Unsung Makeup Heroes: Tom Ford’s Bad@ss, Budget-Busting $44 Brow Sculptor

Published in: Eyes, Makeup, Tom Ford Beauty, Unsung Heroes

Tom Ford Brow Sculptor in Espresso

Smizing and wearing Tom Ford Brow Sculptor in Espresso

People of the world…y’all just don’t understand! In the morning, right after I wake up, I can barely make it the eight feet from my bed to the bathroom without falling down. “Not a morning person” isn’t just a catchy phrase with me. It’s an official descriptor, like female, 39, 5’1″, Gemini, not a morning person.

Before I’ve splashed some water on my face and had my coffee, delicate makeup maneuvers like the filling in of brows are normally impossible, but Tom Ford’s Brow Sculptor gives me a fighting chance.


I’ve successfully used it to fill in my eyebrows and create perfectly drawn arches at jacked-up times without a drop of coffee in my system (so we’re talking about worse muscle control than a zombie). This $44 makeup miracle delivers flawless, full, natural-looking brows, and I could not live without it.

Well…I could, but you know. Life would be rougher, man. 🙂

Tom Ford Brow Sculptor in Espresso

A much-loved, well-worn Tom Ford Brow Sculptor in Espresso

Of course, here’s the thing about Tom Ford Beauty: it’s So. Freaking. Expensive. I feel that unless his products are completely on point, I can’t justify their price.

I mean, what sane person drops $44 on a brow pencil??

Answer: someone who’s tried some of Tom’s products before, because when he gets it right, boy gets it really, really right (case in point).

Most brow pencils for me are slightly less exciting than a John Philip Sousa march, but I think Tom’s Brow Sculptor is epic.


So epic that I had an out-of-body experience once when I put two of them into my online cart (the shade I wear is called Espresso) and realized that the subtotal was $88 before tax. I swear, I floated out of my body and watched myself slowly click the “buy” button while my inner monologue said, “Holy effing crap.”

Brow Sculptor just works leaps and bounds better for me than any go-to brow pencil I’ve ever used before, whether by Hourglass, Benefit or Anastasia, and I think it’s all because of the texture.

Brow Sculptor feels less creamy, kind of powdery and almost dry compared to other brow pencils, which could all be considered bad things, but in this case they aren’t. The stiffer formula grabs brow hairs and skin in a bear hug and doesn’t let go, locking them into place. Really, I can wear this pencil in my brows for 12-14 hours, and the shape stays intact and looks fresh the entire time.


The long-running Unsung Heroes series features some of my favorite permanent collection products from a variety of bodacious beauty brands.

Since the formula isn’t waterproof or sweat-proof, it will eventually wear down if I’m swimming or running into the double digits, but even as it fades, it fades slowly and elegantly, still giving those fuzzy li’l caterpillars the structure they need.

Tom Ford Brow Sculptor in Espresso

Brow Sculptor is also gloriously easy to use. Because its level of pigment isn’t quite full, I don’t have to worry about accidentally overdrawing my brows…if that makes sense.


Sometimes with creamier, more intensely pigmented brow pencils, I’ll inadvertently apply too much and leave my brows looking extra blocky and kinda fake. Then there’s the time it takes to tone them down. But with Brow Sculptor, I can get it done in one pass without having to make any corrections.

It comes in four shades — Blonde, Taupe, Chestnut and Espresso — which are all available in the permanent line. You can find them now, changing lives and breaking budget-conscious hearts at Tom Ford counters and online.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


P.S. Happy hump day. 🙂


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So far, 43 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Elle says:

    Ummmm…I LOVE your hair-what product/s did you use???

  2. Sunny says:

    I have been super duper curious about this one, but honestly, Hourglass is probably as far as I should go when it comes to a brow filler. Although you just never know. Maybe one day I’ll cave in and give this bad boy a go!
    Sunny recently posted … Givenchy Plays with Different Shades of Black for Holiday 2014!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sunny,

      Do it, do it, do it! The Hourglass one is great, but this one is even better. I would seriously freak out if they every discontinued it. FREAK OUT!

      Happy Wednesday. How’s Mr. Tango doing?

      • Sunny says:

        Oh God, you’re making it really hard for me to resist this! I guess you can’t really put a price tag on good brows 😉

        Yaay we’re over the jump! The kitties do a lot of snuggling here now that it’s chilly, which is super adorable 🙂 Say hai to Tabs for them!

        • Karen says:

          No you can’t! You wear them every day, so why not? Really, though. I can find a way to pretty much justify anything when it comes to makeup. LOL!

          Snuggly kitties are the best. How cold is it there now? We’re just starting to dip into fall; chilly mornings and evenings, and when you go outside you have to wear socks and a jacket.

          • Sunny says:

            Today it’s between 47 and 56 (Fahrenheit)! We didn’t have much of a winter last year, but I think this won’t be the case this year. It’s not all bad though. At least we’ll have less BUGS next year. This summer was a nightmare bug-wise!

          • Karen says:

            Same with us. It was really mild last year with hardly any rain. This year is supposed to be an El Nino year which means windy and wet. Our condo is surrounded by trees and the sound they make when it storms always scares poor Tabs! And of course he blames me for the rain.

