Benefit Instant Brow Pencil Review: Criteria

Anytime I’m reviewing a product, I instantly run through the list of criteria that I use when I’m critiquing factory samples for customers with my other company Genie Supply (here, if interested):

  • Color
  • Pay-off
  • Consistency
  • Feel
  • Other notes + Overall Value

..and that’s kind of how my brain reviews products, too.

So here they are, in order, as my brain laid them out:

1. Color

I bought the Instant Brow Pencil in Light. I had no idea what to get and the colors didn’t seem that precise. It worked just fine. It was lighter than my Brow Wiz pencil in Medium Brown; it actually looked closer to ABH’s caramel colored Brow Wiz.

Weirdly, this was no “3d browtones” but it seemed to have built-in highlights in the pigment. It wasn’t a straight pigment, and it definitely didn’t lay flat on your brows. It was slightly volumizing, even highlighting.

2. Pay-off

Pay-off is what you get for how hard you work.. literally. Just try to apply that same concept to makeup.

In this case, pay-off was greaaaat. Wow this baby can move. The pencil had a great pay-off. It was almost like a gel pencil, or a brow wax and powder together in one. I mean this stuff comes off easy.

On the other hand, that means you have to sharpen your pencil a lot. A lot. 

The first time was no biggie, but by the second and third time I was using this pencil in my routine, I had to sharpen between brows. Ugh. Not a fan. Kind of a hassle. That also means I’ll be done with this pencil in no time.

3. Consistency

Again, this pencil felt more like a hybrid than a straight pencil. There’s obvious up and downsides to that–like it runs out quickly, but you don’t have to work it very hard to get the product onto your brows. It also makes it a bit messier; bye, bye precision.

The consistency and pay-off make the pencil great for a messy brow or slightly amped-up brow–a more natural look. Its not good for a precise brow, drawing on single brow hairs, or the classic ABH brow. In other words, this is a great pencil if you have a medium amount of brow hair that you want to accentuate. It’s not great if you have very thick brows already or no/very thin brows.

It’s perfect for a “messy brow” day. Does anyone else have those?

It’s the same idea as a sea salt spray for “beach wavy” hair; sometimes you want effortlessly cool tousled model brows, right?

4. Feel

Glided on. Felt great. Glided on so smoothly that… wait?! where’d my pigment go?! It seemed to glide into my brows, like money slipping away.

As for the pencil itself, this is a fillable pencil (in beauty supply terms, not literally), that’s made from composite material (some sort of mix) and dyed black. It has a wrapper label on the outside and a spoolie brush on the other end (which I love). It’s a decent pencil. It’s very easy to sharpen and has the weight/diameter of a brow pencil that means business.

Not sure if that’s my quality control/cosmetic manufacturing geekiness coming out (thanks Genie Supply) or just some really insightful beauty feedback, but take it for what it is.

5. Other Notes / Overall Value

Along with the consistency and color notes, another key point is that the hybrid consistency leaves your brows with a little extra wax. So instead of applying a powder then a wax, like some do, you can just apply one and use the other end’s spoolie to brush and set your brows into place. I really liked this feature, and it makes for some very good-looking brows.

I’d have to say that for what I paid – which I think was $20 on clearance, normally $22 – I’m really on the fence about thsi pencil. It sharpens so fast and frequently that I feel like I’ll blast through it. In the mean time, it’s still great for my “messy brow” days–when I want to look like I’m not wearing makeup, but I am.

Unfortunately, I think Benefit is discontinuing this pencil (hence the sale), in favor of it’s new brow products that it launched this summer, including “Precisely My Brow” “Goof Proof” “3D Browtones” (reviewed here) and “Gimme Brow”. Birchbox seems to have it, so if you want it, snag it here.

Conclusion: Benefit Instant Brow Review

I may have been late to the party on reviewing this brow pencil, but like I said, I’m always in search of “the one”. The takeaways:

+ Great color/highlight combo

+ Great pay-off

– Needs to be sharpened frequently

– Not precise

+ / – Price

Overall, this brow pencil is perfect for those days where you just want a little something in your brows, but not too much. It’s difficult to detect, so nobody will know you’re wearing makeup, while giving ample brow volume with it’s highlight tones and waxy/hybrid formulation, making brows easy to style into place.

It still hasn’t replaced my Brow Wiz (damn you, ABH!), but it is great for when I want to switch things up a little.

What do you think? Have you tried the Instant Brow Pencil? Weigh in below!

Dr. Vanessa Rodriguez is a board-certified general practitioner with more than 15 years of patient care experience. She takes an integrative approach to patient care that considers the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – and is deeply committed to assisting her patients in achieving and sustaining optimal health. Dr. Vanessa is also a skilled writer and medical reviewer, specializing in preventive care and health promotion. Her articles are written in an approachable manner that is simple to comprehend and implement in one’s own life. Dr. Vanessa’s mission is to equip her patients and readers with the knowledge and resources necessary to live their greatest lives.

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