I have great love for Shu Uemura Hard 9 Brow pencils especially the way they are beautifully shaped into that sword shape that makes it a breeze to pencil in brows. It was so good, I reviewed it twice, right on this blog right here.
I never got the hang of sharpening and shaping it myself so I always send mine in to a Shu Uemura store/counter, which is a complimentary service, and this is where I ran into problems. I get wildly differing service and shapes of my brow pencils at different counters/stores. Generally, the Mid Valley Megamall store is efficient and friendly and my pencils come back looking good and well shaped. The counter at Pavilion KL is horrible. My pencils always come back looking 2 inches shorter than when I left them there and the service is surly. I wonder what they do to them – eat them? But recently, even the Mid Valley store failed me with quite ugly looking pencils so I got a wee bit fed up. I needed some brow pencils that didn’t need sharpening!
A chance visit to a Watson’s store saw me contemplating the ZA Cosmetics counter and a friendly sales assistant asked if I might be interested in some of their products.
One thing led to another and I walked away with the ZA Ever Brows – a slim retractable brow pencil that costs a fraction of what Shu Uemura costs.
And you know what? I like it! I’ve been using mine for a while, used interchangably with the ones from Shu Uemura and I’m quite happy with this one 🙂
One side of the pencil is a twist up brow pencil as you see above. On the other end, covered with a cap is a spiral brush which allows you to soften the effect and make it look more natural.
I must warn you however, that the pencil comes in a round, non-angled shape and when new, is quite a bother to use as the sides are flat. So what I did was run the pencil gently on the back of my hand (or you can use a piece of tissue paper) to round off the edges.
You may notice that mine in the first picture above looks like it has a slanted tip. That’s through use, and isn’t its natural shape. After using it for a while, it’ll slowly conform to your usual style and shape itself accordingly.
There are 4 shades available, and I picked 03 Natural Gray, which as the name implies, is a natural grey-brown that is close to my hair colour without being too stark. I take Seal Brown in the Shu Uemura pencil so I have here a quick side by side comparison.
Being brow pencils, both aren’t easy to swatch on skin although they work well on the hairs of the brow. I ran them a few times on my hand to get the colour to show up.
The Shu Uemura pencil feels harder and on brows, has a sheerer colour so I find it easy to control. I’ve been using it for years so I’ve had a lot of practice. The ZA Ever Brows has a slightly softer texture and the colour comes off more easily so it is quite easy to overdo, which is where the brush at the other end comes in. I like to run the brush over my brow after I’m done, to soften the lines, make it look more natural and sheer out the colour. It all happens in a few seconds so it’s not like I’m spending 2 hours on my brows 😛
Here’s an example of how my brows look when I use the ZA Ever Brows pencil.
The pencil helps me fill out sparse bits of brow, and shape it. Effect wise, I get about the same effect as I would with my Shu Uemura pencil with the added bonus of it being much more affordable, and not having to trudge down to a store every time I need it sharpened. Sure, I could use the Shu pencil in its natural round shape but I don’t like that, finding regular round brow pencils hard to manage. I need that sword edge 😛
Oh and is it longlasting? Well, it lasts me a whole work day till I get home and remove my makeup so I’d say it does a pretty good job. I really have no complaints about this one. It’s affordable, portable and does a pretty good job and at the end of the day, that’s all we really want with our makeup 🙂
In a nutshell
If you want a quick, easy to use brow pencil, take a look at the ZA Ever Brows which is a retractable slim pencil that comes with a spiral brush at the opposite end. I do find that when new, it is a little hard to use as the pencil comes flat at the top with an edge. While new, run it over your skin a few time to soften and round off the edge and it becomes a lot easier to use then. I find the slim shape useful in drawing short strokes on the brow and the spiral brush assists to sheer out colour and make it look more natural. It won’t turn you into an expert at drawing brows but it makes it easier for you to practise.
Pros: Affordable, Retractable pencil does not need sharpening, Easy to use, Pigmented, Brush it comes with is useful, Longlasting, Portable
Cons: The flat tip when new takes some getting used to, Construction feels light and flimsy
Who will like this: Anyone who is in the market for an affordable, easy to use brow pencil
I’ve been quite pleased with this ever since I got it. It is very useful to travel with as I never have to worry about its tip breaking off the way I do with Shu and the brush included helps minimize mistakes. I do still like my Shu Uemura pencil but this way, I get to prolong my trips to the Shu Uemura store/counter and minimize my interaction with the increasingly poor service I’ve been getting on my recent visits.
Have you tried this affordable brow pencil from ZA? What brow pencil do you use that you will recommend?
I am always quite pleasantly surprised by products from ZA every time I try them. If you didn’t know, they are a subsidiary brand of Shiseido that was only sold outside of Japan (I know, strange!) But recently, they started selling them in Japan I believe. I like one of their bases too – can’t recall the name but I’ll review it some day. For their asking prices, ZA is a good brand to take a look at for affordable, effective makeup 🙂
ZA Ever Brows retractable brow pencil come sin 4 shades Price: RM21+ (Often available at a discount) Availability: ZA counters at most major pharmacies