Eyes, Reviews

Swatch This: Black Eyeliner

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Black eyeliner comparison

Black eyeliner comparison

No in-depth reviews today, no words of makeup wisdom. But in my most recent vanity reorg I realized I have possibly more black eyeliner than strictly necessary. Most of them are free mini samples so I don’t feel bad about it, but I got curious about how they compare to each other. Maybe try to pick the best one for the job instead of just grabbing one at random when I need a black liner. Novel idea, right?

I’m not a huge eyeliner person anyway, but I mostly use it one of two ways: wings, or slightly smudged out. So, that’s what I tested. Here’s a quick comparison of the results:

(btw – swatches above are in the same order as the first photo, and the same order listed below)

Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes, Matte Black -The MUFE liner is quite black, very matte and goes on easily. The budgeproof application makes it pretty difficult to smoke out though – you can see above that I was barely able to move it. On the other hand, I haven’t seen any movement or flaking over a whole day of wear.

Marc Jacobs Highliner, Blacquer – Out of all the pencil liners, Blacquer glides on and smokes out the easiest. The deep matte black is also a plus. The soft texture does run the hazard of getting an uneven line so using a light hand is a must.

Bobbi Brown Long Wear Eye Pencil, Jet – Bobbi Brown’s Long Wear Eye Pencil sits right in between the MUFE and Marc Jacobs ones. It goes on easily, stays put throughout the day and offers a little bit of leeway if you don’t want a really precise line.

Rimmel ScandalEyes Waterproof Kohl, Black – I’ve loved Rimmel’s nude eyeliner for dealing with red-rimmed eyes during allergy season, but I’m not as crazy about the black one. It skips, gets crumbly and really tugs at the lid. I don’t have a better drugstore option to recommend, but I don’t recommend this one.

Lorac Front of the Line Pro, Black – One of my all-time favorites, reviewed here. I love this one because it lays down color easily, doesn’t dry out quickly and you can get a nice sharp wing with it. The brush tip stays in shape, which is vital for me since I’m not exactly an eyeliner wizard. It sets incredibly fast and doesn’t move, run, smudge or flake. I don’t mind the very slight gloss finish, but it may not be for everyone.

Marc Jacobs Magic Marc’er, Blacquer – I have mixed feelings on this one. It’s more matte than Lorac’s liquid liner, which I like, but the applicator leaves a lot to be desired. The felt tip tugs at my not-perfectly-smooth lids so it has a tendency to skip. After just a few uses the very end of the felt applicator is starting to bend out of shape, so it’s tough to get a good point. I’ve also had problems with it crumbling a little at the corners of my eyes later in the afternoon/evening. So actually, I don’t think my feelings are very mixed. I just want to like it, but I don’t.

Laura Mercier Creme Eye Liner, Noir – Ah, creme liner, the versatile beast that can be used for sharp wings OR smoky looks. The Laura Mercier creme liner is the blackest of them all, and goes on easily and smoothly. It smokes out beautifully, as long as you do it before it sets completely (which takes maybe 5-10 seconds). The dry time is slightly longer than some of the others, but that gives you time to smudge it if you want to, or a few extra seconds to clean up any mistakes. The only caveat here is it isn’t universally foolproof. The end result depends a lot on your skill (picking up just enough product, etc) and the brush you use with it. Once you get it perfect, it stays all day.

If I had to pick a favorite, I probably couldn’t pick just one. But picking one for each category is easy:

  • Dark smoky eye – Marc Jacobs Highliner
  • Quick, flawless wings – Lorac Front of the Line Pro
  • Most versatile – Laura Mercier Creme Eye Liner


Obviously these are only a few of the gazillion eyeliner options out there. What’s your favorite?



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