An eyeliner is one of the most potent tools in your makeup arsenal.
Goes on without pulling at your skin, sets within a minute to a gorgeous finish…and generally can set the tone for whatever you’re about to do.
Unfortunately, it’s an all too common occurence that within an hour it’ll begin to vanish or streak down your cheeks, give you racoon eyes…ending in disaster.
Trust me, we’ve all been there.
To help you avoid such a crisis we at Unsullyd reviewed around 20 popular eyeliners and rounded up 3 that should be able to withstand tears, humidity, a swim…whatever you throw at them.
At A Glance: The Best Long Lasting Eyeliners
12pcs Nabi Retractable Waterproof Black Eyeliner has a deep black shade and is reasonably resistant to smudging, fading and should flake very little.
SEPHORA COLLECTION Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner comes with a built-in smudging sponge, dries quickly once applied and is reasonably water and smudge resistant.
L’Oreal Paris Infallible Never Fail Eyeliner is a very soft retractable pencil eyeliner that sets fairly quickly and is reasonably water resistant and smudge proof.
These retractable eyelining pencils from Nabi should go on smooth, without pulling at your skin much.
It has a nice creamy texture and dries matte. Upon application you should give it a minute to set.
When you’re first starting out with a pencil you should get fairly precise lines and cat eyes and other designs should not be a problem.
As the pencil wears down however the lines will start getting a little imprecise and the wings and other designs may not remain that great. However seeing that it’s a set of 12 you can easily move to the next pencil.
Under normal conditions you should not face any burning or irritation but if you have sensitive eyes you can consider avoiding this eyeliner. Do a trial run before adopting it as your regular eyeliner.
Now on to the central question – how is its staying power?
First, remember this takes a while to dry so give it a minute after applying. If you try to apply another layer or rub your eyes before that you’re toast.
It’s reasonably resistant to smudging and being washed off by water, perspiration.
It may not be able to withstand a swim or a gym session but you should be fine with a normal day at the office, for example.
We’d also recommend keeping rubbing your eyes to the minimum.
It may start fading a bit after 3-4 hours but doesn’t seem to flake much.
It’s available in just one color – black.
However the black color is impressively deep, especially considering its extremely affordable price.
If one layer doesn’t impress you, add one or two more. It doesn’t clump if you build layers.
It works well with other makeup so you can also try using some eye shadow over it to get the exact tone you want.
The main ingredients feature in the table below.
|Solvent||Castor* Seed Oil|
|Emollient||Castor* Seed Oil, Petrolatum, 2-Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Beeswax***, Lanolin|
|Emulsifying||Microcrystalline Wax, Lanolin|
|Viscosity controlling||Microcrystalline Wax, Paraffin, Carnauba Wax**, Beeswax***|
|Film forming||Carnauba Wax**|
* Ricinus communis.
** Carnauba cera.
*** Cera alba.
- Twistable pencil does not need to be sharpened.
- Start lining at the inner corner of your eyes and sweep outwards. We don’t think it will clump your lashes but steer clear just to be on the safe side.
- Just water and soap may be enough to remove it. However the eyes being a sensitive area we’d recommend using a makeup remover.
- If you find it’s not applying smoothly warm it by rubbing in your palms or with a lighter and you should be good to go.
- Do not store in a hot place otherwise the pencil will become too soft and start breaking off.
With its built-in sharpener and smudge tip the retractable waterproof eyeliner from Sephora Collection may be called a Swiss Army Eyeliner.
It’s a reasonably richly pigmented creamy liner. It glides on smoothly and we think transfers pigment well. You shouldn’t have to press down to get a nice black tone.
Lines are quite precise and you should be able to trace designs like wings.
Of course if you aren’t satisfied with the tone you can build. And building is convenient because this eyeliner dries rapidly upon application.
It sets within 10 seconds, which is good if you’re in a hurry.
On the other hand if you want to use the sponge/smudge tip to get a smoky look, you’ll have to be quick about it.
Removal may take a bit of time. We’d recommend using an oil-based cleanser or olive oil with cotton pads or cleansing towelettes.
