A collage of Ruby Hammer and Anastasia Beverly Hills' Brow Powder Duo.
Make-up

Pretty Damn Good: the brow powder that make-up artist Ruby Hammer MBE relies on for defined yet natural eyebrows

Welcome to Stylist’s Pretty Damn Good, a weekly series in which different women share the one product – across hair care, skincare, make-up, body and fragrance – that remains a forever staple in their beauty routines.

Ruby Hammer’s make-up career is nothing short of impressive.

Spanning over 25 years, the renowned make-up artist has earned a reputation as one of the most respected artists in the industry. Her passion for beauty began in childhood after seeing her mother doing her make-up. Now, she has created countless looks for runways, magazines, commercials and the biggest beauty brands and has appeared on numerous TV shows.

Hammer has a hefty amount of awards under the make-up artist’s belt, too, and was appointed an MBE in 2007 in the New Year Honours for her contribution to the cosmetics industry. 

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So when she announced she was launching her own make-up brand, it caused waves of excitement in the industry. Her eponymously named collection, Ruby Hammer, began with a set of clever and innovative magnetic brushes that can be stacked onto each other to reveal a different brush end. Today, the range also features a liquid eyeliner, pencil eyeliner, crystal foot file, glass nail file and fully recycled and recyclable make-up bags.

But as somebody who has spent years trialling the best make-up products around – and has a kit full of them for her clients – what’s the one make-up item Hammer can’t go without? Here, she tells us.

Ruby Hammer
Ruby Hammer MBE has been a make-up artist for over 25 years.

“I discovered Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Brow Powder Duo, £24, years ago in Allure magazine. The article referred to its founder Anastasia Soare as the eyebrow queen of Los Angeles. The product wasn’t available in the UK back then and it couldn’t be bought online either. After reading about it, the next time I went to the States, I was on a mission to find it! I had the tear sheet from the magazine with me and went to Sephora, where I tested it out in-store. I bought several shades for my kit as a make-up artist and one for myself.

“The glowing review in that magazine was one thing, but after I physically tested it myself and saw the many shades available, I was sold.

“I love that the compact has two shades to choose from. You can use the lighter shade for a more natural look and the darker one for a more dramatic effect, or in the evening. You can even blend both shades together as needed.

“I find this powder product really useful. I can quickly fill in the gaps in my eyebrows without much fuss. It is also a vital part of my kit as a make-up artist as it can achieve a whole variety of looks, from natural to avant-garde, for all of my clients. It is an all-rounder.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder Duo
Anastasia Beverly Hills' Brow Powder Duo is available in 11 shades.

“Brows are an important feature of our face. I had very full brows when I was younger and had them threaded with a high arch in the 90s. Now, I choose a natural brow but I have lost the thickness I once had. So, this product allows me to achieve a natural effect without too much effort. It’s also long lasting and doesn’t melt or change colour during the course of the day.

“I use a spoolie brush to brush my brow hairs up and then brush them down to see the the real outline of my brow shape. Then, I fill in any gaps with the lighter of the two shades for a natural finish. If i am going for a more dramatic look, I lengthen and darken my brows with the darker powder. There are many shades available – 11 shades to be exact. My personal shade is ebony, which is for black hair with a warm undertone.

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“When using it, my top tip is to avoid applying the powder on the beginning of your eyebrows straight away. You’ll always end up depositing too much colour that way. Start at the arch, where your brow needs the most definition, then fill in any gaps and lengthen the ends, if needed. Finish with the start of the brows to add shape. Once that’s all done, brush through your brows to diffuse and blend the coloured powder.

“And before you even start, make sure you don’t overload your brush with too much powder. You can always add more but it is harder to take it away. Follow the shape of your brows in light, flicky strokes and don’t hold the brush too hard or rigid, like you would with a pen.”

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Main image: Ruby Hammer/courtesy of brand