Eyebrow Pencils & Grey Hair

I freely admit that I never fully appreciated the whole eyebrows thing until I got older. I've always had plenty to work with in the eyebrows department (too much, actually), and only really started thinking about it when I had to. Now that I am quickly approaching my 45th year, I feel like my caterpillar-like natural brows are starting to show their age. I never thought it could be possible to have brows that look at simultaneously bushy and patchy, but as we all know, age can be a cruel mistress indeed; hair tends to thin out where you want it and migrate to places that you would have never dreamed would need hair. 

Eyebrows have therefore sort of become my new obsession. In lieu of a lot of other fancy makeup, which I feel looks kind of strange on me the older I get, brows are actually a really easy way to really enhance the look of your face without having to smear a lot of goop all over it. However, if you have grey, white, or salt and pepper hair like me, it can be a really frustrating thing trying to find eyebrow pencils that are not too warm in shade. Everything you try, even those with the universally-accepted labels of "ash", "taupe", or "charcoal" tend to have ruddy undertones, making them look strange when up against the cool tones of my salt and pepper hair. Sometimes, you don't even realise it, thinking you've found a good product, until you find yourself out and about and happen to catch your reflection in the bright sunlight. I've had several of those moments (I used to feel that way about my hair as well, which is why I stopped dyeing it). There's just something so off-putting to me about catching a glimpse of myself with mismatched, brownish-red brows; like I plucked a couple of wooly bear caterpillars off of the road and adhered them to my face. 

In my trials with every shade of eyebrow pencil on the planet, I've found a few that I like (so far). While everybody is different, even those of us with grey hair, these are a few that are worth a looksee if you are a salt and pepper brunette like me. Or perhaps for some of you, even if you're not. 


Lorac Pro Brow Pencil in Slate - $19 / £11

This is my hands-down favourite. The consistency is easy to work with and the line is nice and thin. Best of all, the color is a great greyish-taupe without overly reddish undertones. The little brush on the end is nice and firm as well, making it easy to blend.  The downside - it doesn't last nearly long enough.

NYX Micro Eyebrow Pencil in Charcoal $10 / £8

This one is a bit smudgier and the brush is a bit softer, making it a bit more of a filling-in tool than something for making short little strokes with. The charcoal color is a true grey, and it works well for dark brunette hair, although I found the color to be almost a little cooler than I would have wanted. Perhaps in another five to seven years when I am more grey than I am now, this will be my go-to.

Pixi Natural Brow Duo in Soft Black $20 / £15

This is a great product. The soft black is a great cool brunette option that goes on a true charcoal (but a little darker than the NYX version). While the tip is not as fine as the others I liked, it is slanted in a way that makes it easy to handle. Included is a little wand with some translucent brow gel to help set everything once youve got your brows the way you like them.


  1. I never used to do anything to my brows (except tweeze a bit) thinking that eyebrow pencil and the like was something for women of my mother's generation. Then in my forties, a make-up artist at Laura Mercier introduced me to a little pot of stuff called Eye Brow Definer which is applied with a brush. I simply cannot apply a pencil and make it look natural. But this pot of creamy powder is great for me. Gad. I can't go without it now. And recently the LM girl taught me how to trim those scurrilous free-range hairs... and apply a gel with a wand like a mascara wand that keeps everything in place. I'm all about the brows now.
    I'm still colouring my hair... but can imagine when I go grey or white that a change from warm to cool tones will add yet another wrinkle to choosing a good eyebrow pencil or gel shade.

  2. Clear eyebrow gel and taupe eyebrow powder have long been my desert-island beauty products. And I guess nowadays I would have to add my teensy scissors for trimming unicorn hairs that spring up overnight between my eyebrows. I used a Sephora powder/wax combo for years but as you describe, it was suddenly too red. Now I use a L'oreal powder in "light" which is very grey/taupe.

  3. I love to use the wand eyebrow mascara. I fill a little with a pencil and then run the eyebrow mascara through it and its fabulous. I have so much white now in my brows that its a necessity!

  4. I still have brown brows (for now) after growing out my grey. I did switch to a neutral brow powder by Anastasia Beverly Hills though. I had been drying my hair red, so had to get away from the red undertones like you.

  5. I'm happy with the cheapest pencil at the drugstore. Doesn't smudge, can be easily sharpened, won't melt in my purse in the heat of a North Carolina summer. Since my hair used to be a cool deep chocolate, nearly black, I go with a cool brown in the middle range -- lighter than dark, but not quite ash blonde. Have also had surprisingly good luck using a dark blue pencil. The silvery-aqua one I tried one week looked fine in some lights, but weird under the fluorescent bulbs at work.

  6. Thanks for this Kristin. How I miss the bushy eyebrows I used to complain about!! xo


  7. Your dark eyebrows and grey are so striking together. It also helps to have great skin, lips, and a smile to top it off!

  8. Ah Disappearing Brows, the struggle is real. Mine were always sparse on the ends, even more so after I allowed a friend's mother to pluck them down to nothing when I was 18, and they never fully grew back. I'm always on the hunt for light, ashy brow products, will check these out!

  9. I had a monobrow that needed a lot of taming before chemo. Now they are short and pale and I use eyeshadow on a brush to enhance. That works really well for me and there are so many nuances to choose from.

  10. I have had my disppearing brows tatooed abd I l I ve them!

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  12. I'm late to this thread, but just came across it after your latest post. I've discovered Glossier, kind of a wee mascara wand for the eyebrows. Works great. https://www.glossier.com/try/boy-brow?gclid=CjwKCAjw47bLBRBkEiwABh-Pkdu_xFhh9mx-GLJ7qn1Ob7KaCQAoXEVOLi3hZAWmkwXUuDHw19L8AhoCqs4QAvD_BwE

    1. I checked out their video but no grey and all the rest are way too dark on my 70 year old skin or have that pink/orange under tone, so wrong with silver hair.


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