I was talking to a young beauty blogger last month and, when she left, she pulled on her coat, reached for her travel pass and, finally, combed her thick, bushy brows, spikily skywards. She looked slightly wild, and beautiful. I found this extraordinary, and somewhat heartening after so many years of sharp, perfectly filled brows shaped according to one beauty ideal. Thereâ€™s something so lovely about fluffy, softer-looking brows that seems so right for now. The issue, as ever, is that natural is an illusion: a product, not genetics, is what keeps bushy brows standing proud.
As well as that, a great many of us parted company with thick brows at roughly the same time we discovered cider and boys, and need a little brow bulking agent to achieve anything close to abundance.
Iâ€™ve had a very enjoyable couple of months finding the right tool to do both jobs in one sweep. Youâ€™ve heard me talk about Glossierâ€™s mighty Boy Brow before, which is still brilliant and never far from my side. But I wondered if there was anything cheaper, and found not one, but three great alternatives.
Rimmel Londonâ€™s Wonderâ€™Full â€“ annoying apostrophe aside â€“ has been a revelation. There is, in my view, no better Â£7.99 spent on your brows. This manages to fatten puny hairs with tiny fibres, and keep them prettily aloft all day, with zero touch up, while somehow avoiding that hard, crispiness I associate with long-wear gels. Itâ€™s so very good, but you must see past the misleading packaging colours (there are three shade options), which suggest the goo inside is warm-toned, when in fact, itâ€™s optimally cool (warm brow colours look fake and wiggy).
I was already a fan of Lâ€™OrÃ©al Parisâ€™ brow gel, but now itâ€™s been made better. Launching as you read, is their Brow Artist Plump & Set (Â£7.99), which does precisely as the name suggests. My brows look instantly thicker and pushed upwards, making them appear wider, and stay there for the course. The slightly curved brush was my favourite, too.
Finally, and a tad more expensively, Max Factorâ€™s Brow Revival (Â£9.99), is marvellous, particularly if youâ€™re the active, gym-going type. Seriously, nothing â€“ not even rain â€“ shifts this sucker until cleansing time.
Application is the same for all three. Stroke against the direction of growth to distribute the thickening fibres, then comb back downwards to tame them, or upwards, if youâ€™re brave enough.