For the Price, These $3.49 Essence Gel Eyeliners Have MAC Fluidline Whipped

Published in: Drugstore Beauty Finds, Makeup, Product Reviews

essence gel eyeliner

Essence continues to rock me like a hurricane (and take the drugstore makeup world by storm). What fab, little steals these pigmented, long-wearing Gel Eyeliners are! They come in three shades — matte black Midnight in Paris, shimmery taupe London Baby and shimmery purple Berlin Rocks — and cost a mere $3.49 each.


The fluffy texture of this shoestring wedding of whipped mousse and $15 MAC Fluidline doesn’t hold these back at all. In fact, with the Sonia Kashuk bent brush, I find them surprisingly easy to apply, and since they’re also quick drying — like, in less than a minute — I finish lining with them in less time than it takes to say, “Ben McKenzie is hot!”

Well, ya know. πŸ™‚

And even without the help of my trusty NARS Pro Prime Smudge Eyeshadow Base, they stay put all day long without creasing or fading.

essence gel eyeliner


essence gel eyeliner
Midnight in Paris on the left; London Baby on the right

essence gel eyeliner

After spending Midnight in Paris, I went to London, Baby! I’ve been playing with these two shades for a few days, and I’m flat-out impressed. While Midnight in Paris performs as an admirably adequate, standard black liner (great for cat eye looks), London Baby makes this girl go wild. A shimmery, dark taupe lightly seasoned with purple, it’s a fun alternative to black and brown. It should pair exceptionally well with most neutral eyeshadows like taupe, brown and beige, and even shades of pink.

PRICE: $3.49 each
AVAILABILITY: Available now at Ulta stores, Fred Meyer and HEB stores, and also online
MAKEUP AND BEAUTY BLOG RATING: A+ (just fantastic overall)

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 86 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Sara says:

    I’m going to go pick some of these up! I can’t resist gel eyeliner–it’s my favorite for winging my eyeliner out. πŸ™‚

  2. Kristen says:

    Wow! They both look super pigented and I love London Baby πŸ™‚ do you know where one could get these little wonders in Canada?

  3. Appu says:

    I have this in Berlin Rocks & it just ROCKS!!! πŸ˜€

  4. Shakiyla says:

    What a great find. Thanks for sharing.

  5. rose says:

    Hey Karen, thanks a lot for sharing this essence gel liners, seem like can’t afford the mac one, I am going to ulta later today see if they have these stuff on their line. πŸ™‚

  6. Jessi says:

    That taupe is gorgeous! I was always wary of gel liners until you introduced me of the magic that is the Sonia Kashuk bent eyeliner brush. That thing is amazing.
    Jessi recently posted … elf’s Studio Matte Lip Colors Swatches and Review

  7. Nichole Clark says:

    Hey a Fred Meyer pick! That’s so exciting to this Portland gal! Im going to pick these up today!

  8. Katie says:

    What a steal! I like London Baby. I got the corresponding eyeliner brush for less than $2 recently. Haven’t tried it yet, but I was so glad to find a brush with a small brush head! (Better precision for me.)

    Karen & MBB readers — do you know how this compares to Wet n Wild’s Creme Eyeliner? WnW’s is cheap & super pigmented, but it’s so long-wearing to the point where it’s difficult to remove, and the pot dries out quickly. Thanks!

  9. Melissa says:

    Karen, you are killing me. I’ve been to two different Ultas AND HEB in the last two weeks looking for the glosses – and nobody has them. Now you show me these gorgeous gel liners and I’m sure they aren’t stocked yet either. Just wanted to let you know, this is teasing me!! Wahhh I can’t find any of the new Essence stuff!! Wahhhh! lol

  10. evo says:

    will have to pick these up next time i head down to the states!

  11. Heidi says:

    I’ve GOT to get my hands on that taupe one! Gorgeous!

  12. Stephanie says:

    Haven’t tried the liners yet. They look so pigmented!

  13. vonnie says:

    wow, i need to get my hands on these asap! essence is great, i love their nail polishes. super good quality and only $.99
    vonnie recently posted … My Poker Face? Lady Gaga Makeup Recreations and Next Week’s Celebrity: Amber Rose

  14. Marjolein says:

    I lovelovelove these! I have 2 (the black and the purple one) and they seriously beat my MAC fluidline! I really like London Baby too, I should get that one ^^

  15. Eli says:

    I have the slanted brush that comes with those, but I still haven’t tried ém, because I’m a little afraid of gel eyeliners. Suppose I’ll have to overcome that fear πŸ™‚
    Eli recently posted … The Body Lotion Post

  16. Mandi says:

    How do these last on the waterline for tightlining? Thats what I loved about Mac Fluidline, I like it for tightlining it would last throughout the day.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mandi,

      I like MAC more for tightlining. While these do a fine job of sticking to the waterlines, I get a little bit of smudging a long my lower lash lines.

