The Surprising Product That Can Fluff Brows & Keep Them Full Over Time
Achieving feathery, defined brows is no effortless task. You want just enough hold to keep the strands in place without making them feel stiff or crunchy; you want them to appear full without looking like they're painted on. It's a delicate dance, and the product you choose can easily tip the scales.
To soften the wisps of hair and shape them to your liking, many beauty fans opt for brow gels, pomades, or even soap to slick the strands upward. But did you know you can also use lip balm for a brushed-up look? Assuming you have the right texture and formula, of course.
Ahead, a brow expert shares how to fashion your fluffiest brows yet.
Lip balm on brows: Does it work?
In a pinch, brow expert Joey Healy considers lip balm a great substitute for brow gel. "The reason this works is because it has waxes in it that can hold your hair in place," he says. "The nice thing about these is that they aren't hard like hair wax; they're a little softer, so they can be easily washed off and dissolved without damaging the hair." Think of the waxes you might find in a brow pencil or pomade—gentle enough to keep the wispy hairs intact yet effective enough to give the style some staying power.
Of course, you don't want to slick the brows with just any lip balm—Healy has a few criteria.
First up: You want to choose a balm in stick form. I love a good pot or tube of lip balm, don't get me wrong, but you don't want to smear anything too goopy on the brow hairs. A stick applicator is way more practical, as you can easily mold the strands to your liking—almost like a glue stick. On that note: "No glitter, shimmer, or anything that resembles a gloss," says Healy. A glossy finish looks juicy on your pout but on your brows? Well, the shine can appear a bit slimy or greasy.
Finally, make sure your lip balm contains only hydrating, conditioning ingredients. "Stay away from any flavored balms," says Healy. "Red flag ingredients would be spearmint or cinnamon." See, many formulas include plumping agents (like spearmint, peppermint, or cinnamon essential oils) for a subtle sting, but you don't want those tingly ingredients on the brows. Similarly, you might see exfoliants (like salicylic acid) to buff away stubborn flakes, but these can irritate the brow area over time, especially if you reapply throughout the day.
Your best bet is to grab a simple moisturizing lip balm that can easily glide over the brow hairs without becoming too sticky. I find mindbodygreen's lip balm just right for the job: The sunflower seed wax helps fluff the brows into shape, while shea and cocoa seed butters condition and soften the hairs. There's also moringa seed oil and vitamin E for extra fatty acids and antioxidant power, both of which can nourish the strands and keep them thick. Hair ages with free radical damage, after all, which can result in sparse, gappy brows. So not only is this lip balm top-notch for shaping the brow hairs, but the ultra-hydrating formula can also help keep them full over time.
How to use a lip balm on brows.
You can always just apply the lip balm directly on the brow hairs and style them as desired: Simply swipe from tip to tail. To remove any excess sheen on the skin, Healy recommends tracing the brow with a damp cotton swab.
If you find the applicator a bit too big and round for your brows, don't fret—you have options. Here's a quick tutorial from Healy:
- Grab a clean, dry spoolie. We love Healy's Duo Brow Brush, as it also comes with a fluffy angled brush to deposit brow powder, if you choose to fill them in beforehand.
- Run the spoolie back and forth across the balm to coat the bristles with product.
- Comb your brows with the spoolie in your desired shape. "The brush will give them a light coating, but it will lift and separate them for a more dimensional look," Healy says.
If you don't have a spoolie on hand, you can also use your pinkie finger to apply the lip balm with a little more control. Make sure you have clean hands, then lightly push the product into your brow hairs, styling them in an upward and outward motion.
If you've misplaced your brow gel or are looking for a little extra hold, a lip balm is a very smart swap. Since the formula is meant for the delicate skin on your lips, the gentle waxes can also define the brow hairs without sacrificing a soft, fluffy texture. Just make sure you choose a balm that's purely meant to moisturize, like mbg's no-fuss product.
Jamie Schneider is the Associate Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.