Ah, gel liners, what would I do without you and your outrageous smudge-proof claims in humid Singapore?
That said, liquid liners get the lion’s share of attention. And rightfully so – they’re quick to apply, easy to work with (or most of them are, anyway. If you don’t know where to start, don’t worry, our beauty editors have got it covered) and they’re definitely portable.
But for long days (or nights) that require something a little more heavy duty, or for moments where I’m going for a deep, matte finish, I turn to the gel pots. The more weather-resistant, the better!
Of course, there’s only so much we can do to keep our makeup from completely melting in the humidity – and trust us, we’ve definitely done our research. Beyond setting sprays and, even if we do say so ourselves, ingenious step-by-step tutorials, the product has to actually work.
So that’s what I did. Armed with my weapon of choice (a trusty MAC 209 eyeliner brush) and my various gel pots as ammunition, I put my eyes on the prize to see which products made the cut and which didn’t.
Inglot AMC Eyeliner, $27. Available on Zalora or at Robinsons JEM.
I’d first heard about Inglot cosmetics company back in 2012 but only started paying proper attention to it in the past two years when I was on the hunt for a deep purple gel liner.
The Polish company is known for its colourful range of quality products, so purchasing a purple liner from Inglot would have made perfect sense – except I stuck with a safer black (#77) because well, everyone has to start somewhere, right?
Packaging: Now, I’m not one to judge a liner by its pot, but the cheap plastic packaging was slightly off-putting, given that the cost of the liner veers on the steeper side.
How it applied: There was no tugging and the pigment went on smoothly. However, I found that when swooping on more product to deepen the intensity (and straighten out the line because nobody is perfect), the ink started to get a little patchy, which made layering a bit of a hassle.
Did it last: By the end of that particularly long day (I had to run for three buses and the liner had been on for 13 hours), there was a bit of transfer onto my undereye area but it was nothing too unmanageable; a quick swipe with a wet wipe got rid of it all. The line itself stayed on well with no smudges and the rich black remained as intense.
Would I repurchase: All in all, it wasn’t a bad product, but I don’t think I’ll be repurchasing the black pot because, well, there are products that offer the same for less. As for that purple liner, though, I’m seriously considering it.
MAC Cosmetics Fluidline liner, $31
Oh, the cult favourite. I really tried hard to look for flaws with the Mac Fluidline but I’ve got to admit that this product exceeded all my expectations.
Packaging: It comes in a glass pot. Very straightforward with no add-ons.
How it applied: It was thick and creamy and the liner dried down to a lovely matte finish. No crusting, no patchiness and definitely no tugging. Just me, the beautiful line that I’d created (with some touch-ups, of course; these hands are only mortal, after all), and a very self-satisfied smirk.
Did it last: It most certainly does. Think of the Fluidline as the partner you take home to meet your parents, the one you dream about buying a house with and the one you can most certainly depend on through sickness and in health. I don’t mean to sound overly enthusiastic, but this product has become my ride-or-die eyeliner. I’ve tried on many occasions to ‘break up’ with it because, like all love stories, it sometimes hurts – my wallet, mostly. But the thing about this liner is that it’s the only one I’ve known to have lasted with me through a crazy night and still look immaculate.
Would I repurchase: Yes. I should say, however, that if you’re not someone who uses gel liner regularly, you might want to avoid this product for now. It took just over a year for me, but once the Fluidline dries out (as all gel liners do, unfortunately) it becomes pretty much a nightmare to work with. The product becomes stiff and doesn’t move across the lid at all. So maybe not truly marriage material, after all.
Benefit They’re Real! Push Up liner, $41 from Sephora.
I was pretty excited to try out this product from Benefit because, well, an eyeliner from the makers of the legendary Hoola bronzer! Which makeup enthusiast wouldn’t be? So we’ll get right to the review.
