Sunday, 19 July 2015

Makeup: the best bargain brow kit

It's taken me a very long time to appreciate the good a well-defined eyebrow can do - particularly for a retro makeup look with strong lipstick. I've really only starting using product on mine for about the last six months or so (see my little picture on the right there - that's au natural). For years, while I kept them tidy I hadn't been very concerned with doing much more than that with them. They're quite thick and somewhat dark and I got it into my head that adding products to them = slugs on my face. Of course, now I realise that perfect, neat brows + red lips = makeup perfection! 

I just hadn't got a handle on the fact that just because you use an eyebrow pencil, doesn't mean you have to look like you've stencilled them on... Nor that you have to choose between pencils, powders, gels etc, but can in fact use a combination of products to get the right look for you. Lesson learned!

Boots Seventeen Brow's That! Brow Kit review

And that's why I like brow kits like this one so much, for the range of product they offer in one handy container! But when there's kits on offer from highbrow brands (sorry), are the cheaper ones any good? Benefit's Brow Zings and Urban Decay's Brow Box are two well-known 'kit' products that offer various things - both containing mini tweezers, setting wax and powder - and at £20+ each, you'd expect them to! Benefit's offering is supposedly the bestselling eyebrow product in the UK - I've not tried it, but I did notice the reviews for today's product referenced it a lot, saying it was just as good as it's expensive competitor and in fact had more to offer in some respects... I do, however, own an Urban Decay Brow Box that I've nearly depleted, so can offer some comparison points on that one here.

And here it is, Boots own-brand Seventeen's Brow's That Brow Kit (sorry, global readers!).

Boots Seventeen Brow's That! Brow Kit review

What's good about Brow's That
  • Coming in at £5.99, it's less than a quarter of the price of its Benefit rival! While I haven't tried the Benefit kit, the makeup quality seems pretty much as good as the Urban Decay one...
  • I am particularly impressed with the pencil and the powder - the two main products that offer the colour and definition to your brows. The pencil goes on smoothly and is very pigmented and the powder does the same. I actually find the Urban Decay powder a bit faint in comparison, so I end up using more of it meaning faster replacement
  • It offers an awful lot for one cheap product, as it contains: a pencil, powder in one shade, setting wax, highlighter powder and a brush, along with a nice big mirror and a little instruction leaflet I haven't pictured here that suggests how to apply the products - great for beginners
  • The fact that it has both a pencil and powder is somewhat of a novelty - the Benefit and Urban Decay kits only have powder in comparison. I (now!) find eyebrow pencils really useful for getting precise edges and filling in any patches in my brows better than powder can, so I love having two products that are meant to be used together like this in one kit, perfectly suited to each other
  • The brush is surprisingly good quality and I find it a lot more precise and easier to use than the Urban Decay one, which is quite 'stubby' and hard to get a thin line with for the outside edges of your brows
  • The products stay in place all day - I was a bit worried the powder would smudge as it's a cheap brand, but it doesn't

All in all, it does what it's supposed to - it helps you create well-defined brows. But of course, for this price it's not going to be perfect...


Boots Seventeen Brow's That! Brow Kit review

What's not so good
  • The highlighter powder is almost invisible on me - it doesn't have particularly strong pigment, unlike the brow powder, and is so subtle it's barely worth using really
  • I can't really tell if the wax is doing much good. I've often felt like this with Urban Decay's wax too though - I think generally, waxes aren't as effective for keeping stray hairs in place as a little bit of hairspray smoothed over a brow is!
  • There's no mini tweezers like in the high-end kits... but I'm ok to use my regular tweezers for the price. I do find myself often using the Urban Decay ones though - there's something to be said for the convenience of having everything in one place (one of pet hates is trying to remember where I've put my tweezers)
  • The pencil is obviously quite small and is running down much faster than the powder is - it'll definitely run out long before, unfortunately
  • The biggest drawback of all: it only comes in one colour! Fortunately for me, as this is aimed at the UK market that colour is basically summarised as: mid brown. It's not too dark, it's not too light... it works just fine for my colouring, particularly if I go easy on the pencil and just use it for gaps. I've found that changing my ratio of pencil-powder results in a lighter or darker brow 

So there you go - I'm not sure how readily available this is outside of the UK, as with a lot of Boots-own products, but if you can get your hands on one and you're a brunette, I'd recommend giving it a go. For the price, it really is good value for money!

Any other brow product recommendations out there that don't break the bank? I might experiment with more pencils now I've come to like the one in this kit so much!



