Splurge or Save: Liquid Eyeliner

Mar 29, 2016

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This weekend, while traveling to Minneapolis, I got to watch helplessly as a TSA agent dumped the entire contents of my purse on to the floor under the conveyor belt.  As a result, I lost nearly $200 in makeup to the trash.  Yay!

Among the casualties, my beloved Tom Ford Eye Defining Pen.  Spending $56 for eyeliner seems insane (and to be fair, it kind of is).  The application is smooth, the formula so velvety, and the color so dark, that it’s worth it for a winged-liner lover like myself.  And never have I so appreciated those amazing qualities.

Unable to live without liquid liner for three full days (priorities, ladies), I headed to Macy’s to pick up a replacement.  Pickings were slim, so I ended up with Diorshow’s Art Pen ($32).  What a disaster.

The tip is too long to offer smooth application.  The formula is thin and barely black.  And worst of all, it migrates across your lids and rubs off easily.  Like I said, disaster.

Sick of re-applying eyeliner twice per day, I walked to Target and snapped up my favorite drugstore liner: Maybelline Master Precise Ink Pen ($8).  The formula is thick and dark.  The applicator isn’t as fine as the Tom Ford, but it’s easier to maneuver than the Dior.

Lesson learned?  If you want to splurge, there is only one: Tom Ford.  If you want to save, grab the Maybelline.

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  1. TheLoop says:

    For reals? How does an eyeliner pen violate their “no liquids” policy? Stupid TSA.

  2. Nicole says:

    Nice! For something in-between, I got the Eyeko fat liquid eyeliner ($18) in a Birchbox and love it.

  3. LS says:

    I’m also confused/fascinated about what happened. Did they accidentally turn your purse inside out? The only time TSA should ever go into your belongings is on the official screening tables with you observing.

    Should we be paranoid that makeup will be flagged as a liquid? I usually put my foundation into the ziploc, but nothing else.

    • Belle says:

      They were frisking me because I wore a necklace on a plane. My bags were on the conveyor. The line of bags was backing up, so the TSA officer removed them, and dumped my purse out onto the ground.

      • tazzy says:

        $200 dollars of makeup down the drain, how horrifying!! Why wouldn’t they let you retrieve the items that they dumped on the floor?

      • heatherskib says:

        What the holy hell! I’ve traveled in and out of DC area airports and back and forth in Florida’s international airports and the worst that happened to me is some agent assumed the guy I was chatting with in line was traveling with me and gave him my toiletry bag! I felt bad for him when he got home because he was talking about how much he wanted to see his wife. Coming home with a bag of strange women’s cosmetics would be very bad.

      • LS says:

        How terrible! I would file a complaint for sure. I fly pretty often and have my whole life and I’ve never seen anything close to this.

      • Molly says:

        But how did you lose everything? I can see eyeshadow shattering (though that’s easy to fix) but not an eyeliner pen. ? Help us avoid your troubles!!

    • Jacinda says:

      I still don’t understand. Did they then make you throw it out? Or it you threw it out because it had been on the ground?

  4. I quite like the Stila liquid liner. Long lasting, fine tip, fairly inky.

  5. Mag says:

    Revlon Colorstay eyeliner is my go to. I picked it up once after forgetting my normal liner during a vacation and have never gone back. Better product for so much less.

  6. Christina says:

    Ugh, how frustrating! I’m also a huge fan of the Kat Von D tattoo liner – it goes on smooth and dark, lasts all day without budging, and is fairly cheap at $19. I like the brush applicator but there is also a felt tip version.

    • Maddy says:

      +1 for Kat Von D tattoo liner. I have really oily lids and it’s the only eyeliner that stays in place for any length of time.

      • Ashley says:

        Same! This is my favorite.. have yet to splurge on the Tom Ford but have otherwise tried the spectrum of liquid liners and this one is amazing. I like it enough to even deal with the godawful packaging.

  7. Bunny says:

    While the ratings on this one aren’t great (which confuses me) I have had a lot of luck with this Buxom eyeliner. It works more like a fine tipped marker than a liquid eyeliner.
    https://www.sephora.com/buxom-pen-ink-long-last-eyeliner-P305404?skuId=1395987

  8. Coco says:

    That sucks. I wear eyeliner everyday (wing-tipper myself) and can totally emphathize. I recently bought Dior’s Addict It-Line liquid eyeliner and didn’t like it either; it doesn’t work as well for wing, and the pen is short, square, and hard to grip. I also found that the eyeliner starts to smudge after a few hours.

    I second the vote for the Stila waterproof liquid eyeliner. I find that it’s easier to use and stays intact longer.

  9. Molly says:

    I also like Milani for a drugstore version at $7-8 – bought it for a Halloween costume and have been buying ever since. https://www.amazon.com/Milani-Extreme-Liquid-Blackest-Fl-Oz/dp/B006R7E6KA

  10. Jane says:

    I am not a typical reader, but my friend linked me to this bc she stumbled across it and this post didn’t make sense to her

    Here are just a few of the things that I/we don’t understand:

    Are you saying they searched your bag and accidentally dropped some items on the floor and they broke? Why didn’t you take your necklace out and put it in the plastic bins with your laptop and all other metal items? Could you not pick up your eyeliner off the floor once they dropped it? What about the other contents of your purse that were dumped on the ground (like your wallet) – are they gone too? Are you saying that the liner violated the TSA liquids policy and if so wouldn’t they tell you that you cant bring items such as ink pens on planes?

    I don’t think I’m the only one confused

    • Belle says:

      I was wearing a necklace. It caused me to need additional screening. So I had to get a pat down.

