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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Review: New Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Liquid Metal Eyeliner Trio for Nude Eyes

Of all the products in the new Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Nude & Smoky Collection, the one I wanted the most was this Liquid Metal Eyeliner Trio for Nude Eyes. The idea of a metallic taupe liner is so appealing to me, so as soon as I saw it at my local CVS, I snapped it up.

I've been playing around with this trio for a few weeks now, wearing the liners in a variety of ways, so keep reading if you'd like my full review:

Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Liquid Metal Eyeliner Trio in Nude Eyes
(retail: $9.99, 0.25 oz total)

Keep reading for my full review...

The box indicates that you can wear these liners together, applying one shade closest to your lash line, followed by another just above it:


These liners are small in size. They feel like deluxe minis, which isn't a disappointment to me because you get three in a set for $9.99. If you've used the PF Gel Cream liners, you know that those are small as well. Here's a pic for perspective:

The three shades in this set:

As you can see, this brush is splayed, and it came this way (meaning the very first time I opened it, the bristles were like this).  Also, there is rainbow glitter in the black base:

Some swatches:


Both Champagne and Nude are true metallics with lots and lots of shimmer to them.

Now for a smudge test:

After allowing these swatches to dry (difficult with the black shade because it's thick with a lumpy consistency), I took my index finger and rubbed back and forth with a medium amount of pressure for about ten seconds:

The black liner smudged in the places where it was thickest, and the glitter in that liner transferred to other parts of my arm. The good news is that Champagne and Nude didn't move/smear at all.

Champagne on upper and lower lash line with a bit of Nude on the inside corner

Overall, I'm not loving these liners, but I do like Champagne and Nude. I could not work with Black no matter how hard I tried. The brush was impossible to use due to the splaying, and the consistency of that liner was thick and lumpy and difficult to place on the eye. The more I tried, the worse it became, because in addition to being thick and lumpy, it was also sheer when applied. In other words, there were bald spots during application, and if I tried to go back over the line to make it more opaque, it quickly turned into a big, thick, goopy mess that took forever to dry.

Another thing I didn't care for about Black was that the rainbow glitter transferred all over my eye area in less than three hours of wear. I do have oily skin, but it's also wintertime so my skin's not terribly oily like it would be in the dead of summer. After three hours, I looked in the mirror and saw that the Black liner had smudged on both my upper and lower lash line, and the glitter was all over my eyes, even near my brows and down by my nose.

So let's get back to Champagne and Nude. Both of these shades were much, much easier to work with, and I love the metallic effect that you see above (especially paired with matte shadows, which give the metallic effect even more impact). Champagne is a light beigey-taupe that is actually a bit lighter on my skin than I was expecting it to be vs. how it looks in the tube. Nude should actually have been named Champagne, in my opinion, because I think it more closely resembles what we all envision when we think of champagne eye colors. It's a peachy-champagne shade and I don't get a "nude" vibe from it at all.

The brushes in this trio (with the exception of Black, of course) were not as challenging to work with as I had anticipated. Yes, they're long and a bit floppy, but they're workable and shouldn't cause you frustration. You just have to go slowly during application and pay a bit more attention to placement and you should be fine.

Staying power was decent, but not fantastic for me (again, I'm not talking about Black here). Both Champagne and Nude lasted about five hours on my eyes before I started to see serious fading on my lower lash line. The upper lash line seemed to hold out for a good eight hours (for both Champagne and Nude). As for the "water-resistant" claims, I don't know what in the heck PF was talking about, because the moment these liners come in contact with water, they absolutely disintegrate. I dare say they're the least water-resistant liquid liners I've come across in a while (this is actually a good thing for me personally, because I detest any tugging or pulling in my eye area during removal, but if you have allergies or require a waterproof liner for any reason whatsoever, these are probably not for you).

There's no strong fragrance to these liners--you really have to put the brush right up to your nose to detect it. To me, the formula has a bit of a generic "mascara fragrance" to it, but again it's very light and shouldn't bother those who are fragrance-sensitive.

By the way, I also tried the "layering" technique suggested on the box and it was a big fail. I applied the black liner first (closest to my lash line) and waited for it to try. Then I applied the Champagne liner right above it, and I could not get a clean parallel line due to the softness of the brush and the liquid nature of these liners. No matter what I did, part of my line ended up touching the existing black line, and the moment it did that, the two colors smeared together in certain spots, resulting in a very sloppy overall look. 

