What “brow better, brow badder” looks like IRL
As far as makeup goes, I tend to gravitate toward looks that are eye-focused. Experimenting with my eyebrows, as a part of that, has then become a separate thing altogether. I’d say in the last five or so years, they’ve conformed to different shapes, thicknesses and even shades. And I, in turn, have gone through handfuls of product; routines range from a quick brow with a single holy grail pencil to a full-blown five-item regimen.
Even with constant experimenting, though, if I absolutely had to whittle things down, the two products left standing for sure would be a brow pencil and a brow pen. As a person with sparse brows, the tail-ends of which are virtually hair-free, I learned that a combo of the two works best. The pencil for establishing shape. The pen for filling in gaps.
Lo and behold, these are precisely the two new products rolled out by local beauty brand Issy & Co., with the promise of being “harder-working and better-than-ever” brow tools. My interest was piqued, of course, considering the idea of brow products to end all brow products (at the most pocket-friendly price range I’ve seen in a while, too).
Ahead, the test drive diary to see how they fare. Do the Precision Brow Pen and Brow Pencil Pro of Issy & Co. deliver on their promise?
The Brow Pencil Pro
There are only so many ways to put a spin on something as straightforward as the brow pencil, but here’s one with considerable pay-off.
The Issy & Co. Brow Pencil Pro is a double-ended product that comes with a notably slimmer pencil on one side and a paddle styling brush, in lieu of the typical spoolie, on the other. They’re small tweaks to the very basic item, but they do make a world of difference. It’s great at establishing the shape of your brows, fills them in with a kind of diffused natural look and dries matte.
To use, select the one (of four) shades closest to your hair color. Employing short strokes, outline your brows and then fill them in. Flip the product over and use the styling brush to blend out the brow hairs and comb them into place.
Since the pencil itself is thin, shaped in a way that produces finer strokes, the Brow Pencil Pro is overall very easy to use (read: minimum effort, maximum results, great for beginners). Perfect for when you need to head out the door and you only have maybe three minutes to gun for on-point brows. This will get you there.
It’s best applied with a light-handed touch so that the transfer of pigment is faint (an ideal thing). This allows you to get the closest to natural brows as possible; then you can build along the way. Since it’s formulated with castor oil and a nice helping of vitamin E, you get a nice, smooth glide with each stroke. As an add-on, it’s great to know your brows can get a bit of conditioning each time you use this (a plus for those who overpluck or shave their brows). All in all, if you play your cards right with a more deliberate, thoughtful application, you could easily go without using the paddle brush on the other end of this—though that would mean missing out on a major product highlight.
The kind of blending you get with maybe five moves with a spoolie, you can get with just two using the Brow Pencil Pro’s paddle styling brush. In my opinion, it’s a good problem to have when you have to train your mind to hold back and not over-blend with the styling tool. (Less is truly more.) The only con here is that if you do over-blend, you run the risk of shifting the product around to the point of wiping it off. Light-handed moves even for the brush are obviously key.
The Precision Brow Pen
The main appeal of eyebrow pens: you get the microbladed brow effect sans the commitment. The main appeal of Issy & Co.’s take on this: it’s comparable to some of the crowd-favorite brow pens on the market at almost half the price.
To use, shake well. Hold steady and apply following the natural brow hairline. Build in areas where the brow hairs are more noticeably sparse and etch lightly in areas where added dimension is needed. Leave to dry for 15 seconds or more.
This brow product, in essence, is a detailing pen so its selling point is the ability to mimic strands of hair (and that, it does). As accustomed as I am to using this in conjunction with a pencil, the Precision Brow Pen is good on its own. It’s highly pigmented, so a little goes a long way; it can deliver an almost paper cut-thin stroke with enough practice and doesn’t budge once dry.
Granted “ink” and “pen” deliver a sense of finality and permanence, what’s good to note is that there’s a lot of wiggle room with the Precision Brow Pen. The formulation is light, a little runny. I say that though in the best way possible. Since it doesn’t dry right upon application, you have more than enough leeway to dab, correct, smudge and/or build. This is ideal if you aren’t so keen on using brow pens or tend to make mistakes. In my case, I have a habit of over-building or over-correcting in the hopes of covering up a scar that cuts through the arch on my right eyebrow. I used to end up with a glob of product right over that scar, but with this deceptive brow pen, I get to reimagine the area with faux brow strands.
As with the brow pencil, a light-handed application is best. If not, it’s definitely one way to achieve strong, statement brows in a flash (if that’s the look you’re going after, have at it). For just-right brows, this requires more time and a more thoughtful application compared to the pencil, but its staying power will make you want to put in the work. Only downside? It doesn’t dry matte, so oily-looking brows are very much the situation maybe two or three hours in. Makes perfect sense because this is another product infused with castor oil and propanediol. Nothing a mattifying powder can’t fix though.
Issy & Co.’s Precision Brow Pen and Brow Pencil Pro used together and how they’ve fared after eight hours.
Issy & Co.’s Precision Brow Pen and Brow Pencil Pro are a steal given how they hold up throughout the day and at that price point. They’re great on their own, but even better together, amplifying one another’s good points like staying power and color payoff.
For one, achieving evenly shaded-in brows with the pen alone can be tricky, so the pencil is great at remedying this. Alternatively, the brow pencil alone gives off a nice, shaded-in finish that could look stamped on; the added dimension from the pen strokes is what helps achieve more natural-looking brows.
A tip from this test drive: lock in both products, once set, with loose mattifying powder, then comb through them a final time with a brow gel in a shade lighter than your brows. I guess this brings me back to the multiple-step brow routine, but hey, good brows are a non-negotiable (even with today’s mask-wearing and all).
Shop Issy & Co.’s Precision Brow Pen (₱299) and Brow Pencil Pro (₱249) on Lazada and Shopee, where the a full Brow Kit Collection (featuring the Brow Refiner, the Brow Pencil Pro and the Precision Brow Pen) is also available.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver