Whether you spend two or 10 minutes getting your brow makeup just right, the last thing you want is for your hard work to smear down your face at the first sign of sweat. As we inch closer to warmer weather, and with hopefully plenty of beach days on the horizon, it’s prime time to start assembling a reliable stay-put makeup squad. A long-wear eyebrow pencil or pomade will get you through some fun in the sun, a run, and just about anything else your days toss at you.
“Waterproof and sweat-proof makeup products are key to beating the warm, humid months and keeping your makeup from melting away throughout the day,” says Carl Ray, who happens to be Michelle Obama’s makeup artist.
Cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson says that you can differentiate a traditional brow product from one that’s waterproof with a quick glance at the ingredient label. “Look for film-forming ingredients that help the formula adhere to the brows,” he says — an ingredient called vp/eicosene copolymer is a commonly found example.
Even with a no-budge formula, setting brows can be particularly challenging for several reasons. “The eyebrow area has a higher concentration of oil glands, which produce more sebum than other parts of the eye, like the eyelid,” says New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Morgan Rabach. “Since it’s part of the T-zone, this area tends to get more clogging and more blackheads than the rest of the eye, which can present a challenge when doing brow makeup.”
As a solution, in addition to using waterproof brow products, Rabach recommends using retinol or a gentle exfoliator with alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic acid or a beta hydroxy acid like salicylic acid to help reduce oil around the eyebrows.
That being said, eyebrow makeup, in particular, can be difficult to shop for because — let’s face it — a lot of it looks the same. The formula and format that you go with is very much a matter of personal preference. Some people may find a traditional pencil easiest to maneuver, while others prefer a makeup brush and pomade.
To help you find the best waterproof eyebrow makeup, Allure turned to several makeup artists who helped round up recommendations that will last for hours — some even days.