anastasia brow powder duo

I’m not especially proud of my habit of watching beauty videos for hours on end every time I open YouTube, but at least they’ve taught me a lot about the world. I now know that you’re supposed to wash your makeup brushes regularly or you’ll be damned to an eternity in the fiery pits of hell. I now know that it’s easy to pretend you’re not a lonely bastard who’s balancing a plate of pizza on her own breasts when you can watch videos that simulate conversation between two girlfriends. And I now know that some high-end products get more praise than they probably deserve.

Sam’s been having a lot of fun buying expensive products and trying them out to see if they’re worth the hype, so today I’m joining in on the party. Every single beauty guru I subscribe to happens to own an Anastasia Brow Powder Duo, and it can’t be coincidence. I’ve heard several women call it the most reliable brow product available, but I’ve also heard a handful of people dismiss it as glorified eyeshadow that doesn’t live up to the $23 price tag. So… which one is it?

anastasia brow powder duo soft brown

I braved the LA heat and walked over to Sephora yesterday to pick this bad boy up, and I immediately felt skeptical upon seeing it in person. Maybe beauty bloggers just tend to have tiny hands, but the compact seemed oddly small for something that costs more than three burritos. I also wasn’t sure which color I should get (a recurring theme with me and makeup), so I went with Soft Brown. And now we try it.

Before: #NoMakeup, #NoFilter, #NoShame.

me with no makeup on

Here’s my “I woke up like this” selfie face. Extremely glamorous. My eyebrows have always been one of my biggest insecurities, and the shape of them in this photo should help you understand why.

hayley-hoover-with-makeup

And for context, here’s what my brows normally look like with the pencil I use every day.

The Process

So how’d it go? Ehh. For one thing, I think I went with the wrong color. I didn’t even touch the darker of the two shades, and just the taupe on its own was still a little harsh. For another thing, it’s hard to tell if you’re loading the brush with enough– or way too much– product. It’s similar enough to eyeshadow that you always feel like you need more, but it has a thicker, pastier consistency that you don’t notice until you’re already going for it. I feel like my brows ended up looking less Filled In and more Drawn On.

Another issue? I’ve been using a drugstore pencil to shape my brows for a few months now (the label has worn off due to overuse and I don’t remember what it’s called, so you’ll just have to live with that forever), and I guess I just really prefer having that kind of control. My brows are already thick and plentiful, so what I really need from a product like this is the ability to shape them into something that resembles two matching eyebrows. Every time I tried to make the lines smoother and the arch archier, they ended up just getting thicker. That might be the goal for some people, but it’s not what my particular face needs.

After: Basically Cara Delevingne.

me with my brows done

The Verdict

Even though my overall feeling is kind of meh, I don’t want to write this off completely. It’s my own fault for going with too dark a shade, so maybe having a more subtle color would have changed my experience a lot. I used a small, angled eyeliner brush, but maybe I need to ask the ladies at Sephora to help me pick one better suited to the job. Also, this is my first real experience with using powder rather than pencil, so there might be a learning curve. (Or a learning arch! HA! EYEBROWS!)

I’m going to go ahead and say, for now, that I don’t think Anastasia lives up to her hype. The amount of praise I’ve heard for her is forcing me to keep an open mind until I’ve tried a few more times, but my initial response to seeing that After selfie on my computer was something like, Get a load of those overly thick, messily shaped eyebrows. Not fantastic.

If you’ve had any experience with this product (or any other one like it, really), don’t hesitate to let me know how you feel about it, and if you have any tips to improve my second date with Anastasia, I’d love to hear them. In the meantime, though? It’s back to cheap pencil for me.