All about… brows | Review and ramblings

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not much of a brow girl. I mean, it’s not that I don’t like them, and I do think that brows are vital to completing a look… but honestly? I just can’t be bothered to do them on a daily basis. I like my morning routine to be as short as humanly possible, and they’ve never really been a priority for me. Perhaps if mine were more sparse, but as it is, they’re left mainly unattended to.

I have, however, noticed that there are a lot of options when it comes to brows, and it kinda got me thinking. What do you reach for in the mornings? Do you do your brows every day? I know you’re all busy busy bees, but if you have a moment, I’d love to hear your thoughts on brows in the comments :)

Personally, I tend to prefer matte, fairly sheer brow powders, when I do use them. (I’ve actually been using a matte grey eyeshadow recently, but shh, don’t tell!) Pencils are definitely easier to travel with and touch up on the go, though, so I suppose that’s worth taking into consideration.

The only brow products I can’t see myself using? Tinted gels and liquids – the former because I’d rather fill in sparse bits than “plump up” each hair, and the latter because… well, actually, I  haven’t really a good answer for that one. It’s mainly just that I don’t like any harsh lines in my brow area, and it’s a little harder to shade with a felt tip than it is with a powder or pencil!

The product: Marcelle Accent Eyebrow Crayons

The texture: These are quite different from the products I tend to reach for, which is why I started thinking about all of this in the first place. They’re surprisingly soft, softer even than some of the eyeliners I’ve tried, and really creamy upon application, though they do set after some time. (I have to remember to be light-handed with these; they’re definitely more intense than the powders I’m used to!)

With a bit of tweaking to my technique, though, these make the jump from a solid B- to an A. It’s easy to smudge them down into a whisper of colour, and the wear is quite impressive – I still have faint lines on my arm from yesterday’s swatching, despite plenty of makeup remover and scrubbing!

TIP: When working with soft or very pigmented brow products, I find it helpful to use super-light strokes to fill in the brow area. Then, smudge with a q-tip right after application (before the product sets), and finally, pull a spoolie through your brows to groom each hair into position.

The shades: The Accent pencils come in four shades, and I think Marcelle have done quite a good blending them. I use the grey, as I do with most brow products, and I’ve been really happy with how natural it looks. (Erm, random additional tip, I guess: if you have almost-black or black-hair and a cool complexion, give the grey a try!)

Swatches, L-R: Granite, Luscious Black, Brun Tendre, Blondine

The verdict?

Whether or not I’d recommend these depends entirely on your preference. Personally, I prefer a harder pencil (twist-up, if possible) or a powder product, so I’d pass on these. If you do like creamy brow pencils, though? Then these are awesome. They’re deliciously creamy, intensely pigmented, well-priced ($9.95 for 1.05g), and silicone- and paraben-free (because, dude, brow breakouts? Not attractive.)

Anyhow. Hit me up in the comments with your brow ramblings – I’ve rambled on far too long already!

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52 Responses to “All about… brows | Review and ramblings”

  1. I know this is an unpopular opinion in the beauty world, but while brows can make somewhat of a difference, they honestly don't really get my attention at all. I'd much rather spend money on pretty lip glosses and blushes and eyeshadows. I don't even get my brows done. xD
    My recent post Christina Marie Mineral Cosmetics- Eyeshadows Plum- Fantasy- Blue Moon- Egyptian Gold

  2. These sound interesting. Like you , I prefer a harder, tiny brow pencil to fill in my brows. I think these would be great if the majority of your brows are still intact, unlike mine!
    My recent post Sephora Flashy Liner Waterproof Eye Pencil

  3. I have very fine and somewhat sparse eyebrows which means they're barely there on my tanned skin. Years ago, I would never groom or fill them. I thought getting my eye makeup just right is what really completed the face. Boy was a wrong. I actually started shaping and filling my brows in and now it's the one thing I would not leave home without. I've found that it actually brightens up my face…I look less tired.

