Quest for the Perfect Pencil Eyeliner Part II: Mid-range Western Brands

February 2, 2014

Pffft…what a long-winded title this is! If you followed Part I (read here) of my never-ending quest for the perfect pencil eyeliner, you’d know of my unhealthy obsession with a couple of profanely expensive pencils, i.e. By Terry Crayon Kohl Terrybly and THREE Flash Performance pencil eyeliners.  Those had some amazing creamier-than-cream textures, and drop-dead-gorgeous color intensity and sparkles!  But I’m not convinced they fulfill my most basic need for hither-may-come bulletproof longevity on my oily, heavily-hooded, hidden double folded lids.  For the well-being of my wallet, I continued my explorations in the world of mid-priced beauty brands.  To keep this post from becoming too unwieldy, I have decided to split my mid-ranged findings according to brand origin – Western vs. Asian.

Some mid-range pencil liners

Clinique Quickliner for Eyes Intense

Clinique Quickliner for Eyes Intense has a swivel-up design similar to Chanel Stylo Yeux, but it is not as well designed as Chanel’s, made to only swivel up and not back down.  The opposite end is a sponge smudge-tip, unfortunately the one that I have was part of a special bundle set and is a slimmer design so I’m unable to show you.  Unlike the Chanel, there is no built-in sharpener at the end, and much as I dislike those tiny things, the inability to sharpen disturbs me more than the presence of a redundant smudge-tool.

Clinique Quickliner for Eyes Intense

Notwithstanding the flawed packaging, the liner itself is incredibly pigmented and gives an intense look that can parallel By Terry’s Terrybly.  The texture is nowhere as smooth and creamy, still tugs and skips somewhat, but certainly surpasses Chanel.  And once set, it stays on my waterline pretty well for most part of my day.

Clinique Quickliner for Eyes Intense is easily accessible at all Clinique counters, and retails for an affordable USD16.  There are a variety of shades available, including some lovely metallic sparkly ones!  Musings of a Muse has some swatches and pictures of the smudge-tip.

Tarte Skinny SmolderEyes

Powered by Amazonian clay, Tarte’s Skinny SmolderEyes promises to nourish lids while reducing surface oil for better wear.  It is a traditional pencil format with a sponge smudge-tip at the opposite end.  Again, the ones that I have are part of the last Holiday special bundled set and do not come with the smudge-tool.

Tarte Skinny SmolderEyes

Personally, I found Tarte’s pencils to be slightly softer than Clinique’s, and equally intensely pigmented.  More importantly, I have had quite a bit of success wearing this on my upper lids as long as I keep as close to my natural lash line as possible.  On my lower waterline, it lasts through most of the day with minimal wearing off.

Tarte Skinny SmolderEyes are available at Sephora and priced at USD19, but there are often bundled sets at great values.  Similar to Clinique, there are some lovely metallic and iridescent shades available too.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencil

These Urban Decay pencils have been around forever, and one of the first pencils I picked up in recent memory that promises to be waterproof and budge-proof.  They must be good, given the number of awards they have “won”, and spawned a whole family of lush colors.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencil

When I first picked this up, I remember this being the only thing that had a decent shot at staying for any measure of time on my waterline.  Of course, since then, there have been many more new pencils introduced, and this seems dated comparatively.  It is still smooth, but I can’t say if it is smoother than Tarte.  Neither is it as long-lasting nor as pigmented as  Tarte and Clinique.  The only real plus, is the wide range of colors, including silver and neons.

Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencil is priced at USD19 each and available at Sephora.

Pixi Endless Silky Eye Pen

Pixi is a budget-friendly makeup line from the UK that produces some lovely eye color.  It also has a tie-up with mass retailer Target in the US, so is easily accessible in most parts of the world.

These Endless Silky Eye Pens glide on smoothly, certainly the smoothest out of the handful presented here.  Unfortunately, the intensity is nowhere close to either Tarte or Clinique.  However, that may not be a fair comparison as the one that I have is not black, instead it is a shimmery purple shade from the special Holiday 2013 release.

Pixi Endless Silky Iridescent Iris Eye Pen

Made in Germany, Pixi’s pencils have been touted to be dupes for THREE Flash Performance Eye Pencils which are easily double the cost.  Personally, I think you get what you pay for, and whilst Iridescent Iris had some amazing glitters and goes on creamy, it doesn’t last at all on either my lash line or waterline.  And the lack of color intensity made it better suited as an eyeshadow base than as a liner.


