Nothing frames the face better than a pair of well-groomed brows, and there is even the possibility of subtly altering the overall makeup look by changing up your brow game. For over 25 years, fans of Shu Uemura have been raving about the legendary Hard Formula eyebrow pencil… and now, there is a handy travel-friendlier version of it – the Brow:sword.
I started drawing my brows when I was still in my teens, and back then the problem was grooming the bushes and simply making sure the color matched whatever I was sporting on my head. And so, I was recommended to use an angled brow brush and powder, and the process of applying powder with brush to my brows grew into a natural extension of myself. As the years pass, I found my brows thinning out, thereby needing a bit more filling in and shaping to achieve the desired effects. That was when I started fumbling with eyebrow pencils, and realizing that they aren’t all made the same. I recently got to try Shu Uemura’s Hard Formula Eyebrow Pencil, and discovered for myself the reason this remains one of their top selling products after all these years.
As the name implied, Shu Uemura Hard Formula Eyebrow Pencil [SGD33] is made of an extra hard lead which allows it to be sharpened into the special Naginata (samurai sword) shape which is wide and flattened, and slightly angled at the tip. This beautiful shape resembles the angled eyebrow brushes that I’ve grown up with, and follows the curvature of the brows making it easy to draw. The hardness of the lead also prevents too much color to be deposited on the brows, rather, it softens upon contact with the natural oils on the brows to create natural looking strokes that are not overly harsh. If you tried to draw it on the back of your hand or anywhere else, you might be disappointed, but try it on your brows and be impressed!
Much as the Hard Formula was loved, it needed to be sharpened from time to time (roughly once every 1-2 months depending on usage), and it can only be done by a specially trained Shu Uemura technician. Sharpening is free of course, but if you don’t have easy access to a Shu Uemura counter, it can be a real problem. So, to address this problem, Shu Uemura has now released a brand new Brow:sword!
The new Shu Uemura Brow:sword [SGD53 for case + refill, SGD28 for refill only] comes in a plastic refillable case, and the brow pencil itself is retractable to enable ease of travelling. It is pre-shaped into the Naginata shape, and comes with a special sharpener to keep the tip of the pencil perfectly sharpened! To sharpen, simply twist the bottom cap to reveal the sharpener, and gently slide the pencil along the groove of the sharpener at a 30 degree angle a couple of times until it is sharpened to the desired thinness. There is even a spoolie brush enclosed that you can use to comb your brows. I do wished Shu Uemura had retained the angled eyebrow brush from their previous retractable brow pencil, but it seems the spoolie is more common and people expect to find it.
What is really lovely about Shu Uemura’s brow products is that they have the colors down to a science. I’ve tried several different brow products before, and even though I generally just live with it, I can always tell when the color is just a bit off. In contrast, the very first time I tried Shu Uemura’s brow:sword and hard formula in Seal Brown, it truly looked natural, exactly my-brows-but-better without trying too hard. You’ve already seen it in action over the course of the past couple of weeks, but to save you from clicking back, here are a few pictures featuring Shu Uemura brow:sword and hard formula on my brows.
Between the 2, I personally preferred the older Hard Formula Eyebrow Pencil as somehow the nib is just slightly narrower whilst the Brow:sword is just a tad too wide for filling in my brows. The lead is also softer in Brow:sword, which required more care when drawing the shape of my brows. However, the retractable quality and built-in sharpener makes the Brow:sword more ideal for travelling. Therefore, my suggestion is to stick to the Hard Formula for daily use, and bring the Brow:sword along when you are on the move!
This post featured products that were sent to me by Shu Uemura Singapore for my consideration. Regardless, all opinions expressed here are my own honest, unbiased views.
Ooh!! I’m using their regular hard brow pencil but I just sharpen it with a regular sharpener. This one looks good… but I’m also contemplating on trying the Bobbi Brown one. Have you tried that?
Tell you the truth, i’ve been using the slanted brow brush all my life, I always feel a bit helpless with a regular pencil…! 😉 I’ve not tried the BB one, but i believe Noodles has it and was planning on getting the Shu. So, she’d be best to compare!
I am really not the right person to review and test brow pencils but I would like to say, I love your FOTD with tied hair so much, you look stunning. I must have missed it, whyt do you have on your eyes, stunning!
ok, stop flaunting your luscious brows at me Sara!! ;PP Hmm…. i believe I was re-testing a THREE duo which i’m planning to review soon…. next week maybe!
I have recently gotten the pencil with my Shu-Palette and like it very much but it’s sharpened into the regular point — had no idea there were other options. Good to know. How is it that Shu so gets color when so few do? Giorgio Armani has all those brow tints in so many colors and they are all wrong, wrong, wrong.
Hi Alison, yes these pencils ship directly in the regular pencil point, and they have to be sharpened by the BAs in the stores using a knife into the naginata shape. Unfortunately, there are no more Shu counters in the US…. 🙁 The brow:sword should be better for you if you like the sword shape and don’t want to mess with massacre-ing your own pencil! LOL, I’ve not tried any of the GA brow tints, but i’m glad the Shu shades are working for you!
Ah! Thank you so much for comparing the two formulas. The new sword sounds super convenient. And they really do have colors down to a science for their brows stuff. Seal Brown is also a nice match for me, too. Brown, but without being red so looks very natural on.
In the US website, they ship the pencil sharpened into a regular pencil point, which is annoying. I bought mine in Asia, so it had the nice sword shape. Since we have no counters in the US anymore, I’ve become handy with a very sharp utility blade and have been sharpening my own. It doesn’t take much effort or skill, in my experience.. just take a super sharp blade.
The new sword looks like a wonderful way to avoid the annoyance of sharpening the pencil.
Oh Belly you should write a post or a video tutorial on how to sharpen your own pencils! I’ve heard so many horror stories about people massacre-ing their pencils. I’m no good with a knife and will probably chop off my own fingers trying. So i’m going to be good and bring this back to the store when it finally gets to that point! I’ve been using mine everyday for the past month and it’s still looking good!
Hey Linda, thank you so much for the review! I’ve always been curious about the Shu brow pencil, but since there is ONE counter in Belgium and it’s not in my city, I never took the plunge! The new one looks like something I’d like. No idea when it’ll be available here yet, but I’ll keep an eye on it!
Hi Sunny, yes the brow:sword is going to be much more convenient plus it’s refillable! But tbh, I’ve been using my hard formula everyday for the past month, and it’s nowhere near halfway needing a sharpen, so i figure maybe once every 2-3 months for my tiny brows….