The glossy posse put kohl eyeliners to the test to see which ones create the perfect line
Buy online: www.boots.com
Feedback: “I love a kohl eyeliner – I can’t use a liquid one without looking like I’ve been colouring in my eyes with a paintbrush! This YSL waterproof eyeliner is my perfect match. Its soft and creamy texture glides on effortlessly, making it easy to apply and it’s highly pigmented so really creates a jet black colour; so much better than those pencils where you have to keep going over your waterline only to be left with barely-there black. It’s very long-lasting and doesn’t smudge throughout the day so there is no chance of those panda rings underneath the eye come noon. Its budge-proof nature makes it a little difficult to remove when it comes to the end of the day so a good eye make-up remover is recommended - but it’s worth it.
Clinique Quickliner for Eyes Intense
Buy online: www.clinique.co.uk
Feedback: "I'm quite the fan of a twist-up eyeliner as I tend to find they create a smoother line and do not have the will to find the right sized pencil sharpener for each new liner (it's a staple of my make-up bag and therefore often updated). This Clinique eyeliner is super neat with a slightly pointed end which you can twist up as you use. Annoyingly, you can't twist it back down - I would bet good money on a lot of people failing to read the small print and losing some of the product as a result. The eyeliner itself, though is pretty impressive. It's soft enough to glide along the eye without a hint of dragging or scratching (pet peeve) and if used at the right angle you can play with hard and sharp lines or, when using a more blunt edge, a softer line which you can then smudge beautifully with the sponge that sits on the opposite end. Once there it lasts well, though I wouldn't say the 'Intense Black' I used was as intense as I'd like; my only issue was that I sometimes had to run back over the line as it didn't always distribute an even pigment all the way across. Good, but by no means perfect."
Barry M Bold Black Waterproof Eyeliner
Buy online: www.barrym.com
Feedback: "I'm not sure what to say about this eyeliner other than: wow. Though it looks like a fairly humble, standard kohl, this little pencil is an absolute dream of an eyeliner. Promising to apply as smoothly as a liquid with the precision of a pencil, Barry M is a man of his word as this super soft almost gel-like eyeliner simply glides on to the eyes leaving a highly pigmented jet black and precise line in its wake. I was so carried away by the ease with which it applied that I tested it for all kinds of looks, along the upper lash line with a winged flick, in the inner upper lash line and then on my lower waterline and lower lashes. All were effortless and high impact on colour and what's more, they didn't budge. No, really didn't budge. I attempted to smudge the line for a smokey look and it was having none of it; therefore be warned not to draw a thicker line than desired for once it's there, it's staying. However, a decent swipe of my favourite micellar quickly removed it again - until the next day when I had fun all over again."
Chanel Le Crayon Khol Intense Eyeliner in Noir
Buy online: www.houseoffraser.co.uk
Feedback: “I am not a fan of pencil eye liner, mostly because they tend to feel quite tough on the skin, however this one from Chanel was far softer than I expected - it doesn’t pull so would be great for more sensitive eyes. It’s very gentle but therefore I found the line needs to be reapplied quite a few times to build up the intensity, and perhaps due to these layers it smudged quite easily hours later so you begin to develop panda eyes throughout the day. Great for a more subtle look but if you want a stronger liner for better definition there are definitely cheaper options out there.”
Lancome Le Crayon Khol Noir
Buy online: www.lancome.co.uk
Feedback: “Sadly this pencil reminded me of why I prefer to stick to liquid. It creates a very thin line without much ‘drama’ - something I am after when I use liner as I want to make my eyes stand out. It dragged the skin slightly and felt a little scratchy though once slightly more blunt it was kinder to the eyes. It would work for modest day time make-up but if you like to create impact it’s not for you.”
Burberry Effortless Khol Multi-use Pencil
Buy online: www.harrods.com
Feedback: “This eyeliner falls into a completely different category for me. It is not your typical thin pencil eyeliner. It’s so thick and creamy it can even be used for eyebrows (which I did and it was great) as well as an impressive smokey eye. It blends really well but also works on the waterline and stays put so there’s no need to constantly reapply. The perfect pencil.”