    I've used eyeliner pencils in browns which sounds like the consistency of these Marcelle pencils and that's why I don't like them, they're too creamy and tend to lump my fine lashes together in places. I used to use only brown eyeshadow with an angled eyeliner pen. However, recently I discovered the Bobbi Brown brow pencils and I am seriously in love!! Not sure how I went without. These pencils are very powdery but pigmented so I get the soft natural look that a powder gives while not having to press really hard.
    My recent post In New York

  4. Most eyebrow pencils in Asia comes with a spoolie on the other end. That's the key to disperse the product and soften the lines. You can use disposable mascara wand too. I never have to worry about putting on too much product or having harsh brows since I learned how finish up with a spoolie. It's acts like a blending brush for the brows :)

    I have sparse brows so I really need to fill them in to not look sick… So girls, don't every complain of having bushy and unruly brows… be thankful you have them :)

    OT: Inspired by beauty blogs I read everyday, I finally created my own :) Do drop by if you have a chance – http://frecklesspeckles.blogspot.com :)
    My recent post What to do with a week old nail polish

  5. oh… these babies has spoolie at the other end… didn't see that :)
    My recent post What to do with a week old nail polish

  6. I love that these have a spoolie on the end. Now I wish they were the self-sharpening kind, but with a spoolie still!

    Right now I'm using MAC Eye Brows pencil everyday, which I soften with a mascara wand that I "borrowed" from Sephora. On other days I mix MAC Coquette and Brun eyeshadows and apply with an angled liner brush. I fill in my brows every. single. day because I find it makes me look more put together. If I don't, my eyebrows just get lost behind my glasses.
    My recent post The Ultimate Natural Multi-Tasker- Pure Simple Pure Foundation

  7. I love the MAC brow pencils, the twist up ones, and I find that both Spiked and Lingering match, but they run out SO quickly and you never know when they'll run out, hate waking up in the morning to find it won't wind up any more!! xx
    My recent post 10 off MAC with Free Delivery

  8. I don't think I've ever filled in my eyebrows. I tweeze them every now and again to keep them in some sort of shape (what shape that is, I have no idea), but they've only ever been filled in when I've had my makeup done by someone else. I'm lazy, it takes time, and I have fairly strong brows as it is, so that's that. Plus I have no idea what color to go with (dark brown hair with natural sun streaks, very strange), and adding more things to my makeup routine = bad.
    My recent post The Thursday Post

  9. Ahem, I think it's time you talk about brows! And I'm pretty sure we're brow-mind twins (yes, brow-mind). Because although I suffer from occasional brow falling off I don't fill them in unless I have an obvious bald spot :D But I do shape them religiously and use a TBS Brow Gel almost everyday. Oh and when I need a brow filler for my weak brow days, I use a Clinique Superfine brow liner in 02 Soft Brown, it's my exact brow color :)

  10. Anna, on June 2nd, 2011 at 5:02 pm said:

    I got Benefit Browzings in June 2006 and have used it *almost* daily. Almost daily as in maybe 5 days since I bought it up to today where I didn't use it. It hit pan earlier this winter but there's lots left. It's pigmented if you apply it to freshly moisturized skin, less intense on something less emollient so in that sense it's buildable. I really like the little brushes that come with them – just a simple short tiny angled brush.

  11. velvetrosepetal, on June 2nd, 2011 at 5:23 pm said:

    I don't do them everyday. I am using Revlon ColorStay Brow Enhancer. It's ok, but nothing to get excited about. I'm still searching for a good solution.

  12. Kate & Zena, on June 2nd, 2011 at 6:36 pm said:

    Sometimes I forget to fill mine in, but I've filled mine in for a long time now. I have trichitillomania and one of my main pulling areas was my brows, so they were pretty sparse for a long time and I'd fill them in like a heathen. Now I have no tweezer (which makes pulling really difficult–nigh impossible–for me) and I get them tweezed at the Benefit Brow Bar about every two-three weeks, but I still have some bald spots so I fill them in with the darkest shade in the Benefit BrowZing's range. I think it's called "dark" or something. I use a stiff angled brush to fill them in and use a spoolie to soften it a little.

