Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in Espresso Ink
Last week, I bought Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner (£15) in the shade “Espresso Ink” which is a black brown colour that is a little less harsh-looking than pure black.  I already have a long-wear black gel liner from Smashbox but the black can be a bit much for daytime if used cack-handedly, evoking comments such as “ooh you’ve done your make-up Egyptian-style today”.

Espresso Ink” definitely looks brown rather than black in the pot, especially next to my Smashbox Jet Set Waterproof Eye Liner in “Midnight Black“.  But when it’s applied, I can barely tell the difference between the two colours.  Swatched next to Smashbox “Midnight Black“:

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner Espresso Ink swatchLeft to right, Bobbi Brown “Espresso Ink” and Smashbox “Midnight Black

However, when I look very closely, “Espresso Ink” looks slightly more watered down and grey, whereas “Midnight Black” is true, black black.  Being less stark, “Espresso Ink” does give an overall softer look (especially on the lower lashline), but I was disappointed that it doesn’t look dark brown like it does in the pot, but rather a dark grey.

In terms of consistency and application, I prefer Smashbox over Bobbi Brown.  The Bobbi Brown gel is too “wet” so the colour doesn’t apply evenly, and takes longer to dry.  You can see in the swatch photo above that it’s washed out down the middle of the stripe, and globby on the edges.  The Smashbox gel is more viscous and applies completely evenly, with a truer colour.

I’m still using “Espresso Ink” occasionally, but I’m going to try a browner brown next time… perhaps Smashbox Jet Set Eye Liner in “Dark Brown“.  I didn’t buy this shade before because I read reviews saying that the red tones might not go so well with brown eyes, but I’m now thinking it might be nicer on me than dark grey.

Here’s a photo of “Espresso Ink” on my upper and lower lashline (but applied over Yaby Pearl Paint Shadow, so the colour isn’t as strong as when worn on bare skin):

9 comments on “Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in Espresso Ink: Less harsh than black?

  1. If you don’t like the texture of the BB my next suggestion is useless, but you might also have a look at BB Sepia, which is more brownish. Very flattering. My absolute favourite is the Suqqu Creamy eyeliner in Brown though – as you’re in London it’s well worth a look at the counter.

  2. I understand your disappointment. I have to admit, it does look black in the swatch photo. But, on a positive note, it does look nice on your eye! And I agree; it does look brown on your lower lid.


  3. I think you went for the wrong (Bobbi) brown. I have her Chocolate Shimmer Ink and it’s a much less black brown. It’s more of a bronze-brown, really flattering. I use it constantly!

  4. Oh, that’s a shame Helen… I hate it when after purchase a product (especially relatively pricey, like this liner) turns out to be something completely different to what I thought it’d be.

    I can’t believe black could look too harsh on you though, daytime or not – with your gorgeous dark, dark hair? The ‘Egyptian’ comment made me laugh – that’s exactly the look I was sporting today at home, while testing the new gel liner 😀

  5. @Grace London: I wish i had bought Sepia instead! I’m tempted to go in for a makeover at Suqqu since you mentioned it on your blog. There was the most exquisite-looking Japanese girl the last time I was there browsing, and I would love to know what make-up she uses.

    @Kate Gene: Yes, it definitely looks black the more I think about it.

    @Holly: Chocolate Shimmer sounds fantastic – I’d be happy to give Bobbi Brown another chance with one of the shimmery liners.

    @Olaola: I’m probably just being too conservative with my make-up!

  6. I use BB Graphite Shimmer as a softer alternative to black as well, and I like it a lot. Shame this one was a disappointment. You have got me slightly obsessed with trying out the Yabby Pearl colors though! 🙂

  7. I’m not that adventurous makeup-wise myself! For years I’ve been trying to try the coloured liner trend during the summer but somehow I always end up lashing on my trusty blacks and browns 😉 Maybe this summer (if it ever comes…) I’ll finally convert!

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