Now we come to the critical question – how long wearing is it?
It dries rapidly and is quite smudge-proof and reasonably waterproof.
You can throw tears, a gym session and humidity at it; it won’t smudge.
It may smudge a bit at the crease though, if you’ve been wearing it for, say, 5-6 hours.
If you plan on wearing it for a long time, carry the eyeliner, some cotton swabs (swabs would be better for cleansing at the crease) and an oil-based cleanser/micellar water. Gently cleanse out the smudge at the crease and touch up.
If your skin is oily or if you apply on the waterline there’s a chance it’ll melt and start to run after, say 3-4 hours. But that can be fixed with some eye shadow.
Fading should not be an issue. Neither should flaking.
The main ingredients are listed below.
|Emollient||Cyclopentasiloxane, Synthetic Beeswax, Myristyl Alcohol, Lecithin, Glyceryl Stearate, Glyceryl Oleate|
|Viscosity controlling||Synthetic Beeswax, Microcrystalline Wax, VP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Myristyl Alcohol, Magnesium Silicate|
|Emulsifier||Synthetic Beeswax, Microcrystalline Wax, Myristyl Alcohol, Lecithin, Glyceryl Stearate, Glyceryl Oleate|
|Opacifying||Mica, Magnesium Silicate|
|Skin conditioning||Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Vitamin E*|
|Texture enhancer||VP/Hexadecene Copolymer|
|Film forming||VP/Hexadecene Copolymer|
|Antioxidant||Vitamin E*, Vitamin C**|
** Ascorbyl Palmitate.
- Twist the liner out. Place it along the lash line at the inner corner of your eye and sweep outwards.
- It has a sponge-cum-sharpener at the base so you can smudge out the liner for a smoky look.
- When you uncap the sponge it can pop out entirely so be careful not to lose it.
- The sponge isn’t the softest around; daily use may not be good for your skin. This is all the more true if you have sensitive/delicate skin.
- The eyeliner sets very rapidly. The window for smudging by our estimate is no more than 10-15 seconds after application. If you take more than that it’ll become a mess.
- Use cotton pads and an oil-based cleanser or olive oil to cleanse it off. Removal will take some time.
The best thing about this offering from L’Oreal Paris is its texture. It’s a pencil alright but softer than most pencil eyeliners.
It transfers effortlessly onto skin like, say a gel would; no question of tugging or having to press on your skin.
However the tip could be sharper. Tracing a wing or a cat’s eye will be difficult. There is an inbuilt sharpener; you could try sharpening it.
It does a good job on the lashline but there’s a little chance it may smear if you use it on the waterline.
Upon application it should dry and set fairly quickly. If it doesn’t, try sprinkling some eye shadow on top.
If you want to smudge for the smoky look, you’ll have to do it fairly quickly, before it sets.
If you’re a veteran, you can use your pinkie to get the smoky look.
You can also use the built-in sponge. It’s not a typical sponge, mind you, it’s harder and perhaps more efficient than a typical sponge.
Removal will take some time. Any makeup remover/olive oil/micellar water and cotton pads should be enough to remove.
Now let’s address the million dollar question – Will it last?
So does it smudge?
It is mostly smudge-proof. You can throw whatever you want at it – gym, swim and so on – it won’t smudge.
According to our review it can resist some rubbing as well but we’d recommend not rubbing your eyes all the same.
Except under very humid conditions (say a very hot day in Florida) it should not melt.
If your skin is oily however you should use an eyelid primer or put some matching eyeshadow on top of the eyeliner to help it set better.
It may start to fade, say, 5-6 hours after application. You may expect some flaking too, but after you’ve been wearing it for a long time.
It has an impressive color portfolio – Black, Black Brown, Brown, Carbon Black, Navy, Slate and White.
It might seem they’ve unnecessarily added darker colors (like both Black and Carbon Black) but there are subtle differences of pigmentation that make a lot of difference.
For example, younger users may opt for Carbon Black (which is a deeper black) while older users may prefer the softer Black shade.
White eyeliner has a number of uses. One use is at the crease of your eye. Another is to set off your main eyeliner (by lining above it). The white shade scores high in such applications.
