The quest for the perfect long-wear eye shadow crayon

crayonsThe first time I tried eyeshadow was with a sweep of pearlescent blue from a pot of Bourjois (no.17, I believe), which resulted in me being shamed by my year nine English teacher who suggested I wash it off at break time.

In my late teenage years, I tried out the smokey eye only to be likened by my father to a raccoon. Then at university, I adopted the nu-rave look with zeal, applying loose Barry M shadows in neon shades with matching glitter, which I set – to my lasting horror – with a liberal layer of Elnet.

Thankfully, those days are behind me and I’ve come to appreciate the brightening effect of a low-key shimmery wash across the lids – a particularly easy look to pull off at 6am when one cannot reasonably be expected to master winged eyeliner.

My shadow of choice for a long time was Benefit’s creaseless cream formulas – my favourite shade being R.S.V.P. – which can be applied with your finger even when you’re going over potholes on the bus. I’ve since moved on to long-wear crayons, which remove the need for hands-on application and get deeper into the eye socket.

Bobbi Brown’s twist-up stick in Golden Pink is the one I return to most often – a summery retro shade which stays well put in conjunction with Urban Decay’s Primer Potion. For everyday wear, I’m a huge covert to NYX’s jumbo eye crayon in Yoghurt, though it is mildly annoying that there is no twist-up function and what you see of the product is what you get.

A surprise bargain was Rosie for Autograph’s cream eyeshadow stick in Sparkle and Magic. Cringe-worthy name aside, it’s a dead ringer for Bobbi Brown’s Goldstone version, offering the same shade and density with the added bonus that it’s half the price. At the lower end of the price range is GOSH’s Forever eye shadow crayons, which do sound a little teenage, but go on smoothly and refuse to budge. I have it in Silver Rose and Light Cooper and can’t fault either.

The only real disappointment I’ve thus far come across is No.7’s Stay Perfect Shade and Define which failed to do any of those things. Even on primed lids, it went on patchy and refused to layer up, acting cheaper than its price tag would suggest. I had a similar issue with Charlotte Tilbury’s much-hyped eyeshadow pencil, the formula for which left my lids feeling oddly stiff.

Tell me about your favourite long-wear crayons in the comments below šŸ‘‡

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Beauty woes: Stumped by the smoky eye

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Picture: Pawel Kadysz

I have a confession to make.

I am 30 years old and have still not perfected the daddy of all makeup techniques – the smoky eye.

This seems like a gross oversight given the sexy raccoon look really comes into its own at this time of year,Ā coupled withĀ the fact that every magazine I pick up seems to be imparting helpful advice onĀ how to ‘go from desk to dance floor in five easy moves’ – a transformation which typicallyĀ involves sweeping a wash of ‘sparkly slate’ or ‘rich chocolate’ over the lids.

Not that this scenario particularly presents itself often – Ā I’d much rather go home and eat a shepherd’s pieĀ than go out on the lash at 6pm on a Wednesday, but it would be nice to know how to achieve the lookĀ of a woman adept with a make-up brushĀ should the need ever occur.

Yet despite the abundance of step-by-step beauty guides at my fingertips, my own attempts to make meĀ look all sultry, etc, end up looking likeĀ I’ve rolled around face first in a box of broken Crayola.

Because, somewhat bizarrely for someone who was practically theĀ poster girl for Barry M circa 2005,Ā it turns out I have absolutely no idea how to properly apply eyeshadow.

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My sister won’t thank me for this photo but it’s the only one which illustrates the two-tone eyeshadow and keeps my dignity intact

Back then, I regularly caked my eyelids inĀ clashing shades of neon in the name of ā€˜new raveā€™, frequently coordinating the colour scheme with matching glitter and securing it to my face – to the horror of dermatologists everywhere – with half a can of Lā€™oreal Elnett.

But as Iā€™ve matured (ahem), Iā€™ve found myself adopting the failsafe combo ofĀ red lippy and a black eyeliner flick; a reliable but winning combination thatā€™s become a sort of facial uniform.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not for lack of curiosity that I’ve fallen into a makeup rut. Iā€™ve oftenĀ found myself loitering around make-up counters wondering if I should experiment more with shadows and blush before the onset of crow’s feet.

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Red lips and black eyeliner can do no wrong in my book

But overly bronzedĀ counter staff scare the bejesus out of me and I find myself backing away quietly at the thought of them coming at me with theirĀ utensils and on the occasions I have been brave enough to sit through a consultation, I’ve spent it awkwardly perched on the edge of the chair ready to bolt and wondering how many products Iā€™m obliged to buy.Ā Sure, I know thereā€™s no commitment to part with cash, but by God Iā€™m British and I canā€™t accept a freebie.

Itā€™s this combination of fear and lazinessĀ that has found meĀ entering my 30s andĀ lacking the necessary skills to confidently manipulateĀ a stick of kohl,Ā let alone execute the coveted smoky eye, case-in-point being the timeĀ I recently rooted out an ancient eyeliner pencil and ended looking like Iā€™dĀ gone ten rounds.

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That’s a relatively cheap mistake to make, but when you’re investing in your face it can add up – particularly if it doesn’t work out – and despite poring over various beauty bibles, Iā€™ve still managed to make a number of costly mistakes in recent months, resulting in beautiful yet unused purchases languishing in the bottom of my make-up bag.

Sure,Ā I know I should fork out Ā£20 for the much-lauded Mac 219 to overcome my eyeshadow fear, but I can barely master a Ā£3 version, so why break the bank?Ā So what Iā€™d really like for Christmas is for some kindly, impartial beauty expert to show me how to actually use a chubby stick and a blending brush so that I can start looking more my age and not like a startled lemur.

It’s either that or I go back to two-tone eyeshadow and glitter.