Alright, so this post has been a really long time coming and I know “Brow-Sperience” is not a real word. I just really have no other way of explaing it. I have actually been putting posting it in the hope that I would be able to do this post and give lots of wonderful feedback about the very many pocket friendly brow products I had found and tested in the last few months. Alas, although there is nothing essentially wrong with any of these products, I can still just not get my brow game on!
This is my Brow-Sperience & review on some products.
Let me put you in the picture. When I was about 18 and a student, really thin brows were all the fashion, and me being the very impatient young woman I was, (ok, so not much has changed) I simply couldn’t wait to have done professionally, what I could do in a few mins myself for free. I mean how difficult or damaging could it be to pluck ones own brows now, really? WRONG! Very damaging. So much so, that after my Neanderthal attempts at plucking my own brows, without any prior knowledge or guidance, I managed to remove pretty much all my glorious brow hairs (did I mention I had gorgeous brows?) without so much as a second thought, and the damage was done. I was left with a thin strip of hair which over time has lightened enormously to a light blonde and it has just never grown back. I have subsequently discovered that plucking at a young age can and will end like this as the poor hair follicle is completely damaged. I have spent the better part of the last 20 years tinting and filling in my brows in some way or another and let me tell you, I am tired!
It’s only recently that I got onto using stencils and other more advanced brow products in the hope that I would get a better look or shape, but for the most part my brow maintenance has just involved tinting and some threading for the very fine random bits, and to shape, (although I am convinced this only made matters worse). The problem I find with tinting is that although it delivers a color, my brows are crazy sparse and very thin so they still need help to look like anything and so often I don’t even bother because with all the product on my brows the removal in the evenings causes the tint to wear off within a few weeks.
Then after all of that filling in with powder and pencil, waxing, gelling or brow mascaraing, you potentially still have the added problem of your brows looking like this if you get it wrong.
OR like this
And I also can’t help thinking people might be saying this as I pass by if I have been a bit overzealous on any particular day!
So this post is just to tell you about some of the new products I bought to try (Still using them all) and what I thought about them. Let me just say right off the bat that although I am not finding much joy in these products, it really is only because I have almost zero to work with and I can’t expect miracles, so I am totally with that and don’t hold any of these products responsible for my lack of success. They essentially are really nice and would be a great addition to any make-up kit but they are just not what I had hoped for me.
So without further a-do let me show you what my brows look like currently with just some tinting. I will spare you the bare blonde Freakbrows!
That wasn’t my best selfie day, I was not feeling on-top of my game when I took it but it puts you into the picture doesn’t it?
For the longest time I just used the Essence Brow Stylist in blonde and the Essence Brow Gel. You will find them here hey were pretty great for their very reasonable price tag. Both retail for under R50 each and are perfect for small make-up bags or for travelling. The Brow stylist even has some stencils in it. Personally I just wish I had rather not bothered spending any further money on any brow products at all because these did exactly what all the other products have done for me so far with the exception of the addition of the new and trendy Brow Mascara’s that I also included in product trials because these are ever so slightly different.
This is pretty much my best that I get it using the standard Essence products mentioned above.
Then I discovered stencils and although they can help to achieve a really lovely shape there is a slight problem in that I actually have no or little hair to work with so to get the desired result you end up having to draw in a fair amount with a pencil and that just looks bad so here I have really been very sparing with the amount of powder and pencil and used the lightest color. I actually prefer a darker brow but it should never look “Drawn on” so I keep it light for now.
Ok, so now you all know my sad brow history I will show you the products I used. What I wont show you or talk about, although they do help to make it easier to control your brows is a nifty little Spoolie comb, angled powder brush and sharpener as well as brow Razors I bought at Woolworths. I also bought my brow stencils and from them and they are really nice although I only actually use one out of the 4 options. You will find these in most of the stores and also online
Pencils and Markers
The pencils I tested were the Essence Eyebrow Designer in Soft Blonde which cost a whole R20 I think. I probably should have taken a darker one but didn’t. This is a nice pencil because it has a little comb on the end and can sharpen but I did find it very waxy so if you need to use a lot of it,it starts to look pretty yuck. It is a steal price-wise though so if you have some brows to work with and just want to fill in a few sparse bits then it really is a great buy. My biggest tip here would be to keep it sharp and you will be happy.
Next I tried the NYX Brow Marker. This was R125 at Clicks. This was a solid waste of money for me. The color I got which is only one of two options was this off auburn color and when I first swatched it and it seemed ok and I thought I would give it a go. I had seen similar markers in Stilla and Gosh products so I thought it was worth testing. Well it works really nicely actually, it gives you good control and dries quickly. Then your brows go a nice green color after a few hours and you hide in shame. Yes that’s right, if you get any on your skin it reacts chemically somehow and goes a nice shade of army green. Not cool NYX. I thought it was just me, so I checked out a few reviews on You Tube and it seems to be a common concern. So I have not used it again. I don’t see it in stores or on the Clicks website anymore so I am presuming too many people had the same problem and they are not restocking. Oh well, my loss. I’m too scared to try any of the Stilla or Gosh markers now. I don’t wear green brows well.
