Caroline Donofrio eyebrows

Welcome to The Face Off, a new regular column. (Not to be confused with that movie from 1997.) Every month, I’ll test drive five products in the same category — makeup, skincare, hair, who knows what — and report back with the details. Our first order of business is eyebrows…

In Breakfast at Tiffany’s, there is a scene where Holly meets Paul for the first time. She answers the door in her now-iconic sleep mask, then he loiters in her apartment as she gets ready for the day. A large part of her routine, along with shuffling about in her gamine way, involves brushing and penciling in her eyebrows. “Why,” I remember thinking, furrowing my own over-tweezed 2000-era brows, “would anyone pay so much attention to eyebrows?” A decade later, I had my answer, as well-groomed brows were suddenly everywhere. Brows are like a frame for your entire face — one finishing touch that makes all the difference.

To that end, here are today’s contenders:

Benefit Ka-BROW!, $24
Sometimes, I want my eyebrows to resemble aggressively voluminous caterpillars at rest on my face. To accomplish this, one needs to a) be Brooke Shields circa 1980, or b) use a very serious brow product. As its name suggests, Ka-BROW is such a product. The gel-cream lives in a little pot and is applied with the included brush. The formula is thick, lending brows serious volume. Careful, though, because a heavy hand can result in brows like this guy.
Verdict: Perfect for those who dream big.

Glossier Boy Brow, $16
No eyebrow roundup should exist without a mention of Boy Brow, which has become something of a cult product (heralded in many a Beauty Uniform). The name has always been a mystery to me (Am I meant to aspire to boyish brows? Are we implying that boys’ brows are better?) but the all-in-one pomade couldn’t be easier to use. Just a few swipes of the mascara-like wand gives your brows polished definition. The result is subtle — no face caterpillars here — but goes a long way.
Verdict: A solid everyday staple.

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Color, $21
The package tells me the “innovative marker-like brush tip” makes it easy to “mimic hairs.” Indeed, the tip is so marker-like I feel like I’m conducting art class on my face. The waterproof formula does not budge. Because I am not a synchronized swimmer (indeed, I can barely swim beyond one sad, froggish motion), I’m not sure when I would require waterproof eyebrows. Even at the gym, I’ve never met an eyebrow product capable of sweat-melting off my face. But if this is something you’re after (who knows?) the marker is worth a try.
Verdict: Good for aquatic sports.

Revlon Colorstay Brow Mousse, $9
This mousse lives in a little pen, where, after a few clicks, it is dispensed onto a bulbous brush tip. The first time I attempted to use this, it looked like someone had drawn eyebrows on my face using Bosco chocolate syrup — dark, slick, scary. Though I heart chocolate syrup on ice cream, ’twas not the look I intended.
Verdict: All kinds of no.

Anastasia Brow Wiz, $21
As one who appreciates a product that can swing between subtle and dramatic, this is my personal favorite. The teeny tiny pencil lets you draw fine little lines, while the brush on the opposite end helps you blend it all in. Fill them in a lot, or boost them just a little. No matter your own brow preferences, this one can handle it all. It’s tiny, weighs nothing, and is easily stashed in your makeup bag. Win, win, win.
Verdict: Add to cart.

Do you currently use any eyebrow products? Have any recommendations? Please share!

P.S. My desert island product and a natural deodorant challenge.