I’ve been meaning to put together a post comparing Glossier Boy Brow, Essence Make Me Brow, and Benefit Gimme Brow for a while now, and with the news of a Benefit Gimme Brow recall, now seems like a good time to make it happen.
First, my brows: I have relatively full brows, so I am generally looking to fill in the tails a touch, groom, and add polish. I don’t need to create a brow anywhere that I don’t already have brow hairs or fill in any truly sparse areas. Most days I use a pencil in the tails then go through the whole brow with a tinted gel. All three of these products work well as that tinted gel – for that reason, I consider them to be functional dupes, though there are some noticeable differences in formula and color options.
I purchased all products featured in this post. All referral and affiliate links are individually marked; unmarked links are not affiliate.
Glossier Boy Brow ($16 for .11oz at Glossier [referral link]) comes in three colors – blond, brown, and black – plus a clear option. I had trouble deciding which shade to buy. My eyebrows are a very dark brown but not quite black, and my hair is a slightly lighter (but still dark) brown. Black eyebrow products usually look too harsh, but Glossier’s brown looked far too warm and light to work on me. I eventually settled on black, but once it arrived, it did seem to harsh. I contacted Glossier to exchange it for the brown, and they told me to keep the black and quickly sent out the brown at no charge (great customer service!).
When the brown arrived, I realized that it really was too light and warm, and the black is actually better for me – I just have to be careful to apply it lightly. I can also mix the black and brown together to get a good shade, but frankly that’s enough hassle that I usually just reach for something else.
Formula-wise, the Glossier seems like a cross between a pomade and a gel. It does dry down and set after application, but has a soft, flexible finish. It can be wiped away with some effort – you’re not going to wipe it off accidentally, though I wouldn’t trust it if you were going to sweat then wipe your face with a towel. It doesn’t flake, and it has excellent hold – it’s the only brow product I’ve tried that can make my most stubborn brow hairs go in any direction I choose.
Benefit Gimme Brow ($24 for .1oz or $12 for .05oz at various retailers; not currently available due to the recall) and Essence Make Me Brow ($2.99 for .13oz at Ulta or Target) are similar enough that I am going to review them together. The Benefit comes in three shades; 01 Light and 05 Deep are cool, while 03 Medium is warm. The Essence also comes in three shades; I haven’t tried 01 Blondy Brows and don’t see a color description; 02 Browny Brows is a cool dark brown, very similar to Benefit Deep; and 03 Light Browny Brows applies as a cool light brown but dries to a medium brown. The darkest shades of the Benefit and Essence both work well for me.
Gimme Brow and Make Me Brow are both fiber gels. I see the fibers in swatches, but I don’t notice them in application. I don’t notice any thickening from fibers, though of course a tinted gel does give a thickening effect since it coats the hair. Both products dry to a crunchier finish than Boy Brow, but not so crunchy it bothers me, and neither flake. They don’t wipe away as easily as Boy Brow, but they don’t have quite as much hold either.
As you can see, each of the three products’ wands are slightly different shapes, but all are small and easy to use. I tend to get too much product on the wand with all of these, but it’s easily wiped off on the neck of the tube.
So – as I mentioned at the start of this review, all three of these are functional dupes to me, which means that my preference is for Essence Make Me Brow, since it’s by far the cheapest. I’m on my second tube! If you care about hold and the ability to brush your brows up or in any direction, you might prefer the Glossier; if I had a good shade match, I might be more drawn to it, but since I don’t, it’s an easy pass for me.
If you are interested in Glossier and haven’t purchased from them before, you can use my referral link for 10% off your order (used to be 20%!) – if you do, I’ll get $10 of store credit. But honestly, for 80% of people spending $3 on the Essence is a much better option.