      This meant I couldn’t retrieve my bags from the conveyor belt, because I was pulled off to the side for additional screening. This took what felt like forever. While this was happening, my bags slid to the end of the conveyor. The TSA agent manning the conveyor belt saw that things were piling up and that my bags were just laying there. So he removed them. I watched him pick up my purse–not by the handle or strap, but by the side. The purse is open on top. So everything in the purse got dumped onto the ground near and under the conveyor belt. Things were broken, rolled away, etc.

      He then haphazardly put most of the stuff back in the bag. Meanwhile, I’m still standing off to the side waiting for the TSA agent to finish my special screening. I see this happen, and am told I can’t move to go fix it. So I have to stand there and wait. I walked over, collected my stuff, picked up more of my stuff from the ground. When I got to the plane, I started checking to see if everything that had been in my purse was still there. Two compacts were broken. A mirror was broken. My blush was broken. And two pens–eyebrow filler, and highlighting stick (which were in my purse because I did my makeup in the car)–were gone. My eyeliner has two caps. Somehow the caps either broke or fell off in the commotion, so the tips were totally dry.

      Thus, $200 bucks in makeup loss because the necklace I was wearing set off the full body scanner and earned me a pat down.

      • Anna says:

        That sucks. I hate getting stopped for whatever reason, so I usually keep my jewelry, belts, etc in my purse until after I pass screening and have my scarf, sweater, basically anything they might say is outerwear off before I even get to the id screener guy. Do the same thing for work in the mornings…which means sometimes I forget to put on my accessories until 11am if I remember at all, but I HATE setting off the metal detector.

      • Jane says:

        This would take a while for resolution, but you could file an official damage claim with TSA. Its not clear what they cover if your claim is accepted, but it looks like this is a common issue for travelers:

        https://www.tsa.gov/travel/passenger-support/claims

  11. SN says:

    Get TSA precheck. It’s worth the money and is a better deal than any eyeliner.

    • LS says:

      Is it weird that I don’t want to get pre-check in case I ever commit I crime? LOL

      • Kate says:

        Yes, because the amount of hassle to change your “crime committed” status is much less than the time it saves you to use PreCheck up until the point that you commit this crime.

      • SN says:

        With today’s forensics, I leave crime to the stupid. Having only become a US citizen recently, and being a student pilot, my fingerprints are in every known database already…..Truthfully, mine paid for itself the first time I used it.

    • Belle says:

      I WAS PRECHECK. That was the unreal part. I was like, what the heck is happening right now…

      • Crystal says:

        That is RIDICULOUS. I’m so sorry for your frustration and lost makeup. (That stuff isn’t cheap!)

      • Cait says:

        That’s crazy!!

        I guess it’s airport dependent but the ones I usually go through put precheck through a metal detector and if you set that off, then you go through the body scanner. If they see a normal object (like jewelry or a watch), I’ve seen them check it then wave the person through. I’ve never seen them go for the full pat down unless you decline the body scanner.

        I suppose airports are a bit sensitive right now…

      • pam says:

        What a huge pain, I often wear jewelry through the screening – even a statement necklace and never had a problem.. think I will reconsider my flight accessories though after hearing this. Hate to hear they were so careless with your belongings!

      • SN says:

        That is a pity. But even with TSA precheck I wear only a watch and no makeup when I fly. I can leave the watch on, and honestly I never ever sleep with makeup on, so there’s no point on long flights.

  12. Emily says:

    Take pictures of the damaged items, see if you can find any receipts that you might still have lying around and find out where to send a request for reimbursement. You never know – it might offset the Tom Ford mourning period.

  13. s says:

    that’s so sad about your makeup. at least it will give you a chance to, um, “refresh” your makeup collection! 🙂

  14. Jenn S says:

    What a shame, sorry to hear about your ordeal and lost makeup.

    For other felt-tip liner pens that don’t suck, a mid-range one that is decent is Stila Stay all Day, and another drugstore option is Milani Eye Tech Extreme liquid liner.

  15. Bhiravi says:

    Oh man, I would have cried if that happened to me. Makeup is so expensive, and it’s also so hard to find just the right products. Especially when stuff gets discontinued or isn’t easily available at the store. I always remove all necklaces/ bracelets/ watches when I go through security, lesson learned I suppose. The one time I got stopped for a pat-down the TSA agent kindly asked where my bags were, and moved them off the conveyer belt for me to grab later. If they don’t do that, I would ask that they do.

    Also, I cringe reading this because that (male?) TSA agent probably doesn’t even know the damage he has caused! I wish more agents were aware of how expensive makeup and beauty products are.

  16. Caroline says:

    What is it with Midwestern airports? I once flew out of Green Bay where they made me take my checked luggage through TSA for some unknown reason. I had to toss dozens of beauty products because they were liquids that I should have been able to take in a checked bag.

  17. T says:

    That sucks! Sorry you lost most of your makeup. Perhaps invest in a makeup bag? I’m not surprise TSA doesn’t care… Anyways at least it’s just makeup.. I flew out of Orlando once and this guy was pulled over for a pat down.. He went back to grab his money clip and someone took it.. He had over $200! Yikes. He definitely made a scene. I would too!

  18. Virginia says:

    Still waiting for the Kalispell Airport to apologize for stealing my huckleberry jam 🙂

  19. Whitney says:

    I’ll throw a vote in for the Marc Jacobs Magic Marc’er ($30). It literally lasts me all day, including through my kung fu lessons. Some people say it dries out, but I just store it tip down and it’s lasted me for months.

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