I missed being part of the craze of the Benefit ‘They’re Real Push Up Liner’ being released because there is no way I will spend almost £20 on an eye liner. Good thing too, as feedback seemed to be 50/50 as to whether people loved this product or found it a huge let down. My friend Chee, who is addicted to makeup like I am and incredibly generous, sent me one as part of my Christmas present package, so I’ve finally been able to see what the fuss is about.
For those who don’t know, this product is a gel liner that is released through a twist function into an angled plastic applicator pen. It’s not a brush, you use the angled pen as if it was your brush.
Application: Twisting the bottom of the pen releases the gel from the top of the applicator tip. You’ll want to be very cautious with your twists once you get over the initial multi-twist-necessity of releasing the product for the first time because after that releasing too much renders the applicator messy and you have to wipe away all the overpumped product just to get started, an expensive waste of product when you consider how much you’ve paid for this pen. With a little of the product poking out the end, you simply use the applicator like you would do an angled liner brush and glide the gel liner onto your lash line.
Ease of use: It can feel weird at first using something plastic that has no bend, flex or give like a brush does if you’re used to incorporating the natural swish of a brush into achieving your flicks, as I am. I like a very thin, sharp flick at the end of my wing, which it is hard to get from this product as the thinnest part of the applicator is still nowhere near as thin as your average liquid liner brush. However, it is possible to get a thin flick, it’s just difficult. If you like your eye liner chunky, this will be easier to use. If you’re not very good at doing your eye liner this will probably be easier to use to get a solid line and a chunky flick, but if you want to develop your liner skills and learn how to create sharper flicks over time then you’ll hamper your progression by limiting yourself to using this product rather than a liquid liner or a gel liner applied with an angled liner brush. I can understand why some people just hated this product and could not get on board with the application. Personally, though I was pleasantly surprised by the ease of using this product I still will not foresake my sharp flicks by using this pen over liquid liner for the very ends of my wings.
Wear: This product is not messing around when it comes to being long lasting, so much so that they sell a specific eye makeup remover designed especially to get this product off–an unnecessary and overpriced product, though, because not only will any oil based remover remove it if your cream remover has trouble doing so, but last night I was removing the bulk of my makeup with baby wipes and even they managed to get it off. So, save your money on the remover, but note that the staying power on this gel is better than your average gel. Typically if I use gel liner all the way along my lash liner into my very inner corner then it will transfer onto my lower lid corner with a dark smudge during the second half of a day’s wear. This liner doesn’t do that, which is good for a gel liner specifically but not ground breaking in general because my liquid liners don’t transfer either.
Drawbacks: The one thing I find that really annoys me is that even when I leave no product residue on the tip of the pen after application and store my pen lid-end up, when I go back to it the next day there will be a lump of product that has worked it’s way up and dried on top, needing to be wiped away because it’s too hardened to be used. Considering you’re paying £18.50, that’s a repeated waste of very expensive product.
Overall: Long lasting, possible to achieve a reasonably sharp cat’s eye wing, but a bit like hard work to do so when you’re used to a small applicator or new to eye liner overall. Definitely a good product for those who like thick wings or who have trouble controlling their hands for precision work. Though I like it and I was pleasantly surprised with the results I managed to achieve with it on my first few tries, I still find it easier to use my £1.95 ELF Liquid Liner to achieve my perfect wing even if I do use the Benefit liner to create the bulk of the line across my lid.
If all that makes you sad because you think this product might work for you but you can’t/won’t spend almost £20 on a product that still might not work for you, then here’s the good thing: there’s a dupe. It’s got an even more cumbersome name than Benefit’s, which is saying something, but Maybelline’s Lasting Drama Black Shock Gel Liner is like the Benefit liner in almost every way except that it’s a tenner cheaper at £8.99.
The Comparison: Maybelline’s liner is also a long-lasting gel, which is pumped up through the pen by an identical twist release function, and also applies through an angled non-brush applicator that looks very odd at first glance. The Maybelline applicator is rubber rather than Benefit’s solid plastic one, but it makes no real difference. The Maybelline applicator is smaller, which I find easier to use. You wield the pen the same way, you have to be just as careful not to pump too much out (although this product doesn’t leak gel clumps overnight like the Benefit,) and it’s just as possible to create a killer flick if you’re very careful and either have the skills prepared to use or else have the patience to hone them.
As a wear test I applied the Benefit liner to one eye and the Maybelline to the other to see if I found any difference in wear (I should note this test involved applying my usual Urban Decay Primer Potions and shadows on my lids beforehand, rather than onto my naked lid, but if you’re after long lasting wear then surely you’re also using a primer every day anyway.) After a full day at work and an evening relaxing I found both eyes looked identically perfect and untarnished by the day for the most part, but the Maybelline liner had smudged a little on my inner eye as I find most gel liners do. The Benefit liner hadn’t smudged on my inner eye at all, so it must be said it has better long lasting wear than the Maybelline.
The Verdict: Considering the near exactitude of these products, the almost identical wear, and the slight differences in applicator, I have to say the £8.99 Maybelline comes out on top for me. The Benefit does definitely have more long lasting properties as it didn’t smudge in the inner corner like the Maybelline did, but if you’re still iffy about paying the full Benefit price tag then I don’t think the difference is worth the price bump. You’re paying £10 more for almost the same thing, so if you want to see what the fuss is about for this kind of applicator product then get the Maybelline liner and spend the rest of your dosh on something else. If you have the money to spend on the Benefit you’ll like the liner itself but the applicator is love-or-hate so there’s no guarantees on how you feel about this product on the whole.