Friday, January 15, 2010

Clinique Brush-On Cream Liner, $14.50

(Clinique's Brush-On Cream Liner in True Black)

I’m a big fan of dramatic eyeliner, so I’m always eager to try new and exciting ways to play up my eyes. Pencils, liquid, gel--I want to know which ones are the best. I’ve always had trouble with my oily eyelids. Eyeliners always seem to want to smear under my eye or create little half-moon shadows on my eyelids. So, I was wary of cream liner. I mean, cream? Like lotion? How would this not make a huge mess on my face? After reading some favorable reviews on, I held my breath and bought Clinique’s Brush-On Cream Liner in True Black, and immediately fell in love.

The liner comes in a clean little glass pot with a shiny silver lid. The cream itself is highly pigmented and nearly solid, almost like a very thick cream eyeshadow. The one downside: It comes with a super tiny, almost completely useless brush that is an incredible pain to use (and I have pretty small hands). You absolutely need to buy an angled brush for this.

(angled brush from Sephora)

I’ve found this liner to be so versatile; it can be used to make a skinny line, a fat line, a smooth line, or a smudged line. It’s also so easy to get the color right between the lashes. (Ever seen someone with a huge gap between the liner and their lashes? It’s pretty awkward.) And once on, it doesn’t move for hours and hours, even in humid and sweaty situations.

I’d recommend this product for the serious eye makeup junkie only. It takes a little more control, practice, and time than a simple pencil or liquid eyeliner. But, I must say to those who fear the brush: Don’t worry! It does get easier, and the end result is totally worth it.

Tip: For added staying power, use over our best friend, Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion.

To use:
1. Lightly press the tip of your angled brush into the cream. Brush it gently to the left and right, like a painter getting paint onto a brush. Wipe the sides of the brush on the rim of the pot to remove any excess or clumps, but keep a good amount on the edge.
2.With a light hand, draw a smooth line as close to the eyelashes as possible. Imagine you’re an artist painting a line on a canvas: pressing the brush too hard with push the color out to the edges and make the color uneven. It’s easiest if the long side of the brush is positioned toward the inside corner of your eye. I generally start in the middle and go outward, coming back later to connect a line from the inner corner to the middle.
*To fill in any gaps in your eyelashes, re-dip the brush and push and smudge it right onto the eyelash line.
*If your line appears uneven or if you’d like to smudge the liner for a smoky look, run your finger along the edge of the line with your finger before it dries.
*For a thicker or darker line, go over your line before it sets. Once it’s dried, it’s hard to blend or paint over.
*For the lower lid, I generally use a pencil for the inner rim, blending it into my eyelashes and the line I made under the lashes with the brush. You can use the cream liner for the inner rim if you’re careful, but it can be hard to do without getting makeup in your eye.
3.After use, clean the brush (I use a makeup remover pad) and let it dry before your next use. It tends to get crusty if left on the brush to dry.


Final verdict:
Worth the price?: If you’re serious about your eyeliner, then yes. It’s a great product that lasts a long time. But, you also need to buy an angled brush because the brush it comes with is completely useless.
Level of expertise?: Advanced to expert. Not for the casual user. But, practice makes it much easier!
Versatility: Awesome--can be used to make all kinds of looks.
Repeat offender?: Absolutely. <3 It’s pretty much become my staple eyeliner.



  1. I'll have to try this! I love liquid liner and have become pretty good at the steady hand, however, it takes forever to dry and when I blink while it's still wet, it ends up on my eyelid and makes me a sad panda.

    I have an angled brush that I absolutely love. Should I get a seperate one for this, or will it be ok to share the brush for all my angled brush needs?

  2. Hi Kelly,
    The only reason I might give to buy another brush is that mine has turned black from repeated use (if you look in the pics, you can see where the original brown turns into black). However, I think that if you clean it thoroughly after each application, you probably wouldn't have a problem. I'd say if you don't mind the possibility of a little discoloration, don't waste money on getting a new brush. Saving money makes me a happy panda. :)

  3. Any guesses as to how long one pot would last? I have a pot of liquid eyeliner that has lasted almost a year after a couple of uses per week, which I never thought was possible. But this pot looks even bigger than a standard liquid pot.

  4. I love cream liner! I use one from Laura Mercier, but I think this Clinique one is less expensive.

  5. Hey Bethany,
    I think if you used the eyeliner everyday, it would probably last up to a year. It's hard to tell because it depends on how much you wear, but I'd say the amount on the brush in the second picture is about how much I would use on one lid. It's about 1" in diameter and about 1" tall, with 1/2" of actual product. Sephora says it's 0.17 oz.