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
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I so agree with you about the shu uemura fellas..I hate having to visit them to sharpen my brow pencil..but I’ve had mine for 5 years and counting since I only use is for my brow ends so I cant really complain…I went to the klcc shop once and they refused to sharpen the pencil saying that they dont do it on weekends as they are busy…gah
Paris B says
Gosh I really am not alone in noticing the powering of standards at Shu. I can’t believe the KLCC people wouldn’t sharpen yours on a weekend! Not everyone has the luxury to go to the mall on a working day! Jeez
I gave up on eyebrow because whenever I attempt it, I see two fat worms staring back at me. The first one I had was Revlon, soft, dark brown and erm, wormy effect. This ZA one looks good on you 🙂 Maybe I will go get one and try! Thanks for sharing drugstore goodies, easy on the pocket, some work wonders too!
Paris B says
Haha the trick is to use a light hand and just define the brow, not draw it on. To be honest, I find the Shu Uemura pencil a good one to practice with because it’s not too soft and therefore less prone to drawing on worms but the beauty of the ZA pencil other than the price, is the built in spoolie which allows you to soften the effect, thereby killing off the worms and giving you back your brows 😉
Shija Rahim says
My next target.. I really hate it when the colour fades at theend of the day.. I have no brows in the end, good review Paris!
Paris B says
Hope this will work for you Shija! If it doesn’t, at least it wasn’t expensive eh? 😉
I just bought the Shiseido eyebrow pencil the other day and its smudge proof.. think its formula is somewhat like the shu one..but less pricey i believe.. I used to use the ZA everbrows in their old packaging in white colour.. havent tried the new packaging one.. the old version is good but makes my brows look greasy when I perspire alot or near the end of the day so I think a harder .drier n smudge proof formula will work better for me but will probably try the new Za version for sure one day! 😉
Paris B says
Ooh thanks for letting me know about Shiseido’s brown pencil too Sharon! 🙂 I didn’t even know the ZA pencil had old packaging LOL! That’s how little attention I paid but this one is pretty good and I don’t see greasiness but it’s hard to say coz I don’t get very oily anymore these days. I’ll bear the Shiseido in mind for next time! 😉
I don’t use brow pencil. But I do love the Za Wide Eye mascara. Cheap and good. Holds my curl all day long, > 12HRS.
Paris B says
Ooh I’ve tried it! I can’t remember if I liked it (oops!) but I think I did? haha
Nicole's Mirror says
Believe it or not I got mine from Daiso. Hahaha.. I used to like the Shu Uemura one, but mine gets hard and the color don’t transfer anymore..I wonder why… I like the slim empro eyebrow pencil too.. but I go through that one so fast! Because I tend to break it… I tried the one from Nature Republic too.. but the staying power is not so good..So Daiso it is.. hahaha.. wanting to try hourglass next.. or maybe Anastasia one…
Paris B says
Actually that’s not hard to believe Nicole coz I’ve used the Daiso brow pencil too! A friend used to rave about it and got me one to try. I liked it and bought another which was when I realised the differing quality from pencil to pencil. Sometimes it was the colour, sometimes it was the construction sometimes it was the texture and I wasn’t happy about it, so I stopped using it. But I have to admit that for the little money you pay, it’s excellent! 🙂
nicoles mirror says
Hahahaha! I thought I was the only one 😛 I am still on my first pencil, I think I’ll try ZA next time! XD
Vera Soo says
I hv used 1 dark brown eye brow pencil wth the same tools and look the same as yours. It lasted for 1 yr+.
Very happy wth it too. It is also frm Japan except.. it costs just RM5. frm Daiso Ikano. Yup. Too bad it’s not sold there anymore.
Hv tried other products frm well know brands but the colors were too dark & strong for my brows & skintone. Makes me look lk a Fierce lil Shin Chan! Haha!
About the brand Za. Did u manage to visit Japan Beauty Week? They gv away loads of freebies & goody bags (among it Za too!).
Paris B says
I used to use the Daiso brow penci too 😀 A friend raved about it and got me one to try when there was only 1 Daiso in town. But I found later that the quality was inconsistent so I chose to not use it anymore. While I was using it, it was really good value for money! 😀 I had to LOL at your mention of Shin Chan – he so cracks me up! 😀 I didn’t visit Japan Beauty Week – didn’t even know it was on, which tells you a lot about how much attention I’ve been paying eh? >.< Did you go?
i used it before long time ago. its packaging was different, ie. white in colour instead of black. but it always frustrates me when i want to repurchase because they hardly stock up the thing. gave up at one point.
Paris B says
Really?! I seem to be the only one totally unaware of it till now sigh!
Vera Soo says
Haha on Shinchan 🙂
Sometimes I prefer thicker eyebrows, looks more natural & I noticed more approachable when talking to people.
As for Daiso, my last visit there at Midvalley ain’t so good. But I hv got some really good quality glass for wine & kitchenwares. Even got help frm a Japanese aunty to help me wth translations. There are many Japs. here coz there’s the JapanCultural & Language HQ there.
As for Japan Beauty Week 🙂 hehe… I won a goodbag worth RM400+ Za & Tsubaki. For an easy FAQ. Was hoping to get Hada L. but no time to go there earlier. It was a short 30mins visit 🙂
It was held for 4 days at Pavilion but the crowd ain’t kicking pack.
Next year when it is held again, I will inform you:)
Paris B says
Yep, thicker brows make a person look younger too 🙂 I love browsing Daiso even if I don’t buy anything. I used to go a little mad until I realised that every RM5 adds up 😛 Congratulations on your huge win at Japan Beauty Week! Guess most people didn’t know about it since it sounds new but I bet the next one will be packed to the brim !