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OK, I have a confession to make. In the past I occasionally enjoyed treating myself to expensive cosmetics, and sometimes I have loved an item so much that I now find it difficult to be happy with a cheaper alternative. I try to make the most of my eyes, so I suppose it's only natural that the two most expensive items in my make-up bag are mascara and eyeliner - Lancome's L'Extreme Waterproof Mascara, and Estee Lauder's Automatic Eye Pencil Duo. It's the Eye Pencil that is the subject of this review.
I first bought this wonderful product some years ago (before it was in its 'Duo' form, and was simply an eyeliner), as a Duty-Free treat. I was very happy with it, both with the quality, and also with the fact that it lasted for absolutely ages. I have occasionally tried to economise and buy a similar product from one of the more budget ranges, but - as with my waterproof mascara - I have now learned from my mistake(s) and have returned to my favourite. Quite simply, I haven't found anything that matches it for quality. So, rather than have my dressing-table drawer full of lower-priced rejects, I recently decided to bite the bullet, and forked out £16.50 for my Estee Lauder treat. Before you pass out, I would like to point out that you do get a refill included in this price, so it's not quite as bad as it sounds. (And when I made my purchase - from boots.com - there was a free gift included: a mascara and a small bottle of perfume, which made it even more palatable.)
The product comes packaged in a deep blue box, and the front features the Estee Lauder logo and a description of the product in gold lettering. It states on the front of the box that a refill is included. The back of the package describes the Automatic Eye Pencil Duo as a 'Dual-ended pencil with removable cartridges. To refill: Wind down cartridge completely, pull out, snap in refill. Opthamologist tested.' This liner is also suitable for contact lens wearers.
The product itself is held in a narrow dark blue tube, with a twist-up eyeliner 'pencil' at one end, and a soft blender - that looks rather like a pointed felt-tip pen - at the other end. This blender is actually a firm but comfortable brush, and is used to help 'smudge' the line to create a softer look. Both the liner and the blender are kind to the delicate skin around the eye, and they do not drag or pull.
You turn the pencil up as you would a lipstick, but - as with a lipstick - don't turn up too much or you might risk the pencil breaking.
The tip of the 'pencil' always retains its shape, and therefore never needs sharpening. This eyeliner has a beautiful texture, which goes on easily, and moves smoothly against your skin. It gives a fairly 'fat' line, which you can build up if you like a more dramatic look. In this way you can give yourself the effect you might get with a liquid eyeliner - but without the precision application required with a wet product, and without the problems caused by potentially shaky hands. My hands can tremble quite badly, especially if I am tired or anxious, but when I want to draw on a dramatic line, I have no problems with this pencil. The pointed tip of the brush helps blend and smudge the colour slightly, so that you can choose between a well-defined line or a softer, more sultry blended look.
I have always found these eyeliners (I have them in two colours) to have a good quality pigment. The colour really lasts, although it is easy enough to remove at the end of the day. Unless I am wearing waterproof mascara, I tend to use cleansing wipes, and they do a good job.
When I bought my eyeliner, I decided to buy an extra refill at the same time, so now I have one in the pencil and two spares, which judging from past experience should last me for ages.
You can buy this eyeliner from department stores, Boots and other outlets, and it's currently available in four colours: Walnut Brown (dark brown), Hyacinth Sky (deep blue), Plum Grey (dark purple) and Jet Black. You can get a really good idea of the colours at the product page on Estee Lauder's website. I use both the black and the brown, depending on how dramatic a look I am aiming for. I have hazel eyes and fair skin, and wear a lot of brown, gold and cream eyeshadows, so I find that the Walnut Brown tends to be more suitable most of the time. However, I do occasionally venture forth into the plum or grey spectrums, and then the black is ideal.
I bought my eyeliner from boots.com for £16.50, which seems expensive, but in effect you are getting two for that price. The additional refill costs £8.50. At the time of writing (26th October), Boots have a free gift with two or more Estee Lauder purchases. This gift is 7ml Advanced Night Repair, and 4ml Sensuous. eBay has some eyeliners from about £12. You can also buy the eyeliner from Estee Lauder's website, although delivery charges begin at £3.95. You will get two free samples with your order.
Although this product is expensive, in my opinion it is a very high quality eyeliner, and I am therefore happy to give it five stars.
(This review is also on Ciao, under the same user name.)
Estee Lauder Automatic Eye Pencil Duo / Versatile / double-ended eyeliner with twist-up colour on one side / a smudger on the other / Creamy formula creates a soft / blendable line / every time / Colour tip is always perfectly shaped and never needs sharpening / Flip the eyeliner around and use the integrated smudger to create your perfect eye look / Contains an initial colour cartridge plus one refill / Additional refills also available to purchase separately / Formula facts.Dermatologist-tested / Ophthalmologist-tested / Suitable for contact lens wearers / Pencil.