Face Off Product Reviews

FACE OFF: Battle of the Gel Eyeliners

July 6, 2014

IMG_1287 Hey Everyone!

I’m back with a different kind of review. I recently decided to delve into the world of gel eyeliners and I picked up 2 different brands to test out and compare. I first picked up Maybelline Eye Studio Gel Eyeliner in Blackest Black for around $10. This seemed to be a popular choice in drugstore gel liners, so I figured this would be a good place to start. Then I stumbled across a full Essence display in Shopper’s Drug Mart and picked up their Gel Eyeliner in Midnight in Paris, also a black shade. This one was around $4. Despite being both marketed as gel eyeliners, they are incredibly different in texture, staying power and application.


The packaging of these is similar, they both have a glass bottom and a plastic screw top. They both hold 3g of product, but the Essence container is much bigger. They are both in pot form, meaning that you use a brush to apply these, rather than some eyeliners that come in a pen or stick type form.


One immediate difference I noticed with these 2 products is the texture. The Maybelline is a lot sticker and firmer in consistency than the Essence. The Essence I found to be very mousse like and much more of what I was expecting a gel eyeliner’s texture to be like. The Maybelline formula is much dryer, whereas the Essence I find to have a fairly wet formula.



As far as application, the texture of these products plays a huge role. Since the Maybelline is firmer, it needs to be worked with a little more to coat the brush evenly and then to make sure it applies smoothly to your lash line. The Essence is much wetter and softer in texture, so it’s easier to coat your brush evenly and scrape off any excess. Due to it’s texture, the Essence glides on much smoother and goes further when you’re brushing it across your lash line. I rarely need to re-dip with the Essence, but I always have to with the Maybelline, just because it’s thicker, so the brush can’t drag through it as easily. Just to show what I mean, I swatched each of these with a small liner brush, one stroke each in similar lengths so you can see exactly what I mean.  You can see that the Maybelline starts to wear out slightly more towards the end of the swatch. You can also see the difference in texture. The Maybelline looks much waxier, making it come across less smooth in the picture. For application, the Maybelline is more difficult to apply, but because it’s a dryer formula, it sets fairly quickly and I haven’t had any issues with getting it on my lid or anything. Essence is much wetter, so I’ve found that if I get it on my eye lashes (pretty hard not to do some days) then it will transfer onto my brow bone or eye lid making a bit of a smudgy mess. Waiting for it to dry is annoying to me since I’m usually rushing off to work or to go somewhere when I’m taking the time to add liner. The Maybelline needs times to dry as well and if I go to curl my eye lashes right after applying it, the product will come off completely. The Essence I haven’t found to have this problem, it just smudges easier until it’s dry.



Daily Wear

In terms of daily wear, I’m not that impressed with the Maybelline. I have normal/dry skin and if I’ve rubbed my eyes during the day or touched my face, any wing I’ve created doesn’t really make it through the day. If that happens on my skin type, I don’t think this product would fair well with oily skin. The product claims 24hr wear, but since it wears after less than 8 hours that claim seriously failed for me. The Essence does take longer to dry like I said, but once it’s fully set it stays put. It truly holds up to it’s waterproof claims and is pretty much budge proof after it’s set. To show their staying power I gave each a few wipes with a baby wipe right after they were applied and still wet so you can see how they fare.



I did the same test once they were mainly dry  You can see that they were both smudgy, but the Essence did fare better both wet and dry.



I next wanted to mention colour. Since all of us beauty junkies are on a quest to find the blackest liners and mascaras around, I figured this would be a good thing to mention. These are both highly pigmented and rich black. I didn’t find much difference between the two here. What I did find a difference in was the finish. I would consider the Maybelline to be a matte finish, but the Essence I would call a satin. It’s not shiny, but it reflects a little more light giving it a slight sheen. I figure then when they’re both on your lash line you probably can’t tell any difference in the finish, but I thought I’d include it, just as an FYI 🙂


Lastly the final thing to consider is the removal process of these liners. Neither of these are particularly easy to move, but the Essence liner is much more difficult. With a makeup remover wipe, the Maybelline liner will start to break down but the Essence doesn’t budge. To remove these I generally use coconut oil which gets them off easily. I haven’t tried an eye makeup remover, so I can’t say how that would work to remove these liners. Another important point to add here has to do with my brushes. I find the Maybelline to be AWFUL to get out of my brushes. Since it is so waxy, no amount of scrubbing and brush cleaner could get it all out. I worry that the amount of force needed to get this off might wreck my brushes over time. I don’t have the same issue with the Essence liner.


Overall, I do like the Essence liner better. It is much smoother to apply and it stays put.  The transferring is annoying when it happens but it’s not a deal breaker for me. The Maybelline liner is incredibly popular, so it obviously works for lots of people but it just wasn’t my favourite. Maybe mine is dried out? I just found it to be difficult to drag across my lashline and end up with a smooth line. In this face off the Essence Gel Liner gets my vote! There you have it, face off-complete. Let me know in the comments if you like this kind of post because there are tons more of these I could do!

Bye for now!


WHERE ELSE TO FIND ME: Twitter: @chelseykmakeup

Instagram: chelsey_k29

Pinterest: chelseyk2913

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Beauty by Brooke LeAnne July 7, 2014 at 5:10 am

    Hey, I love reading your blogs so I nominated you for the Liebster Award. Check it out over on my blog, http://beautybybrookeleanne.wordpress.com/2014/07/07/liebster-award/

  • Reply anezash July 7, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Hi, just wanted to let you know I’ve nominated you for a Beauty Blogger Of The Month award. You can read about it here. Thanks for the great product comparison!

  • Reply karenhurt July 7, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    This is great to know! I had so much trouble with the Maybelline gel liner, it was awful. Definitely need to try the Essence one.

    • Reply Chelsey July 7, 2014 at 7:09 pm

      Awesome! Glad I could be of help 🙂

  • Reply 247fashionandbeautyblog July 7, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    I nominate you for Beauty Blogger of the Month! http://ceciliascorner.net/2014/07/04/the-beauty-blogger-of-the-month-award-benefit-push-up-eyeliner-giveaway/

  • Reply lush4blush July 8, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Hey Girlfrannn! Just wanted to let you know I nominated you for the Very Inspirational Blogger Award. check it out here: http://lush4blush.com/2014/07/08/beauty-blogger-of-the-month-and-very-inspirational-blogger-award/
    I really love your blog and hope you join in! Thanks for all you do! Xoxo Chelsea

  • Reply Laura July 8, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    That Essence gel liner is one of my favourites. It lasts ages! Also, I’ve tagged you to do the secrets of blogging tag 🙂

    • Reply Chelsey July 8, 2014 at 3:02 pm

      I really like it! And thank you I’ll check that out!

  • Reply shannaghh July 8, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    I have nominated you for Liebster Award XX

  • Reply MAKEUP: Let's talk eyeliners | Get your Sizzelle on! July 23, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    […] FACE OFF: Battle of the Gel Eyeliners […]

  • Leave a Reply