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27 Mar 2012

Gel & Liquid Eyeliners. The good, the bad and the downright awful.


Big in Japan: eyeliner flicks...
I love love love love love love love eyeliner.  Smudged, clean, flicked, double, single, coloured, frosted, matte, liquid, gel, cream, powder, cake... I just love it.  I think it really finished off a look, and draws attention to your eyes, which is never a bad thing.

There are many ways to create the "dreaded" eyeliner flick.  There are many products to create the eyeliner flick.  There are many many people truly afraid of the eyeliner flick.  Back in the day it was the one thing that used to freak me out, but practice makes perfect and I have long mastered it.  There's nothing nicer, in my opinion, than a clean eye, a hint of a cut-crease, a blacker-than-black gel liner flick, and a red lip.  Yum.

Anyhow, gel (or cream) eyeliner is probably the easiest way of creating a flick when you're in a rush, or starting out as an absolute beginner - you can use a standard eyeliner brush or an angled brush with gel/cream, whatever floats your boat.  Obviously, eyeliner cake (a dense powder that you mix with either water or a mixing medium), liquid and pen-type eyeliners are also up for consideration, but we're just looking at gel liners here.  So here are the votes of the Irish jury...

The Good
The Good... MAC, Clinique, Bobbi Brown and YSL 

BUY ME, BUY ME NOW!  MAC Acrylic Paint
OK I'm cheating.  This is technically neither eyeliner nor gel.  What it is, however, is nothing short of amazing.  Once you have the hang of eyeliner, you'll love this.  It comes in a rather large pot, is very liquid and needs to be shaken before used.  It may be (as far as I know) a Pro product, so it might be a non-runner.  But so far it hasn't dried out on me, it's going to last forever and a day, the colours are really pigmented and opaque, and Black Black is a really shiny extremely opaque black.  Me likey.  A lot.

OR ME!  Clinique Brush-on Cream Liner
A cream/gel liner hybrid.  This is wonderful; the black one is truly a matte black.  It's creamy enough that it doesn't drip, and it doesn't drag or pull.  It also doesn't dry out.  Ever.  It lasts without fading too much.  I've yet to find someone who is sensitive to it... The number one, daddy-of-'em-all, in terms of gel liners.

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner
These are a reasonably close second place, although not quite as creamy or "fluid", to the Clinique offering, but after time (in fairness, a reasonable amount of time) they can dry out a bit.  They can come in a lot of different colours and finishes which can be nice too.

Yves Saint Laurent Effet Faux Cils Cream Eyeliner
Yum.  Aside from the fact that you've lost the will to live by the time you've asked for it at the counter (coz the name is so ridiculously long, gettit), this is quite good.  It's not as creamy as the first two, but definitely lovely - these are lovely and opaque and despite not being quite as creamy as either Clinique or Bobbi Brown, they apply like a dream.


The Bad
Probably "The Not-So-Good-But-They'd-Do" might be fairer...
OK, the "bad" label is probably a little unfair... but these are gel liners that are just about ok but don't make the grade, for one reason or the other...

DON'T BOTHER...  MAC Fluidline Gel Liners
They are actually a great liner, but they dry up in no time.  I don't bother with them anymore.

Avon Supershock Gel Liner (pot)
I've already reviewed these here.  They're not particularly great.  They're not bad, they're not good.  Skip.

Michael Todd Gel Liner
Nope.  They're nice, creamy, apply reasonably well, but take an age to dry, not nearly opaque enough and don't last particularly.  Some of the Michael Todd stuff is nice, but these aren't something I'd necessarily reach for in a hurry...


The Ugly

I'm not even going to qualify these with an image.  Stay away, don't waste your money (like I did)!!!

GRRRRR!  Maybelline, Gosh, Catrice, Essence
All drugstore liners, all purchased in the interest of review, and I'm am sorry to report that (in my opinion) I think they're rubbish.  They pull and drag, they're not creamy, they dry up in no time.  Better off spending money on something that works, works well, works every time, works for a long time, lasts, and did I mention works?

Elizabeth Arden Color Intrigue Gel Eyeliner
Bloody awful.  Sorry for swearing, but this is just dreadful.  Dry, flaky, difficult to use, difficult to move, not creamy, and dries even further in no time.  Yuck yuck yuck.  Don't bother.


Tips for working with gel/cream eyeliner

Pure and simple, these will dry up.  To prolong their life, open one up, scoop some out onto the back of your hand, put the cap back on,and work from your hand.  Or, just turn the pot upside down when you're using it.

If your liner has gone down the route of drying up a bit, you'll find that a drier liner can be used more easily with a dense angled eyeliner than with a standard eyeliner brush (click here for some of my eyeliner brush recommendations). But for a standard brush, you're going to need something reasonably creamy and/or fluid, in order to get a clean, neat line.


How to fix dried-up gel eyeliner

It will dry up... when that happens, you can either:
  1. Warm it up (on a radiator, using a hairdryer...) before use - this can be enough to make it a little more moveable.  Failing that...
  2. Make Up Forever do a great product called Eye Seal that can be used very effectively to help rejuvenate dried up eyeliner or cream eyeshadows (like Makeup Forever Flash/Aqua Creams, MAC Paint Pots, etc).  Alternatively, you can just add some of The Makeup Store Mixing Liquid , or MAC Eyeliner Mixing Medium, or Inglot Duraline... Mix a tiny amount in with the gel liner, it usually is enough to bring it back to life for another while...

Tricks and tips for doing an eyeliner flick...

See this link!

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