I also got roped into buying the really expensive Esteè Lauder Double Wear Stay in place Brow lift duo eye pencil with highlighter and after less than even a month of using it sparingly it is finished. This alone was the deciding factor in me giving up my search for the perfect brow pencil. That little exercise cost me R340 and it was not worth it at all because of its price. It’s not value for money in my opinion. The pencil is a very thin turnout and there is a highlighter on the other end. The really thin pencil was what drew me to choosing that over the Clinique one I had first looked at. I really thought it would be good at getting nice fine natural looking hair strokes and although it was good at that in particular and a nice soft but not waxy pencil it really didn’t last like I had expected. Maybe if you have an endless cash supply and can afford to replace it regularly then I would say yes, it’s a pretty nice pencil. Just not for me.
Now, I realize there are a myriad of other wonderful pencil and marker products on the market, but I really didn’t have the budget to just go on a spree and test everything out there. Who knows, perhaps I missed the Rolls Royce of pencils, powders and waxes and there is one I really should rather have bought over all but I didn’t. I had earnestly contemplated getting a good friend to bring me a Anastasia Brow Whiz from the US but decided against it for now.
A few of the other things I tried was the really lovely little palette from Essence called “How to make brows WOW” It was something I had wanted to try but struggled to get hold of. It retails for about R115.00 and is available in stores and online at various outlets. I liked the idea of it because it had 3 colors and a highlighter in it as well as a tweezers and applicator brush and sponge. I thought that between those three colors I was sure to find one that would work for me. Well the colors are really nice and the payoff from the powder is great but honestly I only use the darker called “Love Brunettes” one and the highlighter called ‘Lift me up” so I may as well have just stuck with the Essence Brow Stylist and one of my other highlighter powders. It’s a great product if you don’t have anything else in your kit and want an all in one compact. If there would be one thing I could suggest they could do to make it really wow and make me less inclined to think I would buy it again would be to have included a tinted wax instead of the middle auburn color. That being said, I really like this little box of wonders and I do use it everyday. It’s the saviour in this whole sad situation.
Another little gem of a find where powders are concerned was a super budget friendly but completely unknown brow product I picked up on a whim in Pick ‘n Pay for just R60.00 it is called L’Amour Maximum Impact Eyebrow/Eyeliner defining powder. I just cannot find anything about it online or any information to tell you about more than where I bought it and that it wasn’t a complete waste of money. The packaging states clearly that it is not tested on animals and it looks quite high end if you take a quick look and so I popped it in my trolley to test. Yes I’m a packaging kind of gal. It’s quite a nice little palette with a few nice shades from brown to taupe to black and so it’s quite versatile. I like the color payoff particularly. I am sad to say thought that I can’t tell you anything more about it. You will have to go look for one yourself to try. The powders can be used on brows and as eyeliner. It really is quite nifty.
Brow Gel Mascaras
With the above products I also tried a few Brow Gel Mascara products. I’ve had my eyes on the Benefit Gimme Brow which is now available in South Africa at Red Square outlets, but I just wasn’t ready to commit to nearly R300 for a product that was completely unknown to me. I had never tried a brow mascara before although I had watched a few different reviews on You Tube. It seemed like a really great idea. Enter Essence again, they really do seem to come to my rescue where affordability is concerned. When I bought the Brow Palette I also bought their dupe for the Gimme Brow for just under R40. It’s called Make me brow and it does just that. it is a tinted eyebrow gel mascara that fills up and tints any unwanted gaps with tiny fibers and It comes in two shades. Blondy Brow and Browny Brow. It is meant to make your brows seem fuller and that it does but it does tend to give me a “Fluffy” look which I don’t like. Sadly I took the Blondy brow so the payoff hasn’t been great for me in the end but I am still using it off and on. If I use any powder or pencil with that it really just looks like a little layer of fibrous hairs on top of the colour. I think the Browny Brow would have been a much better option for me. It may have delivered a better result over the powder that I am using. I think though that if you have great brows already with just a few gaps and want to make them look fuller and happier, then this is the perfect little product for you.
While I was buying brow mascara’s I came across something that Maybelline had just recently introduced, and decided that for the not so bad price-tag of R80 at Clicks I was willing to give them a try. They are the Maybelline Brow Drama Brow gel Sculpting Mascara’s. These don’t really have the fibre gel type result so I don’t get that fluffy look that I desperately want to avoid, and it colors the hairs and fills in any random gaps after you have used a little powder. Overall I am quite happy with the ones I got. I got the Blonde and the Soft Brown. This is a sculpting gel. It doesn’t clump and has a nice little ball-shaped brush so it is very easy to apply. I am using the Soft brown more than the Blonde though. I find that it really is helping to intensify the powder and keep everything in place. I think this is also a pretty handy addition to a make-up bag and cost wise very pocket friendly. I have not tried the Brow Satin pencil and shadow yet, I should maybe have bought one instead of two mascara’s but I wasn’t sure which colour mascara to take so I took the two I thought would work.
So I am sad to say that I am not jumping up and down and raving about any of these products for me but besides the one overspend I really think these are all great budget friendly products that are well worth the try if you like me are testing out different options.
As mentioned in the title of this post this is a 2 part post. As usual I have something up my sleeve. The quest for my best brow game does not end here.
P.S Most of the images used here I found on the websites of the various products I talked about so thank you to them. This is also not a sponsored post. I bought all these products with my own money and on my own time.