you're reading...
Makeup-Related Posts

Updated Eyebrow Pencil Dupes! Featuring Reviews for MAC, Hourglass, and Tom Ford Brands

Okay, let’s be honest. I’m no makeup artist or professional. Ironically however, one of the most viewed posts on this blog is the post I did on the eyebrow pencil dupes for the MAC Eye Brows Pencil in Spiked! Therefore, I figured that I’d do an updated post on the various automatic eyebrow pencils mentioned in that post and some new ones that I’ve discovered.

Quick recap: In the last post, I concluded that the Clinique Quickliner in Dark Chocolate is a suitable dupe for the MAC Eye Brows Pencil in Spiked in terms of color. In addition, the price of the former is also significantly cheaper than the latter ($1,000/oz vs. $5,000/oz). In terms of texture, the former (as an eyeliner) is creamier, but not overly more so than the latter. Overall, the Clinique product was deemed as more desirable than the MAC one.

Since then however, I had discovered that the Clinique product had been reformulated to be creamier and more pigmentated, which are both pros if you’re using it as an eyeliner. As a brow pencil however, those are not desirable traits as they make the product more difficult to use: there is a decrease in longevity and you run the risk of looking like a clown.

Therefore, I embarked on a new search. To make a long story short, I was unable to find a suitable replacement and resigned myself to use the MAC product for all eternity! Well, that is until about a month ago, when I saw this product while browsing the online Sephora catalog:

Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil

That’s quite a difference in size.

Bottom line, this product is phenomenal and an excellent dupe for the MAC Eye Brows Pencil!


That’s a lot of product!

The MAC product costs $15 for 0.003 oz, which makes it $5,000/oz. The Hourglass product costs $32 for 0.014 oz, which makes it $2,286/oz. And since it’s available from Sephora, it can be purchased for 20% off during the annual Friends & Family and VIB sales, bringing the total down to $1,829/oz! That is an incredible deal! ($1,829/oz vs. $5,000/oz)


Left: MAC Eye Brows Pencil in Spiked
Right: Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil in Dark Brunette

As you can see from the photo, the two swatches are very similar in undertone, saturation, and lightness. The Hourglass one is slightly ashier, meaning that it contains more gray pigments. This tendency to be more taupe than brown extends to the entire line, which unfortunately consists of only three shades–the only negative aspect of the Hourglass product.


The Hourglass product is a bit waxier and therefore, lasts a little longer on the skin. Consequently however, it is more sheer or less opaque. It’s not a huge difference though, as you can see from the photo above. I purposely drew one swipe (with approximately the same amount of pressure) of each product next to the thick swatches. As you can see, the MAC line is only slightly more pigmented. Besides, the Hourglass product can be easily layered as demonstrated by my good friend from RAEview.


I am thrilled to have found this Hourglass brow pencil. Not only is it almost 3x times cheaper than the MAC counterpart, but it also performs very similarly! As long as this is in production, I will never, EVER go back to the MAC pencil!

Now, you’ll notice the actual shape of the Hourglass pencil isn’t your standard point. This is what allows for both ease of application and the inclusion of so much more product.

Talk about innovative!

Oh, did I also mention that it contains a quality eyebrow spoole at the opposite end? It’s perfect for combing through and softening the look of brows; no clowns here!

With the attached spoole, there’s no need for a separate one!

The only other product on the market that possesses this unique blend of characteristics is the:

Tom Ford Brow Sculptor

If you can’t find a shade in the Hourglass, try the Tom Ford version.

However, because this is only available at select Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue stores, I wasn’t able to swatch it for you guys. However, according to RAEview once again, the Tom Ford product is quite similar to the Hourglass one. The only differences are that the Hourglass product is creamier and MORE opaque. And since the Hourglass is already LESS opaque than my ex-staple MAC product, there’s no need for me to even consider the Tom Ford version.

However, for those of you who can’t find a suitable shade in the Hourglass, the Tom Ford is available in four shades. Furthermore, it’s still cheaper than the MAC product at $42 for 0.01 oz ($4,200/oz vs. $5,000/oz).


I’m absolutely ecstatic about the Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil in Dark Brunette, and that it does not follow the industry standard of being a very thin pencil; this allows for the inclusion of significantly more product. It is a superior replacement to the MAC Eye Brows Pencil in Spiked.

The only similar product on the market is the Tom Ford Brow Sculptor, which contains less product and is more expensive.

I hope you guys found this helpful, and let me know what your HG brow product or combination of products is!

About John

The Triple Helixian is an unbiased science and research-based site that attempts to clarify and elucidate questions about skin care, while aspiring to be the most thorough and complete source of information.


12 thoughts on “Updated Eyebrow Pencil Dupes! Featuring Reviews for MAC, Hourglass, and Tom Ford Brands

  1. Hey, John. I can’t resist a good brow product post. I’ve been using these triangle brow pencils for some time, including the Lioele Artist Brow Pencil and the Étude House one. Both are twist-retractable and have spoolies, the latter being softer than my separate spoolie/mascara brush I used to use! Though I prefer Lioele’s less waxy formula, the Étude House is appealing for having lead cartridge refills. If you’re at all interested in trying the Étude House, I have a couple refills (in grey-brown and grey) I could send you. I don’t use the grey anymore and the grey-brown is unused. Just say the word and it’s in the mail.