I am hesitant to show swatches because clearly I don’t make it a point to collect only black liners, and based on my experience from Part I of this series, people tend to gravitate towards sparkly shades or certain colors, completely disregarding my commentary on textures and longevity, etc.  However, in this particular case, I happened to have 3 black liners, and the only exception being the Pixi liner; and I happen to think the swatches do prove at least 2 points.  The first being that the color intensity of the Tarte & Clinique pencils are truly the best of the best.  Second, if crisp lines are your thing, then Tarte is the way to go.  In terms of longevity too, Tarte outperforms Clinique.  And lastly, of course… the sparkles of Pixi Iridescent Iris!

Both Tarte & Clinique are equally pigmented, with Urban Decay & Pixi being the lesser in intensity. However, you can notice some slight feathering around the edges of the Clinique swatch, whilst Tarte remains quite crisp. The shimmers of the Pixi are quite lovely but they need to be layered on for the color to show. Interestingly, even after most of the color has worn off on my lids, some of the sparkles still remain.

Both Tarte & Clinique are equally pigmented, with Urban Decay & Pixi being the lesser in intensity. However, you can notice some slight feathering around the edges of the Clinique swatch, whilst Tarte remains quite crisp. The shimmers of the Pixi are quite lovely but they need to be layered on for the color to show. Interestingly, even after most of the color has worn off on my lids, some of the sparkles still remain.


0 responses to “Quest for the Perfect Pencil Eyeliner Part II: Mid-range Western Brands”

  1. i haven’t tried the pixi but i didn’t really like the others much. :/ the clinique was so smudgy and the tarte managed to migrate to my undereyes. I think the UD comes in a more black shade too. The tarte/UD irritate my eyes when i put them near my waterline :/ Anyway, I think this means I need to try the THREE liners 🙂

    • silverkis says:

      Oh dear, sad to hear both the Clinique & Tarte smudge on you! Was that when used on your lower lash line or upper? They didn’t stay put on my upper either. And yes, it seems Tarte irritates quite a number of people’s waterline. You should check out By Terry since it is easily accessible in the US, and cheaper for you than buying THREE off the Internet!

      Or wait for my Asian liner posts….! There are a couple that I like better than Clinique & Tarte in terms of staying power and non-irritating.

  2. pearlessence says:

    UD pencils definitely don’t stay long on me, but neither did the Tarte Amazonian clay cream liner. I’m not sure that the pencil would stay any longer!

  3. Sunny says:

    I’ve tried the first three but not the Pixi one! Zero lasts well on my lash line, but not really my waterline. While Clinique and Tarte have superb lasting power, both formulas irritate my eyes to no end so I can’t use either on my waterline! I’ve tried a couple of Pixi eyeliners, and I do love how long-lasting the formula is! The shades I’ve tried contain shimmer, so I never attempted to use them on my waterline.

    • silverkis says:

      Oh I can imagine how Clinique & Tarte may irritate sensitive eyes… they aren’t the most comfortable to wear. But have you encountered any that works on your waterline? I’d love to try as well….

      You’re so blessed Pixi lasts on you… they just disappear within minutes on me!

      • Sunny says:

        Hey girly, unfortunately NO! Eyeliners either disappear from my waterline within 5 minutes, or they last but irritate my eyes badly. I have pretty much given up!

        Pixi actually has amazing lasting power on my lash line! Better than UD to be honest. It’s a shame that it doesn’t work for you!

  4. Shari says:

    I will keep an eye out for the Tarte liner – it is amazing that you’ve found a mid-range eyeliner that stays on your waterline!! I will be hunting it down soon. Enjoyed this post, Linda!

  5. Lena L says:

    Thanks for the comparisons.
    I have the Tarte liner and honestly haven’t really paid much attention only because it is so intense!
    If it lasts on your lower waterline, I will try it again as well! 🙂

    • silverkis says:

      Hi Lena, thanks for stopping by! The intensity of the Tarte liner does make it somewhat harder to work with i think… need to be super light handed! But it does last… for half of my day if not longer. It doesn’t smudge though, just sort of gets “eaten up” by my watery eyes. So you can just touch up!

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