I'm a firm believer that when it comes to filling and shaping eyebrows, pencils are not the best option. I use a short bristled angled brush with matte eye shadows in muted browns, taupe (Bobbi Brown has never failed me), or for evening drama- espresso. I highly recommend using a sealing liquid (like Paula Dorf Transformer) to avoid transferring the color to your hand or the shirt of your significant other (speaking from experience) and avoid black unless your hair is really that color and your skin is very very dark.
The only problem with the above is doing it on the go, in a hurry and sometimes the amount of extra space required in your makeup bag. I don't even want to think about juggling my eyebrow products in the car. Which brings us to the next best thing, a really good eyebrow pencil with a built-in brush.
I was pretty skeptical when I received the Diorshow Brow Styler, because the retractable pencil is really ultra fine and I was worried it would draw a very visible line. Also, a one color fits all policy rarely works. But the Universal Brown is actually a dusty taupish brown that blends well with my coloring and filling the brows in quick short strokes and then using the brush for blending is quite effective without looking very obvious.
So the Diorshow Brow Styler worked quite nicely for me.
This is touted as a universal product which I had a hunch was not the case. I needed someone with fair hair, skin and very light eyebrows to test this. Enter the long suffering husband. He has dishwater blond hair, pale skin with pink undertones and his eyebrows are very light and quite sparse. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect candidate. Now, the color of the Diorshow Brow Styler wasn't terrible on him, but it's definitely darker than his natural color and made him look frowny. My guess is that for people with this coloring, a slightly lighter shade of brown would be better.
The bigger issue, though, is the pencil itself. If you need to fill large gaps, a pencil is not the right tool. No matter how carefully you used it, it still looks drawn, and unless you're a drag queen it's never a good look. I did my best on the husband's brows, but I would not recommend it for anyone who require serious brow work. I didn't dare use the built-in brush on him, which brings us to the other problem with the Brow Styler. The brush is quite good, really, but it's a little too stiff, and with the husband's sensitive skin I thought it would be best to avoid raking his brows with it. I compared the Dior brush to an eyebrow tool from Elke von Freudenberg's line (review coming later this week), which is just a bit softer and feels better on my skin. I don't really have much of a problem using the Dior as long as I'm careful with the amount of pressure, but if you're prone to skin irritation, it might not be the best tool for you.
Bottom line 1: Works well for me, great on the go, but definitely not a universal eyebrow product.
Bottom line 2: My husband is a saint.
Diorshow Brow Styler Ultra-Fine Precision Brow Pencil ($28) is available from Sephora and most department store. I received it as a PR freebie.
Photos by me.