  13. Ahh, but that's the magic of a good brow: it completes the look without you even noticing that it's there ;) Perhaps you were just blessed with perfect brows, lovely!

  14. Hmm! I'll have to check out the Bobbi Brown ones if I remember – you make them sound just lovely :)

  15. Congrats on starting a fresh blog! Loving what I can see so far (definitely lusting after a few Joe Fresh blushers now – darn you!) & can't wait to read more :)

  16. Haha, I've slunk away with some Sephora spoolies as well :P (I did ask, though, and they were lovely about it!)

    May I ask when you opt for pencil vs. powder? Or is it just sort of… whatever you feel like using that day?

  17. Aww, that sucks! I suppose that's the advantage to having a pencil that you have to sharpen – you always know when you'll run out.

    But the actual act of having to sharpen it? Not so great :P

  18. Haha, I know how you feel! I'm just like – my makeup routine takes me long enough already; if it's not going to make a huge difference I'm not adding another step :p

  19. Lol!! Oh, Nina. I'm honoured to be your brow twin. :p

    Will be checking out the ingredients for the TBS brow gel! I find that setting products don't usually sit well with my skin; I don't know if it's a 'cone issue or whatever. But… yeah. Brow breakouts ≠ pretty. Very much so.

  20. Appu, on June 2nd, 2011 at 8:50 pm said:

    I prefer using a powder or a twist up pencil too! My current brow fav. is the Milani Easy Brow. It's a convenient twist up pencil with a spoolie :)

  21. Wow! That's a long time to use a product daily and still have lots left :)

    (I'm not really one to talk, though… I can't think of a single makeup product that I've ever used up! >.< )

  22. If you're in Canada, give the Marcelle a try! ;) There are a bunch more recommendations in the comment threads here, though, depending on what you're looking for!

  23. Hmm, two comments for BrowZings? Perhaps I *will* have to give that a try after all!

    Darn you lovely ladies and this huge list of to-try things that I always end up with :P

  24. Ooh! Twist up + spoolie; liking the sound of that :p

  25. i'm lucky enough that my eyebrows are fairly full and therefore, don't need any filling in. though i am on looking for a brow pencil, just because i want one :p.
    My recent post Monthly Favourites – May 2011

  26. It's usually determined by the the level of lazy I'm feeling that day. LOL.
    These days I'm all about doing my face quickly so the pencil is winning. I find I can get it natural looking with the spoolie.
    My recent post The Ultimate Natural Multi-Tasker- Pure Simple Pure Foundation

  27. I don't do my brows whenever I feel they're looking ok… But then I have periods when one of them just seems a bit off and I have to spend a bit of time taming them. I think my personal favorite products are pencils as well, they're just so quick and easy! x
    My recent post Another hair dilemma

  28. I'm also not really into fussing with my brows… unless I have time which is not very often. But I do try to make an effort. I use a twist up brow pencil by Shisedo Integrate….Not the greatest — quite hard and not v pigmented….And come to think of it I do get brow break outs becuz of it — argh!!! I have tried a mineral brow powder and it's prob because I didn't know how pigmented it was so I ended up with an accidental "bushy" look…but would imagine it would be an alternative to my brow pencil problem but it is more time consuming to brush on the powder because it falls out onto my cheeks. Thanks for bringing up some v good points about brow pencils….will look for better choices.
    My recent post Updated Skincare Routine- Early Summer

  29. When I fill in my brows, I use the origins brow pencil – a hard, very thin and very waxy twist up pencil. The waxiness + hardness is what makes it good, I think. It deposits the barest amount of sheer 'shiny' (from the wax) colour – you practically can't see it, but it makes a major difference to the overall look of the brow. They do a blond and a dark brown, the blond a really lovely cool, ashy tone. Generally though, I prefer to dye my brows. I'm very pale with quite light brows, and though the natural shape is good, I've always felt they were a size too small (for my nose!). Dyeing them helps with that, because it makes the see through hairs on the edges visible.

