Monday, July 14, 2014

Foolproof: Eyes

About a year ago, my daily eyeliner was the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner, a brush tip liquid liner. I really loved it because it was so easy to use, but I found that after barely a month of use, the application became inconsistent and patchy. I would have to swatch it a couple of times on my hands until the liquid started to flow enough for an opaque line before I used it. Yet, when I went to line my lids, the brush would skip and I would have to go over the line a couple of times to make it solid. I stuck it out a little longer, but eventually my frustration with the Tattoo Liner became too much to ignore. 

I turned to my friend Alice, a knowledgeable skin and makeup enthusiast, for an eyeliner recommendation. Without hesitation, she told me I had to get her most-trusted eyeliner, the Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner. I was very hesitant at first because I'd grown comfortable with pen-like eyeliners. Before the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner, I used the NYX Super Skinny Eye Marker. It filled me with dread to think about two products (gel liner and a brush) instead of just one. This seems like a silly concern in retrospect, but convenience is a priority for me. After some more mumbling and grumbling, and plenty of reassurance from Alice that this was basically going to change my life, I decided to order it. 

After a slow learning curve and almost giving up on gel liner entirely, I am happy to say that I now feel comfortable with it and find it to be very dependable. And in the last month, I've found a winning combination for my everyday eye look. Huzzah! 

I like makeup, but I like it to be easy too! So easy, it's foolproof.

First things first- an eyelid primer. I didn't start using an eyelid primer until I got a miniature Urban Decay Primer Potion with my Naked 1 palette. I noticed a difference immediately! My eye shadows and liner stayed on my lids all day and more or less didn't budge during a normal 9-10 hour wear time. On longer days (10+ hours) I noticed that some of my liner would be smudged onto my crease or underneath my eyes, and the liner itself had begun to fade. Still, this was better than no primer, meaning I didn't have to check my eyes every few hours for smudging. I would say that my lids get a bit oily throughout the day, but not very. 

A few weeks ago I noticed that my Primer Potion was just about used up so I began researching other eye primers. I liked the Primer Potion a lot, but with so many eyelid primers out there I figured it would be good to shop around. And good thing I did! I can't remember where, but I read that e.l.f. cosmetic's eyelid primer was quite good and just for $1! I decided to give it a try since at $1 it was very low risk. 

I have the e.l.f. Essential Eyelid Primer in Sheer (they have a few primers at different price points). The formula is quite a bit thinner than Urban Decay's Primer Potion, which feels like a cream. The e.l.f. eyelid primer spreads easily so I just dab a little bit in the center of my eyelids with the doe foot applicator, and use my ring finger to spread it and tap it in all over my lids. Then I just wait about 30 seconds to let that set. 

I usually skip eyeshadow because I'm lazy, but if I'm feeling up to it I'll take an extra minute to apply just the shade "naked" from Urban Decay's Naked Palette on my lids. It really helps even out and hide any darkness on my lids. Even though "naked" isn't a highlighter I find that it brightens my eyes anyways. If I'm feeling particularly motivated by whatever I have planned in the day, I'll go an extra step and take "buck" and blend it into the crease and outer corner of my eyes to give them more definition. I know these two steps don't take a lot of time to do, but on average I don't feel like it's necessary aka more laziness. And although the e.l.f. eyelid primer is in the shade "sheer", it has a brightening effect on my lids which is an added bonus. 

We have finally reached the item that sparked this whole post to begin with- the gel liner. Specifically, Bobbi Brown's Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in Black Ink. The gel liner retails for $24 and the accompanying Bobbi Brown Ultra Fine Eye Liner brush is an additional $27. So I went from spending $18 (to me that's a lot already) on the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner, to $51 on the Bobbi Brown set. I justified it by knowing that if I didn't like it, Sephora accepts returns on open products. And if I happen to like it, which I do, it will last me a long time because there is so much product and well the brush isn't going anywhere with proper care. 

