Even if I didn’t know anything else about Sophia Loren, I would be able to tell from this photo that I have three style loves in common with her: pearls, leopard print and …. beautifully lined eyes. For years, I have been devoted to liquid eyeliners (with only a brief fling with gel ones) partly because I adore the retro looks that can be created, but also – and this was actually my original reason – because it was easier to achieve an eye line which stayed put and didn’t smudge if I used one of the liquid variety.
My first eyeliner pen was a L’Oréal one which no longer exists. Later, I was a serial buyer of a Clarins one but they changed the nib from a brush to a rigid felt tip pen effort and I found that it was too hard on my eyelid and tricky to use. In recent times, the only eyeliner I have truly loved has been Guerlain‘s which comes in an ink bottle with an elegant brush, in three colours (I love them all – navy, black and brown) and lasts an eternity.
Nevertheless, this summer, I have been persuaded to experiment once more with the pen variety of liner. Of the two new liners on the block, I am – contrary to my own expectations – totally sold on Estée Lauder Little Black Liner (£22, from August 31). Why did I not expect to be convinced by it? Because I saw the dreaded felt tip pen-style nib and because I wasn’t very taken with its sibling, the mascara base Little Black Primer which launched earlier this year. However, the thin end of this dual-ended, waterproof eyeliner provided an impressive and smooth line – and it was love at first brush stroke! (Though perhaps not as fine a line as I would always want.) The thicker end can be used for an even more dramatic effect. Having found that my beloved Guerlain bottle often gets damaged in transit, a pen is a good move for when you need to do your eye make-up away from home.
I’m less in love with Smashbox‘s new Photo Angle Pigment Gel Liner (£18), a pen with an angled tip which – as far as I can see – would only come into its own if you were going for a very thick and full eyeliner look. It comes in five colours – Jet Black, Cocoa, Smoke, Plum and Lilac – and, like the Little Black Liner, is waterproof.
* Estée Lauder Little Black Liner is available exclusively at Boots from August 17.