  30. Annabelle, on June 4th, 2011 at 9:28 am said:

    I have a huge problem trying to fill my brows in….it seems like no matter what I do, they look unnatural and drawn in…. :(

    I have similar colouring to you (although my hair is a little bit lighter and has more red and gold in it probably because I blow dry my hair everyday and go swimming sometimes, which can lighten your hair) and I was wondering if you could share what you currently use on your brows (I think you mentioned you use a matte gray eyeshadow)??? Thank you so much!!!!

  31. Brows! I think that's the least favourite part of my makeup! but I still spend some time doing it every time I put on my makeup.
    My recent post The Battle Of The BB Creams- Day 3 – MAC PrepPrime Beauty Balm BB SPF35-PA

  32. brow is an essential part of my makeup routine because i don't have them! i mean, yes i have brows but they're so sparse, undefined and barely there. i used to have thicker brows but after years of overplucking they don't grow back. i only skip doing my brows when my brows were tattooed, but the tattoo only lasts a few years.
    i use brow pencils when i'm in a hurry and like to use brow powders when i have time to slowly define my brows.
    My recent post wearable bright pink

  33. Lol! Well then :P If my opinion matters any (and it shoooould), I think your brows look fantastic as-is!

  34. I know exactly what you mean! There are some months where I'm like, "eeh, the brows look fine"… and then there are others and it's more along the lines of "AAHHHHH brows what even are you aahhhh" :P

  35. It's strange that you don't like the Shiseido – I've heard a lot of good things about it! (Gotta say, though, the hardness doesn't sound like a walk in the park to me. I feel like my brows would probably end up irritated every morning!)

    Hope you can find your holy grail brow product soon :)

  36. Ooh, you're brave! ;) I'm much too meek (not to mention, clumsy) to dye my brows.

  37. Aww, sorry to hear that! I usually use Smashbox Smoke, which is discontinued, but it's just a regular 'ol matte grey eyeshadow. Will have a couple photos up by tomorrow morning :)

  38. Haha, same here! It's pretty boring :p

  39. [...] mentioned this a ton of times, but (while responding to comments in last week’s All About Brows post), I realized that I’ve never actually posted a photo of this little [...]

  40. eightsbeauty, on June 7th, 2011 at 5:00 pm said:

    I don't do much. I've been using NYX's Push-Up Bra For Brows, just the brow shade without the highlighter. I could probably stand to get them shaped a little, but they're fairly sparse as is… thus filling them in! (And the NYX pencil is actually a good match for my brows!)
    My recent post Back soon!

  41. Mmm, I've heard some really good things about that one! I'm tempted to try it – but for the hilighter, rather than the brow filler :P

  42. Annabelle, on June 9th, 2011 at 1:03 pm said:

    Thank you!! :D

  43. BooBooNinja, on July 11th, 2011 at 3:18 pm said:

    Hi Annabelle,

    I find using brow shadows produce the most natural look. Liquid brow products and pencils can look fake because of the opacity of colour.

    I am more warm toned than Rae but about the same skin lightness (maybe ever-so-slightly darker; it's hard to tell in pictures). I use Urban Decay's brow box in "Beige Betty" with the Smashbox brow tech wax. I find the UD brow wax to be a touch greasy; plus, the Smashbox wax is simply the bee's knees! I recently started using the Marcelle brow crayon in graphite (or use the Black very very lightly) and blend out with the spoolie. Blending is key! The UD is still my favourite and I still use it; I looked elsewhere only because I wanted something more portable for the gym, etc.

    FOR YOU:
    I think NYX's brow kit in "Blonde" would work well. Like the UD brow box, the NYX kit comes with wax and two eyebrow shadows that you can mix/use to mimic your natural brow. It has less packaging than the UD and is super inexpensive. I got it as a dupe for my Beige Betty but it's a touch too warm for me. I think it would go well with your colouring. You might also want to check out "Taupe" — it has similar colour intensity.

    Good luck with your brows! I think they are so important. The hardest part is finding the right colour.
    Let us know how your search goes. :)

    ps sorry for the essay!

