We liked the concept of CoverGirl's Bombshell Pow-Der Brow + Liner, but this combination brow filler and eyeliner has a couple of bothersome issues that don't make it worth switching to from other types of brow makeup or eyeliners.
Let's begin with the good stuff: Whether you apply the loose powder as eyeliner or use to fill in brows, it quickly imparts rich color that really lasts. If dramatically full, defined brows is what you want, this delivers, and it holds its own as powder eyeliner, too, with only slight fading throughout the day.
The drawback is in how the concept (deeply pigmented loose powder) was executed. Bombshell Pow-Der Brow + Liner is housed in an inkwell-style component. Unscrewing the top reveals a pen-like applicator whose tip is a small, flexible spatula. The powder inside the base of the container adheres to the applicator, which is how you transfer it to brows and your lash line.
Because this is loose powder, it can be messy, even if you're careful to knock off excess powder from the applicator tip. Doing so helps, but we still noticed loose powder fallout during application—and because each shade is so pigmented, trying to wipe the flaking off skin can result in a splotchy, muddy-looking mess.
If you can manage to get this to go on without any fallout (difficult but not impossible), it's easy to stroke through brow hairs or glide along the lash line. Be prepared for a strong color deposit that is very difficult to soften, which you might want for eyeliner but probably not for eyebrows because on brows this level of color payoff can look quite intense, almost harsh. As it cannot be softened, at least not that much, you either live with it or remove it and start over.
Back to the pluses, CoverGirl offers four very good, matte finish colors suitable for blonde to black brows. There are no shades suitable for red to auburn brows, which, sadly, is pretty typical for brow fillers. (This is likely due to the fact that it's challenging to sell through such shades at the same rate as others.)
Used as eyeliner, the applicator only allows for a thicker line. If that's what you want or normally do, great; if not, you'll find using this product to line the eyes is limiting. The formula doesn't make it easy to "smoke out" the line if you want to soften the look or go for a more dramatic yet diffused eyeliner effect.
In the end, Bombshell Pow-Der Brow + Liner's combination of quirks and limited appeal leaves us with no choice but to rate it average among the various types of brow fillers and eyeliners. A matte finish powder eyeshadow in a color that coordinates with brows (and, depending on your brow color, may also work as eyeliner) is much easier to use and also more versatile because you can better control the intensity. See our lists of Best Eyebrow Fillers & Shapers and Best Eyeliners for the latest top picks and perennial favorites.
Strengths: Inexpensive and widely available; a hugely improved selection of foundations, several with reliable sunscreen; good concealers; enviable pressed powders; some fantastic Lash Blast mascaras; mostly great eyelining options; a vast selection of lip color options, from the long-wearing Outlast to sheer lip glosses to the wholly impressive Lip Perfection lipstick; several great options in the Queen Collection.
Weaknesses: The older foundations are seriously lacking; the newer Advanced Radiance foundation has great texture but disappointing SPF rating; powder blush and eyeshadows; terrible makeup brushes; all of the "Clean" products contain irritating ingredients.
Since 1961, CoverGirl has been slowly building a portfolio of cosmetics that today is about as all-encompassing as a makeup line can be. Originating from the same "medicated" ingredients found in Noxzema Skin Cream (which was never medicated in the least, but seriously irritating for skin), the debut products are still available, albeit with slight modifications. The good news is that for the past several years CoverGirl has consistently updated their line with some very impressive products, especially their foundations, concealers, and vastly improved pressed powders. They also offer some excellent eye and lip pencils, lipsticks and lip gloss, and one of the all-time best long-wearing lip paints, Outlast.
What's puzzling is that although many of CoverGirl's latest products are progressive, they tend to hang on to the lackluster-to-poor options, including abysmal powder blush and eyeshadows and their long-standing, very irritating Clean Makeup. These items may be part of CoverGirl's humble beginnings, but you certainly don't see parent company Proctor & Gamble adding eucalyptus oil and menthol to their Olay products or to products of any of the other cosmetics companies they own. If those ingredients were so important, why not use them everywhere? Needless to say, the great products outnumber the disappointments, and the prices make it easy for those on a budget to be beautiful and enjoy some state-of-the-art products, provided they shop wisely.
CoverGirl's Web site is extremely easy to navigate, and presents a wealth of product information, along with practical (if somewhat cutesy) tips and tricks for successful makeup application and for finding the shades that work best for you. CoverGirl's consumer relations department is consistently helpful if you have any questions or concerns. For example, if one of your favorite items was discontinued, you might want to know what replaced it, and they will let you know. Such service and customer concern is yet another powerful reason to believe CoverGirl really has its (class) act together.
For more information about CoverGirl, owned by Coty, call (800) 426-8374 or visit the Web site at www.covergirl.com.
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