Friday, January 10, 2014

Review: Yves Saint Laurent Effet Faux Cils Long-Wear Cream Eyeliner in Cherry Black

Things always seem like they come in waves. Recently I’ve had a wave of researching eyeliner again, after a year of contentment with my little gel liner collection. I recently picked up a jar of NARS Eye Paints, which I will review soon. I was also looking into Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Liners and Laura Mercier Crème Liners. I’ve heard good things about the consistency and lasting power of both, but neither have colors that are really appealing to me. The purples? YSL does it better.

The Yves Saint Laurent Effet Faux Cils Long-Wear Cream Eyeliner is a fittingly long name for a product with such nice packaging. As for the actual contents, it is a black base saturated with flecks of purple. The purple is red-leaning and the color lays down nicely. The texture is more gel than cream and is super easy to work with.

The staying power is as good as Bobbi Brown’s, if not better. Bobbi Brown can start to smudge into the bottom outer corners by the end of a long day, but YSL merely fades out. If the day is really long, then the line starts to blur and a little transfers to the top of my lid. But we’re talking upwards of 12 hours at that point.

I’ve had this product for about a year and I have noticed that it has dried out just a smidgen. I make it a habit of storing my eyeliners upside down. While the liner was softer and creamier when I first opened it, it is still easily usable now. It has infinitesimally more drag. But really, we’re nitpicking, and as you can see from the swatches which were done at point of opening, it didn't produce ultra clean edges to begin with.

Left to Right: Bobbi Brown Black Ink, YSL Effet Faux Cils Cherry Black

Conclusion: Will You Reach for It? This is often my gel liner of choice when I’m not reaching for Bobbi Brown Black Ink. It’s hard to mess up, it remains reliably long-lasting, and the color is how I like it – dark enough to be almost inconspicuous, but still purple enough to bring out brown eyes.

Nordstrom and the YSL website both carry all seven colors, though Nordstrom uses different names, calling this shade Black Burgundy. Sephora only carries four shades: this one, blue, bronze, and black. All of three locations price the liner at $28.

Review: Inglot Matte Collection AMC Gel Eyeliner in 74 (Dark Purple)

It’s almost impossible to be prepared enough to enter Inglot and be able to leave in any less than an hour, at least if you’re going for the first time. I had list going into the New York store last summer, and upon swatching a little of this and a little of that, I don’t even think I got more than 2 eyeshadows I had planned to get. In hindsight, abandoning my list may not have been an advisable decision because the quality of some of the shadows I got didn’t live up to the Inglot hype.

Out of the 9 items I bought from Inglot that day, this liner is definitely the item I use the most.

This product is rather unlike most other gel or cream eyeliners. It looks dry, but when you dip your brush in and gather some product, your brush picks up what resembles paint. Upon application, it dries down to a matte finish, and although it does not feel uncomfortable on the lid in any way, the texture makes this something that would flake off (as oppose to rub off) if you chipped at it.

The paint-like liquidity coupled with its ridiculous pigmentation means that your hand must be more steady and careful in application. It will go exactly where your brush touches. I often find that my line is thicker than usual when I use this eyeliner. It also stains ever so slightly, so if you use makeup remover to clean up edges like I do, the color doesn’t totally come off.

This consistency gives me the impression that it is messier than normal gel liners on oily lids. After a long day, some darkness transfers under the eye as well as above the eyes when you blink. There is also the flaking factor if you rub your eyes or even just attempt to rub smudges away. Bear in mind that eyeliners don’t last very long on me in general, so this level of performance is still nothing to complain about. If you don’t have a problem with oiliness, you will be impressed by how clean and sharp the lines remain throughout the day.

It is unfortunate that the liner cracks in such an unsightly way in the container, because it really has not affected the performance at all. I am a little skeptical of the container itself – I am not overwhelmed with confidence that it is airtight. I use a square of cling wrap to lay on the top of the eyeliner before I screw on the cap and this may or may not help to keep this product from drying out.

The color is really wonderful -- it is surprisingly difficult to find blue-leaning purples. The sharp, bold lines complement the days when you’re in the mood for a more dramatic look. Overall, this eyeliner is an up and up. It's $12 from Inglot stores or on their site for a gigantic 5.5g container-full.

Review: Laura Mercier Tightline Cake Liner in Deep Teal

For someone who’s one and only requirement for eyeliner is that it stays in place, this cake liner would be an awfully unusual choice.