  44. BooBooNinja, on July 11th, 2011 at 3:56 pm said:

    This is the first brow pencil I've tried… you mean there are better ones? What brand do you use?

  45. I always use MAC Print in my brows (the shimmer disappears after the blending) – - I agree with your tip, the gray-blackness makes it much more natural than typical brown powders on me. If I use brown shadows, my brows end up looking almost red O_o

  46. My brows are pathetically sparse and and shor, they end right above the outer corners of my eyes, so I have to “draw” the tails myself.

    I do my brows everyday,with multiple steps.
    First I outline the shape with MAC brow crayon.
    Then, I use Chanel eyebrow powder palette & an angled brow brush to fill in.
    Lastly, tint with MAC brow gel, because my hair is right now dyed light brown, my brows are natrually black.
    Sounds complicated? I can usually finish all the steps in 2-3 minutes.

    With brows as sparse as mine, I’d rather do them than eyeshadows any given day.

  47. Love the two lightest shades
    My recent post YSL Le Teint Encre de Peau Fall 2014

  48. Annabelle, on October 5th, 2014 at 8:32 am said:

    Hi Rae,

    Just wanted to reply and tell you think I think I've found my HG eyebrow products! I use the Coastal Scents Hotpot in the shade "Brownstone" or the Shu Uemura Hard Pencil in Shade "05 Seal Brown" to fill them in, and they are perfect because they are cool-toned grey shadows with a hint of brown. The Coastal Scents Hotpot can be a bit powdery, but I love the shade so much that I'm willing to work with it. And it's pretty affordable at $1.95 a pop too! If you ever run out of your Smashbox Smoke shadow, try these out and give them a go :)

    Thanks again for your brow help :)

  49. Annabelle — thank you so much for coming back after all this time to let me know what you've settled on for brows :) I'm still not out of Smashbox Smoke yet, but I'm looking both of these up right now!

    I've always wanted to try a shu hard pencil, but I'm not sure my sensitive skin could take it. Those Hotpots, though — if I ever make another Coastal Scents order, I'm definitely going to try them out.

  50. Annabelle, on October 5th, 2014 at 8:07 pm said:

    For some reason, most of the swatches I can find on people through Google aren't quite what my pan of eyeshadow looks like – this link would be a pretty close match though (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/–dVf8ea1LGw/U5YJKObGR0I/AAAAAAAACLg/S6Jztauy9jQ/s1600/_MG_1187+2.jpg) <– as you can see, it is a wee bit patchy and a little bit sheer, but it works well for my purposes since I don't like harshly defined eyebrows anyways.

    Oh, you're right – I never took skin type into consideration :S I think the way the Shu pencils work is that they deposit colour after it interacts with the oils in your skin, making it less "hard" during the application. Based on the what I've seen on your blog, it seems as though you have dry skin, so I'm not sure how that would fare…perhaps you could apply a bit more moisturizer in your brow area prior to application? I'm also unsure of the ingredients used for the formula. Perhaps you could try their Rectractable Eyebrow Liner instead? I saw on MUA that apparently the formula is more creamy than the Hard Pencil; a con is that it doesn't last as long though (http://www.makeupalley.com/product/showreview.asp/ItemId=68950/Retractable-Eyebrow-Liner/Shu-Uemura/Brows)

  51. Annabelle, on October 5th, 2014 at 8:22 pm said:

    Hi BooBooNinja (love your name btw!),

    I found the Beige Betty UD Box to be too light for me and a bit too golden. I think NYX's brow kit was also a bit too yellow for me (boo! so many drugstore shades seem to be either too warm/too red!) so I ended up going with a Coastal Scents Hotpot (in the Shade "Brownstone") and that seems be a very, very good match so far!

    Thank you for your advice, I certainly consider brows to be one of the most important features on the face as well! <3

    - Annabelle

  52. Ugh but I also WANT the hardness! It's a hard choice — stiffness and a whisper of product vs no pain but too much product :P

    Brownstone looks GOOD in that swatch :o *.*

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