I've never been one for eye makeup. I have hooded eyelids and little patience, which is a pair that doesn't really lend itself to doing an eye look every day. Because of this, you'll rarely see me writing about an eyeshadow palette or a liner. On the other hand, nothing gets between me and a good tube of mascara.
Instead of shadow, one eye look that I'm always wild about is a pop of bright color on the lids using only a bright liquid liner. When you don't have much of a canvas to work with in the first place, a bright color above your lashes can be just as striking as an expertly blended smokey eye, and I happen to think it looks even cooler.
I've talked about that before, and so has Kelly over on Vain. If we aren't enough to convince you, Willow Smith pulled off this look perfectly (of course) back in March when she was announced as the new ambassadress of Chanel. THAT'S the look I'm talking about.
This spring, Make Up For Ever is launching their new Aqua XL Eye Pencil that's perfect for people like me who are looking for great color payoff from their liner.
LOOK at that mint green! All those pastels! My poor heart!!!
And they're launching the new pencils with the help of the prettiest girl in the world, Charli XCX!
In case you weren't aware, Charli XCX is one of the coolest girls in music. She's a certified hit factory, cranking out pop gems for herself and others, and I find her to be one of the most gorgeous people on the planet.
The pencils are designed to be long lasting, waterproof, sweat-proof, and party-proof. They're formulated with resin, vegetable wax, and dry oil, so they glide on smoothly, stay where you put them, but remain flexible enough on your eye so they won't crack or crumble throughout they day. They give you intense color payoff on the first pass and come in five different finishes: matte, diamond, satin, iridescent, and metallic.
Make Up For Ever was cool enough to shoot me the whole set so I could play around with them before they launch and see if there were really as easy to use as they were saying, or if I'd get flustered and angry before I was done and cast them aside.
This almost felt like a dare. I mean, look at all of those colors.
The one my eye kept landing on was that gorgeous mint color, and it didn't help matters that Charli is rocking the shit out of the shade in all of the promos.
So I thought, why not just try to recreate that?
The pencils are very user friendly and really do behave like they say they're going to. The application is crazy smooth and the color payoff speaks for itself, as you can see above. They're all smooth, but I found that the matte, satin, and metallic ones slide on the easiest. If you like to line your waterline for added intensity, or line it with white to make your eyes pop, these are perfect for getting the job done.
I'm used to relying on liquid formulas to get this kind of color impact. Liquids come with their own slew of issues, especially if you have shaky hands like me, so you may find pencils to be more user friendly. Plus, these pencils give you a little bit of playtime before they set. If you want to smoke out a line, blend two colors together, or soften an edge, you have time to pull that off before it locks in. That's one thing that makes these pencils so versatile, you don't have to use them simply for lining. In fact, you should have more fun with them!
The downside to using pencils over liquids is that getting razor sharp points can be more challenging, no matter how sharp your pencil's tip is. When I wanted to define my points above, especially the one on the outer wing, I took a flat, angled brush and ran it over a makeup removing wipe, and then used it to drag the liner out to a sharper point.
I did notice that the pencils with the diamond finish — meaning they have a little glitter in them — have a little more grab than the others and didn't glide across my eyelid as smoothly as the others did. Obviously, you want as little drag as possible when it comes to eye products because 1. You want them to be as precise as possible and 2. It's your eye, it's sensitive. I favored the glitter-free shades.
In a way, these are kind of like Make Up For Ever's answer to the cult favorite Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil, which clock in at $20, a buck less than these Make Up For Ever joints, $21. Both products are awesome, but I'd venture to say that MUFE's glide on just a bit more nicely.
I wanted to play around with some of the other shades and see just what I could pull off with these, so I grabbed some of my favorite shades and went for a striped eyelid, just to see if I could.
Granted, this is neither practical nor is it sensible, but it's beauty! Nothing is practical. BUT, my point is, it wasn't hard, and I always find doing my eyes to be more difficult than it needs to be. It was easy to lay down the colors right where I wanted them and it didn't take me very long at all. How do you guys feel about liner vs. shadow? What are your favorite liners to use? Tell me in the comments!
The Aqua XL Pencils are launching in May and will be available at MakeUpForEver.com and Sephora for $21 each.
Tynan is copying Charli XCX on Twitter @TynanBuck.