Are They Dupes?: The Battle Of The Black Pencil Eyeliners

by Gio

battle of the black pencil eyeliners 01

Every woman should have a black pencil eyeliner in her stash. Easy to apply, they can be used to create thin or thick lines to define the eyes, or smudged to create smokey or grungy, messy-chic looks.

I currently own six of them: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil in Zero, Pupa True Eyes, N.6 Liner Intense, Bottega Verde Intense Eye Pencil in Intense Black, Mememe Eye Line Eye Pencil in Coal, and Neve Cosmetics Pastello in Liquirizia. I thought I’d put them to the test to find out which one performs the best, and which one the worst. Here we go:

COLOUR

Mememe Eye Liner Eye Pencil in Coal is the blackest eyeliner in this lot. If you want dramatic results without the hassle of applying a liquid eyeliner, this is the best option to go for. Second best is Pupa True Eyes. That, too, is a true and intense black. N.6 Liner Intense is, instead, a medium black, while Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Pencil in Zero and Bottega Verde Intense Eye Pencil in Intense Black are two soft black shades more appropriate for the daytime. Neve Cosmetics Pastello in Liquirizia? It’s a greyish black that provides a nice alternative to true intense black shades for everyday looks.

Best: Mememe Eye Liner Eye Pencil in Coal
Worst: Bottega Verde Intense Eye Pencil in Intense Black

PIGMENTATION

All these pencils have good colour payoff and provide an opaque line in just one coat. How dark that is depends on the intensity of the shades, but you can’t fault the pigmentation of any of these eyeliners. Maybe Bottega Verde is the least pigmented one, but, again, one coat is all you need with it too.

Best: there’s not a clear winner in this category
Worst: Bottega Verde Intense Eye Pencil in Intense Black

TEXTURE

Mememe, followed by N.6 Black Eyeliner, are two of the blackest, darker shades. But that seems to have “compromised” the texture somewhat. They, and especially N.6, have the hardest textures in the lot. They are still creamy enough not to tug when you apply them, but they don’t glide on so smoothly as the other shades, especially Urban Decay Zero. This is definitely the creamiest eyeliner out of these six. It just glides on like butter. The other eyeliners fall somewhere in between.

Best: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil in Zero
Worst: N.6 Black Eyeliner

Smudginess for smokey looks

As soon as you apply them, all these pencil eyeliners can be easily smudged to create smokier or grungier looks. The best eyeliner in this department, due to its creamy texture, is Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil, while N.6 will make you work at it a little to get the effect you want. But, even with it, it is doable.

Best: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil in Zero
Worst: N.6 Liner Intense

battle of the black pencil eyeliners 02

Staying power on the lashline

All these eyeliners easily lasts 8 hours on my slightly oily eyelids. However, Bottega Verde, N.6, and Neve Cosmetics pencils tend to smudge after 5 or 6 hours. Bottega Verde is the worst, though. Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil smudges a little on me after about 8 hours, but not as much as the others. Mememe and Pupa eyeliners never gave me panda eyes, although the former tends to fade faster than the letter. You can easily prevent them all from smudging, though, by using an eyeshadow primer.

Best: Pupa True Eyes
Worst: Bottega Verde Intense Eye Pencil in Intense Black

Staying power on the waterline

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil and Mememe Eye Line Eye Pencil in Coal are the only two eyeliners that last a decent amount of time on my waterline. Mememe pencil lasts two, but Urban Decay Zero does much better, lasting a whooping five! The other four disappear pretty fast, so I suggest you don’t apply them on the waterline at all. It’d just be a waste of product.

Best: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil in Zero
Worst: Bottega Verde Intense Eye Pencil in Intense Black

PACKAGING

It’s difficult to judge the packaging because they are all regular pencil liners that require sharpening. That means that each of them is as practical as the other, so I’d have to judge on appearance, which is very subjective. All the eyeliners looks sleek and professional, but my favourite, because of its vintage feel, is Neve Cosmetics Pastello. Urban Decay Pencil is my least favourite, but only because I’m not too fond of its grey cap.

Best: Neve Cosmetics Pastello in Liquirizia
Worst: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil in Zero

Price & Avaibility

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Pencil is available at Sephora and retails at $20.00. It is the most expensive of the lot, but the one most easily available worldwide. Pupa True Eyes retails at €11,50 (about $15.00), and can be easily found in most European countries. Bottega Verde Intense Eye Pencil in Intense Black retails at €9,99 (about $13,00), but it often goes on sale. If you’re interested, that’s when you should get it. It’s available at bottegaverde.com. Mememe Eye Line Eye Pencil in Coal is £4.99 (about $8.00), but it is not so easy to find outside the UK. Neve Cosmetics Pastello in Liquirizia costs €4.80 (about $6.60). It is available at Neve Cosmetics but at the moment they are only shipping to contries within the EU. N.6 Liner Intense is, at €3,30 (about $4.50) the cheapest eyeliner, but it is also the hardest to find. It is, so far, available only in Italy.

So, which one is better?

In this case, there isn’t a clear winner. It just depends on what you are looking for in an eyeliner. If you want something very dark and intense, you can’t beat Mememe Eye Line Eye Pencil in Coal. If you’re looking for something softer and more wearable, or that simply lasts long on the waterline, Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Pencil in Zero remains one of the best options on the market (and my favourite too). If you prefer something in between, that combines a creamy texture with an intense colour, I’d go with Pupa True Eyes. Bottega Verde Intense Eye Pencil in Intense Black is, instead, the clear loser. But that doesn’t mean it’s bad. It does what it is supposed to do, just not as well as the others.

Which one of these eyeliners would you by? And what is your favourite black pencil eyeliner?

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6 comments

Kiss & Make-up May 9, 2014 - 9:05 am

Great comparison, muchos gracias! I’ve been wanting to try UD eye pencil for a loooong time now…

Reply
Gio May 9, 2014 - 8:37 pm

Kiss & Make-up, you’re welcome. Their pencils are amazing, and I’m sure you’ll love them too.

Reply
herroyalbleakness May 9, 2014 - 9:53 am

None of the brands you discussed are available in my side of the world (there may be small-time importers/re-sellers though)but I really enjoyed this post! I’m probably gonna get UD liner in Zero if I ever get time to do some online shop sleuthing on who carries the brand.

Reply
Gio May 9, 2014 - 9:00 pm

Herroyalbleakness, oh what a shame! But if you manage to get one online, UD would be the best option indeed. It’s creamy, pigmented, and longlasting.

Reply
Allison May 9, 2014 - 7:03 pm

Since we don’t have the other brands here, I’ve only tried the UD pencil but Zero is one of my all time faves. Frankly, I was surprised at how polarizing UD pencils are. I love ’em but some say they don’t stay on.

Reply
Gio May 9, 2014 - 8:28 pm

Allison, I think that the very creamy texture may fade faster on very oily lids. On me, though, they last pretty long. And I love how smoothly they glide on!

Reply

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