Vegan vanity: Liquid eyeliner

When I first became vegan, the only transition that really occurred to me was the dietary one.

Then when people started asking me if that meant I would start to do away with non-vegan clothing and makeup and all the rest, I didn’t really know what to say except that I was in the process of evaluating that issue.

So part of my plant-based journey is an effort to more consciously understand what’s in the products I use, even the non-food ones. A big part of that includes my beauty products.

For about five years my attention my decision-making on the personal care and beauty product front has focused on finding naturally-based and paraben- and phthalate-free goods. Most of the new cosmetics I use are from Burt’s Bees* and Physicians Formula because of they’re good to my sensitive skin, cruelty-free and they seemed to lack nasty fragrances and irritants.

But I was surprised to learn that so-called “natural” and “allergen-free” and even non-animal-tested products aren’t necessarily vegan. Ugh, so much to worry about! What the hell!

Now that I have this new consideration to inform my choices, several assumptions have been turned on their head and I still have my budget to worry about. As much as I would love to shop exclusively at Petit Vour and Arbonne and not have to worry about the contents and quality of my products, the reality is that most of my products will come from the drug store. And testing out budget items has meant trying products that are vegan, but contain many of the synthetic ingredients I once eschewed (though my thoughts on parabens have shifted, thanks to posts such as this one).

Anyway, come on this cosmetic journey with me as I try to jazz up my amateur makeup routine and find affordable vegan products to love. As with every post on this blog, my efforts are exploratory and educational and aren’t meant to be authoritative.

Today: Liquid eyeliner!

I’ve futzed with liquid eyeliner a bit, namely trying to look schmancy on special occasions with a black line on the lid (possibly a cat eye if I have 15 minutes to kill on eyeliner), but I want to experiment with different colors and brands.

A few months ago I purchased two liners from the ultimate budget brand, Wet n Wild. I mean, it’s a cruelty-free brand and I’d heard its quality is improving, so why not check it out? The brand’s website also makes vegan shopping easy with this list, which I kept open on my phone while shopping at a Seattle Bartell Drugs.

Mega Liner Liquid Liner in Indigo and H20 Proof Liquid Liner in black

Mega Liner Liquid Liner in Indigo and H20 Proof Liquid Liner in black

I picked up the Mega Liner Liquid liner in indigo, which is $2.99, and the H20 Proof Liquid Liner in black, priced at $3.99.

Not gonna lie, I didn’t realize the black liner was from the waterproof line until I got home and opened up the box. I was kinda pissed because I hate waterproof makeup. So smudgy and unforgiving. And now that I really look, it’s not even on the vegan list. Bah!

But I tried it, anyway. Let’s start with that one because (spoiler alert) it suxxx.

I’ll qualify this review by saying I don’t have the most deft hand when it comes to liquid liner and especially cat eyes. I also refuse to line my waterlines, which might affect the final look, but that whole practice squicks me out and makes me think BACTERIA IN MY EYEBALLS.

Anyway. It dries very quickly and is thus impossible to correct with the lotion and q-tips I usually use to even out my lines. This shit made me late for work with all the bullshit I went through to remove lines, reapply and generally try to look socially acceptable. But if you have a flawless hand and want your liner not to budge, I guess this is one for you. It’s not for schmancy liner n00bs like me.

I may have hacked it once more because I always believe in second chances, but I hate spending more time than necessary on my look as it is, so it might stay in the back of my bathroom drawer, my distaste for waterproof cosmetics cemented. I’m not rich, but I’m not gonna shed any tears over this $4. I might have even got it on sale, I don’t remember. Budget beauty!

Now for a happier ending: the indigo (read: electric blue) and legit vegan Mega Liner.

My personal style, especially on workdays, is a bit funky-professional, so this bright blue called my name. The color works for a casual metropolitan writing job and going out with friends. It might not be versatile for people who like to keep things understated, but as someone who gets off on a hint of weird now and then, I love it.

Now for the application. It’s not super easy to work with in that the application is uneven – think a nail polish-type brush that leaves the color thicker on the outsides of the line than in the center. Admittedly it’s not great on that front. But after a bit of drying time, I can fill in the lines better and layer the color a bit. The color dries up brightly with a light metallic sheen. Perhaps most importantly, it’s easy to correct with a q-tip. In my world, editing is clutch.

I’ve used it several times since. Because I’m not a pro, I don’t use it when I’m in a hurry. And if I want a fleck of color on the fly, I’ve just painted wings on the outer corners of my eyes like so:

So hard to keep this shit symmetrical, but I try.

So hard to keep this shit symmetrical, but I try.

But I love the look of it so much, I used it twice last week. I smoke it up with brown hues, pair it with a pink cream shadow, give a frosty look with pearly shades and sometimes pair it with a purple pencil liner on the lower lash line.

One of my looks this week:

So: If you want a budget liquid liner, the Wet n Wild Mega Liner works with a bit of q-tip futzing and the final look comes out great. It comes in bright colors as well as black and brown and even a sparkly black (oh snap). Read the package to make sure you’re not getting the waterproof shit.

*You might read Burt’s Bees and yell, “ZOMG WTF YOU CONSUME PRODUCTS THAT CONTAIN BEESWAX. Of course not all the Burt’s Bees products contain beeswax or honey, but even if they do, I’m at a point in my plant-based journey that these ingredients do not bother me. I welcome polite arguments about why I should change my mind.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. MarthasMakeup
    Dec 21, 2014 @ 18:16:45

    I had no idea WnW was vegan! I eat a vegan diet and need to pay more attention to what goes on my face. Might do an “only buy vegan in 2015 amd onward” or something. Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂


  2. Rikki
    Dec 22, 2014 @ 08:32:28

    Blue looks good! Also if I smudge my liquid liner, I just use saliva, a small brush and a similar colored eyeshadow to cover up the mess.


  3. Katie Barthel
    Jan 08, 2015 @ 10:07:07

    Ah, good to know there are some vegan & CF brands at the drug store. I buy Zuzu Luxe liquid eye liner, which I love, but it’s $13 for a tube! It kills me to buy it. I’ll have to check out Wet n Wild. Btw, I’m impressed you can touch up your liquid eye liner with a q-tip. Isn’t it too large to be useful?


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