Hello, friends! Is anyone actually up and about, and raring to go after that lovely long weekend we had here in Malaysia? LOL Well, even if you aren’t, there’s the coming long Christmas weekend to look forward to next week!
I was messing about during the weekend (as you do), and I had a thought – What is your preferred product to use when doing your brows?
You know me – things like this make me curious, because there are so many brow products out there! There are pencils that you sharpen, retractable pencils, angled pencils, brow mascara, brow pomade…. I honestly never thought there were that many!
I’ve been experimenting with the famed Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade recently, and I’ll share my thoughts on it, alongside telling you if it’s my favourite brow product … and if it isn’t, what is :) Naturally, I’m curious what’s your pick!
Here are the brow products I’ve tried and what I think of them :)
I only really “got” doing my brows when I tried the Shu Uemura Hard Pencil 9. It’s so good, it’s appeared on my blog twice! Few products I’ve used share that honour. It was my go-to for years on end. At least 7 of my blogging years, till I got fed up LOL!
Oh yes, I got fed up with having to take my pencils to the store/counter to have it sharpened into the sword (angled) shape (it’s a service Shu Uemura offers) and I really got fed up with the crappy service and lip I was getting from counter staff. So, when my pencil got too short to use, I ditched it and strayed. It still is a very good pencil, and far more affordable than other types of brow products I’ve used, because it can last a long long time.
TIP: The Shu Uemura Hard Pencil 9 doesn’t give off a lot of colour nor mark skin, so it’s a good starter brow product, and you’d be able to practice getting your brows right before trying something stronger
Retractable Brow Pencils – Angled
The next product I tried and loved was the Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting pencil. SO GOOD! I actually declared it my Holy Grail. I loved it and I still do. It had all the convenience of a thickish, angled brow pencil, in a handy retractable mechanism that did away with all the faff and inconvenience of getting it sharpened. I loved it and it’s one of the few makeup products I actually used up to the very last itty-bitty bit before reluctantly tossing it into the bin.
I then moved on to the Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Brow Pencil, which was quite similar to the Hourglass in construction. The difference was that I found the Bobbi Brown pencil a little softer in texture, and the deeper colour made my brows look more prominent. Good, if you like prominent brows. Bad, if you aren’t very good at doing your brows. But it stays put for hours, and I like that very much. Price-wise, it’s not very disparate from the Hourglass one. Both are expensive.
I’m most recently using the Burberry Brow Pencil, which is very reminiscent of the Hourglass and Bobbi Brown one. I took a while deciding if I liked it and I decided I am not as sold on it as I should be. The texture is a little hard, and the colour doesn’t come off on hair or skin easily. This is a good thing, if you’re still new to drawing in your brows. It’s a bad thing if you’re in a hurry and want to get the job done quickly. I also noticed that it fades very quickly. Usually by afternoon, my brows would be very faded. If I happen to rub at them, they rub off. So, I’m not a fan of that.
ZA Ever brow pencil is a very affordable budget pick that does the job as well as it should. I haven’t used it since I finished mine, but if you’re on a budget, I think it’s a good option. I went through a few (but I don’t know if it’s still available)
TIP: If you aren’t very good at drawing your brows, I find angled brow pencils the best way to go. The angle helps you get your brow shape drawn easily, and you get a better idea of shape and shade. Personally, my brow picks are the retractable angled brow pencils, because they make the job easier for a dodo like me who just isn’t very good at finer details like this. Also, if you make a mistake, it’s easy to rub off, and the attached spoolie brush makes it easy to brush out and soften the look. Perfect portable brush.
Retractable Brow Pencils – Non-angled
I only have 1 brow pencil that isn’t angled, and it’s the Diorshow Brow Styler. I picked it up when the makeup artist used it on me during a makeover once, and I loved the effect. Unlike most non-angled pencils, the nib is very very thin, so you can use this for a very precise look, and to fill in your brows, by drawing them in, if you have sparse brows like mine.
I enjoy using this Diorshow Brow Styler, but only when I’m not in a hurry, because the colour can go on a little strong if I’m not careful, and the thin nib can make strokes look a little too defined. I have to spend time to blend it out to soften the look. Also, the skinny pencil means that it takes a little longer for me to fill in my brows, because my brows are not very thick. However, it stays put all day, and I like the precise lines it gives me.
TIP: There are many brands that do a similar product. You may have to be fairly skilled, and not have a heavy hand, for it can then result in a very harsh, artificial look. If that happens, use the spoolie on the back of the pencil to brush through your hairs, and soften the look.