For those of you who haven't tried a gel liner before and are hesitant about it, I strongly encourage you to go for it! Here are some tips to help you get started:
  • Don't be intimidated by the black abyss that stares back at you when you unscrew the cap. I was so scared I texted Alice asking how I get started and I'm pretty sure she was baffled by my utter lack of composure. It's an eyeliner. You dip the brush in like you're dipping a knife into a jar of peanut butter. You can't avoid messing up the top so just get over it. That's what I would tell my past self. 
  • When you dip the brush in to pick up the product, be sure to lightly and evenly coat both sides. For me, I needed more product than I thought. I sweep the brush over the gel liner back and forth a few times, applying some pressure so I know I'm picking up something. I don't like doing just two heavy "scoops" on each side because I fear the product will go onto the brush clumpy. Instead, I load up the brush with multiple strokes so that the gel liner is packed on in thin, non clumpy layers. 
  • Do a quick swatch on your hand and if the line is opaque then you know the brush is loaded and ready to line! 
I used to be hesitant with putting a lot of the gel liner on my brush so I was getting a patchy application. This resulted in me having to dip my brush and go over the line multiple times. Play around with the brush and gel liner and don't give up. After awhile I figured out the amount of product I needed to be able to draw a clean, opaque line in one go! That moment was so rewarding for me... Now, I'm working on mastering the thinnest line possible. 

Once I "mastered" the gel liner, doing my eyes in the morning have been much faster. I've come to really love and appreciate the formula of a gel liner. The Black Ink is incredibly dark and the creamy formula leaves a matte finish. It truly is long-wear. When worn with a primer I don't have to worry about flaking, fading, smudging, or creasing. Incredible. Not to worry, as long lasting as the gel liner is on my lids, it comes off easily with makeup remover. 

I should mention that the gel liner works great in the upper waterline. Sometimes I just line that area if I want a more natural look. Doesn't budge, ever. I go in with a cotton swab and makeup remover at the end of the day to make sure I get it all. 

There are days I don't wear eyeliner, but I still have to curl my lashes and apply mascara. I don't know what it is, I just feel a bit bare without it. In my opinion, it's the easiest way to open up the eyes and look more awake. My favorite eyelash curler is the Shu Uemura one because it has a flatter curve, which suits my lids better. It is able to grab every lash and give it a long-lasting curl. My lashes remain curled even after I take off mascara at the end of the day. :O 

Non-waterproof mascara formulas tend to weigh my lashes down so I only use waterproof formulas. They really lock in the curl so my lashes stay curled all day! My favorite mascara at the moment is Revlon's Lash Potion by Grow Luscious Volume + Length Mascara in the waterproof version, of course. Could it have a longer name?! This mascara definitely delivers on volume, making my lashes look full and thick. Although, I'm not sure it distinctively lengths my lashes. Even though it's a waterproof formula, it comes off easily with makeup remover. I never feel like I have to rub and tug on my lids to get the mascara off. It's holding power is amazing, too. At the end of the day my lashes look like I just curled them. 

The combination of these three to four products (depending on whether or not I use eyeshadow) creates an eye-look that lasts literally all day. Last week I worked a 14 hour day, outside with a high of 98 degrees as a production assistant on set. After lifting, carrying, and moving stuff all day I felt and looked disgusting. My face, arms, and legs were covered in a gritty layer of dust and dirt, which was able to stick to my skin because of all the sweat. I had braided my hair into a french braid to keep it out of my face, and it felt the same as my skin, dry and coarse. When I took out the braid my hair just kinda stood there rather than the braid coming apart like it normally does with clean hair. Just lovely. 

Aside from looking like I hadn't showered in a few days, I noticed that my eye makeup, still looked astounding. That's when I realized I had found the winning combination of eye products for a fool-proof eye look because it is so simple. My lashes were still curled, my eyeliner hadn't left a mark on my crease, and there was nothing to wipe away under my eyes. In fact, the eyeliner was still very opaque and showed no signs of fading or flaking.

Quick recap: 

Urban Decay Naked Palette (All over lid: Naked, Crease and outer corner: Buck)

Thanks for reading this lengthy post, you trooper! Let me know what your foolproof eye products are, if you liked this post, and would want to see more like this! 


  1. Pei! We must be on the same wavelength because I just posted about my makeup routine! :) Also, not to seem creepy but I saw on FB you were asking about angled brushes and MAC's Fluidline. On my less lazy days I use both and it looks great! It gives the eyes a less bold look--as opposed to liquid liners--and makes it a little more subtle and natural. You should try it out sometime!

    1. Jayna!! Ah yes, same wavelength indeed!! Love yours! I've always wanted to try BareMinerals and it's great that I know someone who uses it and loves it. Makes me want to try it more... Not creepy at all, thanks for the feedback! I want to try out an angled brush now and will probably get MAC's Fluidline when I'm done with the Bobbi Brown. Thanks! :)