Elevate Your Fuzzy Little Caterpillars to Golden Arches With the New NARS Brow Gel and Brow Perfector

Published in: Eyes, Makeup, NARS, Product Reviews

Wearing the NARS Brow Perfectors in Kalamata and Suriname; Brow Gel Kinshasha, new for fall 2013

Wearing the new NARS Brow Perfectors in Kalamata and Suriname, and the Brow Gel in Kinshasha

I like big brows, and I cannot lie.
You other brothas can’t deny.
When a girl walks in,
With her bushy brows,
And those arches on her face, I get sprung.

BABY GOT BROWS! I just misquoted Sir Mix-a-lot, what?

Guess who’s got big brows on her mind, babes. They’re kind of a thing for fall, which is probably why brands like NARS are rolling out the red carpet for big brows with products like their new fall Brow Gels and Brow Perfectors ($22 each).

NARS Brow Perfectors on the left and Brow Gels on the right

The Brow Perfectors on the left and Brow Gels on the right

I’ve been trying to grow out my fuzzy little caterpillars for a while, but it hasn’t been easy, thanks to the aftereffects of the era of pencil-thin brows known as the ’90s.

Mine naturally also sort of fade away around the middle mark, and then there’s the issue of Raul…the really annoying bald spot on my left brow. It’s like a no-man’s land up in that spot! Absolutely nothing grows there.

Yeah, thank goodness for side-swept bangs…and these new NARS Brow Perfector pencils and brush-on Brow Gels, both been of which have been helping me fulfill my dreams of Brooke Shields brows circa 1982.

The NARS Brow Perfector ($22)

François and friends designed the NARS Brow Perfector, which comes in four shades, each with a natural matte finish, to fill, shape and define brows, and they made the twist-up pencil oval to differentiate it from the pack of similar products.

The oval shape is supposed to make it easier to control, helping you get the exact brow shape, angle and size you want.

There’s Salzbourg (a light brown), Caucase (a medium brown), Kalamata (a medium brownish taupe) and Suriname (a black)…

I’ve been using a combination of the two darker colors, Kalamata and Suriname (a very stark, dark black), because I feel like there’s a wide gap between them. Neither one by itself matches my natural brow color. Something between the two shades would be perfect for we lasses with dark brown locks.

NARS Brow Perfector Brow Gel tips

Oval shape of the Brow Perfector tip on the left and the Brow Gel’s tapered brush on the right

First thing I noticed about these was the texture. They’re hard — like polar opposites of soft, waxy brow pencils like Benefit’s Instant Brows.

But I don’t think that’s a problem at all. In fact, many of the harder brow pencils I’ve tried stay put longer, at least for me, and this one does, too. When I draw mine in at the crack of dawn, they still look prim and proper 12-14 hours later.

Interestingly, all of these Brow Perfector colors appear to contain gray undertones, and a couple of them remind me of some of my MAC brow filling favorites, except in pencil costume. Salzbourg makes me think of MAC Omega, and Kalamata reminds me of MAC Concrete.

These pencils apply very sheer, so I have to build them up when I want darker brows. Perfect, because I’ve been known to go overboard with darker pencils anyway — something that’s pretty hard to do with these. They may take a little longer to use, but I’ll take that trade-off for the added control these provide.

As for the twist-up tip, we have a love/hate relationship… On the one hand, I love the ease of use — no need to sharpen! — but the oval shape hasn’t been the best for fine detail work.

Even so, I like these. With a matte finish that looks natural, and epic staying power, the only change I might suggest is an easy way to sharpen them.


The Brow Gels ($22)

Dude, these are DOPE! Much better than the MAC and Anastasia brow gels I’ve been alternating between for the past couple months.

They come in four shades — three pigmented and one colorless — with the pigmented shades actually being pigmented enough to see on your skin and brows.

Cool. 🙂

NARS swatches from the left: Brow Perfector in Caucase, Kalmata, Salzbourg and Suriname; Brow Gels in Athens, Kinshasa, Oural and Piraeus

From the left: Brow Perfector in Caucase, Kalmata, Salzbourg and Suriname; Brow Gels in Athens, Kinshasa, Oural and Piraeus

Need some brow enhancement? Excellent, because that’s what these are designed to do — make brows look darker and fuller — and the gel sets them without any crunchiness or shine! Finished, brows feel firm, but still pliable enough to run a brow comb through.