Don’t want to invest in a brow pencil? You can use (and I have used) eyeshadow. Pick a deep shade of matte brown shadow and use an angled brow brush to fill in and shape your brows. I was using this method for a while when I first started doing my brows, just to get the hang of the idea. You save money not buying a separate product, but if you don’t get it right, it can look harsh and it may not last. Eyeshadow sticks best to skin and not hair. Your brows are hair, and a waxier formula usually helps it last longer. But it’s cost effective, if you already own a brow brush and spoolie :)
TIP: Don’t pick a shade that’s too deep (I used black once – don’t ever use black LOL!) and use a product that’s matte, not shimmery (Oh yes, been there LOL!) I use a brow pencil from one of those random brush sets you sometimes get. Make sure the tip is tapered, not thick and too stiff. It’s tricky. I’d prefer to get a proper brow product.
Brow Gel or Brow Pomade
I’ve only tried the one and that is the famed Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade. It’s a pomade, which is a waxy formula in a jar. Usually, pomades are used for hair-styling. In this case, it’s quite apt, for you’re using it to style your brows.
I’d read so much about it that I just HAD to try it. You know how it is right? Social media is a powerful tool :P I got mine in Medium Brown, after poring over hundreds of photos and swatches online, and reading lots of blogs.
The colour is fine by me. It’s not too dark, and neither is it too warm. It’s a good, natural colour because my natural hair colour isn’t a deep ravenswing black. It’s a dark brown, and so it matches. The texture is similar to a Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner – slightly waxy but easy to pick up with a brush.
And that is really the problem I faced. I’m not very good with using a brow brush, and I found I’d pick up a lot of product. So, the best way to pick up any product without caking it on, was to just tap the brush onto the surface of the pomade. You can see how the surface of mine looks churned up – I just dip, tap and draw and add as necessary.
The colour goes on smoothly and easily and a little goes a long way. You can quite easily shape your brows and draw in a nice, defined shape. However, I found that it also made it look quite harsh. I don’t follow brow trends (e.g. straight thick brows that are now in trend) and just draw my natural brow shape, which is medium thickness, slightly arched and tapered at the ends. The viscosity and pigment in the Dipbrow Pomade meant that I would end up each time with thick, very defined brows, and I’d spend the better part of the time brushing them out with a spoolie, so soften the effect.
However, I like how long they last. If I never wash my face, it’d last for days! But since that never happens, it basically stays put, looking fresh and unfaded all day long, from morning to night. I don’t have oily skin, but I reckon it should work for those with oily skin too. Don’t quote me though!
I therefore use the Dipbrow Pomade only when I have the time, and when I want my brows and makeup to stay put for hours on end. It takes ages for me to get my brows right, as I have to be very careful not to overdo them. So, I go quite slowly, dipping and drawing and shading as I go. With a pencil, I get the job done more quickly, as a pencil isn’t as deep in colour. But when I get it right (about 70% of the time) I’m always pleased with how it looks. It’s a sacrifice of time over speed.
TIP: While I like how longlasting and pigmented a brow pomade is, I find it less helpful for someone like me, who may not be very deft at drawing in your brows. I often find myself using too much product, and then having to use the spoolie to brush out most of it, for a softer, more natural effect. Personally, I think this is best for when you have time. Also, get a slightly thinner angled brow brush, with medium flex to get a more defined brow, and also have a spoolie on hand, because the odds are high you’d need it!
My brow product preference
My personal preference, as you can tell, lies with the retractable angled brow pencils. I like the portability, and also how the angled pencil helps you get the job done more quickly without too many mistakes. If I’m in a hurry, that’s what I reach for because I love how it looks. I also like those that have a slightly triangular design, because it really does make your job easier. Hourglass and Burberry both have this design, although I’d pick Hourglass because I think it looks better and stays on longer. Bobbi Brown has a flatter design that actually requires a little more work getting it right.
If I have the time then I break out the Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade, because I like how it looks when I get it right, and it lasts the whole day without fading one bit. But when I get it wrong, I spend more time fixing my brows than anything else, so I really do need to allocate time for mistakes!
What is your preferred brow product?
I’m sure you too have your faves, so do share them with me, and what you’re using. It’s always interesting and helpful to know what works for others, because we all can learn from each other! This is more so, as you can see, I don’t use a brow mascara or those eyeliner type pens that the Japanese make. I never got the hang of them! Do you use those? :D