L'Oreal hit a homerun with Brow Stylist Definer. No, wait, that's not giving them enough credit, because they created an eyebrow pencil that mimics high-end brow products for half the price while providing the same natural, defined brow-look they do. Keep reading to find out why this brow pencil has us cheering!
This dual-ended brow pencil has a fine 0.5mm retractable tip on one end and a soft spoolie brush to groom brows on the other. The pencil's tiny point makes precise application of natural, hair-like strokes a breeze.
The fragrance-free formula is soft, allowing you to draw effortlessly, yet we did not find it to be overly waxy or greasy—smudging was not an issue.
The spoolie brush is dense which helps groom hairs into place before and after application, as well as helps to blend color seamlessly. The fact that this pencil never needs manual sharpening means less product is wasted—an added bonus on an already great product!
At the time of this review, Brow Stylist Definer is only available in three shades: "Blonde," "Brunette," and "Dark Brunette," all of which we found to be shockingly versatile. "Blonde" was light enough for a very blonde staffer and dark enough for a staffer with medium-brunette hair; "Brunette" also worked looked natural for that same medium-brunette staffer yet was dark enough for a very deep brunette as well; and "Dark Brunette" worked well on dark brunette to black hair. The key? The more product you apply, the deeper the color becomes. Usually we'd find a lack of shades to be a limitation but in this instance, we didn't find this to be the case (although we'd welcome an auburn shade).
If you're an arch aficionado, you may have noticed that this pencil resembles Anastasia Beverly Hills' Brow Wiz. We're happy to report that it has more than just its aesthetic in common with its predecessor. While it's not an exact dupe, this beauty bargain is as close as we've seen! Both are incredibly pigmented, apply smoothly, aren't prone to smudging, and create defined, natural-looking eyebrows. From a formulary perspective, L'Oreal's option is a bit creamier and the spoolie brush is slightly softer yet less dense than Anastasia's. Shade-wise, each of Brow Definer Stylist's shades run slightly cooler when swatching, but we did not find the variance to be apparent when we applied them on our brows (especially "Brunette" which is a dupe for Brow Wiz's "Medium Brown"). Overall, we'd say that the biggest differences are that Brow Wiz comes in more shades but costs twice as much than its drugstore dupe for the same amount of product.
L'Oreal's Brow Definer Stylist earns our highest honors for creating a brow pencil that imitates higher- end brands in creating sculpted, natural-looking eyebrows at a fraction of the price. We highly recommend giving it a try on your next outing to the drugstore!
L'Oreal Paris At-A-Glance
Strengths: Budget-friendly prices; good makeup removers; wide assortment of self-tanning options; one of the best, most comprehensive makeup collections at the drugstore, with superb options in almost every category; the mascaras are a tough act to follow.
Weaknesses: Jar packaging hinders some of the skincare formulas; many of their skincare formulas contain problematic amounts of fragrance and/or other irritants; exaggerated anti-aging claims.
L'Oreal's extensive makeup collection retains its stature as one of the better selections at the drugstore, though they have stiff competition from Revlon and, in some cases, sister company Maybelline New York. In recent years L'Oreal has made significant strides with foundation shades, powder textures, concealers, and, of course, superlative mascaras that rarely fail to impress. Their lipsticks are excellent and you will find many L'Oreal makeup products have a Lancome counterpart, and that the differences are minor—if there are any at all.
L'Oreal's displays in many drugstores reflect better-organized products and shade categories (though testers are still scarce). Given the number of lipsticks they sell, it only makes sense to put them in color families so consumers have a better shopping experience. Their True Match products are also sensibly laid out, but the rest of the foundations aren't as organized, likely due to the smaller selection of shades. Speaking of foundations, L'Oreal has made further strides by offering more that provide sufficient UVA protection. Revlon still has the edge for consistently launching impressive foundations with sunscreen, but at least L'Oreal is (finally) catching up.
The bottom line is that every category of L'Oreal’s makeup has some winning (and in some cases, benchmark-setting) products.
Unfortunately, despite the brands’ enormous presence in the beauty industry, L'Oreal's moisturizers and treatment products are a nearly all unremarkable and repetitive. When it comes to moisturizers or serums, just about anything from Dove, Olay, Neutrogena, or Aveeno is preferred. L'Oreal does well with most of their cleansers, along with scrubs and self-tanning products, but given the widespread availability and financial resources of this line, they could be doing so much more. The good news is their makeup has made major strides and now ranks as the best overall color collection at the drugstore—imagine the results if their skin care followed suit.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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