Sunday, January 19, 2014

Drugstore Dupes to the Test: Urban Decay 24/7 Pencil Eyeliner in Perversion vs. Milani Liquid Eye in Black

Urban Decay's 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils are sort of a cult product, to the extent that anything from a gigantic brand like Urban Decay can be "cult". (They're "cult" the way that Rocky Horror Picture Show is "cult": most of us have tried them or at least heard of them, even if they're not sitting on our DVD player/vanity right now... but they people who use them often really like them. Urban Decay doesn't make you eat a banana out of someone's legs the first time you use it, though, which is a nice bonus.)

One common suggested dupe is the Milani Liquid Eye (formerly called Liquif'Eye) liners. In particular, it's said that the Liquid Eye in black is a dupe for Urban Decay's Perversion, their blackest black color.


I didn't have very high hopes for this dupe partially because I think people are easily seduced by packaging (and the pencil version of this product is packaged in the same black wood as Perversion), partially because I accidentally picked up the twist-up version of this product, and partially because I saw a few people saying that the color was "in between Perversion and Zero" (the crappier Urban Decay black), which, to me, says, "this isn't a dupe but I REALLY WANT IT TO BE".


I will say: having a twist-up liner, to me, is vastly preferable to having to sharpen stuff yourself.

Unfortunately, the color on the twist-up definitely wasn't "in between" Zero and Perversion: it was just different from them. While Zero has a fuzzy "this is mostly black, I guess" appearance and Perversion has a "I just drew on my hand in charcoal" look, Milani almost has a greenish slate feel, in comparison.

Less unfortunately, I can say that the texture feels completely identical to the Urban Decay eyeliners. It's very soft and creamy, but not so soft that it feels like it's going to break on you.

Next, I went ahead and tested the longevity. Here's how the liners looked when they were applied:

From left to right: UD Zero, Milani Liquid Eye, UD Perversion

Here's how they looked four hours later. Zero is definitely struggling, but Milani and Perversion haven't really changed:

From left to right: UD Zero, Milani Liquid Eye, UD Perversion

Eight hours after application, both Milani and Perversion pretty much haven't budged:

From left to right: UD Zero, Milani Liquid Eye, UD Perversion

After my longevity test, I took a wet hand and rubbed back and forth vigorously to see how much they smudged. All three were disadvantaged by their introduction to water, but Milani was definitely the smudge-y-est. Silver lining? Even Milani did pretty well on this test.

From top to bottom: UD Perversion, Milani Liquid Eye, UD Zero

Finally, I wanted to see if there was any practical difference between them, since a slight change in blackness and being less resistant to rubbing might not make a difference in your everyday experience of the products.

I usually use Perversion for tightlining, so that's what I did here.

Here is my (very tired early morning) face with no tightlining or mascara:


And here is how the final product looks, with both tighlining and mascara (this is my 'creepy doll' face):

Perversion on the left, Milani on the right.

As you can see, not a huge visual disparity, but Perversion is definitely noticeably blacker, even when you're just tightlining.

So, at this point, it seems like maybe this isn't a good dupe, but it's a less expensive alternative that will fill the same niche in your makeup routine.

And... it would appear that way until you look at the price. 

Milani Liquid Eyes are $6.09 for 0.01oz, putting them at $609 per ounce (this is true for both the twist-up and the pencil, by the way). Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner Pencils are $19 for 0.04oz, putting them at a less expensive $475 per ounce.

If you can find these pencils for less than $4.75, they are less expensive, ounce per ounce, than Urban Decay. Otherwise, you're paying more money for what is, frankly, a crappier product. Perversion is blacker and lasts better when exposed to water and vigorous rubbing. In order to justify costing over $600 an ounce, Milani Liquid Eyes would have to be better than the Urban Decay 24/7 Liners. They just aren't. If the size wasn't so ridiculously small, I could recommend them (although not as a dupe). But, in less you don't plan on using the product more than a few times, it just makes more sense to splurge and pick up Urban Decay.

30 comments:

  1. I love that you mention prices per ounces in your reviews. The Milani liner looks OK, but I wouldn't have expected it to actually be more expensive than the UD liner. Very, very interesting.

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    1. People definitely have a tendency to ignore when something is tiny! It might make sense for mascaras, which have such a short shelf life, but for things you intend to use up...

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  2. I must totally have gotten the dud Perversion liner. I want to love it, I really, really do! It's just that my pencil is so hard and waxy that even after I scrub it (painfully) on my hand to warm/loosen it up, it still tugs my eyelid to the point where if I stop mid-application, I look like a deformed Batman villain.

    I love all of my other 24/7 liners (I have 10 or so other shades), but I end up using either Zero or my Lancome liquid liner if I want black or blacker (respectively) eyeliner...

    Please tell me it's just my defective Perversion pencil? Someone? Anyone?!

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    1. I would have to see it in person, but it sounds like a dud to me. My Perversion is definitely softer than my Zero, if that info helps. Can you make it into a Sephora to check?

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    2. It sounds like a dud to me as well, though I agree with taking it in for a check. I also have about 10 colors of 24/7 liner but wound up with 3 sample sized and 2 full-sized Perversions (via subscription boxes and sets). I've never had a Perversion that felt remotely hard. Its softness is definitely its most signature feature aside from its blackness. I'd see if you could get your hard tube replaced!

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    3. I live in Middle Earth, so I'd have to ship it back to the States to Urban Decay and see what they said :-P Probably not worth the shipping!

      My Perversion liner is one half of a double ended pencil from a set, though - maybe the full size one is...better somehow? That doesn't tally with Celia's experience though.

      I guess I'll just chalk it up to experience and wait till I've used up enough of my other UD liners that getting another set of them is worth the shipping rigmarole :-P I might take a look and see what UD's policy is, though.

