Hourglass Obsidian 1.5mm Mechanical Gel Eyeliner Review, Photos, Swatches

Hourglass Obsidian 1.5mm Mechanical Gel Eyeliner
Hourglass Obsidian 1.5mm Mechanical Gel Eyeliner

Hourglass Obsidian 1.5mm Mechanical Gel EyelinerHourglass Obsidian 1.5mm Mechanical Gel Eyeliner ($45.00 for 3 x 0.002 oz.) is described as an “ultra black.” It’s a dark black with neutral undertones and a semi-matte finish. There are plenty of similar-hued black eyeliners on the market. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

The formula is supposed to be waterproof, long-wearing, transfer-free, and pigmented. The consistency is creamy without being too wet, but it glides on smoothly and evenly without tugging on the lash line or skin. It is very thin, so you can get really precise lining out of it, which can be nice for tight-lining. It was semi-opaque in a single line, and it was buildable to fully opaque color in two layers. I had a lot of trouble with wear, though. I applied it to my lower lash line, and after wearing it on seven different occasions, every time it smeared and smudged after six hours. I honestly thought maybe it was my mascara, but I had the same issue over and over again. I think what it excels at most is really precision–it is so much thinner than other eyeliners I have, so you can really get between lashes for a lusher, thicker lash line if desired. It just doesn’t last very well on me at all, and rather than just fading/thinning into oblivion, it transfers (it goes from my lower lash line to my inner tear duct area) and smudges, which can ruin a makeup look. On my hand, it is resistant to pure water, but with enough fussing, it will budge.

I appreciated that Hourglass was upfront about how many uses each pencil contains, though I’m curious as to what constitutes a single use (lower lash line, upper lash line, or both? both eyes?). Each pencil contains 0.002 oz., and most twist-up pencil eyeliners are 0.01 oz., so this is a teeny, tiny amount. Most gel eyeliners (in pots) are 0.10 oz. or larger. They’re sold in a three-pack for $45 or individually for $16 (at SephoraSephora/Hourglass’ website only for singles). Anyone track how many uses they normally get out of a twist-up pencil? I might just go draw twenty lines with mine to see if it empties the container. You know, in the name of science.

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Hourglass Obsidian 1.5mm Mechanical Gel Eyeliner
Hourglass Obsidian 1.5mm Mechanical Gel Eyeliner

Hourglass Obsidian 1.5mm Mechanical Gel Eyeliner
Hourglass Obsidian 1.5mm Mechanical Gel Eyeliner

Hourglass Obsidian 1.5mm Mechanical Gel Eyeliner
Hourglass Obsidian 1.5mm Mechanical Gel Eyeliner

Hourglass Obsidian 1.5mm Mechanical Gel Eyeliner
Hourglass Obsidian 1.5mm Mechanical Gel Eyeliner

Hourglass Obsidian 1.5mm Mechanical Gel Eyeliner
Hourglass Obsidian 1.5mm Mechanical Gel Eyeliner

Hourglass Obsidian 1.5mm Mechanical Gel Eyeliner
Hourglass Obsidian 1.5mm Mechanical Gel Eyeliner

Hourglass Obsidian 1.5mm Mechanical Gel Eyeliner
Hourglass Obsidian 1.5mm Mechanical Gel Eyeliner

Hourglass Obsidian 1.5mm Mechanical Gel Eyeliner
Hourglass Obsidian 1.5mm Mechanical Gel Eyeliner

Hourglass Obsidian 1.5mm Mechanical Gel Eyeliner
Hourglass Obsidian 1.5mm Mechanical Gel Eyeliner

We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!
We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

87 Comments

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Way too expensive for underwhelming performance (and you aren’t the only blogger with wear issues)

Let us know if you do the line test. I’m curious!

I probably will… just need to find a day where I’m not swatching (liner is harder to remove!) and can go to town… I have the three-pack and since it doesn’t wear well on me, might as well!

That is one fine line. I think one use probably constitutes both eyes and upper lash line (like a standard winged liner look?)
You should draw twenty pairs of winged lines and see how it fares, haha.

Ha ha “in the name of saving humanity some money” rather! lol! thats an abyssmal amount! I didn’t realise it was so little! people have been reading about it left right and centre without so much as ax mention of the fact that you get such little product!

On the initial post, I think a lot of readers were concerned about the 17-20 uses number. I was more surprised that it was really 0.002 vs. 0.01 (because that I expected!).

