Answer Angel: Brow blues

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I have snow-white hair and my eyebrows are white also. I cannot find a good eyebrow pencil or brush that isn’t too dark for my very light complexion and white hair. Do you have any ideas what I might be able to use?

— Carol P.

Dear Carol: The right eyebrow color for those of us with blond, white or gray hair is a trial-and-error proposition that can go horribly wrong. Many women overdo darkening of their brows using pencils, gels, powders, dye or a double-duty mascara for brows and lashes. (If your hair is naturally gray or white, it is a pretty sure bet that you have at least a few white/gray lashes.)

You’re in luck, because women of all ages are coloring their hair gray or snow-white or platinum blond and seeking tools to make their brows complement their hair. This has led to an explosion of new shades of eyebrow colors for women like you.

I recently stumbled onto a website,, that is hugely useful on this topic. Katie introduced me to the website, which sells pencils and wands in an array of “brown-gray” and “silver sisters” shades for $13.99. She also lists other brands and shades that will work for gray and white hair.

For filling in sparse brows that works for most of us, I’ve had good luck with Maybelline’s classic red eyebrow pencils in “blond” (a barely brown shade). They’re not that easy to find but I located them on Amazon (, drugstores, 2 for $6.99 and up).

And another reader with an eye-related issue…

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I, as many other people do, have a nickel allergy. I also have long eyelashes that will hit my glasses if I don’t curl them. Very annoying. I was using Tweezerman plastic eyelash curlers for years, but they don’t make them anymore. I have contacted Ulta and Sephora to find any non-nickel eyelash curlers they sell, but they tell me they don’t know the “ingredients” to the eyelash curlers. Please help!

— Tracey M.

Dear Tracey: There are several all-plastic options for the beauty tool you’re looking for, all with no metal touching your skin. Docolor ($7.19), Japonesque ($11), Muji ($7.50) and Whalrace ($7.59). You can find them all at, or check the brands’ websites.

Angelic Readers 1

Many readers said I dropped the ball when I failed to suggest sharpening as a frugal answer to Constance C. She wanted advice on locating a workhorse knife after her friend scolded her because her kitchen knives would hardly cut butter.

Annette L. writes, “This is how my knives have impressed my food service professional sister: I chose a couple of the most highly rated knives in my price range ($30 give or take) on Amazon. Incidentally, they have a soft grip, which I love. Then, I use, very frequently, those sharpeners with two or three slots. That’s it. Maybe those sharpeners aren’t what a pro uses, but wow, they work great in my kitchen. Another thing to keep in mind, plastic boards will dull your knife, so sharpen even more often if you use those.”

(From Ellen: Rubber, bamboo and wood cutting boards are easier on knives than plastic, though wood requires a fair amount of upkeep and rubber ones are expensive.)

Many other readers chimed in on the sharpening issue: Mary Ellen N. said I should have suggested that Constance’s lousy, dull knives “could be salvaged with a good sharpen” to avoid the more costly option of buying new ones. Nancy J. said the same: “I think even the best chef’s knife will need to be sharpened once in awhile.” Loryn K. gets hers sharpened at a nearby hardware store.

From Kathleen K.: “Just as important or even more so, is owning a good sharpening stone. I don’t own expensive knives, BUT a few swipes on the stone and bingo, I have a great knife in my hand. I grew up with good home cooking in the ‘50s and I can still see my dad sharpening knives while my mother cooked.”

Angelic Readers 2

Heather D. writes, “Lacura Make-up Removing Cleansing Towlettes (wipes) cost $1.69 at Aldi and are the best I’ve ever used. They thoroughly remove makeup and don’t leave my skin overly dry. There are 25 in the package and work better than Neutrogena or any other name brand.”