My recent experiences with Shu Uemura have all been entirely positive – from their eyebrow atelier’s eyebrow reshaping services to their excellent eyebrow pencil (which will be featured in another review). This was no different.
I was tempted to purchase this liquid eyeliner pen at first investigation – and why not? It was sleek, slender, had a felt tip applicator that converged at a graceful point, and best of all, it was refillable, much like a fountain pen. After countless liquid eyeliner disasters trying to use tiny eyeliner paintbrushes and various issues learning how to use an angled brush with pot eyeliner, the ease of handling a pen applicator was a breath of fresh air. To work the pen, you need to depress the clicker at the end of the pen between ten and twenty times to start, but once you’ve started using the pen more regularly, less clicks are needed to produce a smooth stroke.
I immediately loved the felt tip applicator as well – it is precisely formed and not flimsy or floppy like the tip of a regular liquid eyeliner brush, which makes for greater control, a strong stroke and a smooth glide when applied to the eyelid. I personally appreciated that the tip was fairly small, because I could start off with thin, subtle strokes, which is how I prefer my eyeliner worn on weekdays for work, and build it into a thicker and more dramatic strokes for evenings and weekends out.
My favourite part of this entire package has got to be its practicality – that it is refillable. Once you run out of eyeliner ink, all you do is unscrew the pen and replace the old, empty cartridge with a new one, obtainable at any Shu Uemura counter or store for a fraction of the original price of the pen with its first refill included. According to the lovely makeup artists I spoke to at Shu Uemura’s Pavilion Kuala Lumpur outlet, each cartridge should last about two to three months with regular use.
The eyeliner ink itself is of excellent quality – it flows smoothly, is consistent in texture, comes out dark upon first stroke and builds up to a severe jet black shade when layered over and over. Also, joy of joys – it doesn’t take eons to dry after application, so you can blink about 15 to 20 seconds after applying and not have black smears all over the rest of your eyelids! If applied with care (i.e. make sure you lightly dust your eyelids with powder foundation or prime them before applying eyeliner, otherwise your eyelids can get oily fast and then it’s goodbye liner, hello raccoon eyes), this liner lasts throughout the day, which is a big plus point for a Malaysian journalist frequently running between the office and non-air conditioned assignments. It also washes off cleanly and easily with a bit of cleanser and warm water, no need for vigorous rubbing of makeup remover over eyelids!
I was a tiny bit disappointed that this line of liner is only available in black, as I was eager to try sepia-coloured eyeliner as well – but hopefully they come up with other coloured refills over time! Upon reading a few other reviews, I read that sometimes the felt tip applicator gets slightly clogged because of the buildup of dry ink in the tip. However, the Shu Uemura ladies told me that the key to ensuring this didn’t happen was by cleaning the felt tip in between cartridge refills by running it under warm water and letting it dry out properly before once again depressing the clicker multiple times to ensure ink flows back into the tip.
The Shu Uemura Liquid Eyeliner Pen, with first refill included, retails at RM110. Each refill cartridge, meanwhile, costs RM45. While this price tag may seem extravagant, even hefty, particularly compared to other brands often found at pharmacies like Watson’s and Guardian, I have personally found this eyeliner purchase completely worth it. I have a strong feeling I will be buying many refill cartridges over the coming years!