No exaggeration, I have one of the oiliest T-zones in existence. My eyebrow happen to be included in the zone and I've recently finally resigned to the fact that I do need to add more than just clear brow gel to them. My eyebrows aren't particularly sparse or thin, but do suffer from a few uneven bald spots, so I prefer pencils over shadows and waxes. I tried Anastasia Brown Wiz and it was okay, but there was some noticeable fading after a few hours. NYX Auto Eyebrow Pencil fared better, but I wanted something as budge-proof as possible.
A friend/MUAer suggested Shu Uemura Hard Formula H9 to me and I faintly recalled its release several years ago. I hadn't cared much about my obscenely overtweezed eyebrows back then (obvious by older photos - yikes!) and had haplessly swatched it on the back of my hands at Neiman Marcus - was not impressed, it had barely swatched. After some light research I realized that the lack of soft emollient in this eyebrow pencil was probably exactly what I needed. I also decided that Sound Black was best suited to my dark neutral black eyebrows (warm/red-leaning eyebrow pencils look terrible on me). Sound Black is not available through Shu Uemura's website, but I was able to find it off Amazon from a Japanese seller.
I've been using Sound Black for a month now, I haven't touched my NYX pencil or anything else. It is simply AMAZING and will probably last me several years - the tip is now slightly dull, but I've yet to sharpen it. Granted, I'm not going to attempt to sharpen it into the sword shape, I'm fine with the regular pointed pencil tip. It's the perfect neutral dark charcoal color for my eyebrows and I can easily control the intensity of the pigment by applying more or less pressure. This is the most natural looking product that I've ever used for my eyebrows - it doesn't look harsh at all, I promise. I've gone as far as slapping on eyebrows for a number of test drives at the gym and sure enough, it even survives through my intense sweaty cardio workouts. My search for the perfect eyebrow product has finally concluded!
The only drawbacks of this pencil is that it can be more challenging to use after you've freshly washed your face as it requires a bit of your natural eyebrow oils to activate the pigment. Additionally, the very hard formula can strip away a couple of eyebrow hairs here and there if you aren't the best about trimming your eyebrows (I don't trim mine) and you're applying a tremendous amount of pressure. You will also need to gel down your eyebrows as the pencil does little to smooth down unruly eyebrow hairs.
I will absolutely repurchase this should I ever have the misfortune of losing it and I'm sure I'll be repurchasing, many years from now, when I've finally used up the pencil. I truly love this stuff. Can't remember the last time I loved a beauty product as much as this one!
The hype is true! This is the absolute BEST brow pencil I've tried for my jet black brows. Most pencils sold in the US are too brown or warm for me, and I've taken to using grey eyeliners for my brows. However, this pencil is the perfect cool dark grey and photographs very well without looking harsh. I wore it throughout my trip in Japan and it didn't fade noticeably by the end of the day. (I'm not sure how well it holds up to sweat, though, since I went in spring and it was quite cool at the time.)
This is definitely a "hard" formula pencil. I used it for about a month before I felt the need to sharpen it, and even so, I only sharpened it a tiny little bit. This pencil is abnormally long so I feel like it may last me well over two years of daily use.
Unfortunately, it only seems to be avaliable in local Shu counters in Japan. I tried looking for it at Tokyo Narita airport but the Shu counters there told me that you have to leave the airport and go into the cities to find this shade. The darkest shade sold on the Shu website and at airports seems to be Stone Grey, which is (surprisingly) a warmer grey than Sound Black.
This is pretty amazing to say the least. My Husband was in Japan so I asked him to buy this for me. I heard a lot of good things about this so I thought it should be good. The first time I tried it I didn't like it and it barely showed up and I put it away and continued to use my wet n wild brow kit which I love. Then I kept reading these amazing reviews about this pencil and I thought I was not doing something right and I busted it out and gave it another try. Now, I love doing my brows, the formula is unique. I think the pencil will last me ages. The only downside of it is sharpening. I will definitely recommend this to anyone with sparse or full eye brows cause I think it can be good for drawing full brow or filling in. If you do your eye brows every day, give it a try and you will not be disappointed.
Absolute HG brow material.
I started off with this brow pencil in Stone Grey but later on bought Sound Black when I died my hair black. The SA recommended Grey because my hair was blondish-brown at the time. To be honest, I was afraid of going for black because I'm terrified of the drawn on/stamped on/drag queen brow look. I prefer my MU to look very natural. I really don't want sharp, crisp and obvious definition and that's why I was too scared of buying the black one. However, there was nothing to be scared about. Both Stone Grey and Sound Black provide extremely natural brows. I have sparse brows, especially towards the tail end. I find that this gives just the right amount of colour and it's impossible to over do this. It takes quite a few strokes of the pencil to build up colour so you can get the desired intensity level you want without suddenly ruining your brows by pressing too hard or whatever. My brows look SOOO natural yet fuller and I'm able to frame my face with this pencil. I manage to look 10x better with this product. I can now also fulfil my dreams of black hair, dark brows and red lips :D I was too afraid to fill in my brows before I got this pencil (even though I knew I desperately needed to) because I was just soooo afraid of them looking too out of place and obvious. This makes it a breeze, it's fool proof, even for brow novices like me.
If you have a freshly cleansed face then this might take a little while to show up on your brows because the pencil works by reacting with the oils on the hair for colour pay off - according to the SA. I find it shows up a lot if you apply moisturiser on and around your brows. So if you've just washed your face, this may not show up on you for a while. It is not waxy so if you have long eyebrow hairs, either trim them or use clear mascara to keep them in place.
I find the Japanese sharpening interesting. It is optional and I got it done at the Shu counter when I first bought the pencil in Stone Grey. It is shaped like a dagger - they cut off the point of the pencil and then shave off the sides so the pencil has flat sides and looks like a knife. You can go and get this re-done when needed at the Shu counter. When I purchased Sound Black, I asked for a pencil with standard sharpening. However, I think I prefer Japanese sharpening. It does waste product but to be honest with the length of the pencil, you can afford a little wastage. I find the Japanese sharpening more convenient when it comes to doing my brows. I can tell that this is going to last me an extremely long time. I have used my new black one about 5 times and the point is still very sharp. I am considering snapping a bit off the pencil to carry it around with me for touch ups. I can afford to do that because the pencil is very long.
If you are looking for sharp, ultra defined brows, then this is not for you.
HG! Applies SO easily and naturally. You cant really over do it with this pencil.
I love this product. I have sparse, fine Asian eyebrows with an old eyebrow tattoo underneath. This pencil is the only product that can make them look natural. The colour matches my hair perfectly. It's long lasting & it doesn't smudge. I have tried everything: Maybelline pencil, MAC automatic eyebrow pencil, Shiseido automatic eyebrow pencil, a variety of matte eyeshadows and this Shu Uemura one is the best! The product enhances my sparse hair, makes them appear fuller and without that ridiculous 'drawn in' look at all.