Over the past year, there’s been a lot of innovations in the beauty world. Some high-tech like the Kérastase Hair Coach Powered by Withings device, others were more about scientifically driven formulations like Drunk Elephant’s TLC Sukari Babyfacial formula.
Then there were the simple, user-friendly upgrades that consumers go nuts over. This is the category roller eyeliner falls. It started when MAC launched their “pizza cutter” one this time last year. The launch created a buzz that pushed other brands to come up with similar products.
The wheel applicator is meant to deliver a razor-sharp line while gliding along the lid in one smooth motion. It looks fun and feels new, but is it really any better or easier to use than your average liquid liner?
I’m already a pretty terrible at applying liquid liner, just in general. My eye shape and color go much better with a smokey eye, so that's what I typically wear if I wear any eye makeup at all. As a beauty writer though I've tested a lot of liquid liners and there are a couple I prefer, like Surrat Beauty Auto-Graphique Eyeliner or IT Cosmetics Superhero Liner. I’ve come to find they’re the easiest ones to control. Still, rarely do they leave my makeup drawer.
As a liquid lining rookie, I decided to put to the test whether the wheel liner innovation really is easier to use than the classic felt tip.
I started by applying my favorite Surratt Beauty liner on my right eye to show the basis of what my average liquid liner looks like. Yeah, I know, it’s not great, but it's the best I can do. Then, for my left lid, I went in with Revlon ColorStay Exatify Liquid Liner. The wheel does move in an incredibly straight and skinny line, but sometimes I found that to be its downfall. If my hand was held at the wrong angle, I couldn't adjust mid-roll. I'd have to lift the whole thing of my lid and reangle. Since the line was so skinny to begin with, it was hard to go back in and pick up from where I left off. Also, any loose skin that made a bump on my lid easily pushed the wheel off track, creating another mistake I'd have to go back in and try to fix. Even though I struggled with the straightness of it all, I will say that no matter what trouble I had, it was always smooth. Then again, so is a good felt-tip liner.
Since I’m clearly just no good at applying liquid liner in general, I recruited my roommate Julia to help me out. She applies it every day and has even used this wheel applicator before. Although her results were overall much prettier, the felt-tip liner still finished with the better line. She found that the wheel applicator didn’t apply a consistent amount of black to the line, leaving her with some missed spots. When she went back into fill them, it was difficult to do with the roller. “It’s like I didn’t have any control on the amount of liquid I was applying to my lid.” Having said that (Curb, anyone?), Julia ended up taking off the blue liner and applied the Revlon to wear out for the day.
So, after conducting this very systematic test, I discovered that no, wheel eyeliner is not easier than your average liquid liner. It’s sharp definition is ideal if you want to create a tight thin line, but you wouldn’t really want it for anything thicker like a cat eye. If you're still curious and think you can do better, I do recommend giving it a shot. The Revlon ColorStay Exatify Liquid Liner is only $11 and it seriously stays put without any smudging or rubbing. It took my best eye makeup remover to get it off.
Another discover we made is that I should just give all my liquid liners to Julia.