First things first: I received a pair of Esqido Gel Eyeliner Pencils for the purpose of a review. Otherwise, I did not receive any compensation or incentive to write this content, and as always, all opinions are my own.
Esqido has provided me with lashes to review in the past. Even though I didn’t become a worshipper, they reached out to see if I’d be interested in giving their new eyeliners a shot.
I’m not a huge eye pencil user but eyeliner fits into my life a lot more than luxurious falsies do; I took them up on it.
For now, Esqido offers gel eyeliner pencils in black and brown; I received both. Between the two shades, I find myself favoring the brown for daily use.
It isn’t clear whether or not other shades are in the works.
The first thing that struck me as clever as hell about these eyeliners is the silicone ring on the barrel that the cap will fit snugly over. Gel eyeliners, regardless of format, are notoriously susceptible to drying out; this ring protects the product by creating an airtight seal. CLEVER. Even my husband, who obviously gives zero bothers about cosmetics, thought it was cool and clever!
When I wear ‘proper’ eyeliner (not shadow-as-eyeliner), I use one of two formats: gel liner (my favorite) or a mechanical twist-up (the only one I’ve had luck with). There’s been a lot done with eyeliner in the past two decades but when I saw these new-fangled roller eyeliner releases, I got EXCITED.
Roller Eyeliner – What Is It?
The three roller eyeliner products on the market appear to use the same idea. A wand that has a small, foam disc on the end that rests in an ink-like liquid liner when the tube is closed. The disc is thin and has a small radius to facilitate easy application.
It isn’t the first time, after all, that I have been excited about the intersection of beauty and technology or beauty and engineering. What’s more amazing is that all three I’ve found consistently receive 4/5 star ratings on their respective sites.
Could it be that it isn’t just a gimmick!?
First, I saw NUDESTIX Rock n’ Roller Easy Eyeliner Ink. Samantha Ravndahl mentioned them in some format of hers and I was blown away. Then I saw them in an Instagram ad and…I was blown away again. I was so excited, in fact, that I made a point of showing this brilliant take on an eyeliner applicator with my could-not-be-more-disinterested-in-makeup husband. Even he thought it was neat; it reminded him of something used in metal fabrication.
There are three colors: ever practical black, Bronze Patina, and my favorite – Golden Rosé. I keep catching myself telling myself, “That’s totally wearable enough for work.” Honestly even writing that out gave me a twinge of temptation. And then I remind myself that not only does it run $24… I’m on a No Buy.
Until recently, I generally disliked most pencil liners. I couldn’t fine one I liked. As such, I don’t tend to shop for pencil liners but I will try them if they’re part of a set or come as a freebie. Up until three weeks ago, I hadn’t found one I liked; gel always worked better for me. To my surprise, I had a fateful encounter with NARS Kohliner in a liner value set (more on that soon, it was a Sephora in JcP set) I bought on impulse after a rough day.
I’m a whole new woman. I was terribly remiss not including it in my October 2016 Favorites…but I LOVE this $25 eyeliner. Yeah, I know. Twenty-five is a splurge for an eye pencil.
What I Love about NARS Kohliner
Not only is it pencil, is it twist up (no sharpening!). You won’t naturally get a razor-thin pencil tip with this, but the shape of the tip allows you to use the pencil at an angle for a nice, clean line. If you need razor-thin precision, you can make it that way yourself. I personally don’t need to.
In late January I received a coupon from Ulta (because I’m Platinum this year) to get a free mini It Cosmetics No-Tug Waterproof Gel Eyeliner. I’m not too familiar with the It Cosmetics brand, really only seeing their line in Ulta. This sums up what I know about It Cosmetics:
They have a brush line that I hear is pretty good. They have a silly brush-themed logo on their aisles in both Ultas near me.
They have CC cream!
Their Naturally Pretty Vol 1 Matte Luxe Transforming Eye Shadow Palette has an exceptionally long name and reminds me of a mix of the two LORAC Pro palettes. Same price-point, too!
That’s pretty much it.
I redeemed the coupon and got the freebie It Cosmetics No-Tug Waterproof Gel Eyeliner to test the waters of the brand.
Here’s some info about It Cosmetics No-Tug Waterproof Gel Eyeliner, from Ulta’s Website, condensed into tl;dr for your reading pleasure:
Gentle, smooth, pigmented gel formula that glides on.
Waterproof, proven to hold up 8+ hours.
Contains vitamin C and E as well as collagen, supposedly for, “younger looking eyelids.”
Sets after about 30 seconds (so you can blend and smudge).
