**This post was been updated on December 31, 2022 to reflect the changes in available products on the market and provide alternatives to the original products**
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.
This version of the Lorac Pencil is becoming very difficult to source. A great alternative is the Sephora Collection Retractable Brow Pencil in Charcoal. There is also a grey brown and dark gray brown option.
NYX Auto 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.
I use brow gel to help set everything once you've got your brows the way you like them.
**UPDATE 31.12.2022** This product is getting increasingly difficult to source. A good and cost-effective alternative is the Revlon Colorstay Eyebrow Pencil Creator with Powder and Spool Brush. This product comes in both a shade called "graphite" and one called "grey brown" which are bot good, softer options for greying hair.