Holiday Gift Guide: Must-Have Beauty Products for Eyes
I’m going to do my best to crank out the last few gift guides in the next day, because I know a lot of sales are coming up for Black Friday/Cyber Monday, and I don’t want you to miss out! These are all products I personally recommend that are part of the permanent range. Products are listed in order of ascending price!
Milani Liquif’Eye Eyeliners ($5.49) is a standout formula with a wallet-friendly price tag–if they had a bigger range, they’d be even better. I love their Black and Aqua shades.
MAC Fluidlines ($15) is a long-time favorite, because it’s creamy enough for smooth, crisp application but sets and wears well. My favorite is Blacktrack.
Tarina Tarantino Dream Hyperliners ($15) are a newly-discovered favorite with a fantastic color range, rich color, and long-wear. My favorite shades have been Sparkling Ammunition and Puppeteer.
Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes Liners ($18) also has an amazing range of shades as well as finishes, and this is an eyeliner that stays on well throughout the day. I regularly reach for shades like #4L, 5L, 12L, and 20L.
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Pencils ($18) are a total go-to for me! They have a full color range available, and they’re soft and glide on easily. Some of my favorites are Bourbon Covet, Graffiti, Mildew, Rockstar, Stash, and Underground.
Stila Smudgestick Waterproof Eyeliners ($20) are super soft and pigmented, but they do run out of quick–but their color range is so rich, it’s hard to say no. I love Moray, Peacock, and Stingray.
Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliners ($21) is a rich, long-wearing gel eyeliner that’s smooth and creamy but still wears all day. Check out shades like Black Mauve Shimmer Ink and Cobalt Ink!
Make Up For Ever Aqua Liners ($23) is my absolute favorite for liquid liner, because the color range is wide and the formula itself stays on all day. I recommend shades like #3, 4, 9, 10, and 14. If you like lots and lots of sparkle, consider Stila Sparkle Liquid Eyeliners ($22) which have a very similar formula but their shades have more shimmer.
Wet ‘n’ Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow ($1.99 to $4.99) are a real steal with a lot of variations and options available, and a lot of the shades are of excellent quality.
Inglot Eyeshadows ($5) won’t break the bank but will deliver intense color payoff–they’re most well-known for their mattes and Double Sparkles.
Sugarpill Chromalusts ($12) are finely milled with lots of dimension. My favorites are Stella, Absinthe, and Goldilux! I’d also recommend checking out their eyeshadows if you’re shopping for someone who loves bright colors (they’re also $12 and top notch).
theBalm Eyeshadows ($16) are richly pigmented, silky smooth, and wear really well. Their individual singles are great, but they also have several palettes that work well, too. My favorite singles are All About Alex, Jealous Jordana, and Risque Renee.
Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow/Liner ($19) are some of my favorite cream eyeshadows for quick all-over washes or as an eyeshadow base; the range is generally more neutral/subdued so it would be great for busy folks who don’t have a lot of time to spend on their makeup every morning. I love shades like Birthday Suit and Skinny Jeans.
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Shadow Pencils ($20) is a chubby pencil that can be used as an eyeliner or more like a cream eyeshadow (or even an eyeshadow base). They wear really well and deliver pretty good color. I like shades Clinic, Lit, and Midnight Cowboy.
Bare Escentuals Ready Eyeshadows ($20 for duo, $30 for quad) caught me off guard, because I really didn’t think they’d be out of this world, but they’re really, really good. Some of my favorite duos are The Scenic Route and The Escape, and some of my favorite quads are The Elements and The Truth.
MAC Pigments ($20) are still one of my favorite products for really revving up a look. Some of the permanent shades I love are Pink Opal, Melon, and Teal.
Make Up For Ever Aqua Creams ($22) come in neutrals as well as bright pops of color, and they’re a cream product that really locks down once it sets. I love the Aqua Creams best for eyes. I totally dig shades like #2, #5, #13, #15.
Illamasqua Pure Pigment ($24) may be pricey and they don’t come with a whole lot of product, for most consumers, it’ll take years to get through. The reason I like these is I feel like the range has a lot of complex, unique shades.
Stila Cosmetics is having their Friends & Family sale! Get 20% off + free shipping with code FRIENDS2011, expires 9/27. Does not apply to last call items, gift sets, or pro-artists discounts. Limit one code usage per person.
