For the longest time, liquid eye liners have been my daily essential. If ever caught in a rush, I can go without eye makeup, but black eye liners are a must for making my eyes pop and give the illusion of fuller lashes! Of course I have my personal fav, but from time to time, I like to try something new… However, i’m a creature of habit (or perhaps as I mature *erhmm*, i just take longer to adjust to something new) and often find myself going back to the same old liner. After my long bout of experimentation with pencil liners (start reading here), I decided to start playing around more seriously with liquid liners.
My criteria for a good liquid liner are quite simple really… they have to be idiot proof (think blurry eyed mornings & pre-caffeine shakey hands!), and last all day on my oily, hooded lids. I took a couple of popular new releases for a test run, and compared them with some of my well-loved drugstore liners. As with pencil liners, I don’t believe branded is necessarily the best!
Marc Jacobs Magic Marc’er Precision Pen in Blacquer
Aaahh… this is probably the Mont Blanc of liquid eye liners. Just look at that shiny, sexy black lacquer all over, with the reflective point on the cap. It’s fatter than most eye liners / pencils, and has some heft to it, so it feels great in the hands. This is a felt-tipped pen type liquid liner, and the tip starts out fatter than most of the others being compared here, and narrows down to a decently fine tip.
Out of all the black eye liners I have ever used in my life, this is certainly the blackest, and glossiest. Blacquer, Marc Jacobs calls it, and I get it. And I really wanted to love it. But for some reason, I had problems with the capillary action of this pen. I tried 2 different ones just to be sure, and neither flowed as smoothly as I’d like. Also, whilst the tip is firm without being too stiff, the fine tip splays out and wobbles so it is difficult to create fine lines. If you are looking to create thicker, more dramatic looks, this would definitely fit the bill, but for my tiny eyes I need precision. I found the best way for me to use this is to first draw with a pencil and then fill in with this Magic Marc’er. Even then, I needed to clean up the flick. Too much work for daily use!!
Though lots of people have had great experiences with this staying all day, I found it rubs off. Again, I have peculiarly hooded lids where the fold is so tiny when my eyes are fully open I look like I’ve got monolids instead of double lids (an Asian phenomenon). So, I speak for the minority. But this is the very reason I favor liquid liners over pencils, and there are definitely some that work!
Marc Jacobs Magic Marc’er retails for SGD39 (USD30), which is certainly on the upper range for liquid liners.
Lancome Artliner 24H Bold Colour Precision Eyeliner
Last year marked the 20th anniversary of Lancome’s Artliner, and to commemorate the occasion, the Artliner was redesigned and relaunched in a variety of colors. They didn’t arrive until last month in Singapore, and only 6 colors are sold here exclusively at Sephora.
The Artliner is a felt tipped wand that is dipped in ink. I never tried the original version, but based on online reviews, the new tip seems shorter and stiffer. Personally, I found the tip to be the stiffest of all the liquid liners I have ever tried in my life. I can’t even call it a brush, because there is simply no flex at all, feels more like a painter’s chisel. It works if you desire a high degree of control, and allows for precise lines. But I found it hard to get a well tapered flick as the tip isn’t particularly fine, more like a rounded off stump at the end. And it dragged on my lids (i’m extremely sensitive), and always gave me the fear of poking my eyeballs.
On the other hand, they come in some really amazing colors, some packed with glitters too!! I have some swatches below, intentionally taken slightly blurred to show up those iridescent glitters!
I had some problems with the formula for Amethyst. As you can see, it tended to be somewhat watery and thin in places. But I am very fond of Emerald which I use as a black alternative sometimes, Jade and Gold are both gorgeous too. The stiffness does make this one ideal for creating that double liner look that is so on trend at the moment. They also last all day, yes even on my crazy lids, no rubbing off! Great for playing!
Lancome Artliner 24H Bold Colour Precision Eyeliner retails for SGD30 each, and is exclusive to Sephora in Singapore.
Majolica Majorca Perfect Automatic Eyeliner
Majolica Majorca is a Japanese drugstore brand under the Shiseido family, and this is the star of the line – the Majolica Majorca Perfect Automatic eyeliner! I have been using this for the last 5 years, maybe longer, so you know I am terribly biased. It is a calligraphy brush type of pen liner, and the ink is dispensed via a click-twist mechanism.
The reason this has stayed with me all these years is because it doesn’t smudge nor rub off… ever. The brush tip is the perfect size and has the perfect flex to enable me to draw my lines half-drunk, half-awake, on the bus, whatever. Having said that, I’ve had 5 years’ practice with this one, so there’s that…
The only issue I’ve had is it takes a little bit to dry completely, so hold your blinks! And because the cap fits the brush tip so snugly, from time to time, I’ll ruin the bristles by smushing the cap down too hard. And it takes like a thousand twists to get the ink to the tip the very first time. It also gets a little messy after awhile… time for a design overhaul, Majolica! But a lovely brush tip and formula nonetheless. Oh and in case you think colored liquid liners are a Western invention, Majolica has been selling these liners in 7 different shades for years!!
Majolica Majorca Perfect Automatic Liner retails for SGD20.90 (approx. USD16), which is upper range drugstore pricing but lasts a long time.
NYX Glam Liner Aqua Luxe
The NYX Glam Liner Aqua Luxe was an accidental find during one of my bored sojourns in Sephora, and has dethroned Majolica as the reigning HG for the past year. This is an ultra-fine calligraphy brush tip that is dipped in ink. It has the same flex as Majolica without being too floppy, and allows me to draw ultra fine lines super close to my natural lash line for that natural but fuller-lash look! I also never had any problems with ruining my brush bristles *yay*. Perhaps the line is so fine, I hadn’t encountered any problems with the ink not drying quickly too.
The packaging is not the best… after using it for awhile, the printed letterings fall off… but at SGD9.90 (USD5.50) each, I really can’t bring myself to complain. It also comes in 9 varying hues with glittahs, so it’s affordable and user-friendly fun! Naturally, these last me all day… no problems at all.
Star Lash Perfect Touch Eyeliner
Star Lash is another Asian drugstore brand that started out designing really beautiful and accessible faux lashes with Asian eye shapes in mind. This Perfect Touch Eyeliner is a new addition to their collection, and ever since I received it, has become my latest fave!
It is a felt-tipped pen, similar to Marc Jacob’s Magic Marc’er, but much finer and has more flex, i.e. not as stiff. At the same time the fine tip does not splay out making it possible for me to get right inside the inner corner of my eye and get an ultra thin line if I wish. I found it much easier than the Magic Marc’er to lay down a line as I can swish from the very tip for my inner corners, and then sideways for the length of my lash line, finishing with a fine flick at the end.
There is a shaker ball inside, so I usually give the pen a good shake before using, and I’ve never had any problems with the flow. It also lasts perfectly throughout my day without any fading or rubbing off! If felt-tipped pens are your thing, this is definitely the best I have ever used!
Star Lash Perfect Touch Eyeliner is priced at SGD18.90 (approx. USD14.50), which is a good mid-range pricing for a drugstore brand.
As with pencil eye liners, I think that some of the best can be found in Asian drugstores… and this is one area of my makeup arsenal where I don’t believe branded is necessarily better. Of course, for every Asian drugstore liquid liner that made it here, there were 10 or more that I hated. Sometime ago, I wanted to do a comparison of some Asian liquid liners, but they were all bad, so I binned the idea. This time round, I thought it might be interesting to compare and contrast a couple of recent popular branded ones, with some drugstore ones just to illustrate my personal beliefs and experiences. I hope it has been an enlightening read, and do share your fave or experiences!