Saturday, June 27, 2015

Sephora Retractable Brow Pencil | Review & Photo Swatches

The bold brow trend is still going strong and I'm back with yet another eyebrow product review. Visit my post here for a quick overview of other brow pencils I've tried so far to match my black hair. The Sephora retractable brow pencil in soft charcoal ranks pretty high on my list for brow pencils, so let's jump into this review.

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Let's first look at some general pros vs cons of the product itself, then talk about the color match of the two shades I have tried: 05 neutral gray brown and 06 soft charcoal.

  • retractable and requires no sharpening
  • ultra-fine tip allows for precision
  • relatively affordable at $13 for 0.003 oz (ABH Brow Wiz is $21 for 0.003 oz)
  • slim and sleek packaging
  • 7 different shades currently available
  • water-resistant (not really waterproof)
  • not smudge-proof (it will smudge/fade if you scratch your brow)
  • wingtip comb side would be more useful if it were replaced by a spoolie brush
  • texture varies between shades (see details below)

I've tried 2 of the 7 available shades: 05 neutral gray brown and 06 soft charcoal. The neutral brown color was not a great match for my Asian black hair, but the soft charcoal works very well for defining the tail end of my brow.

The 06 soft charcoal color is a decent match for my natural black Asian hair as it has a cool undertone, but it's not quite as ashy as the "granite" Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz which is a great match for my black hair. I found the Sephora soft charcoal shade has a very soft and creamy texture; thus, I have to use a light hand application or else my brows look unnaturally harsh. I personally find this pencil shade too harsh for use alone or all over my brows since I have some patchy bald spots. It has worked perfectly to define the tail end of my brow and I often use it in combination with my "grey" Forever 21 retractable brow pencil.

The 05 neutral gray brown is a true grey with no warm/red undertones to it at all. Strangely, it has a very unnatural sheen to it (see photo below). I also found this formula to be very different from the soft charcoal shade.  The neutral gray brown pencil had a very hard formula that did not apply as smoothly as the soft charcoal one. I will not be repurchasing the neutral gray brown shade.

More Photos:

Find them at Sephora sealed with clear plastic wrapping like this:

What the pencil looks like uncapped:

Brand new pencil with all the product twisted up:

The wingtip comb helps blend out the product and tame the brows into place,
but I'd much prefer a spoolie brush:

05 Neutral Gray Brown vs 06 Soft Charcoal:

ABH Brow Wiz Dupe? Almost, but not quite!

I still have to take a photo swatch of it applied on my brows; stay tuned! I'll update this post once I get to it :)

Overall this Sephora brow pencil is a great alternative to the ABH Brow Wiz for a fraction of the price, but it's not an exact dupe. You get the same amount of product and the packaging is similar; however, the lasting power of the Sephora pencil is not as impressive.

I still prefer the "granite" ABH Brow Wiz shade (see my review here) over any of the Sephora pencils. But if you're able to find the perfect shade match for your hair/brow color, then this budget-friendly Sephora retractable brow pencil may be a staple item for your makeup collection.

For more eyebrow product reviews, check out my post here:
I'd love to know what your favorite brow products are! Let me know in the comments :)


  1. I have brown hair and I just saw this for the first time from a youtuber use this in her brow routine. I really need to try this out now! Thank you for the pictures. I think the charcoal color is the right shade for me