Clarins Crayon Kohl Pencil
Buy online: www.boots.com
Feedback: “This eyeliner pencil comes with its own sharpener and a brush which is attached at the other end of the pencil. I used it for a few occasions, both day and night to see how it worked for different effects. It glides on really easily and the little brush is great at correcting any smudges. However, I prefer liquid eyeliners for my upper lashline because they dry and then don't smudge; this pencil left smudges of black on the top of my eyelid which wasn't great. Despite this, the line lasted for up to six hours so it does have staying power - you just need it to settle in the right places!”
Bourjois Queen Attitude Khôl Kajal
Buy online: www.boots.com
Feedback: “‘Queen Attitude’ just about sums up this Old Skool Khôl - if Cleopatra is your make-up muse, this is the eyeliner for you. The packaging may be cute, with its dainty ribbon and teeny tiny clutch bag proportions, but within you’ll find an intense ebony cone of khôl that means business. Creamy in texture and highly pigmented, this liner makes achieving a smouldering smokey eye a cinch and will especially appeal to those who dislike the dry, dragging feeling of some pencil liners. If it’s graphic precision and a long-lasting line you’re after however, this is most certainly not the khôl for you. It’s smudgy, it’s sexy and it will migrate around the entire eye area. Depending on your mood and setting, this may in fact be a bonus, but it’s not an ideal office look. It’s definitely a novelty, as is the fact that it doesn’t need sharpening; if used correctly the nib should stay sharp as it wears down. I’m a bit intrigued as to how this would work, but traditional khôl fans will no doubt figure it out. For the reasonable price point, it’s worth experimenting with.
Benefit BADgal Waterproof Liner
Buy online: www.benefitcosmetics.co.uk
Feedback: “If you’re the kind of BADgal that likes to apply liner and go about your day, this pencil will probably fit the bill. I applied mine at 7:30am and it stayed put all day, surviving a sweaty gym trip without travelling down my cheeks. Just don’t try cutting an onion or having a shower - its waterproof credentials dissolve a little when faced with especially damp, teary or humid conditions (a wedding in a hot climate might demand an additional eyelid primer…). Colour payoff is impressive and the waxy pencil is easy to smudge and blend with the accompanying sponge, however I found the pencil nib slightly wider than others I’ve used. Then again, BADgals are unlikely to be seeking a subtly, skinny line. This liner brings the drama, and does indeed withstand most day to day dramas, but it’s slightly more expensive than I’d be willing to pay (an inclusive sharpener would be a nice touch). That said, it’s likely to last you a long time, both in terms of actual wear and cost-per-wear.”
Rimmel Soft Kohl Kajal Eye Liner Pencil
Buy Online: www.boots.com
Feedback: “I have to admit, Rimmel tends to be a guilty pleasure of mine. MAC is marvellous, Bobbi Brown is beautiful but Rimmel is just always so reassuringly reliable. The same can definitely be said for their Kajal Kohl eyeliner. It was smooth to apply, a really deep and dark ebony shade and had great smudging potential - an eyeliner triple threat.
“Ultimately though, the real test with eyeliner is its staying power. Like most people I tend to have a big problem keeping my inner eyeliner to stay as a flawless charcoal line. No sooner do I leave the house than I find out that my once sultry smoulder has become a watery washout. Not with this eyeliner however; from application in the morning until make-up wipe at night my inner liner remained a clear and completely unscathed contour. What's more, this eyeliner is also incredibly inexpensive - it’s cheap and most definitely cheerful. Once again Rimmel has left me as a satisfied and smokey customer.”
