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When Is Black Not Always Black?

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Perfectly Imperfect Beauty: When Is Black Not Always Black?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

When Is Black Not Always Black?

Carbon black, blackest black, very black, midnight black, ninja black, yada yada yada. We have seen them all-every label that makeup companies can come up with to prove that their black liner has the darkest pigment on the market. My question this week was, at the end of the day, isn't black just black? Is there really that big of a difference between all the black liners on the market claiming to darker, badder, and bolder?
The answer: Not all that is smoldering is actually black.

For this mini-experiment I took all of my black pencil liners (I excluded liquid and gel liners) and swatched them on the back of my hand in one full swipe (one stroke down and one stroke up) using the same amount of pressure. Here are the results:
From left to right:

1) MAC's Eye Kohl "Smolder"
Not only was this the second most expensive liner, it was the most disappointing. The pigment is simply not there. This would require several passes to obtain the same opacity that the other liners achieved in one full swatch. The tip was also the hardest and needed to be warmed up slightly to get the product to apply smoothly. Any tugging along the lashline can not be good long term for the delicate skin around the eyes.
Grade: C+

2) Buxom Insider Eyeliner "Onyx"
The most expensive of the liners, it was also one of the easiest to apply and offered amazing colour pay off. This liner is very smooth and creamy and requires the slightest amount of pressure to deposit dark pigment along your lashline. Just be careful not to press too hard or it can look a little cakey.
Grade: A-

3) L'Oreal Paris Infallible Never Fail 16hr Eyeliner "Carbon Black"
First let me address the issues that the tip BROKE the minute it made contact with my skin. This tip is very thin and quite fragile. I also noticed that this black has almost a maroon-brown undertone. This liner definitely failed my expectations.
Grade: C-

4) Annabelle Smudge Liner "Ohmygoth!"
The best of the bunch. The pigments in this liner are slightly darker tham those in the Buxom liner and it applies just as seamlessly. You don't have to wait for the tip of the liner to warm against the skin before getting the full colour impact because the texture is so creamy. This liner earns extra points because it is the cheapest of the bunch and has the most creative name.
Grade: A
Conclusion: The most expensive (Buxom) and the cheapest (Annabelle) liners were the best of those tested. Considering that the Annabelle liner gave the same colour pay off and ease of application as the Buxom, I think it is a no-brainer to say that I am going to stick with the budget friendly and goth-tastic Annabelle liner.



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