Japanese eyebrow products are definitely some of the best (if not the best) in the world. But if you live outside of Japan, access to all of the fantastic Japanese drugstore brand eye brow pencils, powders and mascara are really hard to come by.
Luckily, two famous Japanese brands, Shiseido and Shu Uemura are widely available around the world (although with slightly higher prices). So for those of you around the world who are interested in trying Japanese eyebrow products, I decided to trial and compare my eye brow product of choice, a mechanical pencil, from each of these prestigious brands.
Here is what I found…
Shu Uemura Brow Sword Pencil ¥4,000
At one end is a mechanical eyebrow pencil (wind up and down mechanism, rather than a pencil you sharpen) with a unique samurai sword shape. While the other end of the pencil houses a spool brush to tame the direction of the brows and blend the pencil colour. The casing also cleverly conceals a specially designed sharpener for the sword pencil.
The thick, samurai sword pencil shape is ideal for full, straight brows, effortlessly achieving a more defined appearance. However, for my thin, sparse and arched brows, I found it difficult to achieve a natural shape. Although I use quite a bit of pencil to shape and fill out by brows, and I definitely want a fuller brow effect, this style of pencil was a little too broad and exaggerated for my brows. I think those with a straight brow shape would love this pencil, but for me I prefer more precise control and using smaller strokes. That said, I loved the long-wearing formula of the Shu Uemura eyebrow pencil. The formula is smooth and waxy, and blends really nicely with the spool brush that is conveniently built into the packaging.
Shiseido Eyebrow Styling Duo ¥3,000
A very fine pointed mechanical eyebrow pencil, with a smooth, slightly waxy formula that is easy to apply and gives a natural but dense colour. At the other end is an eye brow powder applied with a soft sponge applicator.
This is my second purchase of the Shiseido eyebrow pencil duo, so clearly I liked it enough to go back for more! I really like the fine tip, as it gives you the ultimate control when filling in your brows with small feathery strokes. The colour can be easily blended, so that the appearance is more natural and the staying power is good. This is my go-to eyebrow product in the morning as I can quickly fill in my brows and blend with the minimum of fuss. I have to admit most mornings I skip using the brow powder on the other end. Mostly this is because I am in a hurry to get out the door, but if I have more time the powder is easy to apply with the pointed sponge applicator and helps give more oomph to the density of the brows and also sets the pencil for longer wear.
Unfortunately, there is no built-in spool brush like on the Shu Uemura Brow Sword Pencil. A spool brush is my favourite for quick blending and brushing of brows, and I love that the Shu Uemura has this built in, so you have everything you need in the one pencil.
So all things considered, for me the Shiseido is still the most suited to my needs, as it has the finer tip pencil. I just can’t achieve the brow shape that I like with the Shu Uemura sword style pencil. If you have thicker, straighter brows I would definitely recommend trying the Shu Uemura as I love the quality, staying power and spool brush.
All in all, the quality of both of these eye brow pencils is very good, but I would definitely expect this from such prestigious cosmetic brands (and for the price). However, I am still more than happy with the quality, performance of Japanese drugstore brands like K-Palette which retail for around ¥1,400. If you live outside of Japan and you want to try a fantastic Japanese beauty product, I would definitely recommend trying either of these products. Just be careful to select the style based on your brow shape and thickness.
Where to buy these products in Japan?
Shu Uemura– Available from Japanese Department stores, Shu Uemura flagship in Omotesando and Shu Uemura online store.
Shiseido- Available from Japanese department stores, Shiseido flagship in Ginza and the Shiseido online store.