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    4. It's worth looking into, at least!

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    5. Huh. Not sure if it's mine or my roommate's, but we had an unused dual-ended Pistol/Perversion as well between us. The Perversion on this was in fact hard and dry. It could just be a coincidence and we both wound up with duds, but maybe not. Good luck, TPR!

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  3. My general objection to twist-up liners is that seem to contain so much less product than the regular pencils. Maybe it is just me - I haven't done a comprehensive comparison. I have the little deluxe sample sizes of MUFE and UD pencils and they just seem to last for months and months whereas the twist-ups are gone so quickly.

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    1. Twist ups are frequently less product, yes! They're all labeled, so you can check. The pencil version of this is still the same tiny size, though.

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  4. I don't know if you have done a post like this in the past, but how do you think these will fare when you take into account pencil eyeliners compared to twist-ups? I mean, it seems here that the UD one is a better choice price wise, but there is also the loss of product when you have to sharpen it. I personally still much prefer twist-ups even though I know it is less product. But perhaps the sharpening balances it out and in the end you use up the same amount of product on both types?

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    1. I have not done a post like that and that would be super simple to check! I'll definitely sacrifice a cheapo eyeliner pencil and see what happens.

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    2. I was just about to ask that. Plus, I think some pencils would sharpen quicker/better than others. I've had some pencils that sharpened so unevenly and in big peels, that getting a decent tip that wouldn't cut me on a jagged spear of wood ended up wasting half the pencil.

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  5. The regular Milani pencils are .04oz, same as UD, unless they've changed the packaging extremely recently. The website says .04, and so does my pencil in Aqua.

    I actually went through my eyeliners to do some comparison, and every single brand of pencil I have in this style--with the black outer body, that requires sharpening, comes in at .04oz: Urban Decay, Milani, Nyx, Rimmel, Styli-Style, and Pixi. So I think that makes the best deal of the lot...Rimmel's.

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    1. Damnit, I made the same mistake just now that I made at the drugstore! They call it a "pencil"... hence the confusion. But now I can't seem to find the actual pencil available for sale anywhere online?

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    2. Milani's site: http://www.milanicosmetics.com/p-126-liquid-eye.aspx

      MSRP looks like it's $6.99, still.

      Though if I'm not going to buy their products in person, I wait until Cherry Culture has a big sale and grab things there (they also have China Glaze and Nyx stuff). And the regular price for the pencils on Cherry Culture is $5.99.

      Oh, and I don't wear black eyeliner often, but I have the aqua/teal in half of those brands, and Pixi's won out in the battle of the teal eyeliner, if you're curious. :)

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  6. While I love this comparison - as always! - and I am convinced that the UD is better than the Milani twist up, I find that the Milani sharpen-able pencils are much better quality than the twist up. And, Prestige Total Intensity pencils are even better - the black is even blacker than Perversion, I think. I've done a couple comparison post of black eyeliners on my blog if you're interested, but I don't want to spam you so I won't post a link :)

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    1. I will see if I can find the pencil-- I can't seem to find is anywhere!

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  7. I actually prefer pencil liners because I find the twistups to dry out more quickly and by the time I'm halfway down the tube, it's hard and brittle. I do hate having to sharpen pencils and seeing product being wasted in order to get a nice tip though.

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    1. That's totally fair! I don't usually have them dry out on me... and I'm really lazy!

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  8. This is barely relevant, but do you know the song "Creepy Doll" by Jonathan Coulton? Because now I have it stuck in my head hardcore.

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  9. I really like the Avon Super Shock black gel pencil as an alternative to Perversion - just as black and a hell of a lot cheaper.

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    1. Interesting! I have weird feeling about Avon as a company, so I usually skip them.

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  10. I do not understand the love the UD pencils get but I still haven't found a single liner that won't smudge. I'm staring to believe that I'm just an anomaly whose eyeliner smudges like it's nobody's business- and that's with adding primer underneath too!

    Does this liner not smudge for anyone else? I use it on the outer edges of my upper lid if I'm too lazy to do a full line and tend to smudge it out but even then I find that it starts to migrate underneath my eyes until I look like I just took a walk of shame 4 hour after application.


    WHY IS IT SO LOVED?

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    1. Do you always use pencil liner?

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    2. The...creamier/non shimmer UD pencil liners kinda tend to disappear on me, too. I have had decent luck with the ones with shimmer or metallic.

      I've had pretty good luck with MUFE's Aqua Eyes in terms of a black pencil (I got a Sephora sample), but I generally just use liquid or gel liner because it works better and lasts longer (for me). If you are new at liner and don't feel comfortable with jumping to liquid, start with the gel--it's like liquid liner's easy mode, just make sure to buy a separate liner brush you like.

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    3. I generally use liquid. Switched from Kat Von D tattoo liner to physician's formula but drawing a perfect wing when you're a perfectionist is time consuming. And sometimes I just don't want a sharp line.

      And I tried the aqua liner from a sephora sample as well and that turned out to be even worse!

      It's hopeless for me.

      (Also replying via iPad is more difficult than I initially anticipated. Apparently I don't know how to click on reply.)

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  12. I've run into the same weird thing where the twist-up pencils and the 'actual wood or wood substitute' pencils have practically exactly the same packaging and are all shelved together and... don't have the same shades in each? I ended up with pencil-pencil in brown and twist-up in purple, not realizing they were different amounts of products, because the brown was only in pencil and the purple was only in twist-up. FWIW, the pencil one seems to go on smoother and more pigmented, but they're different colors so who knows.

    (now tempted to go through my extremely motley collection of black drugstore liners - many bought on 'this is the cheapest one right now' - and do a comparison)

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