    If you’re interested in waterproof eyebrow pens, K-Palette and Kose make excellent ones. Both have pointed felt tips for mimicking individual hairs, and have light-but-wonderfully-buildable ink. I’ve never tried the Suquu pens (too expehnseeve) but I believe the K-palette and Kose are similar. I opened my Kose today so I can’t speak for the amount of product, but the K-Palette lasted me about 8 months with daily use.

    Posted by BooBooNinja | November 29, 2012, 8:23 am
    • Nice job typing this all out on your phone! There are hardly any errors. 🙂

      I had no idea that there were Asian brands that already had this type of automatic pencil. But then again, I have close to nil experience with non-Western brands. How cool!

      And that’s very nice of you to offer to send those extra pencils to me. Sure, send them my way. I’ll send you an email with my address. I’ll also attach some photos of my makeup collection. I have quite a few items that I will probably never use. So if you see something that you’d like, I’ll send them your way as well!

      But then again, I don’t know if you’re comfortable telling me your location and address. How about this: why don’t you send me an email telling me if you’re comfortable releasing that information to me, and we’ll go from there?

      Oh, I’m too lazy to use felt tip liquid liner style products. Plus, they always look painted on to me!

      Posted by John | November 30, 2012, 1:53 pm
      • Hey John, I’ll email you after I go to the gym. (It’ll be incentive not to waste time on the ‘puter.) I don’t expect anything in return, especially since mine was an unsolicited offer and you’re helping me give a “forever home” to unloved items. However, I appreciate your offer and I’ll gladly look at your photos. Maybe I’ll find something worthy of HG-status! 🙂

        ps You make a good point about liquid liner products. Mine is a tad too brown so I usually use them as a base and apply a pencil or powder on top. This tweaks the overall colour and adds dimension. I attempt a morning “brow check” with my fiance, but it’s all a Charlie Brown “wah wah wahhh wahhhh” to him. I think my brows look natural-but-defined … but then again … I cannot rule out looking back on current photos in 15 years and asking: “What was I thinking?!”. Hmm… perhaps I’ll have to send you photos of myself to get a fellow brow-enthusiast’s opinion. 🙂

        Posted by BooBooNinja | December 1, 2012, 10:05 am
  2. I just use a Wet N’ Wild ColorIcon eyeliner/browliner in dark brown ($1 per 7” stick of eyeliner). I also top it off with a dark brown eyeshadow or brow powder in a similar shade (e.g. ELF’s brow powder in its 27-piece palette, $15 for all of the eyeshadow shades + lipstick shades) or Estee Lauder Mocha duo (retail price $25). Yeah I know they’re super cheap, but they’re effective for a med school budget. I wish I could spend lots of $$ on department store makeup like you, but oh well!

    Posted by Alice | November 28, 2012, 1:30 pm
    • Those are some prime selections! Because I use so few products, I can be picky and shop at the department store! It’s all about balance I suppose. If I buy some high-end stuff, I’ll just eat out less for that month. I just have to maintain an appropriate budget. But then again, you don’t really have much of a budget right?! 😦

      How’s everything going, by the way?

      Posted by John | November 30, 2012, 1:28 pm
      • My skin’s been getting a lot better! Oh my goodness it’s awesome. After I stopped using the coconut + papaya soap the acne went down some. I still have some problems with acne but it’s gone down by perhaps 50%. And also the little bumps that do come up can be resolved or at least controlled so that they don’t rupture.

        Still working on it! Also, I shadowed a dermatologist last week and she gave me some recommendations… I got a retinol product (Neutrogena Healthy Anti-Wrinkle Cream) that I use every night on my T-zone. I haven’t used it for very long but I do know that it takes quite some time for results to show up! Cool beans, huh?

        I hope your skincare journey is going well!!!

        Posted by Alice | December 1, 2012, 12:52 pm
        • Phew that’s great to hear!

          And congrats on shadowing a dermatologist. That must have been fun, right? As for the retinol product, I didn’t recommend one because I was trying to have you spend as few dollars as possible! You are on a budget.

          The Neutrogena product does contain a good amount retinol, which is excellent. However, the base ingredients are (in my opinion) a bit too emollient and may increase the likelihood of clogged pores. I know that the product is recommended by several dermatologists. However, I feel like many dermatologist will recommend any product that contains retinol, just because there is a significant amount of research behind that ingredient. However, they tend to not pay attention to the base ingredients.

          However, if you’re not breaking out worse from the use of this product, then by all means, keep using it. It’s one of the most inexpensive and effective retinol products on the market; though again, I’d say it’s more suitable for drier skin types.

          Posted by John | December 1, 2012, 3:52 pm
    • Alice, there’s nothing wrong with being selective with how you spend your money. I’m very much the same way because my budget is also quite limited. Honestly, it forces you to be creative and sometimes you can find novel/better ways of reappropriating products.

      For instance, I’ve learned: a) companies often mark up the cost-per-gram of products in a brow kit, b) brow powders are generally less pigmented than eye shadows, and c) there is a greater range of eyeshadow shades than brow powder shades on the market. So why not use an eyeshadow from a less expensive and/or less pigmented range on the brows?

      … I don’t know if I’ve made my point. I hope I have. I seriously need to go to the gym!

      Posted by BooBooNinja | December 1, 2012, 10:16 am

I have something to say too...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Make a Donation Button
Finish Line Flag

Pick a topic, and go!

A Trip Back in Time

Save Money Shopping

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 805 other subscribers

© 2014 The Triple Helixian.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

%d bloggers like this: