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.

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  • 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

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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 →

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 →

Monday, October 19th, 2009


Sonia Kashuk Dramatically Defining Long Wear Gel Eye Liner in Indigo and Cocoa

Sonia Kashuk Dramatically Defining Long Wear Gel Eye Liner ($8.99) is SK’s answer for longwearing, smudge-proof, budge-proof gel liner. It’s available in three shades: Cocoa (deep brown), Ebony (deep black), and Indigo (deep blue). I haven’t seen Ebony yet, but I did get a chance to play with Cocoa and Indigo.

Indigo is a rich, vibrant dark navy blue (I wouldn’t describe it as Indigo, personally) with slight shimmer but not a lot of shininess. It applies evenly and opaquely with an angled eyeliner brush (I like MAC’s 208). Cocoa is a dark, slightly warm-toned chocolate brown. It has a very creamy texture, and it has a slightly wet look to it, though it does dry down and has an overall matte finish. I’d say that Cocoa is comparable to MAC’s Rich Ground fluidline, but it has a more matte appearance and probably a touch warmer, too.

Both of these gel liners wear incredibly well throughout the day with no budging, smudging, or fading. They stay in place and last all day long on the lower and upper lash lines. They’re also thick and creamy and pack plenty of color, so you can easily create defined eyes with a flick of the wrist. The quality of these is most definitely comparable to Bobbi Brown’s Gel Liner and MAC’s Fluidlines. The packaging isn’t as nice (just feels a little cheap) as either of the high-end brands mentioned, but ultimately, it’s the product that counts.

Bottom Line: If you’re on a tight budget, or if you’ve merely wanted to try your hand at gel liners, Sonia Kashuk provides a solid option. The only real drawback to the line is that it is an extremely limited shade range and may be difficult to find, as it’s only available at some Targets and not currently available for purchase online.

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation: For those who’ve eyed MAC’s Fluidlines or Bobbi Brown’s Gel Liners, Sonia Kashuk’s DDLGELs are awesome, affordable options.

Availability: Target (Local)

See additional photos and swatchesContinue reading →

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Barbie Loves Stila Smudge Pots

Barbie Loves Stila Cobalt Clutch & Purple Pumps Smudge Pot

Barbie Loves Stila Cobalt Clutch & Purple Pumps Smudge Pot ($20.00 each) are two of the three new smudge pot shades released with Stila’s Barbie Loves Stila Collection for the fall season. (Little Black Dress is the third shade–and it is on its way to me; as soon as I have it, you know I’ll be reviewing it!)

Purple Pumps is a shimmery shade of violet with a lighter violet-purple shimmer laced throughout the creamy gel liner. It is one of the sheerer smudge pots I’ve tested, but it can be layered for a more opaque look. I found layering was best achieved with a stiff, flat bristled brush (I used MAC’s 249).

Cobalt Clutch is a ridiculously vibrant shade of sea-water blue with a slight sky blue sheen (but more of a sheen than a shimmer). It goes on opaque without any need for layering, unlike Purple Pumps, and the shade is definitely intense. It will definitely look stunning as an eyeliner, but it could be used as a base for some really in-your-face eye color. (I am fairly certain it is the vibrant blue used in the Stila Smitten With Kitten Collection promotional image.)

I’ve always been a fan of Stila’s smudge pots. They’re smudgeproof, budgeproof, and wear all day without fading or creasing. They come in a variety of shades–one surely to entice you–and they’ll last you forever. I haven’t had any of mine dry out on me yet, either, which is a huge plus, because some gel liners have a tendency to dry out within a year.

  • Product: 9/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: These are not to be missed if you’re a gel liner fan (or a Smudge Pot fan in general!), because these are some bright-eyed shades you don’t see often.

Availability: Stila Cosmetics

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Sunday, September 6th, 2009

Smashbox Reign Collection: Jet Set Eyeliner Palette

Smashbox Jet Set Eyeliner Palette ($48.00) contains four shades of cream eye liner. They’re described as budge-proof and water proof. The palette comes with a miniature-sized angled brush as well. It is part of Smashbox’s Reign Collection for the fall.

The shades you get are dark black, dark brown (neutral-cool), metallic gold, and metallic dark brown (with warm tones). I like Smashbox’s Jet Set formula overall — it’s definitely long-wearing, holds up to humidity and heat, and is pretty waterproof. However, I have found these liners to be prone to drying out if one is not careful about sealing the container after each use. With the Jet Set palette, this is a definite concern, because it’s not really air tight – the palette flap just opens and closes but never feels sealed. I do worry about how long before you start noticing these drying out.

The shades are so-so — the photos I took of the palette are of a counter’s testers (which accounts for some of the “ew” factor!), and the shades are certainly wearable, but maybe not enough variation to merit $48. I could buy two full sized shades for $22 each ($44 total). I don’t really need a dark brown and a shimmery dark brown in the same palette, you know? I don’t feel that this palette represents Jet Set liners overall, and I’d recommend checking out the real, full-size versions instead of this palette.

  • Product: 7/10
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 6/10
  • Packaging: 6/10

Recommendation: The packaging may sway some, but be careful — it may lead to drying out of those cream liners faster than you can use them up.

Availability: Nordstrom ($48.00) contains four shades of cream eye liner. They’re described as budge-proof and water proof. The palette comes with a miniature-sized angled brush as well. It is part of Smashbox’s Reign Collection for the fall.

See more swatchesContinue reading →