Project Focus 10: Shu Uemura brow:sword

Firstly, Happy Chinese Lunar New Year! It’s the year of the Monkey!  🙂  Last year I dedicated a post on red makeup in my stash in celebration of CNY – go check it out!

Today though, as part of Project Focus 10, I’ll be reviewing the Shu Uemura brow:sword:
It retails for CAD $42 and is available in 5 colours. I have the shade Acorn which is a taupey brown shade.  This product is refillable and the refills sell for $29 each.  I bought mine at Hudson’s Bay.
Brow products are all the rage these days. I’d say that in terms of my makeup journey, brows were the last in my travels.  I have fairly sparse brows but shape-wise, they’re fine naturally. I don’t even need to shape them really – I may pluck the odd stray hair once a month. 😛
When I finally started filling in my brows, I started out with brow pencils but found that they didn’t provide a natural appearance (turns out the pencils I was using were too waxy). I moved onto brow powder next – a more natural look but I found they did not lasted the whole day. I then did a combination of brow marker pen and powder – which was perfect, but took way too long in the mornings.
Finally, I heard about the makeup artists’ favourite brow product: the Shu Uemura Hard Formula brow pencil in Seal Brown ($29). This Japanese product was raved about for how natural it looked, and how well it lasts on the brows all day. And after a bit of a learning curve, it became my go-to brow product.  And I was happy as a clam using the Shu Uemura pencil for years… so why did I switch to the Shu Uemura brow: sword?  a) I like to try new products b) The demo of this product persuaded me c) It has the word SWORD in the product name! d) all of the above. 😉
I went to the Shu Uemura counter with the intent to repurchase the Hard Formula pencil and walked out with the brow:sword instead.  So entered this nifty brow crayon into my life. It’s a retractable pencil with a flattened angled point, which helps to create the appearance of individual hairs.  The brow:sword is like a Swiss Army knife, containing not only the brow product refill, but also a spoolie, and a sharpener – this is what it looks like taken apart:
This is what the crayon lead looks like brand new, unused:
And this is what it looks like after a month of usage, and then sharpened:
The formula is similar to that of the Hard Formula pencil but just ever so slightly softer. It is not waxy at all – I dislike waxy brow pencils that clump the brow hairs together. I don’t need brow gels or waxes, or other hair holding products – I need my brow products to help create the illusion of hairs. I like to draw short strokes with my brow pencil in the direction of hair growth to mimic the look of hairs. Unfortunately, I find the brow:sword to be a little thick for this purpose – my brows end up looking a bit chunkier than I personally like, especially at the tails.
The built-in sharpener is rather handy – it’s just a v-shaped groove with a slit cut out, when the crayon is run back and forth along it, the lead gets shaved off.  But the crayon edge doesn’t get as sharp as the point of a regular pencil.  What is great about this product is how fast it fills in the brows – I’ve shaved my brow routine by almost half the time!
Another change for me is the actual colour of the brow pencil. I told the MUA that I normally use the shade Seal Brown and she felt that it was too ashy / grey for me. I have a natural reddish tint to my dark brown hair so she advised that Acorn would be a more suitable shade. She was right! It looks very natural without a hint of orange and matches my hair better.
The box states that there is 0.3g of product in this but I wanted to see how much product was inside the casing so I took a chance and swiveled the whole pencil up to see how much product is inside, it measures 2.5cm.
I don’t have a full size Hard Formula pencil to compare but I do know that it contains a whopping 4g of product. From memory, the pencil was much longer than an average cosmetic eyeliner pencil – more like a full-size lead pencil (approx 17cm excluding the eraser – yup I just measured a lead pencil on my desk). One of the Hard Formula pencils lasts me at least 2 years with daily use – it remains to be seen how long the brow:sword will last me. I’m guessing it will be less than a year. Oh, and the brow:sword retracts just fine back into the casing. 🙂

• Natural looking
• Long wearing formula
• Travel-friendly with brow spoolie included
• Refillable
• Built-in sharpener

• Expensive
• Not as fine line as a pencil
• Less product than the Hard Formula pencil

Stash worthiness: 7/10

Likely I will not refill the brow:sword once I’m done, but will go back to the Hard Formula pencil – but one good thing about this whole experience is that I’ll now switch to the Acorn shade in the pencil going forward.

What’s your HG brow product?

Tidbits on the other Project Focus 10 items:
• I’ve been keeping the Clinique Pop Lip Colour Bare Pop at my desk at work last week so I don’t forget to wear it – I managed to remember to wear it only twice though.
• I wore the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water every day this week as a primer, spraying it just before applying my foundation.
• I made a concerted effort to use the Smashbox Double Exposure palette this week and I did use it 3 times. I’m trying to force myself to use every single colour in the palette at least once but I just can’t bring myself to wearing the straight up silver one yet.