That’s too bad it didn’t perform well for you. Do you have watery eyes or oily lids? Any idea why it might have transferred? I’m always scared of trying new eyeliners – they can be so problematic LOL! But I still might have to give this one a try, if for no other reason than just to try out that precise applicator.

I have normal-to-dry lids, and my eyes aren’t watery. I probably have drier eyes (well, as in eyeballs) than anything else, except on the occasional when allergies act up (but that’s pretty rare).

I’ve been using the same automatic black pencil from Physicians Formula for ages…it’s one of those things I stuck in my daily makeup bag, and use at least a couple times a week. Just on the top lid, though, anything I put on the bottom either smudges to ugliness or disappears entirely. It’s a normal, .01oz sized one.

I imagine it will just surprise me one day and be gone, it’s harder to notice what you’re using when you’re not literally sharpening the pencil away.

It’s very true! I imagine when you finish a mechanical eyeliner, it’s like, “Wait, what! NOOO!” since it kind of comes without warning!

I had a Smashbox Mechanical eyeliner, with a sharpener in the lid, so it was always sharpe as everytime you put the lid on it got sharpened. I can say that it didn’t last very long, and just as you said, all of a sudden, it’s just gone, done, finished.

You have to buy those pencils from PF in trios, so I actually have a second black from another trio (purchased for its other two shades, naturally), so perhaps I should dig it up and inform it that it’s on standby for when the other one’s gone…

Wow. For $16 for a pencil that can get only so many usage. It’s not even that black to begin with. I can get a richer black with my Jordana $4 eyeliner. I like how teeny it is because you get more precise lining.
I wonder if a lot of companies will be following the “gel in a pencil form” trend. Especially since Benefit came out with their Push up Liner and now Hourglass with this.

So I think the bandwagon will only get bigger! Thanks for letting me know πŸ™‚ maybe I’ll look into that. Might get more usage.

Oh, and I think Bobbi Brown also had some… I think they released a few months ago. Perfectly Defined Gel Eyeliner. So yeah, I think we will be seeing a LOT of them over the next six months!

I’ve been using the Scotch and Steel Grey of BB Gel Eyeliners — very nice! Even in summer when my oily lids and watery water line are more so of each problem!

The BB gel (pot) eyeliners I owned dried out so I can’t compare them with those but I can say they are creamy and do last.

I can compare them with the Chanel Stylo (automatic eyeliner) in similar shades and they are very similar in quality and performance. Chanel has the edge with a better (more complex) color, but Chanel always does!

I do intend to buy new BB gel (pot) eyeliners since they have probably been reformulated. What hasn’t been in the past year or so?!

I had the same thought as you- that I wondered how the number of uses you get out of this pencil compares to others. I’ve never counted, but I’m thinking that Hourglass are probably about par for the course. That said, I have enough problems with liners smearing on me as it is. I don’t need to invest in another one.

Yeah, I used to use MAC Graphblack almost daily and it was my only eyeliner (I used it only on the lower lash line, though) – I don’t remember having to replace it every month or anything. But I also didn’t track it, so who knows!

You know, in the name of science, I can speak as an engineering tech writer who likes precision too in eye liners and mechanical pencils! But this thing looks like a gross rip-off.

The precision is awesome. I could see it being amazing for getting between the lashes, especially on the upper lash line.

It sounds like you had a really hard time with these lol. I hate when eyeliners smudge on my lower lash line! It just looks a mess. I like that the tip is very fine but it seems like it’s only upper lid friendly

If it worked better on me, it’s something I would use between lashes, but it might be worth it for someone to practice more with traditional gel eyeliner/liquid eyeliner if they wanted thicker/winged out eyeliner.

I’m with you Christine. I returned my to Sephora today. Was so disappointed. I put it on at 7:00 am, by 11:00 am, I looked like a panda. Not a good look.

I was really surprised, because Hourglass is such an edited brand, most of their products are really, really good, you know? Sorry to hear you had a similar experience, Jaimee – glad you could return!

Thank you for your (always) honest review!!! I was really tempted until now. The nano-quantity that we get for the price I would have overlooked but the wear is definitely a deal breaker. Even UD’s Perversion smudges on me by the end of the day (granted, much less than others), so this would have been entirely insulting as a consumer. Just need to look for a better pencil sharpener then.

Would you know of any pencil sharpeners that provide the sharpest point? *Everything* I see is dull. MAC’s pencils have a nice sharp point when you first use them, but their own sharpener does not allow you to maintain it. (I’m considering of filing down the plastic inside to make the angle shallower, but it seems a little ridiculous for a 4$ tool).

