Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner

Affordable Gel Eyeliner from Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner

Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner ($9.99) is a gel eyeliner that comes in a glass pot with a screw-on lid. Lasting Drama is currently available in four shades: Black, Brown, Grey, and Plum. I’ve only tried out the Black and Plum myself. Each glass pot of gel eyeliner also comes with a small, flat bristled brush with a dome shape for lining. I personally didn’t find the brush the right kind to line with (I prefer angled or very, very thin and pointed), but it’s a nice little bonus.

I’m pleased to report that after testing the wear of this liner that it is indeed lasting! (I wore it in this look.) Blackest Black didn’t smudge, budge, or fade on me throughout eight hours of wear–though Maybelline does advertise “24-hour wear” (I’ll leave that test to someone else…). I found it was plenty black for me–and I love me some rich black pigment–so I was quite surprised at how well it translated onto the lid. I used MAC’s 208 angled brush to apply Blackest Black to my upper lash line, and it was smooth, easy to apply, and gave me good color intensity off the bat. I didn’t have to go back over to darken at all, which was yet another concern alleviated.

Blackest Black is very much a true black. It doesn’t have much of a sheen, though it’s not completely flat, and it doesn’t have shimmer. Plum, on the other hand, has a higher sheen and plummy-mauve shimmer in a dark plum base. The consistency of both is thick without being goopy and very smooth when applied. They’re not creamy like Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliners, but they can be blended or smudged so they’re not too thick. They seem to dry without much of a fuss, but they don’t dry instantly, so you may have to wait a few seconds before you squeeze your eyes shut to avoid any transfer.

At $9.99 each, they’re on the pricier end for the budget beauty maven, but Maybelline frequently goes on sale, so at buy one, get one free or buy one, get one 50% off, I think they’re definitely worth picking up if you’re in the market for an affordable gel eyeliner. The packaging has a surprisingly “high-end” feel for Maybelline (whose packaging I’m generally not impressed by) — they look and feel much like MAC Fluidlines.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’re looking for an affordable gel eyeliner, keep an eye out for Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner!

Availability: Ulta, your local drugstore

See more photos and swatches! Continue reading →

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Chanel Khaki Dore Le Crayon Yeux ($28.00) is a stunning shade of rich, metallic golden bronze. It’s just the hue that I’m totally nuts for – that antique gold, bronze gold… anything in that family, I’m game for. Khaki Dore applies evenly, smoothly, and opaquely. It comes with its own pencil sharpener, and the liner itself is dual-ended. It has an angled sponge tip on the other end for blending/correcting.

It’s the first Chanel eyeliner I’ve tried, and I’m pleased with it. It looks really lovely in natural or smoky looks. Sometimes I’ll even wear it alone on my lower lash line with just some mascara for a very quick look for running errands. I wore it in this spring look I did few weeks ago. I’d say the highlight of this eyeliner is really how precise it is; it really does define and apply in a thin, even line without much fuss. It lasts all day on me (eight to twelve hours) without smudging, budging, or fading–always a necessity in an eyeliner.

Bottom Line

I’m not over the moon with the formula, but I do like this shade and don’t have anything quite like it, so it’s a shade I knew I’d be drawn to. The price tag is daunting, and I don’t expect most people to make room in their budgets for this eyeliner. Surprisingly (and a little to my horror), $28 isn’t as outlandish as I thought — Dior is priced at $26, YSL is priced at $28.

With that in mind, if you had $28 laying around and wanted to give your money to Chanel, I’d recommend a lipstick or gloss over the eyeliner, just because they do those exceptionally well. This is still a quality product, but it doesn’t reign supreme over eyeliners from other brands.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  If you love antique or bronzy golds like me, this might be a must for you–if the price doesn’t scare you away.

Availability: Nordstrom

See more photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Cream/Gel Eyeliner Breakdown

Cream/gel eyeliners are usually thick creams (the consistency of a cream, but the thickness of more like a paste… or a lipstick, for a better beauty reference!). They usually require a brush to apply it, and most use these on the upper lash line (they can be irritating on the lower lash line, particularly for those with more sensitive eyes). They’re a very, very popular item with numerous brands having their own take on the cream/gel eyeliner product type.

At the end of the day, they’re all quality cream/gel eyeliners and none are not worth paying for. As with many cosmetic products, some will work better on others–we’re not all going to fall in love with the same formula–but I do think these are all good picks. Personally, I tend to choose by the color/shade rather than the brand! If I had to give you a top three (in alphabetical order), they would be: Bobbi Brown, MAC, and shu uemura.

Here’s a comparison across eight different brands and their cream/gel eyeliners… Continue reading →

Friday, December 18th, 2009


MAC Love Lace Collection: Eyes

Today, MAC released Love Lace–a week early (it was originally slated for release on the 26th–but my freestanding store confirmed that Warm & Cozy was still launching the 26th). It’s a short ‘n sweet launch, with just two lipsticks, two lipglasses, four eyeshadows, three kohl powers, one nail lacquer, and then a few repromotes of permanent items. It reminds me a bit of last year’s Chill Collection.

