I used to pay almost ten times more.

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Southern women know the power of strong brows. An artful arch of the brow can stop a conversation right in its tracks, and it can  answer a question definitively quicker than any quip. That’s why we find it well worth the investment to find great brow products to shape and enhance our eyebrows; and until now, for me that meant paying close to $30 for a highly rated designer brow gel (whom shall remain nameless—we aren’t petty here—but is undeniably known as perhaps the best brow gel in the business).

Now don’t get me wrong, an amazing makeup or skincare product is worth the splurge if it’s legitimately life-changing, but I was running low on my expensive brow gel when I decided to take the plunge into the unknown with a $3 drugstore brow gel I had heard about through the beauty grapevine. And, boy, was I kicking myself later for ever buying a brow product that cost ten times more in my life. What is this brow gel that launched a thousand ships? Essence Make Me Brow Eyebrow Gel Mascara, which you can purchase at any drugstore, Target, or Ulta for $2.99. And this is why it made me toss my expensive version without even a sniffle of regret.

Target

Upon first glance, the bottle is strikingly similar to my old brow gel: a majorly shrunken-down mascara bottle with a mini brush for application. (A fact that initially gave me an unwarranted sense of comfort.) Once I got past the uncanny bottle resemblance and actually tried the product, I was really sold. The consistency of the brow gel offers a light to medium coverage and tint, and you can select from three different tints ranging from light to dark. The gel-like formula lets you shape your brows, enhance the arch, and add a little deeper color that I always appreciate. The brush is the perfect miniature size for brushing the eyebrow hairs upwards and then delicately shaping them more as needed. The medium brown is my chosen shade and gives me more definition and tint than I naturally have, and it doesn’t fade throughout the day like many drugstore brow products. And although it goes on as a wet gel, it dries quickly for a matte finish and hold brows in place all day. I use it everyday without fail, without disappointment, and without breaking my bank.

While I get that there might be some magical ingredient or whatnot in those expensive brow products that give them a leg up over cheaper alternatives, I just didn’t seem to miss it once making the switch. For me, that’s enough proof to stick with my newfound bargain buy that I won’t have to worry about using oh so generously.

WATCH: How To Get Perfect Eyebrows

My ultimate beauty motto? A product should always be measured more by user review than price, which is why I’m always searching for my next drugstore treasure. This brow gel is among my best finds yet. 

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