I really hate writing a negative review of this product, since it looks GORGEOUS when applied right. I got the hang of applying it the "traditional" way by dragging it along my waterline, and wow, nothing has made my eyes stand out more. Furthermore, it has good staying power compared to most other products I've used on my waterline.
But…this product irritated the heck out of my eyes. FWIW, I am a contact lens-wearer with relatively sensitive eyes, so I can imagine that my situation wouldn't be the same for everyone. I did OK with this product the first 6 weeks or so, ensuring that I disinfected the wand between uses. And then, out of nowhere, my eyes got redder than red, and wouldn't stop itching until I discontinued use of this eyeliner.
Since then, I've read that contact lens-wearers should avoid putting power on the waterline since there's a good chance it'll end up under the lens, and I guess that's what happened to me.
It's too bad. What an awesome product otherwise.
You may have severe reservations about trying this eyeliner. The application process. The price. If you wear pencil eyeliner, I definitely understand. But if you apply eyeliner to your waterline, if you tightline, if you're tired of a perfect application being ruined as soon as you blink an eye, if you don't do raccoon but die for Cleopatra? Give this one a try. But if you've never used a loose kohl before? Give it some patience.
I finally switched to this three months ago. It's still going strong in product content (I can see this lasting until February 2014--do regular eyeliners last that long?), I've transcended the usage learning curve, and I will never use pencil eyeliner again alone again (caveat below). I will never use the HIP version of this eyeliner again (the wand's shape doesn't produce as clean of a line as Guerlain's--but that one *did* help me learn how to apply this one). I may begin with an "oilier" pencil eyeliner before applying this one because the Guerlain dries quite matte, and I adore a well-applied yet black-as-wet-tar line. But if you don't need that intensity (make no mistake--this is intense on its own...but I like an extra "oomph"), this may be your holy grail.
Given the quantity of amazing reviews (and thank you all--you made me take the plunge) on tactical usage of this product, I'll stick to areas I haven't seen mentioned on MUA.
1) A lot of smudging occurs if your initial swipe produces tears which stick to the wand. Wipe the applicator with a tissue after each swipe if there's any moisture--this will help to reduce any bacteria in the powder, as well as the chance of line smudging.
1a) Avoid blinking if there's any moisture on your waterline after an application--this will likely lead to smearing. Also, let your waterline dry before attempting to reapply product.
2) If a smudge does occur? Use a Q-Tip to remove the excess pigment if it's wet. If it's dry, attempt to lightly brush away the extra kohl. This will reduce the Marilyn Manson effect. Unless you're into that--if so, awesome, we're all Beautiful People. :)
3) While removing the wand, tap it inside of the vial to remove excess kohl, or run the side of the wand against the vial opening. This should eliminate most fallout.
4) Don't worry about fallout into the eyes, I'm a contact wearer, and I've never experienced any irritation should any of this product land in my eyes. Any excess kohl tends to "disappear" within a minute/several blinks.
4a) If you're new at using this? Do NOT apply it while wearing light-colored shirts. I warned you. This kohl clings quite impressively to anything it touches. On that note, extend your head away from your chest while applying this. Like an Egyptian, going forward instead of the side. Again, I warned you.
5) If you cannot do a full line/swipe across your entire eye? Start by doing it halfway from the temple to the nose (or vice versa), then hold the wand in the other direction and swipe from nose to temple. This process can also be split into thirds--temple/pupil/nose, and back again.
5a) You can also do one waterline at a time as practice, which is helpful in understanding how much pressure you need to apply.
5b) This method can also be used to reapply the kohl to make a darker line--which is an outstanding effect. Unlike most eyeliners I've used, this one never looks trashy or excessive if I add layers--it just grows in intensity.
If you invert the closed vial, you'll see the amount of kohl present. For the precision of the applied eyeliner, the depth of color, and the amount of kohl needed per application, this will far outlast most eyeliners. And if the effectiveness of this product is considered, there are few competitors (I haven't seen any--and I've used almost all similar products) which 1) effectively accomplish the same task, 2) produce long-lasting results on waterlines, 3) are non-irritating, and 4) deposit intense pigment.
1) Lack of intensity. While most people will love this depth of this kohl, in addition to its longevity? I find myself reapplying it twice during the day. Ironically? I usually awaken with a tiny bit still present on my eyes (and I have a rigorous eye makeup removal routine--I don't wear a lot, but I wear several coats of what's used), so it has lasting power--but as I mentioned before, I love the ultra-black appearance. This kohl is heavily pigmented, and also has a bit of shimmer, so this con is definitely an outlier issue. In other words, only 3 people are going to feel this way about it--so don't worry, it's dark enough. And it lasts long enough. And it withstands humidity, gym visits, dancing, etc.
