I never fully understood the appeal of cake eyeliners until I got acquainted with Laura Mercier's. I noticed its quality every time I had my makeup done by a Laura Mercier rep, but didn't quite get it until I bought my own and started experimenting.
Laura Mercier Eye Liner in Black Ebony looks deceivingly simple. It's a pressed black powder with a matte finish- not exactly the stuff dreams are made for, right? But as soon as I had my brushes in it and played with various amounts of water (you need very little, by the way. I find that results are best with a damp brush) I could see why it has so many fans. A liquid black eyeliner is not exactly revolutionary, but this one gives you a lot of control over the finished look. You can draw it as thin or as thick as you like, manipulate the level of pigment and use it with various brushes.
I've found that it takes very little practice to get the hang of this eyeliner. Beginners would probably like to keep it a little more dry and use thinner and short bristled brushes, but Laura Mercier has created a very versatile product here which works with just about any brush or method you favor. The official recommendation is to apply with a flat brush, but my current favorite is actually a thin angled eyeliner brush by Eco Tools, of all things.
There's something about the velvety finish that is incredibly flattering. It's not glossy so it's never as harsh or retro as some black liquid liners can be. But it's also not too muted or boring. It's just right. Most surprising, though is the staying power. Applied over a lid primer but without using a sealing gel/waterproofing solution, this eyeliner stays put all day with no smudging or fading.
Bottom Line: I'm going to buy the blue one, too.
Laura Mercier Eye Liner ($22) is available from Sephora and most department stores.
Photos by me.