Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Great Eyeliner Hunt I- An Ode to the Discontinued

Following the steps of The Great Mascara Hunt, Blogger Jilbean has started a similar quest for eyeliner and has invited me to participate. This should be fun and produce many reviwes. I'm willing to bet that I'm not the only one around here who finds the liner to be the most essential item in her arsenal (and has about 20 different ones at any given point).

Eyeliner was the first makeup product that I ever wore. Even before lip color. Probably because my mother never liked lipstick and had none, while a black pencil liner was always present. For some reason. the girls in my class belonged to the school of thought that promoted using said black liner on the inside of the lower lashes. The eighties for us were, apparently, all about scary raccoon eyes.

Liquid liner, the kind you apply with a thin brush was very "out" and remained so until around 1988 where the first precise eyeliners that came in the form of a felt-tip pen took the market by storm (and are still here with us. Who doesn't own at least one Lancome Artliner?). My first one was a black Helena Rubenstein (I hear that you can stil buy them in Europe and Asia, sadly the brand is no longer available here in the US). While I've never (to this day) managed to gain the skill of applying a regular liquid liner, those pen-like applicators were easy to use, and even I learned to draw a nice, even line. I was no longer defining my lower lashes, but black was still the only color I used.

Then came 1990 and I discovered colors and subtlety. My first ever trip to the Clinique counter has resulted in discovering brown. I got the Charcoal Brown eyeshading pencil, that despite its name was much more of an eyeliner than a shadowing pencil, being thin, not very smudgy, it stayed put for hours, never bled and was suitable for drawing thin lines. This was my staple and no-effort liner for years. Still is, actually, but to my dismay, the whole line (not just the color) has been discontinued. You can still find it on ebay here and there, and for a hefty price. Apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks that this was a perfect color.

It was brown, but a cool one, not warm, because of the charcoal element. It was perfect with my skin tone. Dark or deep and rich browns are good on me, as are greys- charcoal, silver, smoke and slate. But this color that combined the best of both groups looked perfect and blended well with almost any other eye makeup I used.

Part of my Great Hunt will be about finding a suitable replacement.


  1. Yay! Thanks so much! I uploaded the icon and and mentioning you as well;)

    Love always,

    www.spilltojill.com (advice Blog)
    www.jilbean.blogspot.com (personal Blog)
    www.jilbean.com (personal site)

  2. Yes.. It's my favorite liner too. I just found some of these liners on ebay....Thanks for the tip.

  3. I am about to post the finale of this hunt...I know - its been awhile...life had gotten in the way...
    Love always!

  4. This is so funny-
    My last charcoal brown is about .5 inches long and I was hoping to find a replacement- I've searching for years! I guess I'm not the only one who loves this pencil.

  5. OMG! I thought I was the only one. Yeah - I have tried numerous replacements, but nothing I have tried so far compares to Clinique #22 Charcoal Brown.

  6. I am a Latina of very mixed heritage with brown hair, light brown eyes and freckles. I LOVE Charcoal Brown for exactly the same reason you stated- that it's a "cool" brown that complements certain skin tones.

    I know that Clinique has a way of letting them know which products you'd like back, so who knows if all of us let them know. They need to bring it back!

    Take care,

  7. Dear Jill:
    Yes, I agree, that the Clinique #22 Charcoal Brown Eye Pencil is the Best!!! I have used it for many years, and did not know it was being discontinued, until it was too late for me!!!!!! I am holding onto the last little piece of one in my makeup bag for dear life!!!! Will Clinique ever bring this item back?????

  8. i found your post because i am actually looking for that cursed eyeliner for years. it is the best. the closest thing i have found is an eye brow pencil by Laura Mercier. it's called 'blonde' but it's fairly close to that wonderful charcoal #22.it will do in a pinch. my issue with it is it doesn't draw on as easily, you kind of have to use more strokes, like it's a 'drier' pencil. good luck all you #22 fans.

  9. i just found www.beautyscentral.com sells a duo lip/eye liner, with the eye liner portion supposedly 22 charcoal brown. I just ordered 2, we'll see if it is the same as I've had in the past.

  10. Hi, I was wondering if anyone's found a substitute for #22 charcoal brown. I tried Physician's Formula Eye Definer in Taupe, which is similar but with a harder-edged appearance since it's missing the #22's shimmery finish. Haven't tried the Laura Mercier Blonde someone recommended above, but I'm going to look into it.

  11. Looked into the recommended Laura Mercier Blonde--discontinued. Was hoping to hear a comment since it was so well loved. Oh, well, my (sole) search continues.

  12. So sad... my hunt continues. Trying Christian Dior Crayon Eyeliner Pencil, No. 063 Elegant Taupe. Will let you know. I still have 1/2 of a #22 charcoal brown pencil and 1/3 of the Clinique Shadow pencil in browner, I think. Can't read it anymore. Loved both.

  13. Believe it or not I STILL have a few stubs of #22 Charcoal Brown pencil left that I use for my brows. I have also used another one by L'Oreal (microliner brand) but it was also discontinued.


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