2) Usability. I have converted myself to using this application method to apply eyeliner, but I understand how many just cringe at running a thin wand across their eyes. The Guerlain wand is completely rounded, plastic, and will not cause any eye irritation (and when I first began using it, I would drag it across my eyes, with contacts, and feel it--it still didn't hurt), as opposed to several kohl applicators I've purchased from local Indian grocers. Those didn't hurt, either, but they were a bit more intimidating as they were thinner, not rounded, and often metal.
There's only so much which can be said about a product which is so polarizing. If you love a clean yet darkly defined eye? Try this. If you hate it, you blew $40. If you love it? You'll never look back.
If you use this everyday, it will likely take you a good week to transcend from crying goth to smoldering goddess. Stay with it, and practice at night so the mistakes aren't important.
I love the packaging is so chic but I need more practice in using this product.
Colors are faboulous, I got 5 of them. a blue aqua - a taupe - a cream - a blue intense - and a brown chocolate color.
the problem is that some product falls on the face and make a bit of a mess, so if you have a firm hand this product is for you.
Of the very few loose kohls I've tried, Guerlain Loose Kohl is by far my favorite. The others were complicated by spongetips on the ends of the applicators, which got messy and actually contributed to fallout because it was harder to scrape off the excess product. The applicator here is a blunted stick. I also prefer Guerlain's color choices, though too many are limited editions and lamentably hard to find. I have few problems with fall-out, after a long learning curve. My trick is to scrape off almost all the powder as you take the applicator stick out of the vial. I actually need very, very little to line my waterline in the Eastern fashion. I plant the applicator in the inner corners of my eyes, close my eyes, and drag it through. There are tutorials on Youtube so you can see how this is done. It's fast and easy. Eyeliner stays on my waterline for 4-5 hours (though not totally impeccably) and after that, settles into the base of my lashes, where it stays forever/until it's removed. But it fades in a very intentional-looking, diffused way. It's a very handy product--there's a reason this form of eyeliner has been popular for years and years!-- and I love it to bits.
I tried this out in a Sephora, I haven't bought it yet but I'm sooooooo planning to now!! I love the application, it's so much easier than a brush. I currently use bare escentuals shadow liner on my waterline and for tight-lining, but it can be quite messy with the brush and the brush kinda stabs my eye. The stick applicator in the Guerlain kohl is perfect! I might actually just dip that applicator into my bare escentuals instead of using the brush lol. It stays on wonderfully and looks super awesome... really makes my eyes pop and stand out well. =)
Also, this product is NOT "innovative". I hate how people keep saying that- this method of application has been around for THOUSANDS of years in the Middle East. It's still used there to this day, and it's just now being brought to the western world.
I finally got the hang of how to apply this, and it is beautiful, lines my lower and upper eyelids in one easy swoop. No fallout, lasts all day.
Unfortunately I will not repurchase, and I had to return to Sephora. As much as I love this eyeliner and it's fancy packaging, it was too irritating to my eyes, I wear contacts and I guess my eyes are too sensitive.
If you don't have sensitive eyes it's worth trying. Go on YouTube and learn the correct way to use the wand. I can't even begin to explain it.
I just love this eyeliner. It's a little more complicated to use than the average pencil eyeliner, but the results are worth learning the technique, and once you've figured out how to make it work for you, it actually takes less time than a pencil eyeliner (unless you make a big mistake that has to be cleaned up).
One thing I have noticed that may have something to do with the 'learning curve' on this product I only found out after re-purchasing (I lost my first Guerlain Kohl and had to replace it). I think that when this is brand new and completely full, it's actually a bit harder to use than once you've used up some of the product. So that's something to keep in mind .. it's like too much of the powder comes out on the wand or something. I will include some application tips later on in this review.
Anyhow. I love the Guerlain Loose Kohl for its rich, dark color, and for its lasting power on the waterline. I won't lie to you, nothing I've ever tried has stayed on my waterline all day long, it just isn't possible. And actually, I have tried something that lasts longer than this - Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes. But I still don't like it as much as the Guerlain Kohl for the waterline for a couple reasons: 1.) you don't get the same depth of black, 2.) you have to put more pressure and pull more on your delicate eyelid and waterline to use the pencil, 3.) pencil doesn't blend into the lash line with the same ease and effortless beauty as the powder, 4.) Aqua Eyes is much harder to wash off, 5.) the Guerlain Kohl wears off the waterline in a more attractive way than any pencil I've used, and 5.) the main reason I don't use the Aqua Eyes on my waterline: it stings like hell for me. I know that particular point won't be the same for everyone. I am not a contact lens wearer, but I do apparently have very sensitive eyes, or at least sensitive waterlines. Chanel's le Crayon Yeux, at least in black, also does not irritate my waterline, but it's not a true dark black, it appears more like a gray/black color. It's a great liner, but doesn't produce the dark black waterline that everyone seems to be after. Urban Decay 24/7 liners sting on my waterline (though I adore them). I can use Laura Mercier's caviar cake liner on my waterline with only minimal stinging, but similar to the Chanel liner it doesn't give the true black that I'm after. LM Kohl also unfortunately stings, but not as much as the MUFE. The color pay-off and the way it wears (though not the length of wear) are more similar to the Guerlain Kohl.
