Friday, August 27th, 2010

Illamasqua Precision Ink
Illamasqua Precision Ink

A Tale of Twin Liners

Illamasqua Precision Ink Liquid Eyeliner (£16.50 for 0.06 oz.) is a new eyeliner launching with Illamasqua’s Art of Darkness collection for fall. It’s a long-wearing and waterproof liner that should dry quickly.

It may look familiar. In fact, it may look very familiar. Illamasqua’s Precision Ink and MAC Superslick Liquid Eyeliners are exactly the same. Every part of the packaging is the same, from the bottom to the inside to the formula itself. MAC has sticker labels on the bottom, while Illamasqua has the label on the side of the eyeliner–which reveals a bit of an inset, and after peeling back the MAC label, the MAC liner has it, too.

Illamasqua has two shades (at least for now): Abyss, which is a rich black, and Alchemy, which is a metallic gold. (The MAC counterparts would be On the Hunt and Pure Show, for reference.) The shades are exactly the same as far as I can tell. There is no discernible difference, and I swatched both gold shades on my hand and kept them there for about 36 hours–I wanted to see them in all different lighting.  If there is any difference between them, I could not detect a single one.

This is a very easy review, because I’ve done it before: they are as long-wearing as they claim to be. They won’t smudge, budge, flake, or migrate whatsoever once they’re dry, though I find that drying time is around twenty to thirty seconds (not super fast, not agonizingly long). It is water-resistant, and it flakes off when you put makeup remover on it.

Whenever two brands, particularly such well-known brands as these, come out with exactly the same product, not just similar colors (which you could simply say are coincidence or going with the trends), I wonder what went on. I don’t know much about manufacturing and the behind-the-scenes aspect of beauty product creation, so I don’t have any insider knowledge to provide for you. My first experience with it was with all of the lip stain markers that released in the earlier half of this year–it seemed like every brand was putting out some kind of lip stain marker. Then MAC and Orly’s polish similarities, and now this… It just makes you wonder.

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

RECOMMENDATION: Just depends on which brand you prefer, I’d say… It’s a very nice long-wearing liquid eyeliner that’s easier to use than your typical liquid eyeliner.

AVAILABILITY: Illamasqua

See more photos & swatches!

Illamasqua Precision Ink
Illamasqua Precision Ink

Illamasqua Precision Ink
Illamasqua Precision Ink

Illamasqua Precision Ink
Illamasqua Precision Ink: Abyss, Alchemy

Illamasqua Precision Ink
Illamasqua Abyss (thick), MAC On the Hunt (thick), Illamasqua Abyss (thin), MAC On the Hunt (thin)

Illamasqua Precision Ink
Illamasqua Alchemy (thick), MAC Pure Show (thick), Illamasqua Alchemy (thin), MAC Pure Show (thin)

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55 thoughts on “Illamasqua Precision Ink Liquid Eyeliner Review, Photos, Swatches

  1. Avatar of Kristina Kalex

    I noticed this with a Napolean Perdis foundation a few years ago. Same bottle, formula, everything was the same except the name on it (which I can’t remember). The other brand was half the price too.

  2. I wonder about this too. My (totally uneducated) guess is that there are cosmetics manufacturers out there who develop and pitch products to the big brands–or maybe the big brands even have the equivalent of a catalog they can pick products out of–and they order the products with their unique branding (like how Diamond Cosmetics offers to create re-branded bottles of their nail polish that you can sell as your own brand).

    I mean, like with MAC, it seems like some of their products are created uniquely by MAC and then farmed out to a manufacturer for production, but others do seem to be just re-labeled/re-packaged.

    • Yeah, that’s kind of what I was thinking, too, but like you, I have no real knowledge or expertise to back it up, so I really have no idea!

  3. Avatar of Etaoin Etaoin

    Thats ridiculous. I heard that a lot of makeup is bought by brands and repackaged, but I thought it was more loose pigments or loose ingredients rather than a whole product. It makes me feel swindled. Do you know if they are both made in the one country.

  4. Avatar of Deb Deb

    Weird about the two brands having such similar products! I guess it’s not surprising, though…

    That gold is gorgeous!

  5. Avatar of LU LU

    This is getting strange…LOL. I’m gonna pick up the superslick liners from MAC eventually, I love the colors, and the price tag is better.

  6. Tanja

    I´ve noticed for quite a while now (I´m german), that a lot of eyeliners are made in germany!
    Even UD 24/7 liners are made in germany and styli-style and the Milani Liquif´eye (which are all not available in germany- how unfair!)
    Like germany is the eyeliner-producing-country for the whole world, haha
    I´d really like to know, WHERE in germany, maybe they have a eyeliner-outlet or something ;)

    Anyway, it would be so interesting to learn more about “behind the scenes”!

    • LOL! Germany as the eyeliner producing country for the whole world!

