Glossier Brow Flick vs. Ardell Stroke a Brow: Review, Swatches, and Comparison

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Hey everyone!

Today I have a review and comparison of the Glossier Brow Flick to the Ardell Stroke a Brow. I learned about the Ardell Stroke a Brow from Katie Jane Hughes and seeing how well the product worked on her. Soon after I got the Ardell, I found out that Glossier was going to be coming out with their own liquid brow pen though it was unclear when it would actually launch. Considering Ardell Stroke a Brow was a staple product of Katie Jane Hughes and how she collaborated with Glossier with Brow Flick, I thought it'd be useful to compare it to the two.

Glossier Brow Flick vs. Ardell Stroke a Brow Comparison

I have the Ardell Stroke a Brow in Soft Black and the Glossier Brow Flick in Black.

Glossier Brow Flick vs. Ardell Stroke a Brows Closeup

I tried to be as in depth as possible and have included swatches, compared the packaging, pricing, and tested the wear. Continue for more information...

A Brief History on Liquid Brow Pens:

So liquid eyebrow pens seem to becoming more popular lately with brands like Lime Crime, MAC, Maybelline, and Urban Decay. There are other brands who've had it in their range for much longer like Stila though perhaps one of the original liquid eyebrow pens is from Suqqu (not sure if they were the first) as my earliest recollection was in 2010 when it was featured in a Lisa Eldridge video.

I do think the interest in liquid brow pens increased after microblading took off and people started preferring the look of a natural/bushy brow. Brow pens seem to fall into two categories, a less pigmented watercolor stain that gave some definition but mostly fills in color or a more pigmented color that gives control for more hair-like strokes. Lime Crime, Maybelline, Stila, and Suqqu's seems to fall in the first category while MAC and Urban Decay's are more like the second. 

History over, onto the review and comparison!

Now keep in mind, I had microblading done and still have some residual pigment. Your experience may vary if you don't have any microblading.

Where to Purchase: Ardell is available at Ardell Beauty, Sally Beauty Supply, and ULTA. Glossier is only available online or in their stores in LA, NY, etc.

Price/Size Comparison: 

Ardell is $8.00 for .04 oz/1.2 grams. Glossier is $18.00 for .01 oz/0.48 ml. I did a conversion and 0.48 ml is more like .016 oz vs. .01 oz but it's still not that much product. With Ardell, you get more than double the product for less than half of the price of Glossier. 

Packaging Comparison:

Both come as slim pens with a brush tip applicator. The brush tip for the Ardell is ever so slightly longer, though the overall shape and flexibility is virtually identical and comes to a nice point. What does differ is the cap and the internal mechanism controlling flow from the bristles. The Glossier Brow Flick has a spring loaded cap, which I think prevents it from drying out too quickly. The Glossier Brow Flick always manages a very consistent flow of product from the bristles whereas the Ardell Stroke a Brow tip sometimes dries up mid application requiring you to brush it onto your hand to get the flow going again. The Brow Flick has a ball in the container to help mix the formula when shaken. 
Glossier Brow Flick vs. Ardell Stroke a Brow Tip Comparison

*Please remember to store both products tip side down to prevent it from drying out too quickly. This was a common complaint about the Ardell Stroke a Brow and Glossier themselves provides this tip to help improve longevity*

I do notice that the inside of the Glossier Brow Flick tends to get messy during storage due to the good flow to the bristles. It just seems to collect from the sides of the bristles, which I do think is a bit wasteful. This wasn't a problem with the Ardell Stroke a Brow.
Glossier Brow Flick Tip Messy

Shade Range Comparison: 

The Ardell Stroke A Brow comes in four shades: Taupe, Medium Brown, Dark Brown and Soft Black (my shade). There are not many swatches available of the Ardell Stroke a Brow but Taupe seems like it'd suit blonds, Medium Brown seems like it'd be good for lighter brunettes, Dark Brown for darker brunettes, and Soft Black for people with black hair. 

Glossier Brow Flick comes in three shades: Blond, Brown, and Black (my shade). Blond seems rather red-toned in the official swatch but I've seen it look more neutral in other swatches, Brown seems like it'd work for lighter brunettes, and Black for darker brunettes/people with black hair. I do think the shade range is rather limited for both but especially for Glossier.

Formula Comparison:

Ardell says:
Inspired by the professional hair stroke technique, fine-feathering brush strokes transform sparse brows into fully formed, dimensional arches. Easy-to-use feathering pen features a precision tapered tip to achieve the soft look of natural brow hairs. Waterproof, smudge-proof formula delivers all day wear.

Glossier says:
Brow Flick—a brush-tip detailing pen that fills in brows with featherlight strokes that actually look real. Use it to define the arch, extend the tail, and add depth to sparse areas. Finding your match is easy: Brow Flick comes in three sheer shades—Blond, Brown, and Black. Follow up with Boy Brow (in the matching color, or Clear for just hold) to groom and set brows into place. The look? The fluffiest, most natural-looking Glossier brow ever. Smudge-proof and long wearing.

