I was on a quick business trip overseas then realised despite having already brought my usual arsenal of massive makeup bag, my eyebrow pencils must have both fell out at home somewhere, so I desperately tried to find a safe and cheap substitute in a random department store.
Then I spotted the Kate counter, with the designing eyebrow compacts again, which I've had at least one of that I can recall (several years ago). It's also very similar to shiseido "ff" brand of eyebrow compact even more years ago. These eyebrow compacts last almost FOREVER, I find I use the lightest and medium color far quicker than the darker color, but you'd easily get more than 18 months use out of it even with daily use.
Personally I think I overpaid- it costed me almost 12-13AUD for the compact (it's rather small, but lasts forever, but Kate being a drugstore brand I kept on thinking it shouldn't cost more than $8 especially in Asia). They retail for 330NTD in Taiwan which is 11AUD, but sometimes goes on sale for 10-15% off.
Anyway, here's the Kate Eyebrow compact below , shade is "EX04" which is printed on the back of the compact.
There's also EX05 from the line.
Shade colors per their website. EX04 is slightly lighter than EX05, but personally I dont think the difference is huge.
The compact is just a long rectangular plastic compact, with mirror inside. I think it's extremely portable and well designed, because you can hold both the compact vertically or horizontally to utilise the mirror with just one hand.
There's a dual-ended brush included. The brush end is a rather soft bristle. It doesn't feel scratchy.
The smaller end is a more firmer and shorter bristle so you can do a precision eyebrow especially for the arch and the ends.
EX04 feels like a warm toned palette to me, but if you are Asian I think the slight warm undertone is rather flattering no matter you have an ash or yellow based hair color or a more reddish dark brown hair color. From top to bottom it's a dark chocolate, a muddy brown, and a muted beige. All shades are finely pigmented and densely packed and more matte than satin (in a nice way). No shimmers.
Here are multiple swatches, darkest color on left and lightest on the right. I used my fingers to swatch, you can see how subtle the colors are. But they are very buildable, once on the eyebrow and applied with the brush you can really build to a darker eyebrow.
Now my eyebrows- they are naturally a bit longer and slightly sparse, so I really like to just pluck a few stray ones and fill in the gaps to give more definition. Because of my face shape, I suit a more wider natural brow than a thin, well defined one, so eyebrow powder are the easiest thing to use for me.
I can see why this has been a staple in many Asian blogger's makeup bags and has been one of the Kate product line for as long as I can remember. The powder texture is really suitable for an eyebrow powder, it's firm so as to allow precision application, so it doesn't fly away everywhere, yet it's finely pigmented so it looks "natural", rather than the "look at my obvious brows".
In addition Kate's designing eyebrow N is also designed to be a contouring powder for the eye area. Due to the face shape of many Asians, one of the common makeup technique is to slightly shade the area between bridge of nose/ underneath the beginning of the brow, to give a more defined eye look. The lightest shade is amazingly good for this- anything other than something just a tinge darker than your natural skin color would look really silly in contouring this area.
I also like using the lightest shade (sometimes mixed with the shade in the middle) as an eye socket shade to add more depth. The overall finished look is polished and contoured and very very natural.
Below I'm using the medium and lightest shade over most of the brow using the bigger bristle end of the applicator, then mixed the 3 shades together and used the smaller end bristle to define the end of the brow. (Usually I'd go even slightly finer and longer at the end). Then used the lightest shade at the beginning of the brow, and also just the small 1cm area under it for the shading/ contouring I mentioned.
Overall 5/5. A nice compact to have and I'm quite glad I'm using an eyebrow powder again (strayed previously to a MAC eyebrow pencil for a while).