Please go check out my collab pals for their Project Focus 10 post:
♦ Ingrid of Curly.Spring.Blossom
♦ Jodi of A Brash Attitude
♦ Joy of Styled With Joy

61 thoughts on “Project Focus 10: Shu Uemura brow:sword

      1. u know what the hourglass is sleek and kinda a sexy product – let’s face it – Hourglass is sexy Lol xxxx but now i just go for a darker tint on my brows – monthly and really just put a clear gel – the benefit brow bar – then i don’t have to do it – LAZY BEAUTY XX


  1. That’s quite a bit more expensive than the Hard Pencil you normally use, especially for less product! But the idea of it being the Swiss Army knife of brow products is pretty neat.

    I’m pretty jealous your eyebrows are easy to maintain! Brows were also the last thing I discovered in my makeup journey…and they’re still my least favourite part haha. That’s awesome that you found the perfect shade for you from getting this product! It’s one of the things I find annoying about brows – it’s hard to find a match.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What brow products have you tried? I found a lot of North American brands don’t work well for me – their browns often have a reddish tinge. That’s why I resorted to an Asian brand. I’ll likely stick with Shu Uemura forever!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re right, North American brands definitely have a reddish tinge in all of their browns. Every time I try to get a MUA in stores to match me, they just give me the darkest shade of brown, which ends up looking too orange.

        I’ve only ever used various Anastasia products in either their black or their ashier shades. I feel like black matches my brows the best, but it means I have to be SUPER careful when applying otherwise I’ll have black caterpillars above my eyes. Next time maybe I’ll give Shu Uemura a try!


      1. Yes the concept is great, now if they can just also incorporate more product. I bought an Anastasia brow pencil and it was great until it ran out like a month later. $22 for that? No thanks. I buy the powder one now instead and it lasts forever. 🙂


  2. That is too pricey!! 😮 lol. It looks awesome and all but holy cow the price is insane! I think at the moment my hg brow products are the mac (again dunno the name) fluidline brow pomeade thingy lol and I use it hand in hand with the Maybelline green brow mechanical pencil lol. I’ll have a full post about it soon lol I’m so bad with names!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I use the Anastasia Beverly Hills powder in Auburn, but the brown shade that’s in it because I have red tones in my brown hair. It’s about as close as I can get to having natural looking brows with my trichotillomania


  3. I get so jealous when I see brow products.. I just don’t know how I’d look if I’ll use a brow product on them.. I don’t use any at all.. I might try it one day.. Haha another great post!👍🏻👍🏻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, if you don’t feel that you NEED it, then don’t worry about it! I got started with brow products because my aesthetician friend held me down and drew brows on me! 😆 It really does make a difference on me – without brows, I look a bit like an alien. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahahaah!! You cracked me up with Everytime I get a brow pencil in my Ipsy bag.. I get so disappointed.. I tried using it once but I look horrible.. Haha


  4. What a strange shape !!! I never tried anything from Shu Uemura . My HG are the ABH Pomade + ABH powder + Benefit Gimme Brow + ABH Clear Gel (Oufff! It’s a lot but it works) I really did enjoy this post a lot 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Quite pricey, but these kind of brow pencils are all the rage right now. I certainly see the draw, but can’t personally see spending the money on something like this when I find myself drastically changing my hair color as often as I do. I often color my eyebrows as well, so I can’t stick to the same thing, unfortunately.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh you make a good point about changing hair colours! I don’t dye my hair so that’s not a concern. That makes sense you’d colour your brows too. Do you just use the same dye as for your hair?


      1. What I use to color them depends on the color I used. Like right now I have red and orange-blonde. Neither of those would look good on an eyebrow. So I did a dark brown-red so they would look more similar to my hair without exactly matching them.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Great that you found such a nice color match! My hair is really black, so I can’t use anything with a reddish tint. I gotta stick w/ ashy grey. ATM I use a Clinique brow powder in Charcoaled, which seems to work pretty well. I tried a Korean product that seems similar to this Shu brow:sword, and while it works well, I didn’t like the really obviously “done” look it gave me. I’d like to try the Shu Hard Pencil in Seal Brown now that you gave it such a good review, but eeeeek pricy…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really liked the ashy grey shade when I was using it but I can see how the reddish tint works just a tad better. Yeah the Shu Hard pencil is pricey but I’m telling you, it lasts such a long time and looks so natural and is easy to use! Go to the Shu counter at the Bay and have them apply it on you!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I love how detailed your posts are! Such a great resource to refer back to when I’m contemplating purchases.

    At first glance this seems kind of similar to the Hourglass’ Eyebrow Pencil, I wonder how they compare?

    I picked up L’Oreal’s latest version of an eyebrow pencil and I really like it! I think its supposed to be a dupe for the Brow Whiz; I’m far from an expert on brow products though, half the time I forget to do mine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry, I somehow missed this comment. 😛
      I’ve not tried Hourglass’ brow pencil, I should have a look next time I’m at Sephora. It seems that a lot of drugstore brands have released their versions of Anastasia brow products. Brow products have been so popular these days!

      Liked by 1 person

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