If you’re into “dramatic” eyes, like I am, liquid or gel eyeliner is the way to go — at least, that’s what non-stop Michelle Phan makeup tutorial marathons would have me believe. Going on in a more solid line than the often powdery effect of pencil liners, liquid or gel liners are useful for creating the ever-so-popular (blame Holly Golightly) cat-eye effect, perfect for a touch of glamour from day to day.
Having gone through the aforementioned Michelle Phan makeup video marathon, I decided to try my luck with liquid liner. Before that, I’d been patronizing Styli-Style Line & Seal
Waterproof Eyeliner (a review on that to follow), so I wasn’t exactly sure what brand of liquid to buy — Michelle Phan’s “Prestige” drugstore eyeliner isn’t exactly available in Philippine drugstores. So, after patrolling the makeup counters at Shopwise, I settled on L’Oreal because, as my mother insists, if you’re going to try a new kind of makeup, best try one from an established brand for less likelihood of annoying allergies. So I dropped the somewhat pricey Php. 800+ for the tiny, 2-inch (minus the huge cap which holds the sponge-tip applicator) bottle.
Superliner Carbon Gloss is a liquid eyeliner in a special sponge tipped pen for the creation of fine lines or thick, sultry flicks. The intense carbon black colour is applied with precision and ease and dries without smudging. Ophthalmologically tested. Thanks to its soft and supple sponge tipped pen, Superliner Carbon Gloss gives a quick, easy and uniform application. Create a line as thick or as delicate as you wish. Hold the eyelid taut with your other hand to facilitate application.
For the record, my first try using Superliner was on the flight from Manila to Incheon airport, inspired as I was by Michelle Phan’s airplane makeup video. It being my first time to try on liquid liner, and factoring in the inevitable turbulence most plane rides involve, it took me a good thirty minutes (and a lot of wiping off and reapplication) to accomplish a barely-there cat eye. The sponge-tip applicator is literally a sponge that gradually tapers to a dull point, and while it’s useful in creating a thick and dark line, its shape requires a bit of clever wrist-work to master. Having recently tried Maybelline’s new gel eyeliner (comes with a brush), I found this one harder for first-time application.
Nothing if not tenacious, I continued “practicing” applying the liner for ten minutes every day
while I was in Korea. It doesn’t dry as quick as I’d like, which means you have to hold your eyelid closed for at least twenty seconds after application, or else you’ll get a nasty blot. Also, the tapered applicator made it tricky to apply a continuous line, so you sometimes might end up with a thicker line that you’d like. The tapered tip does tend to flatten on one side a bit over time, though, which makes it easier to attempt those Michelle Phan eye-makeup tricks the longer you use the liner.
It takes a bit of practice before you finally get the hang of application, but once you do, the Superliner does deliver on its promise of versatile line thickness and no smudging when it
dries. The latter trait is useful for wet Q-tip spot correction — wet Q-tips can cleanly get off excess liner, making it easier to get the precise line shape you want. After a few tries, I was able to manage that sought-after Audrey Hepburn cat-eye.
When it comes to staying power, the liner does stay on for the whole day, but over the course of the day mine tended to get flaky so if ever I rubbed my eye, it came off as powdery dust and I was left with a liner-less eyelid. I’m not sure if this is because of my makeup base (FORWELL’s Natural B.B. Cream), or really a trait of the Superliner, but at any rate, you should avoid rubbing your eyes anyway. Other than that, the liner delivers on its promise of lasting as long as you need it, and once you don’t need it, it proves easy to remove (wet tissues do the trick just fine).
Overall, I think it’s a pretty good liquid liner, not “Super” as the name implies, but plenty useful, especially if you want that stark black cat-eye. It takes a bit of practice to master, and even if you’ve mastered it there’s no guarantee you won’t be needing those wet Q-tips, but the dramatic effect it produces is worth the bit of practice you’ll need to create it. The applicator takes some time to get used to, but the bottle has a large opening so it’s easy to dip a liner brush into the bottle and use that instead. Admittedly, for a liner, it is a bit expensive, but L’Oreal is a tried and tested company and for those with sensitive skin, the extra cost is worth it if you want to play it safe.
For those who want a bold black liner with precise shape, L’Oreal Superliner Carbon Gloss delivers on its promises. The price isn’t surprising for a brand-name makeup like L’Oreal, but it can be off-putting to makeup mavens who are on a budget. Still, for those who are willing to invest the money and time in mastering this liner, the expense is worth it.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 (minus one star for price and slight difficulty for first-time liquid liner users).
L’Oreal Superliner Carbon Gloss Liquid Eyeliner is available at the L’Oreal makeup counter in Shopwise, but you can check out L’Oreal counter at Rustans if you’re a Citibank cardholder, so you can pay half of the price with your Citibank rewards points.
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Correction 6/5/2010: Prestige Eyeliner, a.k.a. one of Michelle Phan’s choices for liquid liner (I think she’s also used Lancome Artliner.), is available at Beauty Bar. Thank you fellow critic-in-arms, P. Cruz, for pointing that out!