I've come out of product review retirement just to post about Anastasia Brow Pencil in Medium Ash. This is my new holy grail brow color. There is a certain class of haircolor that's called dirty, dishwater, mousy, ashy, drab -- you know it if you have it. You were light blond as a kid and by puberty your hair had turned the color of tree bark and wet mushrooms. Nobody makes brow pencils to match this haircolor because almost everyone with this haircolor changes it. I used MAC Fling -- a dry light taupe -- back when I had blond highlights. Now that I've let my highlights grow out and re-embraced my natural hair color, Fling is too light. I tried the slightly darker MAC Lingering, but it's too yellow. Standard brown pencils are all too red. Enter Anastasia Medium Ash. This is THE color to buy if you have dark blond to medium-brown ashy hair and find almost every brow pencil you've tried to be too warm for your skin tone. Medium Ash is a true medium taupe without yellow or red tones. Don't look at the swatch on sephora.com for reference; it's too red. The swatches available at whatshebuys.com (which, incidentally, has free shipping) are more accurate. The application is wonderful too; the pencil is hard and goes on light so you can control the depth of color. The spool end is nice for blending, but you don't even need to blend. There are no waxy crayon-like bits left behind with this pencil. The only way I can imagine improving it is to make it a twist-up like the MAC automatics so there's never a need to sharpen.
UPDATE: Waxy crayon-like bits galore, when applied to powdered skin. Sigh. This pencil applies best on moisturized, powderless skin. It drags like a zombie's feet on powdered or dry skin. This might explain some of the complaints below about the pigment not being dense enough. After warming it up for a few seconds with my blowdrier, it simply glided on. I have to wonder if it was tested in 75-degree L.A. as opposed to 68-degree (indoors) blustery Illinois. Those few degrees do make a difference.
Edit 03/17/2013: I was always afraid they would discontinue this but it's worse: they changed the formula. It is now a waxy, slippery, very smearable, oily pencil. It is impossible to get fine details even with a sharpened point, it's too thick/waxy. Because of the waxier texture the color is not ash brown, it's more close to dark neutral brown a click closer to warm. Why do companies do this???!!! They take a great product with much success and ruin it. I returned and will look for another brand. (the outer color of pencil is no longer pink, it's black)
Oh my God, I found a replacement for my former HG Maybelline twin brow pencil in charcoal grey. I like this even better: not as waxy, perfect texture, the color is better as well. it is absolutely perfect. I had tried the Brow Wiz and did not like at all, too greasy/waxy, way too dark. Depending how many layers you put you can go from light to dark. NO red at all and NO grey. I'm thrilled. It's a bit pricey at $22 but I have a feeling this will last many months so it's well worth it.
For the record I have NO eyebrows, just 1/2" towards the front and nothing on the arch or tail. I'm not kidding, I didn't pluck them, it's heireditary from my mother. (she has hers tattooed) The texture of this pencil 'looks' like hairs on the skin. Also, everyone has tiny facial hairs, this pencil colors them brown. I can't express how happy I am to have normal eyebrows. You wouldn't beleive the impact eyebrows have on your face. All I need is my eyebrows a little lip gloss and I look great.
Anastasia pencil is WATERPROOF and SWEATPROOF: I went jogging here in Miami at noon, 105 degrees, 85% humidity and though I was dripping in sweat, my eyebrows completely covered in beads of sweat, it stayed on! As long as I didn't wipe or touch them. After I cooled down and the beads of sweat dried out (don't touch them) the color was exact, it didn't even fade, it did not oxidize into another color. I then jumped into my lake and swam around, go under alot, I came out and the color was still on! Again, I didn't touch it, I dried my face avoiding my eyebrows and when they dried the color was the same. I then took a shower and washed my hair, I tried not to get my face wet but hard to do in the shower and they color stayed on. In fact I carefully dried my face and I DIDN'T HAVE TO RE-APPLY!! sweating, swimming and showering the color stayed.
Run and get this!!!!!
I have two HG brow pencils in rotation -- the Shu Uemura Brow Pencil in Seal Brown and the Anastasia Perfect Brow Pencil in Medium Ash. I do my brows every single day and I've tried tons of brow products, but these are the two that I reach for the most! I love brow pencils (as opposed to brow powders) because they are so quick and easy to use. I don't like my brow pencils to be too soft or powdery because they usually deposit way too much color, and the Anastasia Brow Pencil's formula is PERFECT. As much as I love the formula of the Shu Uemura pencil (it has a very hard texture that gives off a muted color), I find that my brows look better with the Anastasia pencil because they appear more groomed and natural. Because the formula is slightly waxy, my brow hairs get a light hold that keeps them in place so that the hairs won't stick out all over the place. Since the texture is also softer, the color can always be softened up with the spoolie brush on the other end of the pencil. The brow color gets spread with the spoolie brush and the effect looks very natural. I use the spoolie brush with the Shu Uemura pencil too, but an extremely light hand is required because instead of softening up the color on my brows, the product will actually disappear and then I have the draw some more on. For this reason, I think the spoolie brush works best with the Anastasia Brow Pencil's formula. The Medium Ash shade is also great because it is a nice warm taupe color that looks better with my warm NC30 skin tone, while the Shu Uemura pencil in Seal Brown is a cooler taupe. I also love how it lasts all day! In my opinion, this stuff is well worth the $22 at Sephora because I haven't found anything else quite like it!
.....i am going to repurchase, what can i do?
I don't live in the United States, i am from Europe and i am currently studying in Sweden. Hence quite limited access to Mac products and no disposable income either. I am a big fan of eyebrows, and as Anastasia does (she's Romanian, like me!), i understand the importance of good eyebrows- it simply changes your face. The shape, the color, the consistency of the hairs, those two little hair lines make a tremendous difference in the way we look. I have recently read in Glamour that in Germany, the new 'it' lift is the 'tweezers lift'- basically the eyebrow is angled as high as possible to give the face that i-just-came-back-from-vacation look. Cool!!!:)
so, after having tried thousands of eyebrow pencils, i think this one is the one.
