Skin Deco

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Review: Shu Uemura Brow Atelier + Hard 9 Brow Pencil

I can't say enough how important eyebrows are in making or breaking your overall look. Having groomed brows is a lot more than keeping them clean and drawing them in. If the shape of your brows does not suit your features, it can be a total disaster. Then, you'd have to grow your brows out again which is an awfully awkward stage.

Some things are best left to the expert and I had the privllege of getting my brows shaped by Shu Uemura's Brow Artist, Lisa Yap, who is also an internationally accredited artist. She is supposedly gifted in eyebrow grooming.

Read on for my experience and a review of the one-of-a-kind Hard 9 Brow Pencil. Also in this post is a tutorial to show how I use this peculiar-looking pencil.

We were asked to grow out our brows for a month prior to the brow grooming at the Shu Uemura Brow Atelier in Mid Valley. Let's just say I wore a cap and my bangs down a lot for the entire month.

You can tell that my brows don't grow very thick but the hairs would stick out everywhere as they get longer. Since I already had a basic shape, Lisa trimmed and plucked the hairs to make my brows look more even and defined. I liked that she didn't go too thin so that I wouldn't look 20 years older when my brows are unfilled. Although Lisa doesn't use a razor for shaping, don't worry too much about the plucking. The plucking was virtually painless as she's very skilled and gentle with the tweezers.

After cleaning up my brows, she filled them in with the Shu Uemura Hard 9 Brow Pencil in 02 Seal Brown.

When it's brand new, the Hard 9 pencil looks like any old pencil but it has a harder core that allows Shu Uemura to use a very special technique to carve the pencil to resemble the shape of the 'naginata' Japanese sword. You can try this at home if you have the Hard 9 pencil (I wouldn't recommend doing this with regular pencils because the wood and core are different and you may hurt yourself) but there's a very high likelihood that you'd break a few tips before getting it right. Thankfully, Shu Uemura sharpens the pencil free of charge for as long you need your pencil sharpened.

Try drawing the pencil on the back of your hand and you'll get little to no color but draw on your brows and you'll get just enough color that wouldn't look unnatural. While it's not waterproof, I experience only minimal smudging with this pencil.

It's hard to explain how awesome this pencil unless you actually try it for yourself. As you maneuver the pencil, using different sides of for different sections of your brows, you'll know how easy this pencil is to use. It is now a staple for me.

I used to think that paying so much for a mere eyebrow pencil is not justifiable but I've only had to sharpen it after two months of using it despite the fact that I draw my brows almost everyday.

My brow routine is slightly different when I use this pencil:
  1. Define the natural shape with short strokes following the direction of hair growth
  2. Gradually extend the strokes to form the 'tail'. The slope of your 'tail' should be parallel with the slope of your eye
  3. Shape the arch to make it look more rounded if you prefer
  4. Comb the hairs in place and also remove excess color with a spoolie
Related Topic: "Eyebrows Are Sisters, Not Twins" -- eyebrow shaping guide

The only thing that I'm probably not too contented with is the color. 02 Seal Brown is the bestselling color, especially for Asians. Personally, I prefer my eyebrows to be lighter and perhaps, more brown than grey. I may consider getting the Hard 9 *bursts out laughing because of a corrupted mind* in 03 Brown when I'm done with Seal Brown, which could be years from now...

A little trick that I use to lighten my filled eyebrows is going over them with face powder. Simply take an eyebrow brush, dip it into some face powder and go over your brows with it. This lightens the color without lifting any chunks of it off compared to using a cotton bud.

You can get your brows trimmed at any Shue Uemura counters or outlets for RM30. Lisa's rate is RM50. The Hard 9 Brow Pencil retails for RM65.


Hayley said...

Connie, is it better to sharpen the pencil using sharpener or blade?

Connie De Alwis said...

the Hard 9 is not meant to be sharpened with a sharpener so you'd have to use a blade to sharpen it but there's special technique to do it. Shu has a Hard 6 which is not as hard as Hard 9 and that one can be sharpened.

plue said...