Packaging: You can already see that instead of coming in a pot like most gel liners, Benefit made the product a little more travel-friendly by packaging it in a pen instead; no need for a brush, just twist the end and the ink comes out.
How it applied: While you’d think that having the product in a pen would make it easier to maneuver, I found that it wasn’t quite the case. Maybe it was just me, but the fact that the product oozed out of the tip meant that all the ink would be deposited right onto wherever you first place that pen tip. This made it a little messy to work with and I’ll admit I got pretty frustrated applying it.
Did it last: Yes it did, yes it did. I say this with a twinge of bitterness because I’d just run out of my heavy-duty makeup remover and only had mild micellar water on hand, which could not remove the atrocity that I had created on my eyes. So I did what any girl would do in that situation: I thickened the line and it remained there for the rest of the day, a sad reminder of my ineptitude.
Would I repurchase: No. I know plenty of people who love the Benefit liner because they think it’s easy to apply but that just wasn’t the case for me. I’ve since used a brush to pick up the product instead and it works just as well, but I’d much rather buy a Benefit Roller Lash mascara (my holy grail and the one mascara I will take to the grave) or keep investing in its brow range. But hey, if you’re a Benefit type of gal, there’s no denying that the formula is a good one, all things considered.
Elf cream liner, $4.20. Available on iHerb.sg
No, it’s not a typo. And yes, you’re reading it right. The Elf cream liner does indeed cost less than $5. So what can you expect from this single-digit item?
Packaging: The plastic pot was sturdy and I was pleasantly surprised to see that they’d provided a brush as well.
How it applied: I’ll make a concession and say that it applied really well for something a product that costs less than a canteen meal. The product wasn’t as thick as you would get from the other liners available and I did have to spend quite some time layering the product on to get a look I was satisfied with but the price point was something that justified all my efforts. Hey, a girl’s gotta be frugal!
Did it last: I’d forgotten I had eyeliner on at one point during the day and roughly rubbed my eye, which was the ultimate test of whether it was smudge-proof. And I have to say that no, it didn’t completely pass the rather unfair test. The line was still intact but there was some smearing which I could easily wipe off. As for how it wore throughout the rest of the day, the product did lose its lustre by evening. It’s not designed for a sweaty day out or a particularly wild night. It’s an everyday product and you do get what you pay for, which is a pretty sweet deal if you’re someone who’s just starting out with gel liner.
Would I repurchase: I’m on the fence about this one which honestly happens very often. On one hand, its results are not something that genuinely excited me because, well, I’ve tried plenty of other gel liners. On the other, it’s an inexpensive purchase, especially for a product that will dry out eventually. I do want to point out, though, that if you’re someone with particularly oily eyelids then you might want to stay away from the Elf cream eyeliner.
Maybelline Eyestudio Lasting Drama Gel Liner, $22.90. Available in Watson’s.
And finally, we get to the liner I felt was my greatest find: The Maybelline Eyestudio Lasting Drama Gel Liner.
Packaging: The Maybelline liner comes in a plastic pot with a nifty brush that you can use if you don't already have one.
How it applied: Believe me when I say no one was as shocked as I was with how easily it went on my lids. Just like the MAC Pro Longwear Fluidline, I’d heard a lot of praise about the product but thought it may have been overhyped. But no, the product was definitely easy to work with. It dried with no patches, and the liner was so creamy that it was easy to draw both a thin line and a precise flick.
Did it last: I’d be lying if I say that there was completely no transfer. But I will concede that it only became noticeable when I was removing my makeup and therefore, scrutinising my face in great detail. I did notice, however, that the cateye I’d drawn wasn’t as precise as it had been when I’d left to run my errands in the morning.
Would I repurchase: Definitely. Does it rank the same with my precious MAC Pro Longwear Fluidline? Not really, but neither does the price – which is a huge point of contention. I love the Fluidline for a night out because I know it won’t budge, but the Maybelline alternative is definitely one that I’ll be considering during the season of new makeup releases.