Cry Me A River

NYX Epic Wear Eyeliner in a collage with a closeup of model wearing winged eyeliner
NYX / Romper

This $10 Eyeliner Outlasts Every High-End Competitor (& Even Most Makeup Wipes)

The staying power is priceless.

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Had To Share
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When I was little, my mom viewed makeup with skepticism that frequently dipped into disdain. I was allowed to wear makeup, but I rarely did because I just didn’t know how to apply it. I didn’t grow up watching anyone brush on mascara or blend foundation and the thought of attempting it intimidated me. Whenever I tried to apply eyeshadow, from middle school until well after college, I generally came out looking like a toddler who got into markers. I didn’t really start wearing makeup even semi-regularly until my mid-20s and eventually I settled on a very basic everyday look: a dab of concealer, bold lipstick, and eyeliner. But the specifics of eyeliner became something of a challenge.

I have pretty dramatic eyes: thick, very dark eyebrows paired with thick, very dark eyelashes. It takes a strong eyeliner to stand against my natural features. Your typical eyeliner pencil? It’s honestly not going to do too much. Besides, I’m fairly uncoordinated and applying just the right pressure to get a dark line without getting a thick line is beyond my ken. (Ask me how many times I’ve stabbed myself in the eye trying.) After years of experimenting, I found that liquid eyeliner was my best chance.

Now I know that phrase — liquid eyeliner — has already struck fear into the hearts of my girlies with shaky hands. Be not afraid, my trembling friends. I am one of you, and I bring tidings of great joy: I’ve found a product that will give you that precise liquid liner look without the trial and error. It’s NYX Epic Wear Eyeliner.

Stats

  • Price: $10
  • Colors: Black, brown, “stone fox” (it’s gray), white, sapphire, lilac, red, and yellow. There’s also a line of Epic Wear metallic colors, which I haven’t tried.
  • Who it’s for: Anyone who likes eyeliner, people who want to wear makeup and cry (or otherwise wet their face), and people who love the look of liquid eyeliner but have been too intimidated to try it.
  • When to use: Any day you don’t want your eyeliner to smudge (a.k.a. every day).
  • Pro-tip: This product requires less skill to master than your average liquid liner, but still, practice makes perfect.

The wear

This eyeliner, which can be found online and at plenty of major retailers (I picked mine up at CVS), touts itself as a semi-permanent liquid gel formula that is waterproof, smudge-proof, and life-proof. It dries to a bold matte finish and can be used on the face and body (if, say, you wanted to create a temporary tattoo). NYX Epic Wear eyeliner is available in eight different colors in matte and six additional colors in metallic hues.

Now lots of eyeliners claim that they’re waterproof and smudge-proof, but in all my years of wearing it I’ve never seen one that delivers on those claims quite like this. Here you can see me sporting the liner (this is in the brown shade, by the way)...

Courtesy of Jamie Kenney

...and here you’ll see me still wearing the liner after 30 seconds of vigorously rubbing my eyes (please note my concealer is worse for the wear but the eyeliner remains unscathed).

Courtesy of Jamie Kenney

In fact, I repeated this process on my arm (since it is touted for use on the body as well) and the results were even more impressive. Here’s a fresh application, versus a minute of hard rubbing, versus another minute of scrubbing with soap, water, and a wash cloth. Yes, there’s clearly some wear, but any other product absolutely would have been worn away at this point.

Courtesy of Jamie Kenney

The ingredients

Could I share with you the 16 ingredients that make this product what it is? I could: they are all listed on the NYX website. Would it mean literally anything to you? Not unless you have a chemistry degree. Suffice it to say: if you’re the type who requires makeup with ingredients like “beetroot” and “sassafras leaves” and “flowers picked by woodland nymphs wearing organic cotton” then this isn’t for you.

The packaging

The packaging is the secret sauce of this product. It is the Barbara Hershey to its Bette Middler in Beaches: the wind beneath the eyeliner’s wings. Don’t think of it as an eye pencil at all: think of it as a very narrow bottle of nail polish with a super long brush. As such, you can control how much product goes on that brush and on your face. Said brush is thin and super flexible, which allows you to get fairly precise in application.

Pros & cons

Pros:

  • The staying power. NYX claims this product is waterproof, smudge-proof and life-proof and they told not one lie. I have sobbed, showered, and gone swimming with this eyeliner and it doesn’t budge. So even if you accidentally rub your eye in the middle of the day, even if you really go to town on it, you’re going to be fine through the evening.
  • It’s great for those of us with shaky hands. This is an extremely forgiving liquid liner — the long handle makes application pretty easy and the brush is quite precise.
  • Control your level of drama. Because this is applied with a brush, you control how much of the make-up gets on the brush, so you can build up your look rather than course correct when you accidentally over-apply.
  • It doesn’t run. The consistency of the eyeliner itself is quite thick, meaning it doesn’t all come pouring out at once like a lot of liquid eyeliners.
  • It’s more than just eyeliner. You can use this product to create temporary tattoos or other, whimsical looks. Trust: it will stay in place and won’t get all over your clothes and furniture.
  • NYX doesn’t test their products on animals.
  • You can’t beat the price.

Cons:

  • Also the staying power. OK, like, it really, really stays. You can scrub your eyes with makeup wipes all you want, but you will not get it all off in one go. While there’s a brief window of opportunity as you’re applying, when it’s still very wet, it just is not going to come off without a bit of a production. This brings me to my second “con.”
  • It requires a second purchase. If you plan to use this product with any regularity, as I do, you’re going to want to get a heavy-duty makeup remover if you don’t have one already. I highly recommend a cleansing balm like Green Clean by Farmacy.
  • The waiting game. Because of the thickness of the product, it might take a little bit longer to set than other eyeliners, but honestly we’re talking extra seconds, not minutes. I’ve definitely applied and run out the door with no major issues.

The final verdict

As someone who has barely gone a day without applying eyeliner since 2007, I’ve tried a whole lot of comparable products, including from extremely high end brands. But the combination of precision, price, and staying power of the NYX Epic Wear Eyeliner keeps me coming back.

The TL;DR

I shall sum up this review in the form of a haiku…

NYX Epic Wear rocks.

Super easy to apply.

Does not run or smudge.

Had To Share highlights the products and finds that Romper editors and contributors love so much, we just had to share in the group chat.

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