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21 comments:

  1. I am afraid I can't give any bargain recommendations as I use Dior's brow pencil, haven't used anything else since I tried it. It's pricey, but well worth it, lasts ages and I can get a fairly good match to my colouring. I have fairly non-existent brows, they're fine, sparse and not that dark, so I tend to use a dye kit on them every now and again and then use the pencil daily to fill them in. You're lucky having such prominent brows to work with, I agree it's a staple of a retro look. xx

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    1. I think getting a good colour match is key to a good brow product really... I haven't let myself try anything expensive as my mascara habit is already enough of a dent to my bank account ;) I'm probably lucky, but boy they're a hassle to maintain. If only I could donate some brow to you! xx

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  2. I bought the benefit browzings kit and hated it, even in the lightest shade they looked too heavy and false for me. Then I was given a universal eye pencil by Billion Doller Brows at a blog meet and I've never looked back! I realised as long as I applied it in short strokes it looks really natural and definitely helps with the 50's style brows. It's really buildable as well which means it scares me less :p

    Kariss
    www.shystrangemanic.com

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    1. That's interesting - I thought they all looked quite dark in the product images! I've never heard of Billion Dollar Brows but I have to check that out now. And yep, the short strokes thing took me *ages* to realise!!

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  3. It's so nice when we find cheaper versions of products that we love. I've discovered that Wet & Wild (a very cheap brand) has a great brow kit for only $2.99. It consists of wax and 2 powder colors and a little angle brush. It's the bare minimum but for the price, the quality is wonderful.

    She Knits in Pearls

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    1. That's the second time I've heard of that brand in the space of a day - apparently they do great lipsticks too!

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  4. I have never tried a brow kit! Shocking I know, now I feel like I need to remedy this and experiment a little and see what happens. Your hairstyle looks amazing by the way, I just love it styled like this.

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    1. They're a good thing to start with when cheap like this, for the variety of things to try. And thank you - I don't tend to wear it like this for posts because it's so windy it would be destroyed in five minutes!

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  5. Great review! This particular product might not be available to me, but I really agree with the idea that you don't have to spend a lot of money to get a perfectly decent product. I've gone back and forth between spending a lot of money on beauty products and just grabbing the cheapest thing off the shelf in the drug store, and sometimes the cheap thing works just as well! My current brow pencil is just from NYX (my new favorite brand for makeup), and sometimes I'll add a little bit of a random medium brown, matte eyeshadow for when I want a softer look. I think the more expensive versions are mostly just upgraded packaging.

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    1. Definitely! There's so many classics in my make-up bag I buy time and again that are super cheap and yet I prefer to more expensive products. I wish I had better access to NYX - I hear such good things!

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    2. We should do a makeup swap or something. I'll buy you cheap NYX, you buy me cheap [insert good product that's only available in the UK here] and then we send it to each other.

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    3. I'd be up for that! You've got NYX and Wet n Wild and I've got Collection and 17 over here... (well, basically I've got Boots over here!)

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  6. I have been using Sleek Makeup brow kit and I love that kit. This brow kit looks good, would love to try it out. You look so pretty, loved your hair style honey! Happy Monday, kisses <3

    http://www.rakhshanda-chamberofbeauty.com/

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    1. Yet another brand I've never heard of - there's so many out there!

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  7. It took me forever to realize about my brows too Cici ~ but I've been doing them for over two years now, and haven't looked back. It's so funny how those simple things can make such a difference for your look!

    I only use a pencil, but I've got to say, the description of the brow kit is totally intriguing me ~ I wanna try one now! Just got to see if I can track one down in Australia that's not too pricey. Isn't it funny how drugstore makeup can be way better than the expensive stuff sometimes! I used an el cheapo don't-even-know-the-name eyebrow pencil and I love it. It never smudges, or goes funny and it just works!

    xox,
    bonita of Lavender & Twill

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    1. I'm so glad I'm not the only one!! It really does make a difference, who knew?

      Good luck finding a cheap kit - I think powders are fun to play with as they're much more buildable than pencils are :)

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  8. Good brows are the be all to end all of a perfectly made up face. I started colouring in mine several years ago to both match my *dyed) hair colour and hide my thinning eyebrows and went through various shapes before hitting on my current one about 2.5 years ago. I was going too "archy" before and sort of cringe when I look back at snaps of myself then, but that's life - who doesn't have at least a few elements of how they used to look or dress at they regret?

    Your brows really are looking especially lovely these days, dear gal, and it's fun to learn why that is.

    Big hugs,
    ♥ Jessica

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    1. I (now) completely agree with you! I now feel I look weird if I've forgotten to do them (I still do occasionally forget because it's such a relatively new part of my routine). I don't think I've quite decided what my favourite shape is though... so I imagine I'll look back and cringe too :D x

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  9. I've never been huge on makeup and I have to admit it was actually news to me when reading through one of your book reviews that putting makeup on your brows was a thing! I've been interested in getting started as I love the look of a well manicured brow. This kit seems like the most perfect little thing!

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  10. This sounds like a very nice product! I am trying to find a brow kit and would love something affordable but that still gives great results. I will have to do some searching online to see if this is available where I live!

    Jessica | Pyreflies.org

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  11. I am very keen indeed on a good strong eyebrow, in fact, I have to rein myself in a bit to curb the Scouse brow tendencies! However, I only use a pencil, I haven't tried powders but after reading this I might do. Amazing how a good eyebrow and lip can pull everything else together.

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