Hard 9 way to go! mine is gray, stone gray me thinks :D

i love shu's brow service, done me wonders!

and looking forward to seeing u! mish ya!

Get Gawjus! said...

Great post gurl! Very informative. I have been wanting that pencil from ages. I agree, I don't quite like grey pencils, am a fan of brown based ones too

Monica said...

I've been lemming that Shu brow pencil & completely forgot to pick it up last week at Duty-free in Hong Kong:-( The Pixiwoo Youtube guru's love it too, & yes best to get sharpened by the Shu experts. Your eyebrows look fantastic, I'm all about the eyebrows too.

Doll said...

Great post :)
I've also been interested in this pencil but I'm so used to powders, that a pencil scares me. (I think it would take some practice for it to look natural, for me that is). Sigh... lol

kay kamal said...

it has been a while since i even cared about how my brows im growing what is as thick as the kalimantan jungle!

its good that lisa threads..what about the other brow designers in shu? do they pluck or use razor? i wanted to try Empro but the used razors n i dun want dat..

me needs good brows for my wedding~!

teh_ness said...

Girl, your brows looks simply fabulous! And I personally really like the colour.

Side note, you take awesome pictures for your blog posts!

Anonymous said...

Hi Connie, is it possible for me to just walk in to Shu Uemura in Mid Valley and ask Lisa to trim my brows?
I've tried their trimming session in Pavilion counter, but the plucking part hurts!
Am tempted to get Lisa to trim my brows since you've mentioned she's gentle and skilled

gio said...

Your brow looks amazing! And I think the color looks nice too.

Blovet Beauty said...

How did I miss this post? ur eyebrows look amazing! love it!
I love Shu Hard formula pencil. The only reason why I stopped was because I kept it in my makeup pouch and it was constantly being flung around and I felt so sad for it. Lame I know but I knew I should be taking much better care of my hard formula..

jojoba (My Makeup Reviews) said...

this super helpful for me. i am a brow idiot. thanks

Connie De Alwis said...

Plue: yes, shu does your brows really well! but you have a great set of brows to work with in the first place ;)

Get Gawjus: Some people can carry browns very well especially those who look good with light-colored hair

Monica: I think the pixiwoo sisters use the hard 6 one but I remember that they use seal brown. it is a very popular pencil! Retail price is not too bad considering how long one pencil can last you

Connie De Alwis said...

Doll: I was using powder prior to pencil and it takes a lot less time to fill in my brows with a pencil. Just gotta know what kind of pressure and strokes to use for your brows. Or another way that I like to do my brows is outline with pencil and then blend with powder

Kay: Hmm, I'm not too sure. When I first had my brows done at shu, the sa used a razor. perhaps you can specifically ask them not to use a razor?

teh-ness: Thank you! :)

Connie De Alwis said...

Anonymous: It's better to make an appointment in case she's booked or having her off day. You can call the MV boutique but I don't have the number :-/

Gio: Thanks!

Blovet Beauty: Ahhh... I have my pencil in my bag too and I know it shouldn't be in there!

Jojoba: Glad you found the post helpful! Brows just need practice. It took me awhile to figure out what looks good on me

torrent download said...

Hard 9 is great to use. Any way this is very informative, thanks for sharing this.

Anonymous said...

1) did u get the Brown #03 in the end? just bought #02 seal brown myself and finding it a tad too dark! how about gray stone?

2) is it POSSIBLE to sharpen the H9 pencils with a sharpener? finding the blade thing too cumbersome!

Connie De Alwis said...

Anonymous: I'm not even half way through my seal brown so nope, I haven't gotten the brown one. However, I've grown to like seal brown. I can fill it in light if I use a lighter hand. Stone Grey would be rather dark. I don't think it's possible to sharpen the H9 pencil with a sharpener. But Shu Uemura does a sharpener-friendly versions, Hard 3 and Hard 6 but I don't know what's the difference. I'm assuming Hard 6 is softer and Hard 3 softest.

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