I know that information about what stings and what doesn't on the waterline will not be the same for everyone, but hopefully the above will help someone. The point of all of this is that despite the fact that I often get this product on my actual eyeball (no kidding!) it doesn't sting AT ALL. You blink it away, and the excess will accumulate by your tear-duct, and then you can dab it away with a cotton bud.
When you apply this kohl, it doesn't just cover your waterline, it also sort of meshes into the lash-line, simply achieving the same lash-line darkness that is the target of tight-lining, but a smokier, softer more blended version of it. However, unlike some pencil liners, it does not continue to migrate beyond this point, and give you raccoon eyes. At least not in my experience, even of wearing it on hot days or when I was sweating. People with very oily lids may have a different experience. I also find that when this inevitably does come off of my waterline, instead of migrating down my face, or looking uneven or weirdly clumped, it just all ends up in my lashline. To be honest, it's still a beautiful look, and so even though my waterline won't be covered, I don't mind wearing a product that will 'wear off' half-way through the day as at least it does so in an attractive way. There is a chance of black 'eye boogers' but that's always a risk when you put color on your waterline, and can be fixed easily with a little tissue or toilet paper. As for lasting power, most eyeliners will give me about an hour. Guerlain Kohl will give me something like 3-4 hours wear if I'm careful not to wipe my eyes. MUFE Aqua Eyes can give me 5-6 hours wear (on the waterline; it lasts forever on the eyelid), but at the price of stinging eyes for the first 2 or so hours. The Guerlain Kohl will give me beautifully lined eyes all day long, but after about 4 hours there's not really any liner left on the waterline, it's all in the lashline.
Application tips. This isn't the easiest product to learn to use, and if you want to use it correctly (the 'eastern method') you can't be too squeamish about touching your eyes.
If you get fall-out when you apply this, then do your foundation/concealer after your eye makeup. If you've perfected your skills applying this, you won't get fallout anymore (or at least I don't). Pull out the wand, and tap firmly to shake loose excess powder. With my eye shape, it's easier to do each eye in two parts. First I point the tip of the wand to the outside corner of my eye, resting the wand parallel to my waterline, and gently close my eye and draw the wand toward the inner corner, lining more or less 1/2 my eye (the outer half). Then I open my eye, and re-position the wand pointing toward the inner corner of my eye with the wand again parallel to my waterline. Again I gently close my eye and draw the wand toward the outer corner. I line the whole eye this second time, but if I do this alone, I often have a tiny gap or a sparse patch toward the outer corner which is why I now do it in two swipes. When you close your eye on the wand, you can't be afraid to let the wand touch your eye. It might feel weird, but it won't hurt. If you don't get the wand close enough in, then basically your eye-lashes brush all the powder off the wand, and that ends up all over your cheeks. I think this accounts for many problems with fall-out and the messiness that people complai
****SWATCH PICS ****
I LOVE these liners : ) I think a lot has already been said about these and I just wanted to add some swatches to the reviews. Hope it helps someone!
If you want a true Arabic look get this kohl and learn to use it the Eastern way. It is really a fun product of very high quality. It takes time to become good at applying it if you don't have experience . The fallout of the product in your eyes is non-irritating, I got a whole bunch in my left eye and nothing happened, not even a teary eye. The first few times you can end up with raccoon eyes but this is easily fixable.
The kohl is very, very long lasting. I use it in the morning and it is still there at 8p.m., only fades slightly, no need of touch up.
The color "Noir" is not as black as some other reviewers claim it to be, to me it is more grayish-black. The price is ridiculous but hopefully the product will last a year. It is supposed to be thrown out after 6 months of use but I am not going to follow this advice, after all $42 is quite a bit of money. I would repurchase. Treat yourself with it if you can afford it;) you will feel like you are a princess in a "1001 night" fairy tale.
Forgot to mention that this product might be tested on animals, trying not to think about it but the idea bothers me:(.
Does anyone know if Guerlain tests on animals?
I rarely use this product but when I do I'm really happy with the results.
The kohl doesn't irritate my eyes and it does have pretty good staying power even though you use it on your waterline, even when it smudges it gives a sexy smoldering look.
I have two colours the dark teal (Bleu?) and a gorgeous light blue. I layer them over each other for a really quick pick me up.
I used to always have the problem of it smudging really dark at the tear duct and it would look terrible. I've since found a way to avoid that happening. I now line my water line starting 3/4 of the way in, instead of right at the beginning of my eye. I can wear it all day now and get only the sexy smoldering smudge without the awful tear duct smudge!
The packaging is gorgeous, practical and easy to use. A rarity in the world of cosmetics!
Would definitely purchase more colours, don't know if I'd get the same ones again though.