I've bolded the overlapping claims. Both promise a natural-looking long wearing and smudge proof brow with feather-like strokes to fill in sparse areas. Glossier describes the formula as sheer and buildable whereas Ardell doesn't make any claims on pigmentation.

Glossier Brow Flick is less pigmented than Ardell Stroke a Brow but I disagree that it's sheer. You can get thin strokes but not as thin as Ardell. The formula has some bleeding into fine lines when swatched but it wasn't evident on the brow for me. Ardell Stroke a Brow is more pigmented which allows for more precise strokes but you can do lighter strokes. I didn't notice the Ardell bleeding into fine lines. Application on clean bare skin is key for the best look.

Application for both is straightforward. I hold it like a pencil and rest my elbow on the table applying strokes in the direction of hair growth for most of my brow. For the inner hairs, I usually apply upward strokes. Using the tip vs. the side of the brush allows for more precision and thinner lines. If you hold the pen from farther away and use less pressure, you can get a lighter look.

Both do a wonderful job at filling in the brows. Ardell is great at creating thinner lines but it takes more care to prevent it from looking too bold but you can still adjust the pressure to get a lighter look. Glossier still lets you create lines on your brow but they're not as thin, however it's faster to fill the brow. I do notice that the Brow Flick can look "spotty"/grainy if I don't shake it up thoroughly or if I don't apply it on clean bare skin. On the other hand, the tip of the Stroke a Brow can sometimes get dried out requiring you to brush it against your hand to get the flow starting again. Overall, I think I prefer the versatility of the Ardell (the ability to create thinner lines while also adding a fluffy look) over the Glossier (which can give more fill but with less precision).

Honestly I disagree that you would get the most "natural-looking Glossier brow" with the Brow Flick vs. Boy Brow. I feel like the Boy Brow would give you a more natural looking brow by building up what you have, however I do know it works great for Katie Jane Hughes (who builds and fills in a lot of her brow with this) so I think your overall brow shape and whether it's sparse or not will affect your experience. I'd be willing to argue that Brow Flick is a product that doesn't "match" with the rest of the Glossier brand since a brow pen can complicate your routine because you have to put in more effort to shape the brow.

Wear time for both is very similar with no smudging but Ardell manages to edge out Glossier. For Glossier, some of the finer lines have worn off on my oily skin by the end of the day but 98% of the brow is still there. For Ardell, it lasts all day with no fading or wearing away of the strokes.


In case you're wondering what separates the brow pen from just your usual liquid liner, I swatched a black eyeliner against the Ardell and Glossier. From left to right is a black brush tip liquid liner, Ardell, and Glossier. I'd say Ardell is like 3/4ths as pigmented as the eyeliner while Glossier is like 1/2 as pigmented as the eyeliner. 

Glossier Brow Flick vs. Ardell Stroke a Brow vs. Eyeliner Comparison

Here's just both brow products swatched on my skin to help you see how thin the strokes can be. Ardell is on the left, Glossier is on the right.

Glossier Brow Flick vs. Ardell Stroke a Brow Comparison Swatch

Here's how Boy Brow in Black compares to Brow Flick in Black. Boy Brow is less pigmented but I feel like it's cooler toned/more grey compared to Brow Flick.

Glossier Brow Flick in Black vs. Boy Brow in Black

Here's how the Brow Flick and Stroke a Brow look on my brows. I wanted to show two different brow looks you could get with the pens. Like I mentioned above, I have some faded microblading that I use as a guide for application and my bare brow is the top picture in all of the swatches. It's worth mentioning that these are all close up photos to really enhance the details, it doesn't look quite as bold on a full face/from far away.

The first look focused on a lighter look/less pressure to emulate a filled in look vs. a lot of lines. The second look was more focused on creating individual brow hairs so you can see how there are more lines.

Ardell Stroke a Brow in Soft Black

Ardell Stroke a Brow in Soft Black Swatch

Glossier Brow Flick in Black

Glossier Brow Flick in Black Swatch

Here's how they both look against each other to better compare.

Glossier Brow Flick vs. Ardell Stroke a Brow Comparison Swatch

Ardell is better at creating thinner strokes but if you're not careful, it's more obvious where you started your lines. You can definitely get more precision with the lines. For the Glossier, the lines don't get quite as thin as the Ardell but you can get a softer look with a faster fill as long as you don't apply too many lines. 


I think the Ardell suits my needs better because I like being able to have both super defined brow hairs to supplement my faded microblading and still get a fluffy look. Glossier is better if you want a more filled in look or if Ardell's formula looks too bold/harsh in your brows. I think Glossier's formula can be more forgiving since it's less pigmented once you master application. Ardell's pen isn't as good as having a good continuous flow like the Glossier's does but it's less messy and cheaper with more product so I'm happy to make it work. If you've used the Ardell before and disliked it, you might want to give the Glossier a try.

Would you consider adding in a brow pen to your routine?

Disclaimer: I purchased the Ardell with my own money and the Glossier using referral credit. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this post. This post does contain affiliate and referral links which provide me with commission or referral credit.


  1. This is a super helpful comparison. I think I prefer the Glossier.

  2. Thanks very much! I have been trying for a while to find the right system for my highly plucked 80’s brows. Good information.


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