As promised, Curacao! It’s so pretty, I couldn’t just slide it into the original post without some sort of fanfare! Stila describes Curacao as a sparkling violet blue. I found it more blue than violet, though. At best, you might argue indigo, but I think it’s more of a rich, navy blue with electric blue shimmer. It’s bright without being neon; dark without being black. Curacao has nice color pay off and glides on as easily as the other shades in the Sparkle Eyeliner family. It’s an impressive formula, and if shimmer in your eyeliner is your thing, you’ll probably enjoy Stila’s new liquid liner.
For a full review of the Sparkle Eyeliner formula, please check out this review.
blacks: There are really no distinguishable differences between Illamasqua Abyss, MAC On the Hunt, or MUFE #13–they’re all a really deep, dark inky black. Stila Sequins is similar but has noticeable shimmer. MAC Marked for Glamour is a little grayer than Stila Sequins, and MUFE #15 is comparable to Marked for Glamour. MUFE #14 and Stila Starry are comparable, while MUFE is a little darker overall.
golds: There are no distinguishable differences between Illamasqua Alchemy, MAC Pure Show, or MUFE #1.
olives: MAC Desires & Devices has more gold shimmer and a blacker, less green base compared to Stila Flash.
greens: MAC Treat Me Nice and MUFE #3 are indistinguishable from each other.
teals: MUFE #4 and Stila Electric are indistinguishable from each other.
blues: The darker blues are rather varied; none of them look alike. From the lighter blues, MUFE #5 has more shimmer and is a lighter, more neon blue than Stila Bora Bora.
purples: Similar to the darker blues, there is quite a bit of variation of the four purple shades available. MUFE #8 and Stila Royal are the only ones that are comparable, but Stila is less red toned, more violet shimmered.
Stila Sparkle Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner ($22.00 for 0.05 oz.) is available in eight shades: Bora Bora (sparkling turquoise), Rock Candy (sparkling warm brown), Electric (sparkling bright green), Sequins (sparkling black), Royal (sparkling electric purple), Flash (sparkling olive khaki), Starry (sparkling gunmetal gray), and Curacao (sparkling violet blue). I do not have Curacao, so unfortunately, it is not included in this post.
Bora Bora is a bright, electric blue with soft silver sparkle. Make Up For Ever #5 Aqua Liner seems similar–possibly a little darker.
Rock Candy is a medium-dark brown with khaki, bronze, and gold shimmer.
Electric is a bluish teal with brighter blue shimmer. Make Up For Ever #4 Aqua Liner seems similar.
Sequins is a dark black with silver sparkle.
Royal is a medium-dark red-toned purple with violet and magenta sparkle. This was the least pigmented shade out of the seven I tried–it wasn’t as dense as the others, a little watery in the overall feel.
Flash is a olive green with gold and green sparkle.
Starry is a grayish mauve with multi-colored shimmer. I don’t get gunmetal gray at all here. It seems like it might be similar to Make Up For Ever #14 but it’s harder to call without a side-by-side swatch.
Stila’s Sparkle Eyeliners apply smoothly and evenly with excellent color payoff that requires no layering or build-up. I showed swatches of the very first stroke, then a second and third–never going back to get more product. The sponge applicator on these is thin and tapered to a dull point with enough give to easily maneuver around the curves of the lid but not so much that it is floppy. The formula is budge-, smudge-, and water-proof, as advertised, and removal went easily with both Lancome Bi-Facil and Make Up For Ever Sens’Eyes. As you remove, the product will flake off, akin to tube mascaras.
When I reviewed Make Up For Ever Aqua Liners, I touched on some of the recent releases of eyeliners in the same vein as those, which included Stila’s Sparkle Eyeliners, too. Stila’s are different from the others in terms of color and finish–these are richly shimmered and very pigmented, but the formula feels very much the same. In the next few days, I will be doing some swatch comparisons where applicable and posting the results.
For those who love sparkly eyeliner and are on the hunt for something in liquid form, Stila's Sparkle Eyeliners offer a great solution. The formula is fantastic, and the color range has good variety and a few never-before-seen shades in this kind of formula.
Sometimes products are discontinued or limited edition, which means that a product may no longer be available at one or more retailers so you may need to shop around for those hard-to-find shades! We try to update products as they become discontinued, and if you discover a product has been discontinued, please help us help others by letting us know.
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