No matter where I am going I wear three things: lip gloss/stick (usually with a lip liner, which could make it four), mascara and eyeliner. On weekends, my look tends to be: mascara, a light glossy lip and dark, funky eyeliner or mascara, dark lip with golden, shimmery eye liner. About two years ago, something terrible happened. I got an eye infection. Well, what I thought was an eye infection. It started with reading an Essence article on the fact that a great eyeliner suggestion for Black women is royal blues and eggplant purples. I disagree about the purple because I have yet to see this executed well in real life and I don’t care what those pictures claim. But back to the blue, I went to my stand-by M.A.C., which I think makes perfect liners. All of them, lip and eye. The other make-up is on a case by case basis. I purchased the absolute perfect blue. It gave me exactly the magazine look without needing to bother with stupid gel pots. I hate gel pots. This could me due to the fact that I refuse to pop for pricey brushes. But even when you use the brush that comes with the gel pot, it takes a tremendous amount of dipping to get enough to line an eye.
I started wearing my perfect eye liner pencil and my eye started twitching and then my eye developed this not quite awesome white gooey discharge. This happened while in San Diego and I couldn’t really figure out what was wrong. I took out my contacts and they felt better. I never wear eyeliner with glasses because why bother. I went to the doctor who pronounced an infection and I moved on. I cleaned, sanitized and threw out make-up. I let eyes heal and returned to my routine. It was then I made the discovery. I had an allergy! I was allergic to my precious new eyeliner. I stopped using it immediately. I always used MAC eyeliner pencils and Maybelline liquid eyeliner but suddenly my eyes were rejecting them both. I was forced to resort to some automatic black eyeliner pencil I got from the beauty supply.
I like precise crisp black eyeliner for everyday work wear. This is not, unless you are a professional, accomplishable from an eyeliner pencil. We already established that me and gel and powder pots do not get along. I tried, but I only put less than five minutes of effort into my face (which honestly in my work environment is more than 90% of the women I see). These things require a lot of effort and patience. I do not like effort or patience for make-up application unless I am becoming a news anchor. The hunt was on. My criteria:
- Available in a drug store. I hate travelling to Macy’s or the like for eyeliner since I need to buy it at least once a month.
- Deep, inky black. Too many of the blacks aren’t dark enough and I am a brown person.
- Easy Application. I like precise, clean lines and too many of the liquid eyeliner require an expert touch. This could be due to the brush that comes with it or difficulty getting it out of the case.
My beloved Maybelline was out. I first went a little too cheap. I tried E.L.F., which my eyes hated. Hated. I was scared that I would need to go back to the doctor (same thing with Rimmel, which made them all itchy). I hilariously tried Wet N Wild. I have no real clue why except that it had a felt pen I like felt tip pen applicators despite the fact that Maybelline had a brush. It was good saturated color but dried too slowly. I would need to hold my eyes still forever for it not to smudge. Maybelline didn’t need that and I moved on…
I next tried the cool Cover Girl LineExact. It is shaped like a marker and so easy to apply. The black wasn’t the depth that I prefer, but I let the applicator sway me. The problem: storage. You have to store it completely upright with the pen facing down or it would dry out in two weeks or less. It was like a temperamental Sharpie. That was too much stress considering my unhappy eye issues.
I next attempted Prestige. It looked pretty but the color was off. It created this wispy little line that I surmised is for fairer skin tones. After store brands (Ulta – too messy and Sephora – completely dried out), I finally tried L’oreal Telescopic Precision Liner. We were getting along fine. It had the nicest angled felt tip that when held correctly (this took some practice) created the perfect little line. However, it suffered from the slow to dry problem. I was always waiting for it to dry. I spent a lot of time with my q-tips removing smudges and wayward dots of liquid liner. The worst problem is that it just decides to flake with no rhyme or reason as to why. I will look in the mirror about two hours after application and see clumps of black liner stuck to my face. And no one tells you! No one says, “Hey, what is that black stuff on your cheekbones?” I finally go to the bathroom and realize it’s there. I am constantly checking myself in the mirror, which cannot be healthy. This weekend the relationship ended after having the biggest chunk yet, right underneath my eye for the longest time. Here I am thinking I look great and I have make-up stuck to my face.
I saw a commercial for the new L’oreal Infallible Super Slim and it looked awesome. But I just cannot risk it. So I think I will try Revlon products, though I am losing hope. I never in a million years imagined that I would need to replace my preferred eyeliner pencils and liquid eyeliner and that it would be so difficult. I might need to – gasp – upgrade to department store brands for the liquid liners. I did marginally successfully switch my funky eyeliner pencils to Urban Decay, though I think that it is too soft with not enough. The stick suggests more of a color family than the actual color. However, they have completely expanded their slate of colors. So this might have improved. Otherwise, the hunt for an everyday black continues.