  17. Vonvon says:

    I like London Baby, I always prefer my liners to be in shades other than black!

    Can’t wait to go to the US again and shop at Ulta till my heart’s content!
    Vonvon recently posted … Dinner Look: NARS Dogon Duo Eyeshadow, MAC By Candlelight, et al; Outfit Of The Night

  18. Trisha says:

    Wow! That swatch of Midnight in Paris is AWESOME! Ugh, I want it so bad. And I’m not normally someone who likes applying eyeliner with a brush.
    Trisha recently posted … Makeup Files Listed in the Top 50 Beauty Blogs of 2011!

  19. Coral says:

    Not that I need more gel liners but I might have to make an exception for these. I’m very much in love with the gel liners right now. The more affordable and excellent they are the better.

  20. gio says:

    London Baby is gorgeous! And what a steal too!

  21. Kim says:

    I’ve never tried a gel liner but I certainly know which brand to try if I get the urge! London Baby looks super cool, and you can’t beat the price. I’m actually sporting UD’s gunmetal today. My regular brown liner almost had a heart attack and died from the surprise of not being picked up. πŸ™‚

    • Karen says:

      LOL! Well, even brown liner needs a day off every once in a while. Did you have a nice, long weekend?

      • Kim says:

        HAHA! Very true! Yes, it was really nice and the weather was so beautiful. Our village is very small but we have a really big (relatively speaking!) 4th celebration with a parade and fireworks over the lake. The boys rollerbladed with the hockey club and had a great time. How about you guys? You must have had some spectacular options, especially for fireworks. I know you never take a day off, but I hope you got some quality time with El Hub and Tabs. πŸ™‚

  22. maxi says:

    wow london baby is looking so good .i will definetly try these πŸ™‚

  23. Chris25 says:

    Holy cow, $3.49? That ain’t too shabby!

  24. Oh, I LOVE these gel eyeliners. I’m glad you did a review on them, and I’m even happier to hear that they can compare to MAC. I have yet to take a plunge into MAC makeup. Too scared! πŸ˜‰

    • Karen says:

      You should make the jump. MAC makes some great products.

      • I just never know where to start! I asked a friend who used exclusively MAC, about which products I should try first– and her answer was like “Well, their eyeliners are pretty good. I use their foundation, and like it. I have a couple of eyeshadows but I don’t remember the names. ” LOL I’m still overwhelmed as ever.

  25. Amanda says:

    Oh, I’m loving that London Baby! BTW, I went out and got a few of the Essence longlasting glosses and they are awesome. Thanks for sharing these great finds with us! Now I gotta go back to Ulta and get me some of these!
    Amanda recently posted … Chocolate Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

  26. I can’t believe the price! I will have to spend some time at Ulta this weekend.

  27. i don’t think these are available in canada yet, but i seriously hope they are soon! London Baby is stunning, i want it in my liiiife!
    dani@callitbeauty recently posted … All About Eyes – Pride

  28. JenJ says:

    Kaaaareeen! I’m not fooling with you lol! I’ve already picked up a couple of the eye shadows! I gueeesss I can take a look next time I’m in Ulta.

  29. Yuri says:

    Wow definitely need to try this I do wish they had a brown one since that’s what I used – mostly

  30. Tasha says:

    I really appreciate your review on this…. And all the other essence items.. Esp low budget make up thats good. Love ur blog even more!!

  31. Vesna says:

    I have these in black and purple, but here we have 4 shades – there’s a green shade too. πŸ™‚
    To be honest – haven’t tried them yet, I’m kinda lazy these days lol πŸ˜€ but I definitely would, though I’ve read many comments that there is a bit trouble removing them – they just leave a stain on your skin so, we’ll see πŸ™‚
    Vesna recently posted … Product of the week

  32. Marian says:

    These look great!

  33. Emily says:

    These look amazing!!! How’s removal go with ’em?

  34. megan says:

    I NEED to get to Ulta!!!!

  35. Jenn says:

    I am so glad you reviewed these! I picked up Berlin Rocks (purple) and I feel so ashamed saying it but I love it more than my MAC fluid line in Macroviolet! I am going to be picking up the London Baby now that I have seen it! Thanks!

  36. Theresa says:

    Wow, thanks for posting this! I’m going to ULTA tmrw to buy them!

  37. WOW, those look amazing! The pigmentation on the black swatch seems just awesome. I almost bought some of these the other day at the store, but didn’t. And now I really wish I had!
    Marilyn @ Lipgloss and Spandex recently posted … RACE RECAP: Seattle Rock and Roll Marathon

  38. Denise says:

    I want a pot of each! Pretty πŸ™‚
    Denise recently posted … Pucker Up with Maybelline Lip Smooth Color Bloom

  39. Lauren says:

    I live nowhere near an Ulta, so I was half-heartedly skimming till I got to the bottom–did you say Fred Meyer? 10 minutes from my house and I’m there asap!

