: "Don’t forget to stay inside your reasonable brow lines'!" says Streicher, who shapes brows professionally in her Beverly Hills studio, Striiike. "Applying too much [product] in an area where there isn’t much hair, regardless of how perfect the color is, will result in looking very unnatural."

How do I know which shade to choose in a brow gel?

"Choose a color that is the same shade as your eyebrow hair color, not the hair on your head, as sometimes it is a different shade," says Streicher. "Though it looks darker when initially applied, it will result in the expected color." If you have red hair, Streicher explains, use a warm blond. If you're blond, use a taupe or soft, ash brown. Brunettes should use a medium brown and "gray or silver foxes should use an ash brown or taupe," she concludes.

What's the difference between a brow gel and a brow pencil?

Brow gels tend to cover more area than brow pencils and are quicker to apply and easier to blend. Brow pencils are more precise. They also adhere to bare skin better than gels. You can use the two products in tandem; the best of both worlds is a brow gel pen.

How can I grow back my overplucked or thinning brows?

Even the best brow gels need something to work off, so if your brows are ultra-thin, it's smart to take action in other ways before brushing on the goop. "Many of our clients overplucked in the '90s and didn’t allow their brows to grow back properly," Streicher says. "We tell our clients to put their tweezers away and let their brows grow for two months with no plucking of any kind and allow their growth cycle to do its thing," she adds. "To encourage healthy growth, we suggest avoiding removal of any strays no less than every six to eight weeks to allow proper growth."

Streicher also recommends avoiding waxing or threading — at least for a while. "Threading and waxing stretches and pulls the skin, which can cause premature sagging and loss of elasticity." Instead, Streicher favors the "gentle precision" of tweezing to maintain the healthiest, fullest look. "In addition to being super gentle on the skin," she says, "[tweezing] is also the most accurate and precise way of shaping brows."

Last, if your brows are seriously thinning: "I encourage clients to use the growth serum Grande Brow in the morning and evening," Streicher says. The formula is meant to start sprouting new hair growth in eight weeks, though I myself saw results within a month.  

$38 at Amazon
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$38 at Macy's$38 at Ulta Beauty