Saturday, February 14, 2015

Splurge or Save? Urban Decay Ink for Eyes Waterproof Eye Pen vs. Essence Waterproof Eyeliner Pen

So I was all set to review for you the Essence Waterproof Eyeliner Pen (available at Ulta and other retailers), when something occurred to me. The more I kept using this eyeliner, the more it reminded of something. Then it hit me, and that's when I decided it would be more fun to do a little comparison for you...

Urban Decay Ink for Eyes Waterproof Precision Eye Pen (retail: $20)
Essence Waterproof Eyeliner Pen (retail: $2.99)

Since I own both of these liners, I thought it might be helpful for me to compare the two, and let you decide which might be a better fit for you and your lining needs.


As you can see, you get a tiny bit more product in the Essence liner, and for about 1/6th the price ($2.99 vs. $20). The Essence pen is about the same width as the UD pen, but the Essence pen is longer.


Urban Decay ingredients (from the UD website):
Aqua (Water/Eau), Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Acrylates/Octylacrylamide Copolymer, Beheneth-30, Pentylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Phenoxyethanol. May Contain: CI 77266 (Black 2)[nano].

Essence ingredients (from the Essence website):
AQUA (WATER), STYRENE/ACRYLATES COPOLYMER, ALCOHOL DENAT., METHYLPROPANEDIOL, CETEARETH-25, SORBITOL, SODIUM CARBONATE, LACTOBACILLUS FERMENT, PANTHENOL, GELLAN GUM, XYLITYLGLUCOSIDE, ANHYDROXYLITOL, XYLITOL, ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL, SIMETHICONE, PHENOXYETHANOL, METHYLPARABEN, CI 77266 (BLACK 2).


Looking at the felt-tip applicators, this is really where the similarities are strongest. They're nearly identical in shape and length, with the Essence liner being just a hair longer and wider.


As you can see, the UD liner is a slightly bluer black. It also dries to a slightly shinier finish. I do want to note here that, on the eye, the Essence liner doesn't read as brown--it does read as a true black on the eye but, looking at them side by side, the UD liner clearly has more blue to it, while the Essence liner has a bit more brown to it. That said, if you are a stickler when it comes to black liquid liners and you absolutely love your liners to be the blackest of black, then you might not be 100% satisfied with the Essence liner or even the UD liner, for that matter. I don't find either liner to be a super intense, dramatic black. But if you're not sensitive to that type of thing, then the Essence might be black enough for your needs. When I'm wearing the Essence, I never feel like, "Oh, this looks like a brown eyeliner." It does read as black on my eyes, without question.

I am able to draw the same precise line with both liners. I can get such a fine point from both applicators--that's really what triggered my memory when I was using the Essence liner. I kept saying, "This feels so familiar to something else I own," and then it occurred to me that the applicator feels nearly identical to the UD applicator. But actually, if we're splitting hairs here, I am able to draw a SLIGHTLY finer, more precise line with the Essence liner. And the very tip of the Essence liner is a tiny bit more firm, allowing for a bit of extra control that I don't get from the UD liner.

As for staying power, they're both quite similar to me. Both liners are what I would call "water resistant" rather than full-on waterproof. I can splash my face with water and neither liner runs or smudges. But if I rub these liners (after they're wet), they both smudge and run. But if I rub these liners while they're dry, they do not smudge. Both liners last all day on my oily skin, with minimal to no fading at all. And both liners do transfer a tiny bit to my lower lash line on very warm days (but honestly, I get this with all liquid liners on hot days).

Removal is almost identical as well. Neither liner removes completely with just my regular facial cleanser. I must use a cleansing oil or makeup remover to completely remove both liners.

So is the Urban Decay liner worth the splurge? Well that depends. I have been reaching for the Essence liner over the UD liner for the past few weeks, and I think that's because the tip of the Essence applicator gives me just an extra bit of control. But if I were concerned about having the darkest, blackest liner possible, I would probably be reaching for the UD liner more than the Essence liner. But frankly, that's just not a big concern for me, and I think the Essence looks dark enough for my needs. I find both the wear-time and removal of both liners to be nearly identical, so the Essence liner fits the bill just fine for me (at about 1/6th of the price of the UD). If you have been thinking about trying the UD liner, I would consider picking up the Essence liner first. If you like the way it applies but you find yourself wanting a deeper, blacker liner, then you'll know that the UD liner is quite similar in application, and darker as well.

You can purchase the Essence liner at Ulta (in-store and online) for $2.99. You can purchase the UD liner at Ulta, Sephora and directly from the Urban Decay website for $20.

I hope this comparison helps, and if you own either of these liners (or both), I would absolutely love to hear from you!

The products featured in this post were purchased with personal funds. For more information, click here.
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41 comments

  1. Great, review! Thanks for the side by side comparison, I had no idea that they were this similar. I' will definitely be keeping any eye out for it, and will probably give the essence liner a try.

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    1. Thank you! Yes, I didn't either, but then it hit me and I was like, "Must compare on the blog!" :)

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  2. How the Essence eyeliner compares to your HG Jordana Fabu liner? 😊

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    1. The Fabuliner is still me holy grail. :) It's a deeper black and the point isn't as fine, but it's really, really easy for me to apply quickly and I can get a cat eye with it in a flash!

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  3. This was a really helpful post! I've been meaning to try more Essence products. I've also heard good things about their gel liner, and now their liquid liner is on my to-try list, too!