    • jade

      someone pointed out to me once that Faber Castell does cosmetics as well (besides the usual stationery..).. guess that’s why all the eyeliners might be from Germany? just a guess :)

  7. Nadine

    I’ve been waiting for your review of Illamasqua’s version. I was wondering if Illamasqua’s gold is more pigmented than MAC’s gold. Maybe we’ll eventually see this product in drugstores!

    I noticed that with the lip stain markers as well. Big beauty brands “dupe” each other all the time. It depends on what cosmetic scientists have formulated and are pushing onto the market. For example, releases of glass fleck nail polishes are omnipresent this year. MAC and Orly are not the only brands have dupes. Just check out nail blogs and their comparisons with Zoya, Sally Hansen, OPI, China Glaze, and SpaRitual.

    • You don’t often see such 100% duping, though – like even down to the packaging, applicator, and formula! And I’m more curious since so many of these are concurrently released, so it’s like – is anybody copying or is there something else going on?!

  8. anon

    Hey Christine – I actually work in the industry, and I love your blog!! Here’s a little bit of background on the industry and why you see dupes happening. Brands usually work with a number of laboratories to create their products, usually starting with a lab’s latest innovative formulas and customizing the formula to create the brand’s product. I have a pretty good idea of which lab Mac and Illamasqua used in this case. What Illamasqua did here seems pretty lazy/time+money saving – they just picked an existing stock color of a formula that the lab already mixed for MAC, didn’t bother with formula and color customizations, and sent the product out the door. I happen to work at a brand owned by a makeup artist who is extremely picky about customizing formulas with as many skin-beneficial ingredients as possible, and we would go through several rounds to get the perfect customized formula and colors from a lab, and cases like this would not happen.

  9. Wow, exactly the same. Exactly. Which one is cheaper again?

    Perhaps they all go to some sort of beauty showcase at the manufacturing plant in China. So strange.

  10. OMG Christine (I can’t believe I just typed OMG)! Haha! :) This is so funny! Here’s the skinny on this sicha’ation:

    The patent on Lancome’s Precision Point Eyeliner (http://www.lancome-usa.com/makeup/eye-pencils-and-liners/artliner.htm) recently ran out (patents only last so long). I had heard from multiple people back when FF was announced that the tip and forumula for the new MAC liners were from Lancome’s old patent. I haven’t used the Lancome liners because but apparently they were good… Not just good but REAL good.

    There’s nothing wrong with doing that. It’s good bidness sense actually. MAC doesn’t have to waste time coming up with a new eyeliner cause it’s already done for them, but it looks new to their shoppers. Looks like Illamasqua had the same idea :)

    The more important question here is: Why do I know this sh*t and what USEFUL information is my brain dumping so that I can retain this information?? I alre– wait…

    Oh… Great. Now I don’t know how to do math anymore. Thanks MAC.

    • ARGH! I hate typos that I see after the fact: “I haven’t used the Lancome liners because but apparently they were good… Not just good but REAL good.”

      That “because” between “liners and “but” shouldn’t be there.

      I also forgot to add though, the Lancome ones are also more expensive (nearly twice the price), which also makes MAC and Illamasqua’s move a smart one – Because most people probably aren’t into spending $30 on an eyeliner, these are going to seem like a cool new product.

      • Now I feel like I have to re-test the Lancome Artliner, LOL.

        • So, I went back and played with the Artliner a bit… here are some things I noted (keep in mind, I could only find Blueberry, which apparently was LE):

          - MAC’s was infinitely more pigmented, smoother — Lancome was a bit watery/streaky/sheer
          - Lancome’s applicator feels like plastic, even though I guess it’s supposed to be foam.
          - Lancome’s applicator seems to bend more easily, almost a little floppy in comparison to MAC’s
          - Formula in terms of wear is the same (Lancome’s wore on me all day without smudging/budging when I tested it previously), and it rubs off in the same way MAC’s do… except Blueberry rubbed off without much work, On the Hunt (the black one) doesn’t seem to want to flake off much at all with just my finger and elbow grease.

          This kind of makes me feel like the formula has since been improved…

          • Awesome! I was looking for reviews on the Artliner to see myself but couldn’t really find any (like I said, I don’t have them). Thanks for checking it out! It’s interesting to read and like you were saying, you expect to see things trickle down eventually but simultaneous launches of the same product like this are kind of funny :) Thank you!! :)

    • That’s interesting. I actually have Artliner in the queue of things to review, so I’ll have to go back and revisit it, but the tip applicator is definitely not *quite* the same (I’m looking at my photo, and I see it’s shorter, finer, less bendy and of course, packaging is different).

      LOL! Thanks so much for sharing, though :) I’m used to seeing say one product type come out and trickle down to lower price points over time, but not so much simultaneous launches!

    • EMR

      oh man….

