It is often said that eyebrows are the frame to the face, and filling them in with a pencil or any other type of brow product helps to define and shape them, enhancing their overall appearance.
Adding product to your brows, no matter how dramatically or subtly, will completely lift and transform your eyes and face overall. Whether you are looking to fill in some gaps or looking to alter your brow shape, filling in the eyebrows has become an essential part of everyone’s makeup routine.
With all the products we have in our makeup bags, it is easy to want to combine products to use them for more than one area. Most of the time, eyeliner pencils and eyebrows pencils can seem similar and it can be easy to want to use one or the other to target multiple parts of the face.
Although they seem similar, eyebrow pencils and eyeliner pencils have different formulas and serve two different purposes for enhancing the eyes and face.
So, can you use eyeliner pencil to fill in your eyebrows? While technically you can use a neutral color eyeliner to fill in your brows, eyebrow pencils are going to be the best option. Brow pencils are specifically created to fill in gaps and sparse areas of the brows and have a different texture, formula, and shade range than the average eyeliner pencil.
Below, we discuss the differences between eyebrow pencils and eyeliners, and what is the best product to shape and define your brows.
Eyebrow Pencils Vs. Eyeliner
The main differences between eyebrow pencils and eyeliner pencils are the different textures and formulas. Eyebrow pencils and eyeliners are meant to achieve two different looks on the face, and are created to target a specific area.
Eyebrow pencils are meant to fill in and shape the eyebrows to give a full, defined appearance, whereas eyeliner can be used to define the eyes, create a more sultry appearance, or balance the eye shape.
As eyebrow pencils are meant to fill in the sparse areas of the brows, they have a waxier texture compared to some eyeliners. They are meant to work with and grab onto the brow hairs, so the waxy texture helps to naturally build up the color.
Some eyebrow pencils can also have a more powdery feel, which mimics the look of filling in the brows with shadow, to create a softly shaped effect.
As eyebrow pencils generally have a waxy texture, that also makes them firmer and drier compared to an eyeliner pencil. The firmness of the eyebrow pencil allows for control to draw on hair-like strokes, and the drier texture helps the product stay in place.
While eyebrow pencils are firm, they should blend easily with a spoolie brush to ensure the pencil mixes with the brow hairs seamlessly.
Eyebrow pencils are able to deposit a light amount of color pigment, based on their formula and texture, to prevent the brows from becoming too dark or unnatural. The color range for brow pencils also stays true to colors that exist naturally in the brows and hair, in order to achieve a natural application.
Eyeliner comes in many different forms, from gels, to liquids, pen applicators, or pencils. Each of these formulas comes in a wide variety of shades that range between colorful and vibrant, to neutral and basic.
In general, eyeliner pencils are going to have a creamier texture to allow for easy application and to prevent unnecessary tugging of the delicate skin of the eyelid.
With the creamy texture, there is a chance you have time to smudge out the eyeliner pencil to achieve a sultry or smoky eye effect.
In the case of waterproof pencils, most of the time they set within seconds of application without the chance to smudge or blend out the line. Depending on the formula, eyeliner pencils can be harder to blend out than eyebrow pencils.
Based on their purpose of lining and defining the eyes, eyeliners are going to deposit more pigment and have a darker color payoff than eyebrow pencils. While eyeliners are available in neutral colors, such as browns, blacks, and taupes, the shades can be harsher compared to the hair-like shades available in eyebrow pencils.
Eyebrow pencils also offer a matte finish, based on their formula, while often times eyebrow pencils can leave a satin or demi-matte finish behind.
Can You Use Eyeliner On Eyebrows?
Technically, you could use eyeliner pencil on your eyebrows in a pinch or if you want to condense the makeup products you are using.
However, be mindful that eyeliner pencils will give a different look to the brows, and will often require some trial and error for the right eyeliner and technique to achieve natural looking brows.
As stated above, eyeliners are creamier and more pigmented than eyebrow pencils, so using a light hand when applying the eyeliner to the brow is crucial to prevent too much product from being deposited.
Using a light application of the eyeliner pencil, as well as blending it out quickly before it sets, will help the eyebrows look more natural and achieve closer results to that of an eyebrow pencil.
How To Choose The Right Eyeliner For Eyebrows
If you want to try using an eyeliner pencil for your eyebrows, there are a few criteria to keep in mind. Most importantly, you want to choose a color that is going to closely match your brow hair in order for the sparse brow areas to be naturally filled in (Jane Iredale has a nice shade range of eyeliners that will work for eyebrow shades).
Depending on your hair color, you might be able to find an eyeliner pencil for your brows easily, such as a brown for brunette or black hair, however other shades may be more challenging to find, like a taupe for light blondes or auburn for redheads.
Eyebrow pencils are created to have a small tip applicator, in order to fill in sparse areas and draw on hair-like strokes easily. Often times they also have a spoolie on the opposite end of the pencil, to allow for easily blending.
If you are using an eyeliner pencil, it is important to select a pencil that can be sharpened into a precise point, and to have a disposable spoolie handy to blend out any harsh lines.
To further mimic the results of an eyebrow pencil, look for an eyeliner pencil that has a matte finish. Rather than a creamy, satin finish that most eyeliner pencils leave behind, a matte finish will look more natural in the brows.
If you want to experiment with filling in your brows with eyeliner pencils even more, you can also try an eyeliner pen to achieve the natural, hair-like strokes of an eyebrow pen. However, the above mentioned criteria still applies to find the best eyeliner pen for the results
Are Eyeliners Or Eyebrow Pencils Better For Eyebrows?
Eyebrow pencils are specifically formulated to fill in and define they eyebrows, so that is the product that will ultimately work the best.
It is able to fill in the sparse areas seamlessly, and add shape to the brows easily. There are more nuanced shades available to suit your hair color, and the size and shape of the pencil will not overpower your brows.
While you can find an eyeliner pencil that may be able to achieve similar results, eyebrow pencils are created with the formula, texture, and packaging in mind to deliver full, thick, and shaped brows in an effortless way.
Whichever you decide to use, if you’re not sure how to go about filling your brows, take a look at this tutorial from Tori DeSimone on YouTube.
Although it can work, eyeliner pencils will not always achieve the same results in your brows as an eyebrow pencil will.
The differences in their formulas, textures, and shade ranges can make it challenging to find an eyeliner that will compliment your hair color and will apply the product in a subtle and natural way.
The shape of the pencil as well is larger than the point of an eyebrow pencil, which can cause it to be difficult to fill in the sparse areas accurately.
Eyeliners and eyebrow pencils both come in a variety of shades, but eyebrow pencils are specifically developed to match the natural colors of the hair, making finding tones for all hair colors easy and customizable.
The nuance in shades, from cooler taupes to warmer auburns, will help your brows compliment your hair color which will result in a cohesive, overall appearance. While there are various shades of neutrals available in eyeliner pencils, it can be hard to find the right undertone to match your hair color.
There are different types of eyeliner and brow products available that can seem similar, from pen applicators, gel formulas and pomades, and finally pencils. While finding products that can be used for multi-purpose reasons is always a treat, eyeliners and eyebrow pencils are not always interchangeable.
If you want to experiment to see if you can use an eyeliner pencil in your brows, look for one that has a matte finish, can be sharpened into a precise point, and is a neutral shade that can be easily blended with a disposable spoolie.