Here's the first of many reviews to come, Milani fans! I received all of the new 2012 releases from Milani for review, and I'll be tackling the rest of them this month (I've already review some of them, which you can see by selecting Milani in the Categories section on the right-hand sidebar).
If you haven't been reading other beauty blogs lately, then you might not know that these new Shadow Eyez pencils are causing QUITE the stir. I've seen nothing by raves about these jumbo pencils for weeks now, but of course I wanted to give them a nice, long testing period, and try them in a variety of different ways, before I shared my thoughts with you. So let's get started:
Milani Shadow Eyez 12 HR Eye Eyeshadow Pencils
(retail: $6.99, 0.1 oz each)
Paraben-free and made in Germany, these jumbo pencils come in six shades:
NOTE: These pencils are not self-sharpening, so you'll need a separate sharpener that can accommodate a jumbo pencil.
Winter white is a frosty white shimmer.
Champagne Toast is a shimmery, almost metallic champagne that leans warm.
Brown Deluxe is a deep metallic bronze.
Royal Purple is a satin-matte with a slight violet duochrome effect.
Aquatic Style is a vivid metallic electric blue that leans a tiny bit teal.
Green Safari is a metallic kelly green.
Naturally, I wanted to do a smudge-test, so here are my lines BEFORE the smudge-test:
And here are the exact same lines AFTER I took my index finger and rubbed all six lines with a good amount of pressure for about 10 seconds:
Pretty impressive, right? All that really changed is that some of the shimmer from the more metallic shades transferred to the purple shade, which is actually more of a matte. You'll notice that the purple swatch looks a lot more shimmery than it did BEFORE the smudge-test. Otherwise, these pencils did not budge.
Here's an eye look I did incorporating ALL SIX SHADES (applied with just my fingers, no primer beforehand):
Here's a diagram showing placement of all six shades:
And here's the same eye look, taken eight hours after application:
As you can see, all six colors are still hanging in there! The rest of my face is a giant greaseball, but I wanted to show you that even after eight hours on my super-oily skin, in 85 degree weather, the Milani Shadow Eyez still retain their vibrancy:
There is some smudging under my lower lash line, in the area where I used Brown Deluxe as an eyeliner, but other than that, it's quite impressive that the color and vibrancy is still there on my lids, and that the blue, green and brown shades didn't all blend together when they mixed with the heat and natural oils of my skin. Also impressive is the fact that the first two things to fade in my usual eye looks (the highlighting under my brows and in the inside corners of my eyes) are still going strong after eight hours. That literally never happens after eight hours in the summertime for me.
Now let's take a look at what happened when I wore just one of the Shadow Eyez as EYELINER (not as eyeshadow) without any primer beforehand. Excuse my extremely-matte-looking face, but I was testing an unrelated face powder at the same time:
Eight hours later:
You can see that there's some smudging under my lower lash line, which pretty much always happens with any pencil liner I wear in that area. However, Also notice that the color and vibrancy on my upper lash line are still going strong after eight hours.
And finally, here's a fun eye look I did using Green Safari on my lid, Champagne Toast on my brow bone and Winter White in the inside corners of my eyes:
This look also held up strong after eight hours (sorry, I forgot to take an "after" pic!).
I also want to share with you how these pencils work underneath powder eyeshadows:
For the above swatches, I took a random matte eyeshadow (I think it was from Stila) and swatched it three ways. You'll notice that over Milani Winter White, you can see a bit of the shimmer from the pencil itself, but look at what it does to the pigmentation of the shadow. It's stronger than over the Urban Decay Primer Potion. I've worn both Winter White and Champagne Toast as a primer underneath various eyeshadows and have been very pleased with the results. There's been minimal creasing when worn this way, and the color and vibrancy of my eyeshadows lasts all day and into the night with no fading even after eight hours.
Texture, finish and consistency: These pencils are not as smooth as gel pencils, but they also do not tug or pull during application. Most gel pencils run and crease on me in a matter of hours (even higher end varieties) and these pencils do not, due to their drier consistency. You might experience a learning curve with these pencils because of their drier consistency--they set quickly so you'll need to blend them quickly with your fingers (they don't blend as well with a brush for me personally). With the exception of Royal Purple, all of these shadows have a shimmery finish that borders on metallic in some cases.