And yet, the color is so phenomenal  that it might be even be worth leaving around to look at, regardless of whether I ever use it.

I exaggerate. It looks much better on the eyes than as room décor.

Laura Mercier Tightline Cake Liner is completely dry and needs water or special solution to apply. LM sells solution that makes the liner waterproof, but this liner was already ridiculously expensive for the piece of watercolor that it essentially is. I didn’t bother doubling the charge to get the “Activator”, so I suppose if I complain about staying power, I only have myself to blame. There are comparable solutions by other brands that may be less expensive and equally efficacious but I cannot testify to that. (The last time I checked, these kinds of “eyeliner sealants” or “eyeliner transformers” are almost exclusively high end.) All I know is that if you put droplets of LM solution onto your cake liner, you can no longer use water to pick up the pigment from that point on. It seals the cake liner from water, which is a pretty logical consequence if you think about it.

I personally use water, and with a little work, my end result can look just as polished as those of other liners. The finish reminds me slightly of chalk, but it stays much better than that. In fact its performance is pretty solid until the 5th or 6th hour mark when my lids start to get oily enough to interact with the product. After that, it can go pretty downhill. Do not wear this on those 12 to 16 hour days, because touch ups will do nothing. The color will migrate and move around the whole eye area, the clean, sharp edge will disintegrate, and so on.

Above: This is the chalk-looking finish. The color in this picture is not too accurate. It should be greener and darker.

As I mentioned, the application process is slightly more involved than normal. I have a mini spray bottle of water for this (I use drinking water, lest traces of fluoride, chlorine, and everything else in tap water build up on my precious product). Alternatively, you could use your fingers to drop a few droplets of water onto the surface. Mix with eyeliner brush. You’ll get the hang of it soon enough, but here is how I do it: I spray a little water and mix until the water starts to evaporate away, mainly working in one section only – no need to swirl through the whole pan and make a mess. Then I spray a little more and mix again, trying to gather a little pool of concentrated color. By this second time, the pigmentation should be sufficiently high that you won’t get a watery line. Apply carefully. The consistency will be on the watery side, but the pigmentation should be good enough that you have pretty good control of how the line lays down.

Conclusion: Will You Reach for It? I wear this product comparatively rarely if only because of the staying power. If I’m smart about it, I would wear it on days I know will be short. What ends up happening is that I wear it when I have time to spare in the morning and when I feel like teal is the color of the day. But in fact the shade of teal is really on point. It’s nice and dark, very obviously teal, and green-leaning which just seals the deal. I won’t dwell on the color, because I think it was limited edition. However, it’s a testament to the brand’s good taste. Here is someone else’s blog picture of the other nice colors in the line

A square of this liner is $23 in most places like Laura Mercier online and Sephora, though Sephora's color selection is limited. This is also the case with a few department stores. Bloomingdales notably has the full line of 8 colors and also peculiarly prices them a dollar cheaper at $22.

Review: MAC Fluidline in Dark Diversion

I used to think that MAC was super high end, back when I got $2 of allowance weekly and never spent more than $20 in one go. Imagine the nest egg I would have if I were like that now. That is, the spending habit, not the allowance.

Kudos to MAC for maintaining nice quality packaging and name brand status while their gel liners retail for 15 to the 23, 24 dollar liners of Bobbi Brown, Makeup Forever, et cetera. However, I have to say, this product leaves  me with negative impression of MAC Fluidlines. The pigmentation is just not good.

The texture on this one resembles gel much more than cream. I almost want to describe it as gel ink because there is a sense that you are laying down a stain, as opposed to a layer of product. Well, whatever it’s doing, it’s not very good because I definitely need multiple layers for full opacity.

It’s in the medium range in terms of longevity. It starts to fade at about hour 6 or 7 and can get on the upper lids and lower corners, and get messy-looking as it gets into the night, maybe at 12 or 14 hours. Unfortunately, this color is does not handle messy-looking gracefully. It is red-toned and we just want to avoid that situation.

Dark Diversion is limited edition but gets repromoted every now and then. If you haven’t picked one up, then you haven’t missed out on anything as far as high quality products go. The color is really unique, but I wear it alone without eyeshadow and it just doesn’t do itself any favors as it declines with the day into a weak red-tinted stain.

When available, it is $15 at, you guessed it, MAC (and MAC counters everywhere).