I’m going to focus on reviewing the four eyeshadows and three kohl powers in this post, with a follow-up post on the lipsticks and lipglasses, and a final post on the nail lacquer–so stay tuned!

Eyeshadow

  • Love Lace is a dusty darkened blue with a slightly shimmered finish (it is a veluxe pearl, after all) with a very smooth, soft feel. It’s decently pigmented. This reminded me of a more muted Deep Truth kind of shade.
  • Suave Intentions is an icy cool-toned medium blue with icy silver shimmer and sheen. If you had to, you might consider duping this with Tilt (which is a little more teal). This was the most pigmented shade of the four.
  • Pincurl is a mauvey-gray with icy pink shimmer and sheen. It’s a repromote from Blonde, Brunette, and Redhead. It has a sort of dusty look to it.
  • Hypnotizing is a darkened, smoked out mauve-plum with a touch of brown.

Kohl Power

  • Feline is an intense black.
  • Raven is a deep burgundy with black pearl.
  • Sense of Style is a darkened blue-teal with blue and teal shimmer. It’s much bluer than Mystery kohl power.

See more photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Lancome L’Absolu Rouge Soiree for Holiday 2009: Lancome Plum Tease Ink Artliner Gel Eyeliner

Lancome Plum Tease Ink Artliner Gel Eyeliner ($23.50 for 0.14 oz.) is a new shade of Lancome’s Ink Artliner for the holiday season. It’s an eggplant-y plum with a soft, mostly matte appearance. It’s richly pigmented and goes on opaque in one swipe. It’s creamy and easy to work with, but it does dry down after about thirty seconds or so. It doesn’t budge, fade, or smudge throughout the day, and it really holds its own amongst the gel eyeliner heavyweights.

I like this with neutrals, but it especially pops with a healthy dose of sparkling gold eyeshadow, too! I don’t think I own any other gel eyeliners in this particular color, so that’s a huge deal for me — love it when that happens!

Even though winter has just started here in California, I’m actually wondering (and very eager!) whether we’ll see any bold hues for next summer…

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  Easy to wear, easy to use, and really excellent results make this one a slam dunk for me!

Availability: Lancome, Nordstrom

See swatch… Continue reading →

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Long-wearing Liner:  NARS Eyeliner Stylo in Bayou Blue and Nuits Blances

NARS Eyeliner Stylo ($27.00 for 0.02 oz.) was recently released just in time for the fall/holiday seasons as a brand new product by NARS. It is touted to be a long-wearing, quick-drying liquid liner delivered via a felt-tip applicator. With the felt-tip applicator, you are supposed to be able to get precise lines–thin or thick–with “maximum control.” The Eyeliner Stylo is available in three shades: Blue Bayou (blue), Nuits Blanches (black), and Nabucco (brown).

I test drove two: Blue Bayou, which is not quite an electric blue, but much brighter and deeper than a sky blue–but there’s no teal or green in it for me; and Nuits Blanches, which is a very deep dark black.  Oddly enough, I’ve found a lot of black felt-tip liners do show up a bit brown when swatched on the skin, but on the eyes, looks black as it’s supposed to; this also happened here (for reference).  I wonder if, perhaps, it’s how close/magnified the photo is vs. viewing it in person at a real-life size.  Anyway, just something worth noting.

The formula is definitely long-wearing and it dries quickly but not too quickly, so you do have some time to work.  The formula itself is fairly water-resistant as well; I’m not sure I’d say entirely waterproof, but it doesn’t budge or smudge or flake throughout the day and takes a bit of elbow grease to remove.  To be honest, one of my biggest frustrations with this product had to do with Blue Bayou staining my eyelid for three days.  I don’t love products that stain overall, because I do find it annoying the next day, but having this slightly faded, residual blue liner on the outer edges of my eyes for three days was ridiculous.  I know in the past, readers have recommended Make Up For Ever’s makeup remover for staining products, but between my cleansers, olive oil, and Lancome’s Bi-Facil, the staining wasn’t budging.  I found the black didn’t stain nearly as much and seemed to fade away by the next day.

I will say that this the felt-tip applicator is very long and skinny, and those with smaller eyes may find this a little unwieldy.  On my eyes, I felt like I had enough control to create thin, precise lines.  I did find creating thicker lines to create a little more skill, just because the applicator is quite thin and more suited towards thin lines rather than thicker lines.  I think with enough practice you’d find that you could get thin or thick lines without much fuss or frustration, though!   The applicator distributes a good amount of product without it being too much or too little–there’s no drag nor is there excess that you have to worry about.

Bottom Line: I like and would recommend Nuit Blanches, because it works and functions quite well.  I do take an issue with something that stains so intensely as Blue Bayou did, which makes me hesitant to recommend it.  I didn’t take any points off for staining, but it’s something I think is worth noting as a potential problem for some (as it is for me).  I used Blue Bayou last week in a look, which you can view here, to see how it looks in action.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  If you don’t mind a product that may stain your eyelids temporarily, these are easy to use, quality felt-tipped pens to give you that liquid liner look.

Availability: NARS, NARS Eyeliner Stylo

See swatchesContinue reading →