Review: Catrice Brow Definer Brush Pen (040 Ash Brown) vs. Essence Tiny Tip Precise Brow Pen (02 medium brown)

I think you might have noticed by now that I love to try out brow products. It's one of those fields that I'm never quite satisfied with when it comes to doing my own makeup. If you have sparse brows like I do, you need all the help you can get. I was so excited when two of my favorite drugstore brands - Essence and Catrice came out with their brow pen versions that I had to try them both. Here's comparison of them. 


Essence comes in matte black packaging with colored cap to represent the color. Catrice has brown colored packaging to represent color inside. 

Essence has 1.1 ml of product and costs 2.79€. Catrice has 0.7 ml of product inside and it costs 3.79€.


Essence has thin felt tip and Catrice has brush applicator. Essence's felt tip is thinner than Catrice's brush which is fairly thick. The tip is pointy and if you have very light touch you can create very thin hair like strokes. You would think with Essence you can create super thin lines and you could, but I feel like it doesn't transfer as well as Catrice's, so you have to press it to the skin more and therefor loose preciseness. With Catrice you can create hair like strokes, but with Essence it looks more powdery and not as defined.

Essence's felt tip is usually well saturated if you store it upside down (like you should these kind of products), but sometimes it doesn't stick to the skin where there is no hair. You have to press it down a bit more

Catrice's brush is more saturated than Essence, it's always ready. After some uses product may collect between brush hair, but you can just wipe it off. I also noticed that sometimes Catrice's formula spilled from the sides which might be packaging problem or the fact that I store it upside down and the product creates pressure and leaks out on the sides as well as through the brush. That really bugged me, because there was so much product spilling out I couldn't draw thin strokes, it all got blotchy. I'm not sure if this is just problem with mine or all of them. 


Both of these have liquid formula, but Essence has sheerer pigmentation. With Catrice you can build it up to look pretty dark, but with Essence it stays looking sheerer.


They both offer 4 shades of pens.

Essence 02 medium brown is lighter medium brown with grey tone to it. For some reason it looks a bit redish on my brows in person and I can't say why, because it has definite grey undertone. 

Catrice 040 Ash Brown is darker medium brown with warm yellow tone to it. I've heard some say it leans green on their skin tone, but on me it actually looks more natural than the one from Essence. Probably because of my warm to olive undertone. However I don't notice any ash tone to it, so the name is pretty off. 

Let's talk finish. Essence looks sort of satin, more blurry and almost powdery like while Catrice's has definite shine to it which reflects light (makes your brows look sort of shiny/oily) and is much more defining.


With Catrice you can create hair like strokes which makes your brows look dimensional and more real like. However, there is that shiny finish that may bother some. Also, if the color doesn't match your brows perfectly, it can look a bit obvious up close. 

Essence gives your brows powdery softer look sort of similar to brow powders or smudged brow pencils. It looks more matte, more filled in and less defined.

Neither is wateproof, but they both stay on well if you don't sweat or rub your brows. 


When it comes to brow pens, I think most people like how defined your lashes can look with them and the fact that you can draw individual hair like strokes. If this is the case with you then obviously, you'll prefer Catrice's version, because it lets you create those thin lines and gives your brows definition without it looking too smudgy. Essence's version creates more of a filled in brow which looks like you've applied brow powder or smudged brow pencil in between your brows. It looks softer and more filled in. If I forget about the annoying leaking of Catrice's packaging, I'd say I prefer Catrice's version.

Now there is still room for improvement. For starters, I would like Catrice to have thinner brush, not as bulky, so you would get thin hair strokes without needing to learn to put as little pressure on your hand as possible. The color is also off for being called ash brown as there is nothing ashy about it. I would like the formula to be a bit sheerer as Essence's, because it would make my brow color look much more natural. And they definitely need to consider that leaking of the product, if it happens to others, it's a big packaging problem. 

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