YGWYPF? : Four Cheapo Liquid Liners

Good Or Nah?

HEY IT’S FRIDAY, and the final entry (for now) in our “let’s test drive some bonkers inexpensive makeup and see if it sucks.” Today, everyone’s [well, mine, at least] most challenging product : liquid liner. WOO, let’s play with some crap!


It’s four liquid liners I took a gamble on via Miss A! From top, KleanColor, Santèe, Starry, and Amuse. Yeah, they were all A DOLLAR. I picked these four because they were different brands, different packaging configurations, different applicator types, and they all had four- to five-star reviews on the site. Which, if you’ve ever read product reviews basically anywhere, ever, you know that A) ymmv and B) some people have limited experience with the product category and don’t realize that a thing they think is amazing is really essentially “marginal” compared to other stuff, and C) some people are just stoopit. That’s probably mean. Is it mean? I’ve just wasted enough time reading reviews that consist entirely of “omg i love this the tube is so pretty lol” or “i hated this color [no mention of the shade name], returned” that I no longer have any compunction about kvetching over this.

ANYWAY. All of these had pretty consistent reviews, so I figured they probably weren’t complete trash. All were applied onto just-washed skin with e.l.f. Shadow Lock primer beneath, which I figured was the fairest (and easiest) test, as I didn’t want to try them all over varying eyeshadows, or on totally bare skin. Let’s experiment!

Squiggle swatches, woo! From left, the same order : Kleancolor, Santèe, Starry, Amuse. Yeah, they were still a teeny bit wet when I snapped this photo, but note that all of them dry down to a slightly satiny-sheen except the last (Amuse), which was the only one that dried to a dense matte black.

KleanColor VIP Precision Eyeliner

The cap color on these apparently varies, but afaict they’re all the same. The tube is oddly bulky (a hollow outer shell) and  the commensurately fat cap makes this slightly harder to work with. The applicator wand itself has a tip that feels plastic-y, with hardly any play/flex in the end, so I’m going to assume it’s compressed fibers like a felt-tip. Also, the tip itself is MUCH fatter and less tapered than I’m accustomed to, which made it harder to get neat skinny lines and a fine point.

Wow, it’s amazing how what looks like a very neat line at normal viewing distance turns all “WHOA, HELLO EYELID TEXTURE” when you zoom in. :/

Kleancolor VIP liner, just applied.
Kleancolor VIP liner, after about eight hours.

After about eight hours of wear (indoors, room temp, no humidity or sweating to contend with), this had broken down a little — particularly where my skin creases at the outer corner of my eyelid — but otherwise wasn’t a complete train wreck. THE VERDICT : Eh, NAH. The performance of the liner itself wasn’t horrible, but the bulky wand and fat point made it tougher to apply. I’d pass.

Santèe Solid Black Liquid Eyeliner 

Slimmer tube and wand, with a stiff felt-tip style point that’s much like the Kleancolor one — dense and hard — except for a little bit of flex in the verrrrry end of the tip, which is also significantly thinner and pointier.

This was easier to apply neatly and accurately than the Kleancolor, but that “Solid Black” in its name is a LIE. Of the four I tried, this one was definitely the most sheer/least solid black — and going back over the line with a second pass often disturbed and lifted the first coat. If you want to try this one yourself, plan on gently tapping on more product where you need to build it up, and definitely use primer, because this one tends to feather into your skin texture without it :

Santèe liner, applied to back of hand with no primer.
Santèe liner, just applied.
Santèe liner, after about eight hours.

The wear on this one was surprisingly okay — it crumbled a bit, but didn’t disintegrate. Note that the mid-lid patchy area was already fairly sheer and patchy right after it was applied, because I got tired of trying to pat on more product to get it super opaque. THE VERDICT : Eh, NAH. Pretty easy to apply, but the lack of opacity and its tendency to feather on unprimed skin (and probably over some products, too) make it a pass.

Starry Brush Tip Liquid Eyeliner

This one came in the cutest package of the four (oooo, shiny colorful chrome!), and also has the best applicator — despite the name, the tip is NOT an actual brush, but a felt-tip thing much like the Santèe (dense and firm, with a bit of play in the very end).

This one is also pretty easy to apply, without the Santèe’s sheerness and feathering issues. No problem getting a clean line, neat flick, or dotting between lashes without making a big damn mess. I did, however, end up with a weird-shaped giant wing, but whatever — that’s on me, not on the liner.

Starry liquid liner, just applied.
Starry liquid liner after about eight hours.

The wear on this one was the best of the four — it’s very black, even though it has a slight sheen when it dries, and it really only fell apart where my skin creases at the outer corner (which, pretty much everything breaks down there eventually). Also, this one (and the final entrant) had a bit more of a challenge to contend with, as I decided halfway through the eight planned hours of wear that it was 100% time to bleach my roots and redye my hair. “I’ll turn the temp down, I can totally do this without getting all sweaty!” YES BUT COLLIER, THE HAIR-RINSING. IN THE TUB. WITH YOUR FACE DOWN. So these two got a little more humidity, though I did mostly manage to keep actual streams of water from going all over my face. THE VERDICT : Pretty GOOD! I’ll probably even use this one occasionally, like actual normal makeup and not a “lol it was a dollar, I’ll use it to draw on someone’s face when they pass out at my house.”

Amuse Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

I saved the worst for last. I don’t know if it’s waterproof, but it’s definitely not skin-oil-even-with-primer-proof. This one DOES actually have a brush applicator (and a very reasonably scaled tube that’s easy to handle). The problem is that the brush is actual literal trash, and resembles less “something you’d use to paint small neat lines on your face” than “I killed a spider, epoxied it, and glued it onto this here stick.”

Obvs that’s with much of the product wiped off. When you first pull it out, it doesn’t seem all that bad … but as soon as you start trying to actually paint with it? Yeah, no. This was fairly challenging. A shame, because as previously noted, this formula was the only one of the four that was matte black (which I prefer).

Amuse liquid liner, just applied.
Amuse liquid liner, after about eight hours.

I managed to get a fairly straight (albeit fatter than intended) line with it, as it does flow really nicely. But boy it does NOT wear well. This one disintegrated almost completely, and was patchy and chipped all over by the time I took it off. Also, I actually tested this one (and the Starry) twice, because the first day I wore them, I couldn’t believe how badly the Amuse one fell apart (did I get all sweaty? I don’t remember getting sweaty). I had a pretty easy time applying it and was SO pleased at its pigmentation and matte-blackness! BUT, THE VERDICT : HELL NAH. This one I *will* use to draw on your face with if you pass out at my house. At least you know it’ll come off easily?

IN CONCLUSION : This was fun, and the Starry is decent and the Santèe is at least usable for short-term wear (it’ll probably be my new designated Experiment liner, or for LOTRT stuff I’m unsure about)! The Starry, while not Omg The Greatest Ever, wears about the same (over primer) for me as NYX Epic Ink, though not as well as NYX Matte Liquid, or ColourPop Creme Gel, or my old HG YSL Effet Faux Cils. And of course, none of them were as easy to use as a pen/stylo type liner, but then I didn’t really expect them to be. So I mean, I basically got like 1.5 passable/usable liners for four bucks, which is 100% worth it.

Tried any of these? Already gone to ShopMissA and bought a load of cheap stuff to play with? Share!