Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pencil Sharpeners

As a teenager my sister had the annoying habit of losing every eye pencil sharpener she had, than "borrowing" from my mother and from me, promptly misplacing them forever (let's blame the cat). Decades of not living under the same roof with her and I have about 20 sharpeners all sitting nicely in a drawer, never disappearing. It amused me greatly when last year my sister complained about not finding her sharpener; I gave her one of my spare Chanel ones.

A couple of readers asked me to recommend makeup pencil sharpeners. I rounded up what I have, plus a bunch of the free ones you get when you buy an eye or a lip liner from some top brands. Digging through the drawer, I found the white one you see on the top left-- that's an oldie that came with a Versace eyeliner I loved very much. Does anyone else still remember the Versace makeup line? I think it was exclusive to Sephora.

Brands like Chanel, Dior, YSL, Laura Mercier, and Burberry include a good sharpener with their pencils. They're sharp, effective and stay around forever (as long as you don't have a younger sister shopping your stash). All of the freebie ones above except the Versace also have that little plastic pick tucked inside that you should use for removing pencil debris. It's a small but important detail.

Free sharpeners only come with one chamber for standard size pencil. If you need to sharpen a chubby pencil and/or you want the tool to have an enclosed casing you need to actually buy one. My oldest one in the group is that big Sue Devitt sharpener (no.1). It's excellent and has survived years of use and abuse. Sadly, the company went out of business earlier this year, but if you see one on clearance somewhere just grab it.

No. 2 is the cult favorite Urban Decay Grind House. It's a power tool, ultra sharp, and the purple color makes it easy to spot in a makeup bag. It's also annoyingly priced at $10, but this sharpener is likely to outlast all your makeup. Available at Sephora and

No. 3 is a German made stainless steel sharpener that I bought at a pro makeup store. It's scarily efficient, but horrible to use: the dual sharpeners are placed on opposite sides. Since there's no outer case I end up giving myself thin and painful cuts. Avoid.

No. 4 is the most recommended of the bunch. NARS is reliable, safe, and works with just about any pencil under the sun. Since I own so many NARS pencils, I like having this around. $6 at the counters, Sephora, and

Cleaning: I remove gunk and debris with the plastic pick, then wipe the blade gently with an oil-free eye makeup remover pad and dry it with a kleenex.

Do you have a favorite pencil sharpener?


  1. FYI, the UD Grind House sharpener will be $5 on Friday 9/20/13 at Ulta as part of their 21 days...(whatever it is) promotion.

  2. My sister "misplaces" mine all the time too! She swears that she put them back on my desk, but I'm onto her lol!

  3. My favorite is the Sue Devitt! I've had mine for years. It's perfect. So sorry that line has been discontinued.

    My least favorite is a Sephora sharpener with a hot pink, egg-shaped case. It doesn't fit *any* of my pencils, not even my Sephora lipliners. A total waste!

  4. Versace makeup! I had a lipgloss - I think it was very lavender! They sold the Versace cosmetics line at the Versace stores, and there was one at the mall near me ages ago...

  5. My favorite is the Nars - I have others (and no sisters), but that one gets the most use.

  6. The Essence sharpener is an EXACT DUPE of the urban decay one. They were probably from the same manufacturer. Nouveau cheap and a couple of other sites did a post on it. Her post:

  7. I love Urban Decay's sharpener the best, it's so durable. Sad to hear that Sue D. is discontinued-I only thought the doors were limited. Bummerz.

  8. I loved the old Versace make up line! I had a few of their lip glosses. And thank you for that tip about cleaning your sharpener with makeup remover - I will definitely have to try that. So my fave sharpener is the Urban Decay one. I've had mine for 4 years now and it is going strong. But I have to admit that I work at Sephora and so bought it with my discount.

  9. What brand is number one? looking for a good one.


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