Blendability and pigmentation: The pigmentation of these pencils varies a bit from shade to shade. The blue and green shades are intensely pigmented, while the white and champagne shades are a little less so. As mentioned above, blendability can be a challenge with these because they're drier and they set quickly, so just be prepared to blend with your fingers immediately after you swipe them and you shouldn't encounter any problems. I do want to note that there were a few times when I tried to go back over these pencils to add more color, and I ran into some problems doing that. It's difficult to blend more color into these after your first application has already set, so try to apply as much as you need the first time, since these won't be very forgiving.
Staying power: I am not exaggerating when I tell you that Milani has set the bar for all future drugstore jumbo eye pencils to come. I simply cannot think of a drugstore jumbo eye pencil that has this type of staying power on my super-oily skin. Once these shadow pencils set, I defy you to try to make them smudge or fade. It simply does not happen for me, and believe me, I've put them to the test this summer. They're waterproof (you don't want to rub your eyes when they're wet though, because they will smudge) and I tested that by literally dunking my face in a sink-full of water to see what would happen. Nothing happened--they didn't run or smudge. I am one giant greaseball in the summertime, and I cannot express to you how shocked I was to see the color and vibrancy still intact after eight hours on a hot day. Other jumbo pencils I've used wouldn't be able withstand three hours in this type of weather with no primer, but I find that I absolutely do not need eyeshadow primer with these pencils. The colors retain their individual pigmentation even when worn together (they don't end up smearing together), and they maintain their pigmentation and vibrancy until you take them off. By the way, they remover easily with my regular facial cleanser--no special makeup remover required. If you're planning to wear these as traditional eyeliner, I don't think you'll have any complaints with how they perform on the upper lashline, however I did experience some running on the lower lashline.
PS: I also want to point out that Milani offers this tip on their website:
Tip: To extend the wear, apply your foundation or pressed powder on entire eyelid before applying your eye shadow. This eliminates any oils your lids may have which can cause your eyeshadow to crease.
I agree with this completely--if you apply a little bit of your foundation and/or pressed powder on the lids before application, it seems to give these an extra boost, but I have never felt the need to apply eyeshadow primer before application--they just don't need it (for me personally).
FINAL VERDICT: Used as eyeshadow, I honestly cannot think of a jumbo pencil from the drugstore that can even hold a candle to Milani Shadow Eyez. Like I said above, Milani has set the bar for every future drugstore jumbo pencil. If you're a lover of color, or you're a dancer, cheerleader, or do anything else that may require bold, vibrant color that can last through hot weather, perspiration, water or even tears, then meet your new best friend. If you're looking to wear these strictly as eyeliner, then I think you'll be quite impressed with how they retain their color and vibrancy on the upper lash line. If you have normal to dry skin, you'll probably be equally impressed with how they perform on the lower lashline, however on my super-oily skin, they don't perform quite as well in that area. Used as a primer for powder shadows, these pencils work wonderfully. Creasing is minimal and they really help to keep shadows rich and vibrant all day and night. I also want to reiterate that Champagne Toast and Winter White make excellent highlight shades for under the brow and the inside corners of the eyes. I've never worn a highighter on the inside corners of my eyes that lasts the way these pencils do, and I cannot recommend them enough in that capacity. Just remember that these are drier pencils and they set quickly so you've got limited time to blend them and place them where you want them...but boy are they worth it. I honestly can't recommend these highly enough.
You can purchase Milani ShadowEyez at CVS, Walgreens, select Target locations and online.
Do you already own any Milani ShadowEyez? I'd love to hear about your experienced with these pencils!
A sample of this product was given to Nouveau Cheap for editorial purposes, either directly from the manufacturer or from the agency that works on behalf of the manufacturer. All reviews on NouveauCheap.blogspot.com are the honest opinion of its author and editorial samples do not, in any way, affect the outcome of product reviews.