My freebie mini came in Black Brown which I appreciated – I don’t need yet another black pencil liner, and am happy to have a brown pencil handy. I actually forgot about it (out of sight, out of mind) since it was tucked into my drawer, but I finally got around to it.
It glides on effortlessly without much pressure, both swatched on the back of my hand and into my lashline.
The Wear Test: It Cosmetics No-Tug Waterproof Gel Eyeliner
Most pencil liners, even ones claiming to be waterproof, do not last on my waterline. I don’t have exceptionally watery eyes, but I guess my waterline is exposed to enough moisture that it usually breaks down and fades within an hour or two
At 7am, I tightlined with the It Cosmetics No-Tug Waterproof Gel Eyeliner to provide definition. I added just a little more along my lashline, but the real test is waterline usage, so I slapped it in there, too, in the outer 2/3 of my waterline.
I checked it at 8am, and it still looked alright. Not as intense in the waterline, but it was still visible. Upper lashline and tightline perfectly intact.
I checked at 9am – it faded more, but I could live with it because I don’t like a harsh dark waterline. I don’t bother with dark colors in my waterline most of the time because I feel like it closes off my eye…I don’t like my eyes to appear small. It was still intact and going good on my upper lashline and tightline, though.
By 10am, it was noticeably in trouble. At the outermost edge it was gone completely, meaning the It Cosmetics No-Tug Waterproof Gel Eyeliner line didn’t appear to start until a few millimeters into my lower lashline. Awkward. Top is in good shape, still!
At the 11am check, the product in my waterline was barely visible but the tightline and waterline looked great. I decided to reapply and try again. Unfortunately, it wore away within 3-4 hours, just like the first run.
I found it removed relatively easily with a Ponds makeup wipe – it was no more difficult to remove than an Urban Decay 24/7 pencil, for instance. Also, I can’t really speak to the whole, “younger-looking eyelids,” thing – I noticed absolutely no difference from tightlining with it, but I’m also in my mid twenties, so. I’m taking it with a grain of salt anyway because that part sounds like nonsense marketing.
The Bottom Line(r)
So this makes a good liner for the upper lashline and tightlining. You CANNOT sharpen it (at least this little version, anyway) as it is a twist up and therefore has a blunt tip; it is not suited to sharp precision work, but makes for a smooth tightline and not-intense upper lashline work. Its performance in my waterline shouldn’t be the only thing that tells you to buy or not – like I said, I have a hell of a time with most pencils in my waterline…so if you DON’T have trouble with them, this might actually work really well for you!
I personally won’t be repurchasing a full size when I run out of this. I don’t dislike it, but I don’t like it enough to spend $22 on. If you don’t have an exceptionally watery waterline, though, it may be a worthwhile investment for you.
Disclaimer: HEY. Although I got this for free, this was not a sponsored post. ULTA has no idea who I am. I only got a voucher for this product because I somehow managed to make it into the Ultamate Rewards Platinum tier, which anyone can achieve if they have a problembeauty hobby.. This voucher was distributed to platinum members, so I’m not special. Questions? Feel free to ask.
Wal-Mart is opening locations still (how are there so many…) and the newest one in my area features an expanded beauty section that includes brands like e.l.f. and Real Techniques. One day, I went to check out their Real Techniques selection and noticed a brand I wasn’t familiar with…LAB2? Who is this? At a glance, they seemed to have pretty clean, surprisingly professional-looking packaging and are priced in a very wallet-friendly drugstore price-point.. I snapped a picture to remind myself to look into them.
LAB2, which is actually written out, “L.A.B.²,” and pronounced, “LAB-squared,” stands for Live and Breathe Beauty.
Later, I went to look them up, never having seen them – I couldn’t locate a website, but I did find this entry on Justia Trademarks for the brand name, indicating that the rights are held by Pacific World Corporation – who also owns Sensationail, as it turns out, as well as some other drugstore beauty tool brands. Searching, “LAB Brushes,” or, “Live and Breathe Beauty Brushes,” or, “Live and Breathe Beauty,” at the time brought up nothing.
Although I didn’t come up with much about the brand, I DID find a YouTube Channel for LAB2, which features a few brief demo/tutorial videos and an intro to the brand. They don’t seem to have much else in the way of branding or social media presence, however.
Because I’m still on the hunt of The One Angled Liner Brush to Rule Them All, I picked up the LAB2 Angled Brow and Eyeliner Brush. Checking it out without opening the packaging, the synthetic bristles of the brush appeared to be cut with a greater level of precision than, say the e.l.f. angled liner brush. I figured that a $6 brush wouldn’t result in overwhelming disappointment if it didn’t work out.
UPDATE 2/26/2015: The proper name of this brush is the Get In Shape Brow & Eyeliner Brush!