The main ingredients are listed below.
|Emollient||Cyclopentasiloxane, Silica Silylate, Candelilla Wax, Octyldodecanol, Echium plantagineum Seed Oil, Sunflower***** seed oil unsaponifiables|
|Emulsifier||Hydrogenated Olive Oil Stearyl Esters, Polyethylene, Silica Silylate, Candelilla Wax, Microcrystalline Wax|
|Skin conditioning||Polybutene, Cupuaçu* Seed Butter, Vitamin E***, Zinc Gluconate, Magnesium Aspartate, Balloon plant**** Flower/Leaf/Vine Extract|
|Viscosity controlling||Polybutene, Candelilla Wax, Microcrystalline Wax|
|Antioxidant||Vitamin C**, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Vitamin E***, Copper Gluconate|
* Theobroma grandiflorum.
** Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate.
*** As Tocopheryl Nitcotinate.
**** Cardiospermum halicacabum.
***** Helianthus annuus.
- Twist out the eyeliner. Place it as close to your lashline as possible and sweep outwards.
- If you feel it tugging on your skin or if it’s just not transferring, warm the eyeliner a bit by rubbing it in your palms or with a blow dryer.
- It includes an inbuilt sharpener-cum-sponge at the bottom. If you want to use either just pull it out.
- Removal may take some time.
- Any makeup remover/olive or coconut oil/micellar water and cotton pads should be able to cleanse it.
- You can try washing your face with face wash first and then attacking the eyeliner with micellar water and cotton pads. It may be a little quicker.
- Remember to not leave it in a hot environment (like in your car on a hot day) otherwise it will melt and become sticky.
What should you look for when you select a long lasting eyeliner?
There’s no particular kind of ingredient that would allow you to decide whether an eyeliner is long lasting or not.
But there are two aspects to consider.
One, a long lasting eyeliner should not smudge, fade or flake easily.
Two, removal should not be that difficult. There are quite a few eyeliners which resist smudging, flaking etc all right but can be very difficult to remove.
That makes a touch-up while on the go impossible…and makes your makeup removal a torturous ritual.
Long lasting also varies from person to person and from place to place.
An eyeliner may yield a long wear for an user with normal skin; yet smudge for an user with oily skin (one remedy for oily skin will be revealed below).
An eyeliner may start melting if you move to a humid environment. An eyeliner that’s OK in California may not be suitable for Florida.
We’ve attempted to balance all these factors out and selected eyeliners that most people would find useful.
Now let’s try to understand some of the properties the ingredients have.
An absorbent soaks up liquids. Here, it would soak up oil from your skin which would reduce smudging.
The ‘texture’ refers to the texture of the eyeliner, not of your skin. A texture enhancer helps the eyeliner attain the rich creamy texture you like so much.
Waterproof is a double-edged sword. A waterproof liner should remain intact through rain, sweat and so on but will also be really difficult to remove.
Water resistant is a good compromise – it doesn’t melt under the slightest sweat but you can clean it off fairly easily.
Skin conditioners, emollients and humectants keep the skin lubricated and supple.
Film formers help the skin retain oil and moisture and impart a smooth appearance to the skin.
Emulsifiers force other ingredients to go into an emulsion in the solvent. An emulsion is tiny droplets of one liquid suspended in another liquid with which it doesn’t mix.
Emulsifiers Opacifying ingredients lend the product a creamy appearance by reducing transparence. In some situations they also help hide blemishes on your skin.
Emulsifiers Antioxidants have a range of uses including resisting environmental stress and wrinkling.
So, which is the absolute Unsullyd Holy Grail Long Lasting Eyeliner?SEPHORA COLLECTION Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner
It’s soft and transfers onto your skin easily.
It’s reasonably well-pigmented.
You can trace out precise designs like wings and cat’s eyes.
It will take a bit of practice but you can also get a good smoky look (the trick is to do it quickly before the liner sets).
It is reasonably smudge and water proof.
You need not worry about fading or flaking.
Includes an inbuilt sharpener and ‘smudger’.