Cult Status is our series that highlights an iconic item from brands both established and buzz-worthy. In these features, you'll discover the fascinating history of how one extra-special piece exceeded expectations and became a forever product. This time, the focus is on Glossier’s Boy Brow.
Fashion lovers might have their red-bottomed soles, but beauty lovers have their pink bubble-wrapped pouches. Glossier, with its "skin first, makeup second" approach, isn't just some fly-by-night brand that'll disappear into half-priced oblivion. “It’s skincare, makeup, body care, and fragrance optimized for real life, painstakingly perfected to be worthy of your bathroom shelf,” the brand tells The Zoe Report. However, among all of the exciting innovations — like the expanded Skin Perfecting Tint products, or the highly-pigmented Glossier Play collection — there's one that stands out (and sells out) among the rest: Glossier Boy Brow, the brand's number one best-selling product of all time.
The dainty, silver-topped tube of arch perfecting magic entered the beauty sphere in October 2015, spearheading the return of full and fluffy arches and amassing a 10,000 person wait list just five months after launch, a brand spokesperson tells with TZR. And in case that doesn’t drive home the mania, maybe the simple fact that last year that a Boy Brow was sold every 32 seconds (jumping to every 3 seconds during Black Friday weekend, the brand reveals to TZR) will help set things in perspective. So what’s all the fuss about? The do-it-all shaper broke the script for what we typically thought about in the brow category, simplifying all of the tracing, fluffing, and dashing of yesteryear to meet the needs of the everyday makeup wearer.
The concept for Boy Brow started with the formula. “We’d been testing different grooming products, like hair and mustache pomade, and started thinking about how the unique texture and hold could be used on eyebrows,” a brand spokesperson tells TZR. At the time, there was little creativity in the brow category. Most selections consisted of classic pencils, gels, and powders that each came with their trade-offs, albeit harsh lines, stiff texture, or an overall less-than-natural-looking result. “A pomade, on the other hand, gives a comfortable and soft hold and adds texture. And with the right amount of pigment, it thickens and fills in brows for a healthy, groomed, and face-framing look,” a rep from Glossier says. The result: a just-creamy-enough, just-waxy-enough formula that is insanely easy to use and can help anyone achieve the easiest enviable arches imaginable.
While the design and application may speak to a beauty novice, even the most talented makeup professionals in the industry have turned to Boy Brow as a staple for their kits. Flashback to the 2018 Grammy Awards, and you may remember the internet freak out over Beyoncé’s, well, everything... but more specifically, her perfect brows peeking out between her oversized chapeau and trendy sunglasses. Those arches heard around the world were the love child of Sir John, celebrity makeup artist. “I love Glossier's Boy Brow because it keeps the brows in place and gives just the right amount of tint without over-saturating the brow,” Sir John tells TZR. “It stays in place all day and surprisingly enough gives a full hair effect. Not only do I use it for my clients, but I use it daily as well."
Despite the basic shade selection (the formula is available in blond, brown, black, and clear), the buildable formula gives you utmost flexibility. “The tiny brush allows minimal product on the brow with each stroke for a slow build up,” celebrity makeup artist Lisa Storey tells TZR. “It allows you to gradually fill and balance the brow where needed. The colors are the perfect shade and the finish always looks natural.” The creamy, waxy formula is also admired for its versatility, too. “I love any product that is versatile across all my clients. I use it on myself and on 95 percent of those who sit in my chair," celebrity makeup artist Stephanie Navarro notes. "It naturally fluffs and thickens the finest brow hairs so I can see what we are working with."
The obsession doesn’t stop there. The love for Boy Brow is so real that the brand created a life-sized replica for the Boy Brow Room at their 3,000 square-foot flagship store in New York City. The immersive retail experience is a little — scratch that — second helping-sized slice of Instagram heaven, fueling the brand's nearly 2 million Instagram followers and 17,000 monthly user-generated feed posts. Heck, #boybrow alone has almost 30,000 mentions on Instagram, and over 2,300 user reviews with an average rating of 4.5 (out of 5). Not surprising, the buzz-worthy social chatter has helped the brand surpass $100 million in annual revenue and acquire more than 1 million new customers in 2018, Glossier shares with TZR. How's that for social drivers?
While brands are taking notes from Boy Brow's success (and launching their own copycat formulas), it’s clear who led the pack in reimagining the secret to beautiful brows for the everyday consumer. The huge success of Boy Brow puts Glossier consistently in the top 10 eyebrow brands on Instagram according to Cherry Pick intent stream 2019 report, which is a feat among heavy hitters like Benefit Cosmetics and Anastasia Beverly Hills, who own a combined 80 percent of intent across the eyebrow category, according to Cherry On Top 2019 Reports (January, February, and March) from Cherry Pick. And as a daily Boy Brow user myself, I can attest that the uniquely pliable formula and mini spoolie wand applicator helps me create fluffed, filled in, and conditioned brows in seconds — bringing my lazy beauty dreams to life. I love the simplicity of the product and how easily I can create a full, fluffed brow.
If you’re new to the brow game, or just looking to join the Boy Brow bandwagon, here’s a page out of Storey’s handbook for how to Boy Brow like the pros. To start, brush brows up with a clean brow brush to find the natural shape of the arch. “Using the Boy Brow applicator, I clean the tiny brush off a lot by dragging the edge of the brush on the opening of the tube," she explains. "Then, I begin shaping the brow with soft strokes to lengthen brow hairs. After, I drag and dot the applicator brush where needed to create the shape, enhancing the arch or filling in natural spaces in the brow.” If you get a little swipe happy and overdo it, Storey suggests using a dab of Bioderma on an angled brow brush and sweeping it through the area to blend and soften.