My first reaction when I saw the new Smashbox Photo Angle Pure Pigment Gel Liner pen and removed its red plastic sealing cap was "well, that's new". There might be other eyeliners on the market with a similar design, but I have yet to encounter them. Thus begun my lengthy experiment with getting this Smashbox eyeliner to do what I want. Hence: a pretty steep learning curve. I hope you can see in the closeup shots that the plastic applicator releases the pigment (more cream than gel, in my opinion), and you need to try and not get too much of it out when applying. While the initial dispensing takes a few more clicks, Smashbox was serious when saying that one click is enough later on, and I find that it's actually sufficient for both eyes. My first few attempts ended up with black marks everywhere, from my fingers to various surfaces and cats that happened to be in the way. Eventually I got the hang of it, and could actually enjoy a truly unique eyeliner.
The nice people at Smashbox promise a 36-hour longevity, a fact that I have no intention to check. but I can tell you that the eyeliner remains in place for what feels like till kingdom comes. Do take into account that using a large amount (such as for a graphic 1960s mod cat eye) and rubbing your eyes might result in a holly mess, unless your primer is an overachiever. Normal application of a thin line does not create the panda effect, though. Removal requires an oil-based liquid, quite a bit of it, and some patience. Also make sure your hands are clean before moving on to the rest of your face, or you'll find yourself in a chimney sweep situation.
The road to a thin line requires some practice, but it's worth it, especially since the cream/gel material is also good for tightlining (upper lashline. I didn't dare go lower), and survives a spring shower and a whole day of errands, socializing, and whatnot. Jet Black is truly as black as they come, and the whole thing is bordering on a professional product, for better and for worse. Is it necessary? I'm not sure, especially since Smashbox is already responsible for one of the very best felt tip liquid liners on the market (formerly named Heartbreaher Liquid Liner, now Limitless Liquid Liner Pen). I still have one at any given moment because it's so amazing. But the Angle Pure Pigment is thicker and I assume can work for intricate editorial looks, not to mention that it's a very convenient way to carry around a cream/gel eyeliner without worrying about drying and brushes.
Bottom Line: As soon (if?) as I've mastered this one completely I'm getting the blue version.
Smashbox Photo Angle Pure Pigment Gel Liner ($24) is available from Nordstrom and smashbox.com.