FINAL VERDICT: I'm on the fence about recommending this trio. The Black shade is a complete throwaway for me and I would not suggest it to anyone. However, the Champagne and Nude colors are both lovely and truly metallic. You can see the metallic effect even from far away (meaning you don't have to be all up in someone's personal space to see how pretty they are). So if you're looking for something like that, I would say they're worth the purchase (as long as you don't require your liners to be water-resistant, because these are not). If you don't have oily skin like me, you might be able to get better staying power (again, they lasted about five hours on my eyes on the lower lashline before there was serious fading). Also, the brush on these liners requires some extra patience because it's long and a bit floppy, but it's not unworkable by any means. So it's kind of a mixed bag with this trio and I think it all depends on much you're willing to work for this metallic effect. Either way, I'd wait for sale (which you know is always right around the corner at CVS) and if these don't work for you, no biggie because CVS allows you to return used beauty products (so do Rite Aid and Walgreens, of course).

Do you own any products from the new Nude & Smoky Collection? Thoughts?


  1. I saw these at my CVS last week and almost purchased it, but I remembered you said you were going to review it so I decided to wait! I'm glad I did, because now I'm not so sure if I want them anymore. I have oily lids and I really prefer my eyeliner to be waterproof, so maybe this trio isn't the best purchase for me after all. I do love the look of Champagne and Nude, though! Decisions, decisions...

    1. If you have oily lids AND prefer your liner to be WP, I'd say these probably aren't for you. :(

  2. Interesting. Love the champagne shade, though it does look more like a pale taupe, and not champagne. Way too much glitter in the black for my tastes. I think I'd rather wet a brush and use the darkest shadow in Wet N Wild's Silent Treatment palette and enjoy the results more, and for less.

    1. I like using powder shadows as liner too, but I was hoping that these would have better staying power than when I use powder shadows to line my eyes. Sadly, not the case! :/

  3. Go with the retractable liners.. they are really nice. The regular set has the champagne color and I am absolutely in love with the warm set: copper, bronze, and a black with copper shimmer.

    1. I'm a huge, longtime fan of the PF retractable liners (the taupe one in the Hazel Eyes set is actually my Holy Grail everyday liner). The reason I bought these liquid liners is because this product is new, so I was very curious to see how they'd work for me. But now that you say the new shades of retractables are lovely, looks like I'm bound to pick those up too. lol! Thanks. :)

  4. I actually liked these and I never wear liner. I just had a pale matte eyeshadow on and then popped the light brown liner on and it lasted for a good time. I didn't try the pink or the black.

  5. I love the PF retractable eyeliners previously released in taupe, black and champagne - I love the look of these too - but I'm not sure if it's worth it. Especially since PF can be so pricey. Maybe with CVS EBs.

  6. Thats too bad that this set really didnt work out the way PF claims. When the photos opened my first thought was "must have" but as I read on, I have changed my mind. I really really would love a couple of nude or champagne color metallic liners. Oh well...maybe during next year's CVS 75% off sale they will be worth getting! Hahaha!

  7. I actually fell in LOVE with this set! These were the easiest liquid liners I've tried, due to the small size I felt I had good control during application. Love the light metallic look. I even went back for the Silver set! Hoping it becomes a permanent item.

  8. I bought and returned overnight. same experience as you meaning awful. pity as the nude and champagne were lovely but not worth saving to try to use as creme shadows due to the lack of staying power. the black was a joke. pretty and useless IMHO.

  9. A while back, I bought the NYX Liquid Crystal Liner and it ended up irritating my eyes. (Seriously, why market something as an eyeliner, but then have a warning not to wear it near eyes?)

    So when I saw that PF had glitter liquid eyeliner, I was thrilled. I bought the set that has black, silver, and charcoal. At first, I was super excited because I've had great experiences with PF products. But not so much this time. I tried all three at the same time following the example on the package. It was a fun look, but the black did smear a lot more than the silver or charcoal. And it did burn a little, but my eyelids didn't puff up like the other brand.

    I'm going to try just using the silver or charcoal and see if I have a reaction again. But I can't really rec this product for anyone with sensitive eyes.


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