            On the flip side, at least it’s an excuse to try out new waterproof makeup. Please tell me you’ve used Cle de Peau’s Perfect Lash Waterproof Mascara! You would love it.

  3. Erin says:

    Karen, If I wear #30 in Chanel’s brow pencil what do you think I’d be in TF? I kinda feel like #30 is right between Blonde and Taupe in tone but maybe not in darkness?
    Erin recently posted … Hogwash 2013 Rosé Review

  4. The LA Lady says:

    I’m a big fan of Anastasia’s brow products in general, including the dip brow pomade which I use daily. Do you think this is “better?” My brows are really sparse and blonde so I basically draw on my brows every morning. Also, I haven’t used a brow pencil in years: only powders or creams or gels.

    What do you think? Should I stick with what mostly works or give this a try?

    • Karen says:

      Hi LA Lady,

      I haven’t used Anastasia Dip Brow, but I do have her retractable pencil, and while I like it just fine, for me TF is leaps and bounds easier to use, and more natural-looking.

      I’ve used powders, creams and gels, too, and this by far is the easiest and the fastest. I vote that you give it a try, but purchase it from a store with an excellent return policy, so that you can bring it back in case it doesn’t work out for you. It’s awfully expensive and you should really love it, you know?

      Let me know if you have any other questions! Always happy to help.

      • The LA Lady says:

        Good idea about the return policy. Nieman Marcus? Bloomingdales? I’ve never purchased Tom Ford beauty products (just the fabulous fragrances… I have several of them and they’re my fave).

  5. B says:

    karen this looks gorgeous on your brows! I’ve got 2 questions though

    – how does this compare to the hourglass brow pencil?
    – which do you prefer the tom ford sculptor or the giorgio armani eye and brow maestro?

    • Karen says:

      Hi B,

      Thank you! To answer your questions…

      – how does this compare to the hourglass brow pencil?
      The TF Brow Sculptor is harder and less creamier compared to the Hourglass Brow Pencil. It’s also slightly less pigmented. If find it stays on longer and breaks up less on the skin. It’s also easier to use, and more natural looking.

      – which do you prefer the tom ford sculptor or the giorgio armani eye and brow maestro?
      I like both, but if I had to pick one, then the TF Sculptor. Again, easy to use.

      HTH! Let me know if you have more questions.

  6. Kelly B. says:

    If I had the excess money, I would definitely get this 😀 I hate regular pencils so I love that Tom Ford came out with one that is less pigmented but slightly creamier-and I’ve seen a ton of people rave about it!
    Kelly B. recently posted … NYX Butter Glosses in Cherry Pie and Eclair, Review!

  7. I really love your “Unsung makeup heroes”-series. My brows never got too much attention, as they are quite well-behaved naturally, but there was a horrible waxing accident not too long ago, so I have been forced to give them much more love, and the drugstore products just didn´t work as well as I would have wanted them…
    So thankful they are growing back!

    • Karen says:

      Hi LindaLibraLoca,

      Oh no. Sorry to hear about the waxing accident! Was it something that happened at a salon? I have weird control issues when it comes to brows and am freaked out by the thought of someone going in there and waxing them into oblivion.

      • Sadly, it was at a salon. I only get them waxed every once in a while, when I know I will be on holiday and don’t want to spend time on them.
        The girl had seriously no eyebrows of her own, so I stated about five times, she should only get the stray hair and by no means make mine thinner. She smiled, told me to relax and about one third of my brow was gone…
        Even Mr. Loca noticed something was different with my face, which is a great deal.
        Never going back there for sure!

        • Karen says:

          That is scary stuff, girlfriend. Did you go back and say something to the salon owner? I would’ve made a ruckus, but only after having a complete breakdown (I’m so not kidding… I’m weird about my brows).

          • Well, after gazing into the mirror for quite some time I confronted her, but she just shrugged and told me, “I think it looks better that way.”, so I asked to see the manager who wasn´t very empathic either. He treated me as if I was just looking for an excuse not to pay.
            Not a happy customer, I can tell you.

  8. Teri says:

    I’m still stuck with Mac’s brow pencils, they do the job so far ^^.
    But I can’t help but be curious about this one and the Hourglass one, it gets so much love.
    The biggest issue is the shade range, they all are quite ashy, no?

    May I also add that I loooove the whole look on you? The eyeshadows are so flattering and you are rocking those earrings!
    Teri recently posted … Chanel Bleu De Chanel Eau De Parfum

    • Karen says:

      Hi Teri,

      The Hourglass one that I have is Dark Brunette; it actually comes out pretty warm on me. A lot of the red comes through. I don’t mind so much since my hair tends to have more warmth in it.

      You can’t go wrong with either Hourglass or Tom Ford, but I love TF’s that much more because it’s super easy to use.

      And thank you for the sweet compliment! I usually don’t wear a ton of metallic shimmer so this was a different look for me.

      Happy Wednesday to you! Got any plans for the weekend yet?

