Reviewed in detail: Five pieces from the Benefit 2016 Brow Collection

Eyebrow makeup has sort of become an international sport. We wait for the latest team ups and merchandise, agonize over wins and losses, and battle it out in a never-ending competition to decide who wins the gold medal in the kilay games. Seriously though, our obsession with eyebrows is a harmless yet intensely productive past-time. It makes us look more polished and confident with the right products and techniques, so why fight it? Just do your best and your eyebrow weapon of choice will do the rest!

The boxes alone are so exciting to look at!

The boxes alone are so exciting to look at!

Okay so today I want to talk about the biggest eyebrow collection to date by Benefit Cosmetics. They've released a 40-piece ensemble under 10 product lines. Some are completely new while others such as Gimme Brow, Brow Zings, and High Brow have been reformulated and repackaged in the unified magician-themed look. I love the colorful boxes and the futuristic components (tubes, cases, etc.) - as expected, Benefit spared no cost in making their products stand out.

According to Benefit, it took them three years and hundreds of consumer feedback to perfect this new collection. They realized that women have different brow concerns so every item was designed with these common problems in mind.

Now I have here five items from the new collection and I've been using them for about 2-3 months. All of them wear well on me - meaning they don't fade for about 6-7 hours - and the shades are perfect for my hair. Here's a quick review of each!

Browvo! Conditioning Primer (P1,600)

What this is for: Sparse and thin eyebrows, brittle eyebrows, oily skin

What it does well: This clear gel is designed to prime your brows both in terms of appearance and in helping your colored products stick better throughout the day. It smoothens and conditions brows - in fact, brows feel thicker and more organized after one coat. I even use this sometimes to set my brow makeup even though there's another product in this collection just for that purpose.

Does it make my brow makeup stay on longer? I don't have oily brows - in fact I'd even hazard to say that my skin is a bit dry in that area - so I can't tell for sure. I like the thickening effect though and how it makes my brow hairs shinier and more lively-looking without making them stiff.

What it doesn't do so well: Benefit makes great formulas but their click-type pens are so tricky to use! I end up dispensing too much product. 

Precisely, My Brow Pencil (P1,400)

What this is for: Creating hairline strokes to mimic the appearance of hair; achieving natural yet precise brows that don't look drawn in. This is great for thicker brows that only need a bit of shading and correction.

What it does well: If you have unfortunate gaps or over-plucked areas on the outline of your brows, this pencil is for you. It's creamy but not overly so; it's a breeze to navigate around the contours of the brow. I'm using shade 4 for Medium hair! It has a sort of translucency to it that belies the fact that I've  filled in my brows carefully.

I love the spoolie included in the pencil. It's soft, narrow, and doesn't erase too much of the product come blending time.

What it doesn't do so well: If you have sparse brows like mine, be prepared to spend time filling in a thicker shape.  It also has a tendency not to adhere well if the area you're shading is damp.

Goof Proof Brow Pencil (P1,400)

What this is for: Creating smooth, creamy-looking brows in just a few strokes. This is ideal for those with sparse and thin brows.

What it does well: If you prefer thick, sleek, and soft matte brows, this pencil is for you! It's easily my favorite in the collection as it is perfect for my needs. The angled, sword-cut pencil tip gets me the brows I want quickly and with little effort. It delivers well-balanced pigmentation so I don't have to keep going back AND I don't need to use additional products to get the look I want! It's certainly goof-proof. The shade, also #4, is perfect for my hair.  

The spoolie of Good Proof is the same as Precisely My Brow. It's so good I just might keep the component even when I've run out of product.

What it doesn't do so well: When I'm not careful, I over-apply and the product bunches up in one area. Use a light hand when working this into your brows.

Ka-BROW! Eyebrow Cream-Gel Color (P1,400)

What this is for: Precise, dramatic brows that will not budge all day as it features a waterproof formula

What it does well: If you want Instagram brows - full, faded brows that defy natural genetic possibilities - you'll love this. Cheekiness aside, you just have to look at the kilay I've made above to understand the true power of this potted wonder! I found it difficult to work with at first, but once I got the hang of it, I appreciated how it can make my brows look like they're having the time of their lives.

I sometimes use it by itself but the best way, IMHO, is to wield it as a perfector. As you can see in this tutorial on how I do my brows for special occasions, I used the Ka-Brow to add depth and definition to the final look. I also pick it up when I know I'm having an extra long day as it is oil and sweat-proof in my experience.

What it doesn't do so well: There is a learning curve to this, I find. The trick is getting the pressure and product ratio juuuust right. Too much and it bunches up or looks too dark. Too little and it won't glide on. You must also work fast with this formula as it dries very quickly! I'd say you have, hmm, 15 seconds to blend everything out if you accidentally place too much.

Gimme Brow Volumizing Eyebrow Gel (P1,400)

What this is for: Thickening brow hairs as well as keeping them neat and budge-proof all day

What it does well: If you have fine brow hairs like I do, Gimme Brow can help you. This browcara tints and volumizes individual hairs instantly with its small, easy-to-use brush. I recommend using this as a topper for your brow makeup just to keep the whole thing in place! I am using the shade #3 here.

What it doesn't do so well: It can shade your brows - up to a point, as you can see in the pic above. It may not be enough by itself (unless you have thick brows already) so always use something else designed for proper shading beforehand.

And that is that! Whew. I hope you enjoyed my reviews! I'd love to know what you think of Benefit's latest magic act, and if you've tried anything from the collection already. What's your fave brow look?

photography by Sam Gonzales