Review: Tarte emphasEYES Aqua Gel eyeliner

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I’m breaking this review in to personal experience as it wont be the same for everyone, then general about the product. I purchased this at the suggestion of a Sephora sales associate because they were sold out of Stila’s black smudge stick liner. I tried this out the next day and had some irritation. I’ve never had an issue with a cosmetic product (though I have sensitive eyes) so I assumed the excessive eye watering and stinging was seasonal allergies. I wore the product again the next day and within an hour my eyes started burning to the point I was having trouble keeping them open. I had to pull over while driving to wipe my eyes out. Before I could do that because of my eyes tearing this was running down my face like a crying prom queen. Just awful. It took another hour for my eyes to stop watering and for the stinging to completely go away, but it left them swollen and red. This baby got thrown in the abyss of my makeup reject drawer.

As for the overall product itself outside of the “thrown acid in my eyeballs” feel, it’s an automatic pencil (similar to Stila’s smudge stick). Generally, I don’t like these. I’ve always had issues with clicking to get product, over extending it, and ending up breaking it within a few uses. The product dispenses easily enough, and is soft. I did have a lot of crumbling and flaking apart when pressure was applied. Color wise, it’s pretty opaque but with the flaking it fell onto my cheeks (which we know trying to wipe away will cause streaks). The price is $18 which is in moderate range with other popular cosmetic lines (MAC Kohls/fluidlines, Stila’s liner, MUFE aquaeyes, Urban Decay 24/7).

Overall, not a good experience. I was surprised upon reading other reviews that I wasn’t the only person who reported eye irritation. There are a lot of folks who rave about this liner. I’d just caution those with sensitive eyes or anyone who notices irritation to not ignore it. Because of this experience (and another Tarte palette I’d owned) I’ve since avoided buying their products.

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