      “The more important question here is: Why do I know this sh*t and what USEFUL information is my brain dumping so that I can retain this information?? I alre– wait…

      Oh… Great. Now I don’t know how to do math anymore. Thanks MAC.”

      just made my day – thank you SO MUCH!!! hahahahaha

      • Haha! I thought it was funny… But I usually just make myself laugh and everyone else looks at me like I’m a monkey :P Oh well… I’m laughing and that’s all that matters! LOL ;) Thanks :)

  11. Ashley Tatton

    I actually noticed that MAC’s other felt tip liquid liners.. I’m spacing on their name are the exact same as a Canadian brand Joe’s in packaging. I did the same wear test as you and they appear to be the exact same quality at a reduced price. Feel kind of cheated.

  12. Lissa

    Which has the better applicator? Looks like Illamasqua’s is finer?

  13. Ryan

    I think its patheitc how brands copy eachother. I dont know who did it first but I also know mac came out wiht the nailpolishes that are identical to some other brands. Where is the originality?

    • But is anyone really copying anyone? They’re coming out pretty much at the same time – so all the planning, production, manufacturing, etc. has to be done earlier and well in advance!

      • Elle

        I don’t really think it’s copying. I work in the pharmaceutical industry–this is the same process that goes into making drugs more affordable/available once the formula goes “public”, so to speak. I just kind of think there’s only *so* much you can do with certain products, ya know? Like you gotta have your fun gimmicky stuff, and you gotta have your stuff that just works well to anchor your line. Just my opinion. :)

        • I don’t think it’s copying either, but I do think you’d want to make sure that the packaging at least doesn’t look quite so similar as other brands–at least for the illusion that it’s different, you know?

          • Elle

            Good point–it’s like, OK, put in a *little* effort to distinguish yourselves!

            These liners are amazing, though (haha, well the MAC ones are, but since they’re exactly the same, I guess the Illamasqua ones are amazing too)! I want all of the colors… :)

  14. Roxanne

    Christine Mielke, private (makeup) investigator. Dun dun dun DUNNN!

  15. Lina

    What I’m wondering is- which one is cheaper? :)

  16. Ashley D.

    Skipping this too. I’ll stick with the MAC liners.

  17. Megen

    In the pic of the thick lines of Abyss and On the Hunt, do they both really look that wet or were they just not dry?

  18. Janet

    Sooooo weird…..

  19. Amy

    Before I even read the review I thought they look like the Superslick eyeliners, which I got yesterday. But after I saw more pictures, I realised they are more similar than I thought! Kind of odd. I like the MAC ones though.

  20. Avatar of luna lunamaris

    a german brand, artdeco, also recently released their liquid star liners: http://www.artdeco.de/en/cosmetics/makeup/eyes/liners/liquid-star-liner/

    > exactly the same as the FF collection!

    • Oooh, but they have teal! That’s a different shade :D

      LOL! Doesn’t it feel like they should tweak something? Like the color, packaging, etc. – so we don’t go, “Wait a minute…” when we see the two?

  21. Jenna

    Hey Christine. I have a question about a look that I plan to do.
    I want to try out the MAC Superslick Liner in the navy blue color, but since it’s so bad for the lower lash line, would it look strange to have a black pencil liner on the lower lashline and the navy liquid liner on the top?

  22. BeautyQueen

    Having tested both, in my opinion there is no comparison. Illamasqua’s precision ink is far superior to the mac liner. It’s long wearing, fully pigmented, you need a lot less product to achieve a strong look. As for copying why would a brand as unique as Illamasqua copy any other brand it completely goes against their vision and ethos. The black one i think its called Abyss is super super glossy and stays glossy! The fabulous felines collection is stunning though will definitely be purchasing some pigments. Cant wait for Art of Darkness by Illamasqua to launch aswell!! !

    • I personally experienced the same wear time and pigmentation, and I could not discern any differences myself – just my experience :) I don’t think I said anything about either brand copying.

      • Natasha Bonner

        Seeing as you guys have tried and tested Illamasqua, could you please tell me if comes even close to the fabulous fantastic extreme art liner by Gosh… which has now, unbelievably been discontinued to the annoyance of thousands of people (i know at least 4 others who are pulling hair out trying to find an alternative!)… is this liner the same or similar to Gosh as the extreme art was not only waterproof but it had a plastic like which meant you could wear it all day on your INNER RIM as well as on top and sides, and it would not budge, not with anything except really good makeup remover. I have been swiiming in it, dancing all night even sleeping, and it stays on inner rim aswell. We are all flabbergasted that such an amazing product has been discontinued… so if anyone out there knows of anything at all thats similar… please let me know! (PS have tried Bobbi Brown gel liner, all the high street ones, other Gosh ones, mac liquilast, and smashbox, but so far… nada!) I dont now want to buy Illumasqua to find out its no good… HELP !!!