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Can This Brow Pencil Adjust To Your Own Color Through pH?

Posted Apr 30 2010 11:01pm

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KS asks…How on earth would something like this universal brow pencil work? Supposedly it changes to match the color of your own natural brow color. Can it actually do that or is just a flattering shade of taupe, that is darker or lighter depending how hard you press down?

Left Brain lashes out
Whenever you read about a product that is a new twist on something that has been around for a while, it’s helpful to look at the ingredients to see what is different.

The ingredients in this universal brow definer include

Japan (Rhus Succedanea) Wax, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Synthetic Beeswax, Stearic Acid, Carnauba (Copernicia Cerifera) Wax, Ceresin, Cetyl Alcohol, Zinc Stearate, Talc, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, BHT, Butylparaben, Citric Acid Colorants: Iron Oxides (CI77492, CI77499, CI77491), Titaniuim Dioxide (CI77891)

Just for reference, here are the ingredients to a standard eyebrow pencil CoverGirl Brow Shaper.

Rhus Succedanea Fruit Wax, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil, Lanolin, Ozokerite, Silica, Sorbitan Stearate, PEG 8 Beeswax, Polysorbate 60, Methylparaben, Tocopherol, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Citric Acid, Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Iron Oxides, May Contain (+/-):, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Ferric Ammonium, Ferrocyanide, Ultramarines, Chromium Oxide Greens, Carmine (CI 75470)

Notice that the first two ingredients are the same?

Next, let’s strip away all the other common ingredients, preservatives, and colorants we’re left with…

Stearic Acid, Carnauba (Copernicia Cerifera) Wax, Ceresin, Cetyl Alcohol, Zinc Stearate, Talc, BHT

Now, most of these ingredients are waxes that modify the hardness and feel of the pencil. They don’t actually affect the color. Some other ingredients are binders that help hold the product together. If you strip away those ingredients were left with…


There are no ingredients in this Universal Brow Pencil that aren’t commonly used in all other eyebrow pencils.

This universal brow definer from Brenda Christian makes some incredible claims including

1. Automatically color adjusts to the pH of your hair follicle
2. Simulates eyebrow hairs
3. Upon touching the eyebrow area, it automatically adjusts from light to dark…
4. Will not work on your hand or other areas of your face

It makes sense to be skeptical. Remember, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

So how do they make the claims that this pencil adjusts to the pH of your hair follicle, simulates eyebrow hairs, and adjusts color to all natural shades of eyebrow hair?

First, the hair follicle doesn’t have a pH. This is a gross misunderstanding of what the term “pH” means. Therefore, you can claim ANYTHING adjusts to the pH. It doesn’t mean anything.

Second, you can claim anything “simulate” eyebrow hairs. This is just a subjective opinion.

The third claim just describes what happens with certain iron oxide pigments. Some will indeed get darker depending on the temp and pH of the surface it is applied to. However, this is not at all related to the color of your natural hair.

The fourth claim is dubious and depends on what they mean by “work”. They could mean that it won’t simulate eyebrow hairs and they would be right, it won’t have this effect on your hand. But if they mean it won’t produce color, then they are mistaken. If you wipe this color on the back of your hand, it will leave a mark.

This universal brow definer uses exactly the same technology that other companies use for their eye brow pencils. There is nothing about it that would suggest it could adjust to the color of your own hair. The claims are all gimmicks and unless you don’t mind spending $18 on a product that you could get for less than $3, you might want to skip this one.

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