If beauty blogging has taught me anything, it’s that when it comes to makeup, price is no indicator of quality. There are very few categories of products where you can’t find a perfectly lovely option in the budget to mid-priced category. Brows, however, are an exception. Sure, for every high end brow kit, there is a budget alternative – but often, the cheaper products fail to shine.
Budget kits tend to fall down on packaging - though for the most part, we can forgive that, because we know it’s what we pay for with pricier products. The limited shade range is also understandable, to an extent; mass market products, after all, are made to cater for the masses, and factors like available retail space and stocking decisions impact on the colours available.
But that doesn’t explain why those colours are often not convincing. The shade offerings for dark brown brows tend towards the warm reddish brown, or black; for my brows to look natural, I want a cool-toned, ashy brown that is a shade or two lighter than my hair.
Finally, the tools which come with budget kits can be sub-par; they might look cute, and sound great in theory, but they tend not to give enough precision or control. Again, it’s easy to understand why this happens – expecting a quality brush in a kit that costs less than your coffee is just unrealistic. So why put them in at all?
All of that said, the fact remains that many of us are not willing or able to spend big on our brows (though if you’re feeling spendy, the Clarins kit I showed you here is one of the best you’ll find, and my sister swears by Benefit’s Brow Zings). So I’ve done the legwork for you and immersed myself in the world of budget brow kits over the last few months; these are, I think, the best of the bunch. They’re all long-lasting, don’t smudge and allow for a natural or more defined finish.
ONE: Sleek Makeup Brow Kit, €9.99 (find it here)
What’s in it: coloured wax and powder, mini tweezers, mini angled brush and blending brush.
What’s good about it: Incredibly similar to Benefit’s Brow Zings, this little kit gets full marks for presentation, coming in a sleek black case with an incredibly handy mirror. The tools are also higher quality than most.
What’s not so good about it: Of the two shade offerings, the lightest is too pale for me and the darkest is too warm and not quite dark enough. While reasonably priced, it's still twice the price of the other kits here.
TWO: Rimmel Brow This Way Brow Sculpting Kit, €4.99 (find it here)
What’s in it: a coloured wax and shadow, double-ended angle brush and spoolie.
What’s good about it: The tools are good! I love the spoolie, it’s so handy and this is the only kit that includes one. It comes in two colour combinations; medium brown and dark brown.
What’s not so good about it: The shades are a little too warm for my liking; look closely at this photo I shared from Christmas and you’ll see what I mean. And there’s no mirror, which is a bit of a pain.
THREE: Wet n Wild Ultimate Brow Kit, €4.49 (find it here)
What’s in it: Clear wax, two shades of brow powders and two tools: mini tweezers plus a mini angled brush for application.
What’s good about it: Lots, actually: two colours means you can contour the brow should you choose (it’s the new brow trend, more to come soon!) or use solo; I love the flat ashiness of the darkest shade which looks very natural on my brows. The clear wax is soft and easy to work with and while I can’t work the tweezers, the little brush is quite good. This is the one that's made it into permanent rotation.
What’s not so good about it: I think there’s only one shade, Ash Brown (correct me if I’m wrong), but you get two colours included and they’re both on point. There is a mirror, underneath this kit, but I cannot for the life of me work out how to extract it – plus I broke a nail trying. (Talk about #firstworldproblems!) Plus, I wish there was a spoolie.
Tried any of these? What did you think? And any more budget brow recommendations for me? Leave ‘em in the comments!