Secret Weapon: Kat Von D Tattoo Liner

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner

Did I ever tell you that one of the great quests of my life has been for the best black eyeliner? Sad I know, but it’s true. I thought I had tried them all, finding some I liked more than others – from Stila to MAC, Bobbi Brown to Maybelline, NARS to Laura Mercier. I’m an equal opportunity black liner lover but it does need to deliver. Because none of them had quite the inky darkness that I craved, I kept testing out new ones, looking for a black that could audition for a Tim Burton film.

Until I tried the new Kat Von D liner. It is, quite simply, and hands down, the best black liner I have ever tried. Kat von D is pretty new to the makeup game, coming from a background as a tattoo artist and a reality TV star (not the way to my hear generally, but she has won me over after testing out her liner and some of her lipsticks, which are also fab).

Stocked in mega makeup store Sephora, I’m starting to see what the fuss is about with her line. Pigment rich, subversive packaging (reminiscent of another of my favourite brands, Illamasqua), it’s all a bit goth but also surprisingly wearable and has a great range of colours. A committed vegan it’s also cruelty-free, which also ticks my makeup boxes.

Sephora gave me a lovely bag of goodies to test out the other day which I’ve been doing religiously, and this liner is the standout. It’s just so damn BLACK. As dark as the Adams family hall closet, it also is a genius felt tip pen that has a nib that’s hard enough to draw great lines, but soft enough to manipulate around the delicate eye area. So whether you’re a liner novice or Lana del Rey, this one is for you!

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner

Bag It: Revlon Luxurious Colour Eyeliners

Cameron Diaz makeup by Gucci WestmanThese are my new eyeliner discovery, and they are fab. Super-creamy, long-wearing and they come in a great range of shades (8 in total). I thought I had all the pencils I needed, but it turns out, I was wrong. It turns out, you can never have too many pencils! What a relief.

I only have two of them at the moment but it won’t be long before I add more – I find the way they smudge yet stay colour true is more like the performance of one of the high end brands. It’s not very often that I make the foray from the department store to the drugstore, but for Revlon I’m starting to make an exception.

I have to confess to being more and more impressed with Revlon. Last year they took on Gucci Westman (NY makeup artist extraordinaire who racks up Vogue and W covers just as easily as red carpet clients, including Jessica Biel, Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore), and ever since Gucci’s been on board – well their makeup looks fresh again. I’m impressed by the pigments and colours not just on the eyeliners but also the concealers, lipsticks, nail polishes, cream blushes and eyeshadows, and their brushes are fabulous, although they can be hard to find.

Last summer I worked on a Revlon commercial in London with Kay Montano who was making up the ever-amazing Elle McPherson, and I got the chance to try a lot of the products then. It’s an impressive drugstore offering, certainly my favourite across the board of the ranges in a lower price point. Their advertising campaigns have kicked up a notch as well with their recent signing of beautiful actresses Jessica Biel and Jessica Alba, and it feels like again you can say “The Most Unforgettable Women in the World Wear Revlon.”

Revlon Luxurious Colour Eyeliners

How-To: Thandie Newtown’s makeup

This week’s video is Kay Montano demonstrating how to do the makeup she did on Thandie Newton for the premiere of W. It’s a great video for learning how to do eyeliner!

Thandie Newtown at the W Premiere

Bin It: Stila Smudge Pot

Whilst I hate to kick a brand when it’s down (as of last week Stila was just brought back from the brink of receivership by a private equity firm who have bought it. It’s not been doing well since Estee Lauder sold it in 2006), and there are quite a few Stila products I like, this ain’t one of them.

