5 Jan 2012

Recommended Makeup Brands - Eye Products

Part three of a series of five posts on recommended items (as requested by Makeup Bootclass students).  See here for the first in the series.  This post covers "eye" items (ie primer, powder and cream shadows, gel and pencil liners, mascara, brow products).

These product recommendations are listed here.

Recommended Eye Products

Eye Primer

For oily lids, you will definitely need a primer if you want your eyeshadow to last.  That said, despite personally trying out primers (from Clarins, Clinique, NARS, MAC, Urban Decay, Makeup Forever, Too Faced, Pixi, Lime Crime, to name just a few!), my eyeshadow (on my extremely oily lids) will invariably eventually move and crease as the day wears on.  An eyelid primer however, will help your powder colours to "pop" that little bit more, and will help them to last a bit longer.  Just remember that a little goes a long way, and for coloured primers (eg MAC Paint Pots and Makeup Forever Aqua Creams), build them up gradually).  A nude primer will also even-out the skin-tone on your lid, if you don't want to wear shadow.
  • LIDSUrban Decay Primer Potion and Too Faced Shadow Insurance  The universally accepted, industry-standard, do-what-they-say, standard eyelid primers.  Nothing to get terribly excited about.  Urban Decay have a few colours now, in addition to their nude Primer Potion, however most of them are frosted finish, and this might not be desirable
  • LIDSMAC Paint Pots  eg NubileSoft OchrePainterly - these are brilliant matte nude shades and work really well as eye primers
  • UNDER-EYEMAC Fast Response Eye Cream  A brilliant under-eye primer for minimising the appearance of puffiness and dark circles.  I use it over my eye cream, under my corrector and concealer, and it really helps to camouflage my dark circles


There are far too many eyeshadows to recommend specific colour names here.  I am going to instead just mention a few brands that I use on a regular basis (for recommendations on black eyeshadow, specifically, see here).
  • Sleek  Brilliantly pigmented powder shadows that apply well and last well.  Mainly shimmery, but there are some matte colours available also.  Eyeshadows come in palettes of twelve pans and are around the €9 mark in Ireland.  Mainly only available online but highly recommended [EDIT: one of the hair/beauty shops on Moore Street in Dublin stocks some older Sleek items]
  • Stars Makeup Haven  Very inexpensive individual powder shadows, highly pigmented, long lasting, great in terms of application and wear.  Only available online, but the pans are the same size as the MAC shadows and I recommend most of them above MAC eyeshadows
  • Makeup Forever  In particular their matte powder shades are finely milled and brilliantly pigmented, plus you get a much larger pan so they last longer, but they're not cheap
  • MAC  Some of the MAC powder eyeshadows are brilliant.  Some of them are awful.  I don't rate the frost finishes in general.  The Matte2 powders and the Pro Longwear powders are amazing
  • Mid-tone (matte) shades: MAC - in particular BrulĂ©CorkWedgeCharcoal BrownOmega - these are great for helping blend colours into the crease
  • MAC Paint Pots  Cream shadows, also see Primers, above.  Build these up in layers if you're using the coloured ones.  For the nude ones, a small swipe will do as an eyeshadow primer
  • Makeup Forever Aqua Creams  Cream shadows, waterproof, long lasting, beautiful range of colours (matte and shimmer), they do dry quickly though, so work with them as fast as you can
  • Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow/Liner  Cream shadows, similar to MAC Paint Pots but a little longer lasting.  Mostly shimmery shades
  • MUA Eyeshadow  Superdrug's extra-ordinarily cheap but brilliantly pigmented shadows.  They'll last a little longer with a primer underneath, but at about £4.50 for a twelve-colour palette, you really can't go far wrong.  Not quite as pigmented as Sleek, and mainly shimmer colours, but very highly recommended for a cheap brand