Each has a super skinny tapered brush that hugs the hairs, easily maneuvering them into place. No wrangling whatsoever. The hairs lie perfectly flat, which I love.

So, so great.


If you’re aiming for full, lush brows that still look natural, give ’em a try. I’ve already added one of these to my bag of everyday makeup must-haves.

(But we could use more colors, François!!)


PRICE: $22 each
AVAILABILITY: Look for both the Brow Gels and Brow Perfectors at NARS counters, boutiques and online at narscosmetics.com starting July 20.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 18 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Dovey says:

    Hi Karen,

    I’ve been hoping to see reviews of the new NARS brow products! I’m more interested in the pencils — I’ll have to test the pigmentation when they come out 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Dovey,

      The pencils are neat! Pretty sheer though. I thought the sheerness might be annoying at first, but it’s actually really cool because you get so much control. What are you currently using to fill in your brows?

  2. Heidi says:

    I’ll have to check these out. I have such a hard time finding the right shade of brow products for me. It seems that all the shades designed for light to medium brown hair turn this weird brassy/orangey shade on me. Perhaps the gray undertones would help me avoid that.

  3. Agata says:

    Sign me up for a brow gel. I am not sure what color I’d pick though.

  4. Patricia says:

    I think I’m going to have to hold off a bit on these since I just recently purchased the Anastasia Beauty Express. I’ve been wanting to return it since I have other less expensive products for my brows already, BUT I can’t get over the stencils, I just love the stencils… well 1 of the stencils. So it’s kind of like I paid forty-something dollars for a stencil…. mmmmm …

    • Patricia says:

      Ok, so now I feel super embarrassed. I can’t believe I didn’t know that brow stencils were sold separately *blush* Embarrassing!!! Although I’m glad that I found out, which makes my final decision a breeze. Thank you Karen, this talking to myself really helped. I guess it’s true when people say the truth is within you (lol)

  5. Lulle says:

    I’m really curious about the gel version. If it’s easy to apply, it could be a life savior in the morning when I’m running late for work (understand: every morning)!
    Lulle recently posted … Maybelline Color Whisper in Coral Ambition: you’re fired!

  6. musical says:

    Off topic, but very important 🙂

    Happy 7th to you and El-hub, bella! Hope you both had a fun time y’day. Did Tabs bring you guys some cool presents?

  7. Vanessa says:

    Man, your brows are looking lovely and full — and very natural. Jealous! 🙂

  8. Gowthami says:

    Gels shades are quite interesting 🙂
    Gowthami recently posted … Makeup Tip: Mascara Remover

  9. Danielle says:

    I was very excited for these, but they are a bit too cooled toned for me. Ignoring my avatar (from when I dyed my hair brown), I actually have auburn hair & I like my brows with something warmer through them.
    Danielle recently posted … Weleda Skin Food

  10. Olivia says:

    These look nice- I’ll have to add them to my list for when I run out of brow products!
    Olivia recently posted … Jenna Hipp Private Giveaway Nail Polish Review & Swatches

  11. LisaK says:

    I have nice thick eyebrows- BUT I’m finding grey hairs in them! Could I use the gels to color & blend in the greys? Are they already too grey-toned? Help!

  12. Chelsea says:

    Oh man, this would go great with the NARS stuff I just bought. My favorite brow pencil from Maybelline seems to have been discontinued *tears*

  13. Sarah says:

    Sadly none of the pencils look like they will be light enough for my brows. The gels might work. I definitely need a wee bit of help in the brow department these days. I lost my HG Vincent Longo micro brow pencil…. sad. That is THE BEST for blonds I swear.

    Can we talk about the whole 90’s skinny eye-brow plucking frenzy? I still can’t actually believe that it happened. It looked SO BAD. I have a close friend who had the absolute most extreme thin brows and though she has let them fill in significantly in the last 20 years, she still shapes them all wrong. (like look like a comma sort of… a long arched thin line with an oval bump towards the center of her face.) How do I lovingly suggest changing that?

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