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    1. Thank you! Please do let me know what you think when you try! :)

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  4. Do you know the Jordana Fabuliner compares? I don't think the Fabuliner is waterproof but I am curious how the color and tips compare. Thanks for the great comparison.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, it's not waterproof...please see my response above. :)

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  5. Great Review! Makes me want to run out and buy the Essence liner!

    Xx- Faces By Cait

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    1. Thank you! I hope it works for you!

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  6. I love most of the Essence products. I hadn't picked up this liner because I'm currently using the Jessie's Girl pen liner which is very similar to the Lorac pen liner, in my opinion. Have you tried that one? I get mine at Rite Aid.

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    1. Yep! I reviewed it when it first came out in 2013:

      http://nouveaucheap.blogspot.com/2013/04/review-and-giveaway-new-jesses-girl.html

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  7. Any idea how these compare to stila stay all day? Thanks for the review!

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  8. Thanks for the comparison! I should give the Essence eyeliner a try. I'm really bad at using liquid/gel eyeliners so the smaller price tag makes it seem not so bad if it doesn't work out for me.

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    1. Definitely. And you can always return if you don't like it! :)

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  9. I have the essence one and it is great! i don't think i'd ever pay for a high end liner when there's the essence one, and the jesse's girl one. :)

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    1. So glad to hear you like it too! :)

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  10. Awesome review! These look very similar to the Jordana Fabuliner... :) I LOVE hearing about dupes- gotta save that money! Thanks G!

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    1. You're so welcome! The Fabuliner has a thicker point and is not waterproof (or water resistant) but I still adore that one! Lol! :)

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  11. I tried both of these, plus Essence's previous waterproof pen liner, Stays No Matter What. and they bled like crazy on me. I know I have oily skin, but when I start crying while wearing something waterproof it shouldn't start bleeding on me, why I went back to gel liner pots even if they aren't nearly as convenient. You got any suggestions for black eyeliner that won't go racoon?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Not sure if you've tried this PF one, but check out the thinner liner in my review here:

      http://nouveaucheap.blogspot.com/2012/06/compare-contrast-new-physicians-formula.html

      Notice the smudge test I did AFTER running my hand under water. It's pretty great and truly does not budge or transfer for me. Hope that helps a bit. :)

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  12. Once again, an amazing, thorough review! I am such a fan girl of you and your blog!!

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    1. Omg thank you so much, girlie!!! You're too kind! *hugs* xoxo

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  13. I am looking for a good waterproof purple liner/gel. Any suggestions?

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    1. Hum...well since I can't pull off a lot of purple around my eyes, I'm afraid I'm at a loss! I can't think of one at the moment, but hopefully someone else here can rec something to you! Sorry about that. :(

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    2. Stila has a liquid and pencil, both are pretty good. (I know they're pricey, but I've found that purple is SUCH a hard color to find in a good liner.) These are about $20-22, I think.

      The Sephora ones that come in the little ... pots? I guess, they're liquid and about $12. I have oily lids, and the Sephora ones don't run on me, and don't come off until I wash my face. I have had no issue with staining or flaking.

      I just checked Sephora.com, this is the one I'm talking about. I own the Metallic Amethyst one, and it's gorgeous.

      http://www.sephora.com/long-lasting-eye-liner-P279639?skuId=1296151

      Delete
  14. eww alcohol, wouldn't put it near my arm for swatching, much less my eyes!

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    1. I believe that most felt tip liners (not just these two) have alcohol as the second or third ingredient (I think it's what helps them to dry so quickly) so yeah, probably not a good for for you in general if that's a concern. :(

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  15. Thank you for the review and comparison G I really want to get to Ulta for a little Essence haul and will remember this. On a side note in Buffalo NY there is a Walgreen's with an amazing Essence section. And I want to go there soooooo bad! But it's a 3 hour drive each way! Lol it's killing me knowing it's there!!!!

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    1. You're so welcome, R. And omg, the nearest Wags to me with an Essence display is about two hours away, so I TOTALLY know what you mean!! One day, we will see them in person, right? And let's just hope that we have a lot of extra spending money when we do. Lol!!

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    2. Robin, is that the one in downtown buffalo on Delaware ave? If not, can you let me know where it is? I live just outside of buffalo metro and I'd love to check it out..

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    3. Lauren I am pretty sure it's on Delaware Avenue. I have only been to that store once and it was this past August. The Essence display was immaculate with stuff not even on the website. I hope you have luck there. I would love to know if you do ! PS I am in Utica NY

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  16. See, I like a lighter black (or dark brown - but not a lot of companies make dark brown liquid liners) so the Essence one looks great to me! I mean, is the UD really almost 7 times better than the Essence? Thanks for the thorough review, as always!

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    1. You're so welcome, and yay!! I'm so happy to hear that. I sometimes like a lighter black too, since it's not so severe for daytime. Please let me know what you think if you try this one? Thanks! :)

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  17. You actually don't get a tiny bit more product with Essence; you get 50% more than UD which is a lot.

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    1. Aaaah, thank you. Math was never my strong suit. When I'm looking at fractions of a percent (vs full ounces) it never seems like much to me in terms of a huge difference, but you're absolutely correct.

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  18. I heard that the UD one dries out quickly, that's what's been keeping me from purchasing it. Just something to throw out there if anyone is considering it!

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  19. Thanks for the comparison! This is the only kind of liquid liner I use so it's nice to see a cheap one perform so well. I'll have to pick this up the next time I go to Ulta

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  20. So helpful, that's why you're my one and only go-to for all things beauty.

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  21. Nice review! But I have one more question: does the end with Essence liner blur?

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