Gel Liner

I recommend Gel eyeliners over liquid eyeliners for beginners, as they're easier to use and easier to fix mistakes.  They can have a tendency to dry out however.  To avoid this, take out some of the liner with your (clean) brush and work from the back of your hand.  Either put the lid back on immediately, or just turn the pot upside down until you're finished working with it. 
  • Clinique Brush-on Cream Liner  Hands-down the best there is.  It lasts and lasts, is a true deep black, and never, ever, seems to dry out
  • Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner  Great if you want coloured options, can dry out if you're not careful with it

Kohl / Pencil Liners

There are so many to choose from, it's difficult to limit this to a few choices.  Honourable mentions go to Illamasqua Medium Pencils (for colours and application) and Catrice Kajal Designers Pencils (for colours and cheap cost).
  • Avon Supershock Gel Eyeliner Pencil  Far and away the best there is.  It goes on easily, doesn't pull or drag, lasts all day and then some, is cheap and is super-black - however it's only available through an Avon representative, and it's not always available either.  I recommend stocking up on a few if you're going to get one.  Occasionally they have different colours as LE offerings
  • Makeup Forever Aqua Eyes or Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencils  Close joint second.  They're long lasting, come in a range of colours and apply easily
  • Pixi Eye Bright Liner  Great flesh-toned pencil for lining the waterline, although it's not hugely long-lasting, it goes on great and is a good alternative to a white pencil, which can look harsh


There are probably thousands of mascara brands and colours and types and formulations available.  I found this one the hardest to narrow down, until I decided I had to limit my recommendations to a cheaper one, a more expensive one, a waterproof one... here you go:
  • EXPENSIVEGivenchy Phenomen' Eyes  The one with the strange wand, but it really is an amazing mascara
  • CHEAPER: Rimmel Sexy Curves  This is really black and never ever seems to dry out in the tube
  • WATERPROOFChanel Inimitable Waterproof  I don't like the wand (but this is personal preference).  The mascara is long lasting and non-drying/flake-proof for a waterproof mascara 
  • UNDER-EYEClinique Bottom Lash Mascara  For bottom lashes - has a tiny wand, is a complete gimmick but really a brilliant mascara for all that, especially if you have tiny lashes or you're not comfortable using a larger wand on lower lashes - it coats each and every one.
  • CLEARClarins Double Fix' Mascara  Clear mascara which is waterproof.  Use on its own or over your favourite mascara to make it waterproof
  • FIBRESDivaderme Lash Extender  This isn't a mascara;  it's fibres that you paint on top of your mascara.  Application is a little messy and you need to work quickly, but sandwich it between a mascara primer and your mascara to give an amazingly long and thick false-lash effect.  Only available online


Personally I prefer pencil products for brows, but powder is great for a softer finish.  You can use any pencil or (matte) eyeshadow but try to match it to the undertone of your hair; for a lot of people a more ashy-toned brow product will work best.  Also go slightly less dark than you think your brows are - even if you think they're black, using matte black to fill them in will just look odd.  If you use a kohl/kajal pencil be aware that it's going to move with touch or heat, so a pencil specifically formulated for brows is definitely a better option.  I have included a clear brow gel in my recommendations, but you don't need it - you can always just use a spritz of hair spray on a clean spoolie (ie mascara wand) to do the same trick, and then there's no need for an additional product.

  • Clinique Superfine Liner for Brows  Only a few shades, but applies easily and wears well
  • Illamasqua Eye Brow Cake  Probably the best powder brow product I've found, very finely milled and intense colour pay-off.  I recommend using Illamasqua's own angled brow (or eyeliner) brush to apply (see here for more information on these brushes)
  • Benefit Browzings  This contains a powder and a wax, you apply the powder first then the wax to set your brows, there are tiny brushes and tweezers included that you can use (I don't like them, I find them too small).  It's a great product but all of the colour ranges have quite a reddish undertone, so they don't suit me personally
  • Illamasqua Brow & Lash Gel  A clear brow gel, can be used to shape and set your brows either after you have used pencil/powder or on its own


These product recommendations are listed here.


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