My eyeliner game has been honed over decades and is pretty damn good. I’ve been able to master that stupid skinny dip brush with a surgical steady hand since 7th grade. But looking at my Asian girlfriends with their inky laser sharp cat eye liquid liner made me want to try something different, even when it makes no marginal difference.
For some reason most of the Asian gel eyeliners that boast “smudge-proof” manage to transfer from my eye line to my oily top lid in about 30 seconds. So sick of trying out crappy eyeliners, I started to perform this test on many potential contenders by swatching the back of my hand and transfering it to the back of my other hand (sorta like how we used to transfer entry stamps at amusement parks.) Also, the gel pot with the brush never seemed as manageable as the one-stop liquid pen. You have to pick the right brush and all that annoyance.
But this Isehan Heavy Rotation Gel Eyeliner is a very, very, very close contender to my decade-long lover Revlon Colorstay eye liner.
It’s not a bad deal at $18.99 for for both ink and brush. It has proven smudge-proof in 90% 80-degree humidity (including a sweaty wait in the NYC underground subway) AND my 90-minute dance class after a 10-hour work day. The brush tip looks fat, but it goes on very smoothly and can still do a sweet little wing-tip with micro precision. The eyeliner gel is supremely inky and smooth. It has no clumping (MAC or Bobbi Brown seem to be a bit drier so the color is lighter and then you have to run over the line several times.) The Isehan has also lasted longer than the Revlon Colorstay without budging or fading. I imagine it’s more product than the tiny little felt liner tubes too.
Me likey. Me likey A LOT.
Pros: smooth inky black application, comes with nice quality brush (I haven’t tried the gel with other liner brushes as a control experiment though,)
Cons: the packaging is entirely in Japanese so it’s kinda hard to remember the brand, I did have to use lots of product so it might run out quickly, the sharpness is not as precise as the micro-line liquid liner brushes.