 Stila-Smudge-PotsThe Smudge Pots (in my humble opinion) are the worst of the current crop of gel eyeliners. And the reason I know? Because the good stuff (ie the Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Eyeliner I posted about last week) is in my kit, which leaves the rubbish (ie Stila Smudge Pot), in my personal makeup bag. Isn’t there that saying that the cobbler has no shoes? Well that is definitely me. I have my fancy pants amazing work makeup kit all organized and color coded and with so much stuff in it I have actually injured myself carrying it around (which is just sad but also happens to be true), and then my own makeup bag is beyond tragic. It’s full of gift with purchase brushes (I know! The shame! The horror! I am always telling clients off for this!) and brushes I didn’t like enough to put in my kit, and my makeup is either things I have doubles of, or things I have pulled out of the Vault, where makeup at my place goes to die.

 Which is where the Stila Smudge Pot comes in. It flakes, it smudges, it’s like pushing an eyeliner brush through tar (which at 6am is even less fun than it sounds) and its consistency is just plain wrong. Then by the end of the day when you’ve been working so hard, and (let’s face it) sweating, and you haven’t had time to look in the mirror, when you actually do, what do you find but two very attractive half moons of black nestled in the creases of your under eyes. SO HOT.

 If you want to go halfway between the worst (Stila) and the best (Bobbi Brown), you would find the MAC Fluidline, which is quite nice and creamy and is certainly cheaper than the Bobbi Brown. It’s by no means terrible, so if, at this delicate stage in our global economy you are finding your financial affairs a little straitened, you could definitely do worse than this one. I usually use this at the shows as most of the shows are sponsored by MAC.

 But please, stay far, far away from Stila Smudge Pot. And I’ll take my own advice and I will too.


Eyeliners that Rock My World

This was an excellent question asked after my last post on smoky eyes, and I thought I’d do a whole post on it, as eyeliner is a key and very misunderstood product.

Eyeliner applied correctly can make your eyes look bigger, your gaze more smoldering and generally more like the all-out diva you want to be. Eyeliner applied incorrectly will make you look like Uncle Fester back from an all night rave – possibly not the look you’re going for. So to begin:

Eyeliner comes in three forms – pencil, gel eyeliner (in a pot), and liquid, usually in a pen or inkwell type arrangement. And in intensity, that is also the order – pencil is softest, gel is next in terms of strength and depth of color, followed by liquid, which is the mack daddy of all liners but should be used with caution – it’s also the hardest to apply (although with practice it can look amazing).


Chanel Eye Pencils

My favourites are Chanel and MAC. MAC Smolder is the best soft black for a rock n’ roll smoky eye, and MAC Coffee is a beautiful brown. If you’re feeling creative you can mix the black and the brown for a gorgeous color which frames every eye color beautifully. MAC also has pretty much every color under the rainbow, so if you’re feeling like getting experimental with a fluoro orange eyeliner one morning, MAC is the place to go. Chanel I like for the more discreet range of colors like navy and bronze, plus a top range of browns, and when you may not want so much smudgability (‘cause you know, some days are just like that).

Gel eyeliner

bobbibrowngeleyelinerThis is a favourite of mine and a fairly newfangled addition to the eyeliner pantheon. My favourite by a long shot is Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Eyeliner in Black Ink, and believe me, I’ve tried them all. It’s a really true, rich black and it glides on (with a brush and a steady hand!), but then it doesn’t budge. Or flake. Or smudge. All day. Love it.macliquideyeliner

It also comes in lots of other colours which manage to be both ladylike and arresting. I particularly like Bronze Shimmer Ink and Sepia Ink, but there are about 15 gorgeous colors to try in all.

Liquid liner

And last (but by no means least), is liquid eyeliner. This is the strongest type of eyeliner and so requires a bit of practice, but nothing beats it for instant drama. I am currently using MAC Bootblack liquid eyeliner, although I usually use a proper brush, not the little pen applicator thing it comes with which I don’t find precise enough. A tip if you’ve done a smoky eye but it’s not making your eyes pop – add a thin line of liquid liner just above your lashes. This will frame your eyes to give you the Bambi-like gaze (the doe, not the stripper, if you’ve done it correctly) you’ve been looking for.