What’s the Skinny on Tarte’s EmphasEYES Waterproof Brow Pencil?

Published in: Eyes, Makeup, Product Reviews

Tarte EmphasEYES Waterproof Brow Pencil

Even my dextrous little digits have a hard time holding the Tarte EmphasEYES Waterproof Brow Pencil ($19.50). Straight up, it’s probably the daintiest brow pencil I’ve ever used!


Years of piano lessons (mostly against my will, I might add) and flute playing gave me fleet fingers and thumbs, and I can usually draw with even the thinnest pencils. This one, however, feels awkward and uncomfortable in my paws.

Bummer, because if it were a bit bulkier, I’d probably be a bigger fan because it reminds me of Benefit’s Instant Brow ($20), which I’ve been wearing for months.

Like Benefit, Tarte got the pigment just right. It’s available in two shades, and when I blend Medium Brown, the one I’ve been wearing, into my brows, I can barely tell it’s there (doesn’t look fake or obvious). And if I need to go darker, it’s also easy to build.

From left: EmphasEYES Waterproof Brow Pencil in Medium Brown, EmphasEYES Waterproof Brow Pencil in Taupe and MAC Technakohl liner in Graphblack (for comparison)

Swatches: Taupe (“Hay”) and Medium Brown (“Boo”)

If I can just figure out how to handle the pencil, I might like this more than Benefit’s as it has the advantage of a twist-up tip. Benefit’s requires sharpening, which is kind of a chore.

Tarte’s formula also outlasts Benefit’s (on me it makes it through the day), although I wouldn’t exactly call it waterproof. It does appear to fade during my sweaty workouts.


Even with my problems with this pencil, I still think it would be a good fit for gals with thin brows, as the pencil tip, just like the pencil it’s packaged in, is super slim. Shoot, it’s even skinnier than a MAC Technakohl liner!

If you can wield it, you should be able to fill even the thinnest thread-like brows.

PRICE: $19.50
AVAILABILITY: Available now at Sephora stores and also online

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 32 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Tracy says:

    This is my holy grail eyebrow pencil for almost a year now. I love it!
    P.S. Love your MAC Blogger lip gloss! πŸ™‚
    Tracy recently posted … Sephora Cream Lip Stain

  2. Vijaya says:

    I’m not a brow pencil girl, but since I’m a review addict I loved reading this. I always love the stuff you write with pencil/liner products. =P
    Vijaya recently posted … Christina Marie Mineral Cosmetics- Overview Details and Things

  3. Makenna says:

    I’ve got the most unruly bushy brows! This causes me to be a little TOO tweezer happy. I was thinking about getting a brow pencil to cover up my mistakes, would this be good for beginners? Or would something else do the trick?

  4. Martha says:

    I recently tried this pencil and like it a lot. Tarte has been wowing me lately. Loving their Amazonian Clay foundation, Illuminating Serum, Clay Blushes, and the cute QVC set I got!
    Martha recently posted … Becca Guava Beach Tint Swatches and Review

  5. Chris25 says:

    I am going to have to haul myself to Sephora and try this out!

  6. Tiffany says:

    I love this pencil! I used to use those little CoverGirl brow pencils that come in a 2 pack… no more. This looks so much more natural… the skinny pencil does take some getting used to, though…

  7. Izzy says:

    not super glam- but i would wrap the pencil with enough scotch tape so that it would fit into one of those rubber pencil grips. i think that would make it easier to handle. of course you could also depot this because it’s twist up, but i’ve never done that with an eyebrow pencil. maybe you could try it with taupe, the color that you don’t use, and see how it turns out?
    Izzy recently posted … Eyeko Mascara

  8. larie says:

    You know, I’ve never filled in my brows πŸ˜€ I’m not really a fan of the other EmphasEyes products though, except the mascara. Do you find that the tip breaks easily at all?
    larie recently posted … EOTD- I Have a Soft Spot For Greens

    • Karen says:

      Wow, really? Are you one of those gals with naturally full brows? My BFF is like that — she never has to fill in.

      As for the tip, I haven’t had any trubs with it breaking (yet).

  9. I’m loving lingering by MAC! Probably stick with that
    productdoctor recently posted … Am I Doing it Wrong! DiorShow Maximizer Lash Plumping Serum and Primer- First Look

  10. Lisa says:

    My friend gave me the taupe one, since it’s too light for her. The color and wear are great, but I agree, it’s too skinny for my clumsy claws.

  11. Kim says:

    I still have some life in my Clinique brow pencil, but I’m certainly open to new options. πŸ™‚ I’ve found the twist-up formulas to be more waxy, which hasn’t worked for me (but maybe it’s my imagination). I’ll have to do some testing. πŸ™‚

  12. Nina says:

    the taupe looks purple to me! im happy w/ my current brow stuff: omega eyeshadow and a 266 brush for days when i have time or mac’s impeccable brow pencil in taupe when im in a hurry! πŸ™‚

    • Karen says:

      I totally see that. I hear it’s great for blondes…

      Anywho, I go through different brow phases, but good old MAC shadow + the 266 brush never fails!

      • Nina says:

        i do too. i think im going to give the benefit brow pencil that came w/ the cha cha tint kit a whirl soon! πŸ™‚

  13. Iram says:

    Hey Karen I would really appreciate it if you could reply back as I’m sort of in a dilemma. You see, I have black eyebrows (my hair’s black too). and they’re thick but not bushy. They do need to be filled in a little though as their’s very obvious spacing between each hair at some parts, they’re not big gaps but there’s a lot of skin which shows through which makes them then look untidy and ugly. I’ve been trying a lot of eyebrow stuff and it usually makes my eyebrows look too dark and funny even if I use the product sparingly and with a light hand.
    What would you suggest I do? πŸ™
    Iram recently posted … Getting The Spooks

  14. Kyle says:

    My ULTIMATE fave eyebrow pencil. I use both colors. Only recently ran out. Love it.

  15. amy says:

    lol.. I smiled at your comment about years of piano playing against your will and the size of your fingers.. xo

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