MAC Feline Kohl Power Eye Pencil
Buy online: www.maccosmetics.co.uk
Feedback: “For as long as I can remember I have been told that MAC eyeliners are by far the Ferrari of the kohl world - and the Feline Power Pencil certainly did not disappoint. This little beauty has amazing intensity and smokey colour, providing deep, fully opaque coverage. Incredibly smooth to apply, this liner also packs a fair punch with its blending and smudging potential, allowing for the ultimate of sultry and smouldering styles. The Feline title was slightly lost on me however, as the nib was not quite thin enough to allow for delicate accuracy and its soft texture meant it gave for more of a rock-chick than feline-flick finish. Don't be put off by the slightly higher price tag; the strength of this liner means only little pressure need be applied, giving it a long and healthy life in your make-up bag. So, for anyone looking for a really long-lasting eyeliner with added attitude, this is the one for you - you definitely get a bang for every buck.”
Smashbox Always Sharp Waterproof Kohl Liner in Raven
Buy online: www.smashbox.co.uk
Feedback: “Going out without a heavy slick of charcoal eyeliner is the beauty equivalent of going out without any trousers for me, so when this week’s Gloss Report came around I was more than happy to lend a helping hand!
“I really liked this liner in terms of colour pay off and staying power. It was soft and silky textured and end of the night panda eyes were thankfully kept to a minimum. I particularly liked the fact that you didn’t need a sharpener which would have been a great feature, had the twist function worked (a problem cited in some of the other reviews I’ve read too). As a result, it didn’t last very long which considering the price point was a definite let-down. Such a shame considering the fact that it gave such great definition!”
Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Kajal Liner in Pacific
Buy online: www.bobbibrown.co.uk
Feedback: “This eyeliner scored full marks on all fronts from me. It was highly pigmented, long-lasting and its super soft texture allowed me to blend it with ease too. Usually a diehard fan of blacks and deep browns, my tastes have certainly changed after applying this luxuriously rich lagoon blue to my waterline which provided an uplifting pop of colour that was noticeable yet also sophisticatedly subtle too.
“With a handy smudger at the end which allowed me to vary the intensity without any tugging or stretching of the crepey skin around my eyes, this liner will be taking pride of place at the top of my clutch bag checklist for keeping my eyes defined and in line this party season.”
Charlotte Tilbury Rock and Kohl
Buy online: www.charlottetilbury.com
Feedback: “Make-up magician Charlotte Tilbury is best known for being able to break boundaries beautifully, backstage at some of the world’s biggest fashion shows; I was excited therefore to try her rock and kohl eyeliner in ‘Barbarella brown’. I’ve never been too confident in applying eyeliner, I’m too heavy handed to create a feminine feline flick, but I have to say this pencil glided on the skin - melted almost - like a dream.
“This eyeliner is rich in pigment and being a dark chocolate brown it created a smoked up rock chick look that was extremely flattering, and created more of an impact than a deep, harsh black. It really is a thing of beauty; it made my deep brown eyes come alive. I felt like the ultimate rock chick, so step aside Kate Moss!”
Color Riche Le Smoky by L’Oreal Paris in Brown Fusion
Buy online: www.feelunique.com
Feedback: “There’s a fine line (excuse the pun) between creating a smudgy eyeliner that you can blend and smoke, and making it so soft that it runs down your face and creases into your lids making you look like you’ve got a black eye. Unfortunately this is the problem with this eyeliner. While it glides on easily, it has a super fine texture so lacks staying power and just disappeared into my lids and under my eyes a few hours after applying it. Admittedly, £4.99 is a great price point, but compared to the quality of my favourite eye kohl - the YSL Long Lasting Eye Pencil, it doesn’t even compare.”
Stila Colour Outside the Lines Smudge Stick Set
Buy online: www.stila.co.uk
Feedback: "I'm very fussy when it comes to eyeliner. The immaculate feline flicks that liquid eyeliners produce have always felt a bit too polished for my somewhat bohemian and hippy self and while I adore a sexy smudgy eye, the thought of pulling a hard kohl pencil across my eyelids everyday has me having flashes of wrinkly, crepey skin in years to come. Cue the Stila Smudge Sticks. These little gems not only have the softest formula EVER, they also have a strong pigment that lasts the entire day, plus they create the perfect amount of smudgy-ness that is somehow appropriate for day as well as night. In fact this little treasure of a tin, with five flawless shades, has quickly become my go-to make-up staple, even replacing my beloved smokey eye palettes. They're that good."