You might like Smashbox’s Always Sharp eyeliners — and if you have access to Annabelle cosmetics, reader Ryou mentioned they had Always Sharp ones, too. But basically they sharpen to a finer tip that mechanical eyeliners usually have when you first get them. I have Smashbox’s, and the sharpening aspect definitely works. I think you may run through these types a bit faster than regular mechanicals and faster than most pencils, but it might be worth checking out.

I have an amazing little one from L’OrΓ©al I picked up on a whim 7-8 years ago, and it *still* works like a charm! I don’t know if it’s still available to buy, but it’s definitely worth looking for.

Ooh! I shall search for that Smashbox thing. And since I’m in Canada, Annabelle is pretty much everywhere. (It’s such a fantastic company. Marcelle, which is also a Canadian drugstore brand, is really good as well).

Okay. $7500.00 per oz when you buy the 3-pack, and the new Louboutin nail polish is $125.00 per oz. The nail polish price tag isn’t looking so bad now, is it? Not to mention it lasts longer!!!

I’m glad I held off until your review! My only real “need” for this liner is how small and precise it is, but I’m honestly not thrilled by the idea of using several different liners to achieve a detail-work look, especially for the value vs. quantity. I’ll stick to my UD liquid liners and tiny liner brushes.

True enough! The question is really… well, will anyone notice if you’ve used this for the absolute most precise upper lash line liner vs. what you’re able to accomplish with your regular eyeliner? You know, from a normal viewing distance? For editorial, you might be able to see it in a close-up, but every day, I don’t know. People seem to be able to tightline quite nicely with what is existing.

So surprised at the poor quality of this Hourglass product. I’ll definitely pass and stick to YSL gel liner which is still amazeballs to me.

Stand back! We’re going to try SCIENCE! πŸ˜€ I definitely think you should try that experiment!

I absolutely love the idea of this liner (as a mechanical pencil lover), but it’s a shame that the performance is so variable. I think it would be great (given the number of uses) if they’d bump the price down a bit, because even if the packaging is complicated, we all know that the RRP of an item is generally significantly in excess of what it actually costs to get it out there (marketing included).

One thing I think would be nice (at least) is if the three-pack were to contain three different colours (say, black, brown and ‘colour’ like blue or green or bronze or something). That way if you’re going to buy the three, you at least get some variety? Assuming it doesn’t smudge on you, of course! πŸ˜‰

Maybe they’ll do a multi-colored pack later on! I mean, I wish it worked for me, but hopefully it works on more people rather than less. Assuming they have success with the formula, they’d probably bring out at least a few other basic shades (brown, navy blue, etc.). A beige/brightening shade might be nice, since it fits the water line well.

I think it also depend on your eye lids. Some totally loving this and some don’t. Karen from make and beauty blog totally dig this. The price is definitely high.. I’m sure some love this. Thanks for your review. I would want to give it a try πŸ™‚

I wore it on the lower lash line, though I have normal-to-dry skin (including on my eye lids), so I don’t usually have too much trouble with eyeliners. Hopefully it works better for you, Tasha!

Oh no I’m kind of really sad to hear this did so poorly on you. I’ve been skipping the liquid liner for a month or so and sticking to just tight lining my upper lash line since it takes less time in the morning for me. I was excited about a really thin, precise line with this. Oh well I guess I’ll stick to my Milani liner

What is the tip of this? Is it sponge or like a flat felt-tipped marker or what? It looks so blunt that it is seems it would be very hard to do a fine line or get right into the base of the lashes for tightlining. I must really be misunderstanding how this works (when you think that most of us like a pencil with a fine, sharp tip and when they get flat and blunt, that’s when we sharpen them).

It is like your normal, twist-up mechanical eyeliner – only teeny, tiny in width, so it is just a very thin cylinder of eyeliner tucked inside a plastic container, so the tip you see in the picture is the eyeliner itself. It’s basically the size of my water line, so I was able to get right between the lashes without going outside of them. I do find that the edges round out as I used the eyeliner, since I apply it more at an angle than perfectly flat against the lash line, though.

You could always just measure the eyeliners you have to see if they’re 1.5mm in diameter!

Oh no Christine!! I just BOUGHT this an hour ago! I bought this for a quick tightline. I’m gonna hit the bars tonight and i WAS gonna try it on tonight. I’m scared!! Can’t afford to have my eyeliner everywhere but my eyes in WEST HOLLLYWOOD!!!!! OH THE HORROR!!!!!!

tarte did a pencil this size a few years back, and I was sooo excited to try it, but it was so stiff & dry, and zero color payoff. When I learned Hourglass was doing a gel version, I had high hopes. I may still add this to my Sephora basket, just to try it since I can just buy a single for $16, which is much more palatable than $45 (besides, I wouldn’t want to be stuck with the 2 extras if it didn’t work out!).

Most products that work well for most (UD 24/7 liners) usually don’t work for me, but those that fail on others (NARS LTL pencils) are wonderful for me. Maybe this is another one of those products, LOL!

Ouch! This definitely sounds like the consistency, texture, feel, payoff, etc. are all better than what you experienced with Tarte, and hey, you and I usually are opposite for wear… so it may work out for you!

On usage: I’d estimate a 0.01 oz liner gives 70 uses.

I used Revlon colorstay stick liner 0.01 oz for several years.
I wear it about every work day, and only line my upper lash line.
I replaced it every 3-4 months. So, let’s say one stick for 3.5 months and I wear it five days a week.

***That means 70 uses (both eyes, just upper lash line) from one 0.01 oz pencil, in my experience.***

Now I use fluidline 0.10 oz. It’s been a year and a half, and I’m still not out. That’s more than 390 uses and counting!

Only 0.002 ounces?? It might work on somebody like me, who only wears eyeliner occasionally, but for someone for whom eyeliner is a daily look, it’s worthless. The wear also makes it a no-buy for me – even gel liner won’t last on my waterline!

I know what you mean about mechanical eyeliners! I just used up my MAC Eye Brows in Lingering, which I’ve had for about 3-4 months. I think it’s the first mechanical eyeliner I’ve ever completely finished – I tend to avoid them. I purchased another one, but I have a feeling it will be the last one, unless I CANNOT find a dupe for the shade, which is perfect on me. I genuinely feel I wouldn’t go through a normal pencil so quickly.

I just looked back through my comments thinking “Surely I mentioned buying it in a Free for Haul Friday” and AHAH! I posted on May 16th about buying it! So that’s about 11-12 weeks of not quite daily usage (I skip makeup somewhat regularly). Yup, I’ll be looking elsewhere for a dupe!

Ouch ouch! I’m so sorry to hear this doesn’t wear well on you at all! I’ve been playing with it for a week, and I am absolutely over the moon about the formula! It even stays on my lower WATERLINE for a couple of hours (which absolutely no other formula has been able to do), and for the rest I can easily get 11-12 hours of perfect wear time out of it. I also love how easy it is to get this on my upper waterline and between my lashes.

I won’t pretend I can use this as my go-to liner simply because of the price. Hourglass says 2 clicks for each session, but with the amount of eyeliner I usually wear, it’s 4 clicks or more. Still. When I travel this will be what I pack with me!

Pity it didn’t wear well. It was a very clean, sharp, nice line you did with it.
I’m not going to buy it, I like to use potted gel liners and a super fine brush.

I kind of feel like you’re better off learning regular gel eyeliner (more reliable formulas, and you’ll get so much more for your money).

It’s always frustrating when a product is either “amazing” or “horrible” – because then you won’t know until you try!

I think i was really excited for a min because i like the idea of a gel in a pencil form, but for my waterline. I use the MJ liner that way and the only time it ever bothers me is when i have allergies or my eyes get dry. I just disinfect it every now and then since you aren’t sharpening them. But the HG is so small for the $ and i don’t think anything can surpass my inglot gel lol. I need that in a pencil form for my waterline and then id be set. I tried the Bobbi ver and it wasn’t black at all, several swipes and it wasn’t even nor would it stay on my waterline.

I’m still running through my 100pt perks so i haven’t purchased it yet. but i i remember checking the sz. against UD liners (.04oz for $20) and thinking the MJ was more. but its really .01oz for $25? (tho other sites like sephora say .1oz)… my mini is .013oz tho? so i don’t get that lol. How can my mini be the same.
anyways that just makes me think how really small the HG really is, and so far just using it for my waterline ive had it well over 6mons.

It’s so backwards, then i got curious and emailed them since there’s a discrepancy between sephora and their website & how can my mini be a FS. and they answered both sizes lol. Anyways hahah just seeing the smallest sz possible, i can safely pass on the hg.

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