The other day while on a quick in-and-out type mission at Sephora (who am I kidding–is there really such a thing?! :P), I spotted Smashbox’s display for the new Always Sharp 3D Liners. Now I’m not gonna lie, I’m not that big of an eyeliner girl, relatively speaking of course. I know a lot of beauty bloggers/makeup addicts have stashes that span 20 to 30 (or more!) liners but I have a modest 10 or 11–only half of which I actually purchased myself. Part of the reason is because I have such a hard time finding a great liner formula that actually stays put on my super oily, small semi-hooded lids but really, I’m good with just a basic black or dark brown (when I’m feeling adventurous. ha!) liner any day of the week.
But when I saw these new liners shimmering away under the bright fluorescent lighting, something in me just had to swatch them and see if the liner matched the brilliant packaging. The very first shade I tried was 3D Sparks, a rich black hue gilded with a pearly gold luster; it was love at first sight. The effect can read a tiny bit olive at times but when you compare it to a true olive shade (see swatches below), you can see the difference–3D Sparks is a true black but with a 24-karat gold pick-me-up.
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What sets the Always Sharp 3D Liners apart is the fact that they have a special sharpening mechanism in the cap of the product that actually keeps the tip of the liner–you guessed it–always sharp. I’m sure most of you are aware of this by now but a good eyeliner sharpener is a very important tool to have! I didn’t realize just how important until I left my trusty Chanel sharpener at home when I went to visit family in San Jose during the holidays. When I realized what I’d done, I thought “no biggie” and asked to borrow my cousin’s sharpener. Well, the “sharpener” completely splintered my liner, producing a small pile of wood chips with each turn instead of a pristine, perfectly pointed tip. I tried another cousin’s sharpener, with pretty much the same result–splinters in my eye, the feeling of which is very painful and cannot be recommended. I finally had to settle for my 5-year old cousin’s pencil sharpener which, while producing a manageable tip, still completely changed the shape of my liner from a sharp tip to a long, rounded one.
Anyway, the point of my ramble is: you don’t really appreciate a good sharpener until you don’t have one! But even better than having a good sharpener around is not even needing that good sharpener. There’s no risk of being caught without it and having to suffer blindness from wood splinters tearing at your corneas or, even worse, not being able to properly line your eyes! The cap screws on and off, ensuring that the tip is always sharpened into a fine point every time you open it. I also like that the cap design seals the liner in properly so there’s no risk of the liner drying out on you.
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Also amazing? The actual formula. Like many “new-age” liners, the formula is quite smooth and buttery. It really does glide across the lid with nary a skip or tug. But the real test comes with the wear–after all, there are many smooth liners out there but few that can actually withstand the test of time, especially on my eyes. I am not kidding you, my eyes are a deathtrap to about 99% of the formulas out there. The combination of excessive oil and virtually no lid-space is certain to wear away at even the most hardy formulas within an hour or two, if not less. But not only is 3D Sparks pretty, it can perform with the best of ‘em, too!
Now brace yourselves for this: 3D Sparks lasts 8 hours on my eyes–WITHOUT A PRIMER–before transferring ever-so-slightly onto my eyelid and only at the very inner corner. It was a negligible amount, really–just a tiny little smudge that I quickly wiped away and that was that. It’s important to note that I usually skip lining my upper lashline to the inner corner since my lids fold over there, essentially creating an oily little pocket (ok, gross imagery…) where liners and shadows go to die, regardless of the formula or hearty doses of primer. I’d like to also point out that even my favorite Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes liner smudges at the inner corner after about 3 hours without primer…
–3D Sparks on left, Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes Liner in 5L on right–
–taken indoors under fluorescent daylight bulbs–
Over primer, 3D Sparks lasted 10 1/2 hours and probably would have kept going, if I hadn’t washed it off to go to bed. I also tested it on my lower lashine and lower waterline. Again, NO liner I’ve ever tried could withstand my lower lashline or waterline for longer than about an hour and a half or so without running/smudging at the very outer corner. 3D Sparks made it to 3 1/2 before smudging slightly below my eyes but, surprisingly not at the outer corner. I will say that the liner slightly stung/irritated my eyes when used on the waterline, though. But you guys probably already know the drill–it’s best to stick with a matte liner on the waterline.
So, to sum it all up, if you’re like me and tend to be very “vanilla” when it comes to your choice of eyeliner shade, 3D Sparks could be a fun way to bling up your average black liner. It’s not terribly sparkly, in-your-face noticeable but when the light catches it juust right, it shimmers and shines in the best way possible and adds a subtle twinkle to your eye. It’s also crazy long-wearing–seriously!–so I think I’m definitely going to check out the matte kohl version. There are 6 shades in the Always Sharp Waterproof Kohl Liner line and 8 shades in the Always Sharp 3D Liner line. My understanding is they are the same formula except the 3D features that killer multi-dimensional shimmer.
»»Pricing: $20/0.009 oz. (0.27 g.)
»»Recommended for: those looking for a buttery smooth liner that not only truly lasts but is a fun twist on the average black liner
»»Overall Rating: A+