  9. Agata says:

    Although I am sure it’s a great product, I don’t think I could ever justify spending that much on a brow pencil. My husband would definitely think I am crazy (if he doesn’t think that already, lol).
    Agata recently posted … A Fall Makeup Look

  10. Love your makeup as usual, Karen! All so, the price tag on that brow liner makes my pockets weep. I can get like maybe one semi high end brow liner plus five more Drugstore. But your brows are indeed awesome. Love me some thick, in your face brows like model Cara.

  11. Alexis says:

    It’s also my favorite. I would have thought it was insane to buy a $44 brow pencil but after trying it, I was hooked. I’m actually on my second one.

    Don’t get me started on the lipsticks and glosses. I am currently thinking about selling some stocks just to buy more.

    • Karen says:

      At some point in time I’ll have to stop counting how many I’ve gone through because then I’ll have to actually come clean with how much I’ve spent on brow pencil.

      Do you have Sable Smoke Lipstick? It’s an amazing nude that looks great with errrrthing.

      • Alexis says:

        Ha, no but I have Casablanca and I have worn it everyday the first month I owned it. I don’t think I’ve ever done that with any lipstick I owned previously. I’ll have to look into smoke because there’s another nude I’ve been wanting to come back for, Coco Ravish. I’d have to say it’s my perfect nude!

  12. Sun says:

    Have you tried Charlotte Tilbury’s Eyebrow Pencil? The London-based makeup artist consulted on Tom Ford’s makeup line when he was developing it, and now that she has her own, I definitely see a lot of similarities between TF and CT’s with some items looking like they’re dupes, except that CT’s has a lower price point. CT’s eyebrow pencil looks exactly like TF’s right down to the angled nib, the built-in brush… except she also includes a highlighting part in her eyebrow pencil and it “only” costs $29 (compared to TF’s $44).

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sun,

      I haven’t! But thank you for the rec. I’ve been needing an excuse to check out her stuff. 🙂

      What other items do you like from her line?

      Happy Wednesday!

      • Sun says:

        All of her eyeshadow palettes are GORGEOUS and I really had a hard time just narrowing it down to one, but in the end, I ended up purchasing The Sophisticate. I LOVE The Sophisticate Palette, which is the only matte palette in the bunch. I think you will really see the resemblance in her eyeshadow palettes and Tom Ford’s. I also love both Iconic Nude and Pillow Talk lipliners, and Stoned Rose and Penelope Pink. I’m 43 and while my skin is still very good, and no wrinkles, I’m finding that more “natural” shades don’t age me as much, so that’s what I’m sticking with! I’ve also heard wonderful things about the Bronze and Glow, but I have bronzers and contours up the wazoo, so decided not to spring for that.

  13. Kim says:

    You know who else is crazy enough to buy this $44 brow pencil? Me! If they carried it at Sephora, it would have been in my cart. It was my first choice by a mile after your recs! I got the Anastasia Brow Wiz (again) instead because I was completely out and it was getting ugly. 🙂 But Tom Ford is still on my list!

    • Karen says:

      Seriously, though. I think you would love it. I mean, I know I’m always trying to get you to pump up your makeup bag, but you could just use this and your Faux Cils and your UD Bourbon liner and be good for every single occasion ever for the rest of your life.

      I have an on again/off again relationship with Brow Wiz. I love how fine the tip is because it makes it look like real hairs, but it takes me forever to fill in my brows!

      • Kim says:

        HAHA! You are excellent at pushing the makeup agenda. 😉

        I agree 100% on Wiz. It’s also a bit waxier than I’d like so I feel like it doesn’t look super natural on my Raul area. That’s what not planning ahead gets me. 🙂

  14. Stefi says:

    Hi Karen!
    Your posts make me smile each and every time, I just love the cute and funny undertone each sentence of yours has and I can relate soooo very good to the morning person thing 🙂
    I’m sold after your blog post on this pencil, I’ll definitely try it out sometime but holy crap, that first picture of you is STUNNING and those necklaces and your eye makeup.. oh my! <3
    Love, Stefi


  15. Fancie says:

    Everyone seems to be raving about this brow pencil lol. I really want to try it but the price is a turn off. I’ll have to swallow my pride one day and take the plunge. It seems like it’s worth it!
    Fancie recently posted … Milani Enchanted Emerald Constellation Gel Eye Liner Review

    • Sun says:

      Fancie, I’d try the Charlotte Tilbury eyebrow pencil first. Charlotte Tilbury was the makeup artist who consulted on Tom Ford’s makeup line when it was in development, and now that she has her own line, there are a lot of dupes between the two except that CT’s has a lower price point. Her eyebrow pencil looks EXACTLY like TF’s except she also includes a highlighter in the eyebrow pencil, and it only costs $29 compared to TF’s $44.

  16. RIta says:

    Yup, I’m using this. Already on my second one. It’s everything Karen says.

  17. I keep getting compliments on my brows and all I use is this cheap-ass eyebrow kit from e.l.f.! Just seems silly to spend this much money on a high-end product when my budget palette is working so well for me. That said, Karen, you look amazing in that first shot :-O

  18. Katie says:

    Karen, I say this time and again, but your writing skills are top-notch. I mean, seriously, you’re making a BROW product exciting (though this *is* coming from a brow fanatic).

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