In the grand scheme of your makeup routine, a clear brow gel isn’t necessarily the part that will get pulses racing. But when you find the right one — which, for me, means one that lifts every last hair into a flawlessly fluffed-out position and then keeps them there without any flaking — it can be surprisingly thrilling. Currently, it’s the Benefit Fluff Up Brow Wax that has me all worked up.
Benefit calls this product a “clear and creamy flex-wax,” which, as the name implies, is meant to give your eyebrows a natural, fluffy look. To add to the oh-this-is-just-how-good-my-brows-always-are illusion, it has a matte finish and zero of the crunch that comes with a lot of my other long-lasting gels. Cosmetic chemist Laura Lam-Phaure attributes the natural finish to dimer dilinoleyl dimer dilinoleate (say that just one time fast). She says this is more frequently found in foundations that have a “dewy” finish, but in this case, it likely “helps provide a more natural finish to the brows, as opposed to something incredibly matte like a hair pomade or shiny/glossy like a hair gel.”
It also contains ingredients like jojoba seed oil and argan oil that are good for your hair and skin, which can only help the state of your eyebrows. Lam-Phaure calls out the inclusion of arginine as notable as well. “Arginine may function as an excellent skin conditioner and moisturizer,” she says. While you might primarily associate shea butter with moisturization, Lam-Phaure says it likely plays another role in this formula too: “Shea butter has a low melting point, which means it can hold the hair [in place] while not making it feel crunchy.”
While I will use Fluff Up on its own just to give my brows a little shape on my “no makeup” days, I’m more likely to use it as a second step after I slightly darken and fill in my naturally blonde eyebrows with a super thin brow pencil — specifically, in these photos, I used Benefit Precisely My Brows Eyebrow Definer. (A trick I learned years ago from Jared Bailey, a long-time global brow expert for Benefit, is that you can also apply your gel first so your hairs stay in place while you fill in the sparse spots with a pencil.) The Fluff Up applicator is a little spooley that’s stiff enough to brush up all my brow hair with just a couple swipes but small enough to go back in and tame individual, more unruly hairs as well. I might have to reapply it if I’m going out for dinner after work, but it doesn’t need any touch-ups during the day, despite feeling soft and flexible on my face.
I’m not the only Allure editor who loves this stuff; we’re such big fans we gave it a Best of Beauty Award this year. You can get your own tube for $36 at Nordstrom, Ulta Beauty, and benefitcosmetics.com.