My favorite used to be a cheap eye pencil from Miss Sporty, a very cheap brand (the european equivalent of wet'n'wild), in 018 Savage. The crayon was soft and drew a precise yet natural line and the pigment was very natural, dark with strong grayish undertones. after all, this is the undertone that makes the color appear natural- not red. my only problem with that pencil was the tone- a bit too dark.
Anastasia's eyebrow pencil- love the fact that it's not soft, doesn't smudge, has a relatively dark color but is extremely natural due to the ash undertones. i wanted to try the brunette one but got scared...way too dark, and the reddish undertone just pierced my cornea as soon as i took the cap off. thanks but no thanks.
the pencil is quite long so i assume it will last me some good months (daily use, sometimes twice-three times, depending on the occasion). it is indeed hard, as some reviewers have observed, but this fact is caused by two factors- one, so it won't smudge (most eyebrow pencils have the same consistency of the eye ones and smudge among your natural brow hairs, giving that sweaty look), and the second, so you can easily control the intensity of the color and not end up with two geometrical lines on your forehead; this way you can control the amount of product you add for a natural effect.
the color, shall i say, i think it's a teeny tiny bit too dark, but to such a small degree it is barely noticeable to me (i can spot if a person wears transparent contacts, has natural hair color or crayoned eyebrows or false lashes. good sense of observation here, plus some years of experience. been putting makeup on since i was 16 and i am 23 now). still, it bugs me a little bit that it's not perfect. anyway, Anastasia is a human being herself so we can't expect perfection after all:)
now the price....i cringed when i had to pay the equivalent of $23 on a pencil....i was with a friend who simply told me i am insane. i know...but i wanted it so badly. now i feel totally guilty. sigh.
-good product for people who know how to work it
-great quality, VERY natural look with grayish undertones. perfect for light brown haired people (my friend is blonde and still uses it), dark brown haired ones, brunette, etc. anything goes with it, it should be awarded a prize or something. just handle it delicately and everything will be perfect.
-if you think the color is a teeeeeny bit too dark, powder your eyebrows at the end of the application. it will take the edge off the color and at the same time set the pencil on your natural eyebrow. do this especially if you have no eyebrows at all, it will blur the edges very well so to speak.
-it is pricy indeed, but IT IS WORTH all the money. you won't find something better.
UPDATE: yes you will find something better....depending on your hair color. the rimmel professional eyebrow pencil in dark brown 001. LOVES it.
Is it possible to be in love with a brow pencil? Well after a string of bad dates, my faith in love has been restored by way of this pencil. (Sad, huh?) I do have a couple gripes (as we always do with the ones we love): it is fairly pricey for a pencil at $21. The formula is good, but nothing completely new or amazing--just a good eyebrow pencil. But here's where Medium Ash swept me off my feet: the COLOR. I searched high and low for a color like this, and I believe it's missing in every other line of brow pencils. I have dark brown hair, but brunette pencils look way too harsh and drawn in. On the other hand, ash blonde pencils are too light for my eyebrow hairs. Enter Medium Ash. It's definitely great for fair-skinned brunettes because it doesn't look harsh, but it's not too light either. It's PERFECT. Couple that with a handy spool brush on the opposite end, and I've found my partner for life. Thanks Anastasia for filling the void!
I love this brow pencil! My eyebrows need a lot of work... they are fairly sparse, but I absolutely HATE the look of eyebrows that look so OBVIOUSLY drawn in, and im not a fan of brow powders (mind you, I haven't tried Anastasia's brow powder) because I find they aren't as precise. This pencil does the trick for me - precise eyebrows that don't look overly made up. some people complain that it is too light - that is not a problem for me as I have very fair skin. it is a very hard pencil, and lasts a VERY long time. I think my first one lasted at least a couple years. it is slightly waxy, so it keeps my eyebrows in place all day, and lasts all day.
Doing this review makes me sad because I really wanted this to be that HG eyebrow pencil I am looking for... But it was not.. not even close. I have very thin over plucked eyebrows. This pencil was SO hard and the wax made my existing hairs clumps together.. OHH The horror ! I know I took a brush to them by still .. it was not what I expected.. NOW the Lancome Le Crayon Poudre.. Thank you Jesus.. ! LOL. I suggest to try the product before you buy.. especially if you have thin thin eyebrows. Good Luck !
Perfect medium brown with no red. Not too dry or too soft. I like a harder pencil because they last on the brows and this is harder but still soft enough to deposit. I cant overdo it with this pencil the best pencil i have tried for natural looking brows. No more charcoal brown eyeshadow from mac for me. The brush on the end is very handy and hence i bought this and not mac lingering pencil. Also as its not a wind up pencil this lasts much longer for the money.
The girl at utla tried it on me, I was shocked when I looked, just plain bad, color and everything
dont see what the hype is about this brand...my 2.00 rimmel beats any brand all the time.
however all I do is a little fill in, and dont go crazy with my brows, less is more, I cant stand a real
thick drawn on brow,,,
Beware, it pulls out hair!
My eyebrows are dark, but sparse. Most "brunette" brow pencils are too red. Finding this pencil in medium ash several years ago was a revelation. It's the perfect shade! Unfortunately, the force required to apply it pulls out my brow hairs, and I don't have brow hairs to spare!
Thankfully, Anastasia came out with the Brow Wiz automatic pencil. Same perfect color with a smoother application that doesn't pull out hairs. It doesn't last nearly as long, but at least I won't be browless.