  40. Ana says:

    I guess these are the next items I’ll have to try from the Essence line! Could these work as a base, Karen? I’m guessing not so much because of the quick drying time.

  41. Alice says:

    I have both (also, in Italy we have a dark teal too), and they last a lot without a base too. On my eyes, 99% of stuff lasts next to nothing, but these did an incredible job and they lasted a whole day without creasing or running. I also tried them in the rim and they did a very good job.
    Have you tried using them as eyeshadows, alone or under other colors? They are so soft that applying them is totally easy πŸ™‚

    BTW, luckily they didn’t stain my skin!

  42. Twyla Munden says:

    Two hits in one day? Yippie!! I can’t wait to return to the city on the wknd to hit up the one store I am confident carrys this brand in Nova Scotia.. I think I may have a few of their lipglosses – however the brand wore off from overuse.. lol. I’ve never used liquid pots before but I’m willing to try!!!

  43. Nina says:

    ohhh i want this! must go to HEB at lunch! london baby is gorgeous!

  44. Kirstie says:

    these are excellent, I use the brown all the time. If you get Catrice there next (it’s Essence’s ‘big sister’) it also has excellent gel liners, and in fact, loads of excellent cheapo bits. The Ballerina Backstage collection from Essence is hitting stands here at the moment, also containing some really impressive bits for the price.

  45. Anh says:

    Thanks for posting these, Karen! I am almost done with my MAC Blacktrack (3 years later lol).

  46. pipette1110 says:

    i’m so glad i’m not the only girl who is addicted to the Essence brand!

  47. Christy says:

    WOWZA! These are too gorgeous! I love to find some amazing products at such affordable prices. It reminds me that HEY it can be done! And NYX, Essence & Wet n Wild prove us that again & again. I can’t wait to pick these up!
    Christy recently posted … Free Shipping/Reduced Prices Blog Sale!

  48. nurse_cherrybomb says:

    Thanks to your reviews I am now the proud owner of 2 Essence long lasting glosses, 1 nail polish, and the 2 gel liners!! These gel liners are great!! Ive tried a few different brands of gel liners and had not been able to find one that was long lasting and easy to apply until now. Super excited to see what other stuff Essence comes out with. Also, I bought one of their lipsticks and it feels great on!!

  49. Rachel says:

    omg thank you thank you thank you for doing this review! I picked up the black Essence gel liner a couple of weeks ago to replace my dried out WnW liner and have been loving it. I figured I would go back and get the purple one eventually if the black one worked well, but I totally would have skipped straight past London Baby because I thought it was a plain brown, which I never wear. But thanks to this, I went and grabbed London Baby last week and I absolutely adore it. xoxo thanks bunches!

  50. Nena says:

    WOW.. The eyeliner on the left side is the darkest gel eyeliner? I have seen so far… I have been using the WET n WILD black gel liner and works pretty good.. Because I have monolids and oily lids sometimes… I tend to crease, but since trying wet n wild, it hasn’t given me any regrets on my purchase… But thanks for sharing I think I might want to check this one out..

    Nena recently posted … ~Natural Highlights~

  51. vanessa says:

    too bad essence isnt in canada πŸ™

  52. Ana says:

    I have this in London Baby and it is suuuch a pretty color! And super creamy – seriously, the texture is like a light cream moisturizer! But still super pigmented. Doesn’t dry too fast and very blendable so it can be used as an all over wash of color too. I imagine this won’t dry out anytime soon like most cream liners do since it’s so creamy. Have been meaning to get the black (especially after seeing your insane swatch!) but it’s been sold out at my ULTA. I hope they come out with more colors – would love a sparkly black (cheap alternative to Chanel’s myrifique, plz? lol)

  53. NeutraKris says:

    London Baby looks nice. I don’t have a shade like it – may have to check it out!
    NeutraKris recently posted … Hard Candy Eye Def Glitter Eyeshadow in What Sandy Says Goes

  54. Jenn Staz says:

    Yay, great review. Someone else recommended this to me, and I can’t wait to try it out. And to think – I was going to pick up the MAC fluidline!!! Tsk tsk.
    Jenn Staz recently posted … How to: Avoid shiny object syndrome when blogging

  55. I bought the black shade last weekend and was amazing. The texture is so smooth, it’s so incredibly pigmented, it applies like a dream, and it’s only $3.49! Yes, just as good if not better than MAC Blacktrack.
    Marilyn @ Lipgloss and Spandex recently posted … Product review: KKcenterHK FE108 Feather Lashes

  56. this is definitely my next purchase

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