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After trying this $10 Brow Duo, I stopped thinking about microblading

closeup photo of a woman's red eye

Name me a beauty blogger who waited until her 30s before getting Botox. I’ll wait. It turns out that you are actually looking at her. My colleagues have been using the needle since before wrinkles even began to form. I, however, had put the desired treatment on the back burner for many years. If I don’t have a 10-foot pole, I won’t touch a needle.

Botox, microneedling or vampire facials are not necessary. However, these treatments can make your life easier. Microblading is a semi-permanent procedure that uses tiny needles to create hairlike strokes for defined eyebrows. This is a treatment that I’ve been contemplating for some time (filling my brows with hair-like strokes is not my favorite part of my routine), but I haven’t had the courage to try it. Now, I don’t have to.

The Hard Candy Ultra-Precise Pen and Ghosted Gel are your best options. Although these products don’t provide semi-permanent results like microblading they have impressive staying power when combined with one another. They look like your regular eyebrow pencil and gel. But Laura Lam-Phaure, an LA-based cosmetic chemist, points out that each formula contains different types of polymers which enhances the product’s durability and hold.

Kristen Leonard, a makeup artist and Global Director for Artistry at Hard Candy, adds to the point. She notes that Ultra-Precise Brow Pen is designed to last 16 hours, while Ghosted Brow Gel can be waterproof so it’s easy to do touch-ups mid-day. Both formulas lasted for a full day without needing to be washed.

Lam-Phaure claims that these polymers help with products’ ease-of-use, which I would also agree with. Let’s start with the eyebrow pen. The product’s felt tip was too intimidating for someone like me, who isn’t artistic. I prefer brow pens that have a precise tip such as the Brow Code Imitations Micro Brow Pencil.

The Ultra-Precise Pen’s felt tip is unique. It doesn’t leave me with a streak of product as soon as it touches my skin. I also find it easy and effortless to create soft, hair-like strokes. It isn’t very pigmented so I have to press hard to get it to appear. This is a great plus for new felt-tip users like me. The problem is that the product can get stuck at the end of the brush so I have to clean the entire tube. It’s not a big deal but it is a good thing to know.

It’s also a great thing that the formula of this brow pen dries quickly. Lam-Phaure attests that the product contains alcohol denat which makes it less susceptible to smudging. One thing that I don’t like? The spoolie tip of the brow pencil. The spoolie end of the brow pen is more plastic-like and silicone-feeling. This makes it harder to comb every hair. Although I prefer spoolies with densely packed bristles, the buildability of this pen is better.

The Ghosted Brow Gel is ideal for people who enjoy a bit more play. Lam-Phaure claims that the formula contains propylene gel, which is a common ingredient in gel formulas. This allows you to have plenty of time to apply your brows. This brow gel is a winner in my book. It’s creamy and rich, but it doesn’t dry quickly. The gel is great on its own but I prefer it when I want to fill in any bare areas. I also love the Ultra-Precise Pen to give my brows a more bold, microbladed look.

Simply put, this brow pen has made me a felt tip convert. The brow gel reminds of high-end formulas in terms both of longevity and application (Benefit, Gimme Brow+). They have been staples in my daily routine, especially considering the affordable price.

My friend also uses the duo for her look. She says that the brow pen is almost like a primer. “I draw very fine strokes to fill out gaps and add depth to the shape. Then I apply the Ghosted Brow gel using upward strokes. Finally, I follow the natural arch of my brows with the spoolie to comb the hairs into their proper places.”

You can purchase the Ultra-Precise Brow Pen or Ghosted Brow Gel at for $5 each.

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