Jenny Brownlees | Contributing Writer | Tuesday, 9 May 2017

New Look’s £3.99 Eyeliner

New Look’s £3.99 Eyeliner Is Totally Underrated

The Debrief: We’re struggling to believe it doesn’t cost more...

Eyeliner will never go out of style, you can quote me on that. Though it may change shape and style, it’s always a staple on the catwalks of Fashion Week. And, one quick scroll of the Instagram hashtag #eyeliner sees scores of selfies dedicated to the perfect flick. While things have come on leaps and bounds since Cleopatra’s early experimentations in 50 BC, it still takes a little skill and the right equipment. While I love wearing eyeliner, I’m not one of those powerful sorcerers who can do a perfect line in one swipe, I require silence, stillness and a standout tool. I tasked myself to try all the best products out there and see if you really do get what you pay for and if I could spend less with great results. I tested an eyeliner a day, in different styles to see how the products lasted and if I ended the day with a faded grey smudge. 

The cheap and cheerfuls

If you’re counting down the days ‘til payday (always) These ‘liners are all super cheap. But do they work? 

Primark, PS Liquid Liner £1 and PS Fine Liner Pen, £1

How do they look? I like the packaging of the PS line as they’ve kept it simple in black and gold.
How do they go on? Though both of these have really great fine nibs, which should make them easy to control, the product is far too wet.
How easy is it to do a cat-eye? If you can be 100% precise and have a very steady hand, you may be ok, but it’s hard as it takes a while to dry, so one twitch and your handy work is ruined.
Do they smudge? Yes, I smudged both of these almost instantly. 
How dark is the pigment? Here they win as both are very dark black.
What’s the staying power? It lasted longer than predicted but you couldn’t go from work to the pub without redoing it. I guess £1 isn’t enough to spend for the perfect eyeliner.

Side Note…I was also excited about PS’ eyeliner corrector pen, could this be the answer to my prayers? No, no it was not. Avoid at all costs, unless you’re going to a fancy dress party as a racoon. 

Poundland, Make-up gallery Liquid eyeliner, £1

How does it look? Smaller than the others, but the packaging is sleek. It doesn’t say ‘Poundland’ anywhere, in case you wondered.
How does it go on? Again, the product is a little too wet. This has a brush rather than a nib, and annoyingly the brush doesn’t meet in a point. This makes precision, like getting the fine line in the corner of your eye, a little more difficult.
How easy is it to do a cat-eye? I did manage it, but it’s hard to get a sharp line. If you just like a solid black lash line (no cat eye) and you’re really skint before payday you could make do.
Does it smudge? Again because of the wet texture, I ended up with a few dots here and there. Once on it didn’t withstand me touching my eye through the day like the others.
How dark is the pigment? Yes, it has a good deep black colour.
What’s the staying power? Not great, I was a bit patchy by the end. 

The mid-rangers 

Every high street make-up counter out there has an eyeliner priced around £5-8. But we need to know, which comes out on top?

New Look, Black Graphic Angled Eye Liner Pen, £4.99

How does it look? This is chunky like a felt tip. I was very excited about the angled nib. 
How does it go on? Oh dear, it literally felt like a felt tip. Not ideal. 
How easy is it to do a cat-eye? Hard as you’ll be scrunching your eye from the painful scratching brush. I achieved a thick liner look which was not what I was going for but might fine for a night out, I guess? Shame it’s 9 am.
Does it smudge? Nope, this doesn’t budge.
How dark is the pigment? This is the palest black I’ve tried so far. You need a few ‘coats’. 
What’s the staying power? Good, but the application struggle put me off.

THE WINNER!! New Look, Black Flick Eye Dip Liner, £3.99 

How does it look? The silver and black packaging is sleek and minimal. I like!
How does it go on? Like a dream! The consistency of the liquid is the best so far.
How easy is it to do a cat-eye? The pointed nib makes it easy. I usually struggle with the delicate skin on the corner of my outer eye, but it doesn’t drag.
Does it smudge? No, this was great at staying on and even withstood my ‘test eye rubs’
How dark is the pigment? The darkest of dark! For £3.99 I struggle to see how a liner triple this price would beat it. 

Barry M, Eye Define Liquid Eyeliner, £4.79 

How does it look? Cute, I like the little cat eye doodle.
How does it go on? This one rivals New Look, they are very similar. The nib and consistency are both great here, too.
How easy is it to do a cat-eye? Very, you could do an ultra-thin wing or build up and go bold.
Does it smudge? Nope, no panda eyes here.
How dark is the pigment?  It’s a lovely pitch black that really stands out. 
What’s the staying power? This one’s here for the long haul, result!

3INA, The Colour Eyeliner in 500, £7.95

How does it look? I like the packaging, this is square which makes it stand out from its competitors. The nib is pointed but not as fine as the others, it’s less solid and more spongey.
How does it go on? The texture of the liquid is great, making a steady application easy.
How easy is it to do a cat-eye? It’s definitely do-able, but as great as this is, the products with a finer nib beat it for ‘flick precision. 
Does it smudge? No, this has impressed me in lots of the mid-price range liners.
How dark is the pigment? Very. 
What’s the staying power? My liner’s still looking neat and tidy by day’s end. 

Topshop, Liquid Liner in Black Cab, £7.50, and Matte Liner in Soot, £7.50

How do they look? I love the polka dots on both of these!
How do they go on? The liquid liner’s nib is really long which helps it glide along the eye. The Matte’s point is equally good.
How easy is it to do a cat-eye? Yes, very.
Do they smudge? No budging from either.
How dark is the pigment? Dark, as a side the matte doesn’t look any different to me though. 
What’s the staying power? These both lasted a full day and are great but were beat on price.

The big spenders

£16-£24 on one product in our make-up bag is a lot, but are these worth shelling out on?

Eyeko, Eye Do Liquid Eyeliner and Black Magic, both £16

How do they look? This packaging is definitely my favourite. They come in lovely boxes, with doodles and cute quotes. These are part of a collab with Alexa Chung. Well if it’s good enough for the cat-eye Queen!
How do they go on? My friends raved to me about these, and I can see why. They go on so smoothly. The Black Magic pen is thicker, but I prefer the thinner Eye Do but only by a smidge!
How easy is it to do a cat-eye? These have both been the most precise so far, no question.
Do they smudge? No, they are waterproof so don’t budge (even on the waterline) or give you that awful inner corner black eye.
How dark is the pigment?  Very, while they don’t feel heavy, they both look pitch black on. 
What’s their staying power? These stayed on all day, I think the waterproof aspect really helped. If you want to spend a little more, these are the eyeliners for you.

Laura Mercier, Instant Ink 24 Hour Brush Eye Liner, £24

How does it look? Chic and minimal. The box makes it feel more expensive, too.
How does it go on? I was shocked that this was the most expensive but went on with the least ease.
How easy is it to do a cat-eye? The nib is the thinnest of all, and I thought that was the key to the whole thing, but this doesn’t seem to dispense enough product on the nib. It’s so fine that once you have (an albeit) very neat outline, it’s hard to fill in. I end up going over it so many times that it dragged against my skin. 
Does it smudge? No, it’s staying put. This is waterproof too. 
How dark is the pigment? It’s very subtle. You have to go over it a few times, for the price I’m surprised. 
What’s the staying power? This does last, but other factors let it down.

The Result

We think New Look killed it with its £4.99 ‘Flick’ Liquid liner. The whole package, for less than a fiver, yes, please!

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Tags: Beauty Chat