More often any other method, I'd take an angled eyeliner brush, dip it into a powder pan (sometimes with a little help from Paula Dorf Transformer), and push the pigment into the roots of my upper lashes only. I'd almost always choose a sooty grey brown (like Laura Mercier Coffee Ground) or a true charcoal with no blue undertones (like MAC Typographic). If I ever went for color, it would be a deep navy, but I don't much care for how greens or purples look on me as eyeliners. If my eyes were brown, perhaps I would feel more comfortable enhancing my lashes with more colorful color.
Through beauty forums and blogs I learned about tightlining, which was an absolute miracle for me, the best beauty tip I had learned about in decades. I found out that I could add a shot of deep color directly at the lash line--from underneath the lashes--and all I'd see was an intensity to my eyelashes that looked incredibly thick and lush at the roots. Since I'd see no obvious color there, it was a perfect day look for me when I wanted to fake a no-makeup look ... except that my eyes would often become irritated and red, even if I carefully avoided the water line.
So what else was there? I have always liked the precision of liquid eyeliner, but sometimes it can look a bit harsh.
One day, I was trying to fill my cart at chantecaille.com to get one of their full-sized gifts with purchase when I came across the Le Stylo Eyeliner Pen ($30). I looked for reviews, liked what I read, particularly Gaia's review and swatches at The Non-Blonde, and ordered both the brown and black pens.
The brown is a mid-toned color, somewhat sheer, with no obvious red or bronze, and zero shimmer. On my fair, pink skin it has charcoal undertones, which is perfect, exactly what makes the brown Le Stylo a great choice for daytime. The color dries to a semi-matte finish, not so matte that it closes up the eye, and not that shiny-plastic look that some liquid liners provide.
The black is more deeply pigmented, an obvious choice for evening looks. It's too dramatic for my daytime getup, but I have experimented with tightlining, being very careful to apply right into the roots (and not anywhere on the water line), and it lasts all day without much fading and without collecting black gunk in my tear ducts, the way Revlon ColorStay can do. Chantecaille's formula does not seem to bother my eyes, so far, but I suspect if my eyes became very watery, the color would fade and eventually run, as this eyeliner is water resistant, not waterproof.
I love this eyeliner so much, I have been using it every day, even on weekends when I am not leaving the house. One thin application lasts all day, even on a hot and humid summer day on my oily lids. Totally backup worthy. I have even been considering throwing away all of my gel eyeliners, which I do like but never appreciated the nuisance of having to wash a brush every every use.
I realize this review is lacking in photos. I took several, comparing Le Stylo in brown with my other brown or brownish eyeliners, but unfortunately the photos are stuck on my camera with no way to transfer them to my Mac, which goes to the Apple doctor this morning. If I remember, I will update this post as soon as my Mac is back, but in the meantime, I thought I would share the best tutorial on tightlining I have ever seen, by Beau Nelson of Beauté Cosmetics (who I think goes by the alias Ghost on Makeup Alley.)
Bottom line: One of the best eyeliners ever. I just wish it came in charcoal.
Photo credit: Chantecaille
Video credit: dabbler.ca via YouTube