Recently a press release hit my inbox that gave me pause. Jemma Kidd--a makeup artist who has her own line of cosmetics, sold at Target--was announcing two new colors in her I-Conic Eyes eyeliner collection: "Idol," a dramatic green, and "Prima Donna," a deep purple. While both colors are very on-trend for the fall/winter 2012 season, my past experience with Kidd's I-Conic Eyes liners had me on the fence about whether I would invest.
About a year ago I bought two colors in the line's permanent collection: Supermodel (brown with golden brown sparkle) and Rock Chic (a medium-dark gray with a slight shimmer). While I liked the colors and the formula enough, I found that after sharpening, I would invariably end up with something in my eye after applying the eyeliner. I could never figure out if it was the product itself, or shavings from the pencil, but the issue persisted and eventually the eyeliners went into the drawer where my least-used cosmetics go to die.
I had to go to three Targets to find the new colors, and finally got lucky at the Target on San Felipe. The I-Conic Eyes eyeliners are $14 apiece, which makes them moderately expensive compared to most drugstore brands. (Think L'Oreal, Revlon, Maybelline.) For comparison, Urban Decay liner pencils are among the most popular on the market, are just slightly more expensive at $19, and have the additional benefit of being waterproof. Urban Decay pencils routinely get better ratings than even the highest-end brands like Chanel ($28) or YSL ($29), and for those prices you should be purchasing gel liner anyway, so let's just leave it at that in terms of cross-brand comparisons.
When it comes to color, both Idol and Prima Donna are lovely. Purple is a tough color to wear around the eye--no one asks her makeup artist for a prize fighter-inspired look--but Prima Donna is a deep, rich purple which, used sparingly, is a nice alternative to black or charcoal. Icon is a really gorgeous deep, forest green, and I can see myself wearing this every day instead of my usual brown. Both colors are neutral, leaning cool, but in terms of color they are versatile.
The formula is smooth--Kidd's release pointed out skin benefits from ingredients like jojoba--but I found the green glided on better, with more consistent color payoff than the purple. These liners did not smudge well with either a sponge smudge brush or a bristled smudge brush, so I will use them for lining close to the lash rather than trying to achieve a smoky eye. Kidd's pencils are not waterproof, so they are essentially useless for tight-lining, but for close-to-the-lash definition they are serviceable, particularly the green. In the arm swatch photos I was able to wipe away the color with just a tissue, which doesn't bode well for anyone looking for a liner that lasts all day.
It also bears mentioning that while these pencils come with a sharpener built in to the cap, the sharpener isn't all that great. The tip gets sharp enough, but the wood surrounding it gets chewed to bits and these pencils leave enough flotsam and jetsam in my eyes--I don't need to run the risk of getting an eye sliver because of a crappy built-in sharpener.
Unfortunately, for the price, these pencil liners don't come close to the performance of other pencils in the same price range. In fact, I would argue there are pencils at a lower price point that perform even better. If you have a tried-and-true pencil, and you've been thinking of making a switch to Jemma Kidd I-Conic Eyes ... don't bother.