Tarte emphasEYES Aqua-Gel Eyeliners Will Help You Glide Through Your Day

Published in: Makeup, Product Reviews

tarte emphaseyes aqua gel liner review

No. 4,572 on the list of things I do badly: hip-hop glide moves.


It’s gotta be the shoes!

Yeah… The only gliding I’ve done lately has been along my lash lines with Tarte emphasEYES Aqua-Gel Eyeliner ($18). πŸ™‚

Released earlier this summer, the eight liners (Tarte refers to them as gel pots in pencil form) turn lash lines into tug-free zones.

tarte emphaseyes aqua-gel liner review swatches

I’ve been wearing the bronze, plum and black ones lately, and they’ve been helping me out on some harried mornings. Not needing to be sharpened, the twist-up sticks are built for efficiency; just two quick swipes along my lash line delivers rich, pigmented color.

Rushing with these doesn’t end in disaster, either, as the colors latch on to my lids with the strength of Greek gods, and they don’t migrate into my crease or smudge into places I’d rather they didn’t, even on bare skin.

Tarte also attributes a whole bunch of skin-loving benefits to the line…

  • Hydration: Tarte claims their proprietary formula suspends mineral pigments in a concentration of 50% water to help keep the skin moisturized as its absorbed.
  • Free-radical fighters: Tarte also added Vitamin E, cucumber and aloe to soothe skin and fight damage from free radicals.
  • Skin-soothers: The company also says the colors and dyes, derived from natural mineral pigments, help to soften the skin.

And, beyond being Tabs approved (aka cruelty free), they don’t contain parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, dyes, petrochemicals or phthalates. πŸ™‚

Really, I think these Aqua-Gel Eyeliners would be darn near perfect if not for one thing…

tarte emphaseyes aqua-gel liner review pencils closeup
From left: Black, Bronze, Plum

tarte emphaseyes aqua gel liner review swatches
Swatches from left on NC35 skin: Black, Bronze, Plum

tarte emphaseyes aqua gel liner review swatches

tarte emphaseyes aqua gel liner review swatches

tarte emphaseyes aqua gel liner review swatches

All the Tarte emphasEYES Aqua-Gel swatches from left: Black, Bronze, Plum, Teal, Brown, Navy, Green, Charcoal


The waterline. I mean fuggedaboutit. On my lash line, they’re great, but along my waterline, they bring me to tears! And several reviews on sephora.com have mentioned the same issue, too.

Long-lasting, convenient and highly pigmented, the Aqua-Gel Eyeliners just might rock your socks off…IF you’re content keeping them away from your waterline. Available at Sephora stores and sephora.com. Makeup and Beauty Blog Rating: B

You might like Tarte emphasEYES Aqua-Gel Eyeliner if…

  • You’re a gal on the go!
  • You’ve been looking for a long-wearing liner that won’t smudge or migrate throughout the day
  • You like twist-up pencils
  • You’re not averse to the price ($18)
  • You despise liners that tug, tug, tug all the way home
  • You don’t intend to use ’em along your waterline

“It’s a Sicilian message”

So what did ya do last night? Anything fun? I spent the evening re-watching The Godfather for the umpteenth time… I know, but it’s one of my favorite movies. I even recited the dialog while it was on (“I am Enzo, the baker!”), which annoyed the heck out of El Hub and Tabs, LOL! Yeah, I derived a great deal of pleasure from that. πŸ™‚

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 47 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Melissa W. says:

    I love the purple liner! I don’t wear liner on my waterline (my eyes are to small for that, y0). So these should be fine. Thanks for the review!

    Last night I made some pizza and watched Weeds. I hope I look nearly as good as Mary-Louise Parker when I’m 46.
    Melissa W. recently posted … Kanye West Likes Pants

    • Karen says:

      Pizza sounds so good right now (I’ve been craving Italian food ever since watching The Godfather last night).

      Anywho, since you don’t do the waterline I’m betting you’ll LURVE this! πŸ™‚

  2. Nina says:

    Oh, it’s one of my favorite movies too. The very ending of it still makes me cry every time I watch it, so sad. As for the eyeliners, actually they can be good for me since I have oily lids and nothing -nothing- stays put more than 4 hours on them. I like lining my waterline but I guess I could do without it once or twice a week. Thanks for the review Karen, have good day!

  3. Sydney says:

    Can you believe I’ve actually never seen The Godfather?? LOL This eyeliner looks awesome, if not a bit pricey. I am quite the cheap skate though haha! I usually don’t line my waterline anyway… Most eyeliners I use won’t stay there but I don’t mind most of the time. Except when I’m trying for dark, smoky eyes… Then it drives me nuts!! I just need to find a good liquid liner I think!

  4. Nina says:

    Im not a twist up fan but that plum is callign to me … I likey!

  5. Steph B says:

    I grew up near the area The Godfather was set in. We used to drive on that tollway to the beach and everytime we’d bust out the movie quotes.

    I played with these liners at Sephora and loved the color but thought they were too soft. Was afraid they’d be a mess.

  6. Megan says:

    I haven’t tried this, but the emphasEyes pencil for brows is a dream. Unlike most brow pencils with a pointed end, the pencil itself is a cylinder shape and its flat topped. It stays on all day, and its waterproof too!

    • Karen says:

      Hey Megan,

      I’m usually a MAC 266 brush/Concrete shadow kinda girl, but thanks for the heads up! I like to have waterproof options around… you never know when you’ll need to look cute when you’re swimming/sweating. πŸ™‚

      Question for you: after you apply the pencil, do you need to brush the color through to mellow out the color? Or do you just fill in and go?

      • Megan says:

        I myself just fill in and go, my shade is referred to as ‘light taupe’, so the pencil isn’t too dark (for my ash-ish brown brows) but the texture of the pencil doesn’t require you to brush it through to evenly distribute the color. If you do try it, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

  7. amy says:

    I really like watching The Godfather too, but only the first two movies. As for the liners, I love green, plum and teal.
    amy recently posted … An Orange Crush NOTD MAC Nail Trend F-W 2010 Nail Lacquer in Imperial Flower

    • Karen says:

      Yeah, we’ll see if I actually make it through the third. It’s the only one I haven’t watched over and over again.

      Thank goodness Sophia decided to leave acting alone, LOL!

  8. Tracy says:

    They look so smooth! And pigmented! Too bad about the waterline though.
    Tracy recently posted … Josie Maran Argan Lip Treatment

  9. Brooke says:

    I’m loving that Navy one!! Lately, I’ve been rockin the navy eyeliner, rather than my regular black. It seems less harsh, but still as composed.

    BTW, I have the black EmphasEYES liner specifically meant for the waterline, and it makes my eyes water (and doesn’t last). πŸ™

    • Karen says:

      Oh the irony! I wonder what the heck is in the ingredient list that makes everybody so teary. Must investigate…

      Navy liner is a great alternative to black. πŸ™‚ Have you ever tried plum or a dark forest green? Both of those are great too.

  10. ooh pretty. I don’t line my waterline, but I think I’d probably prefer gel liners to these, since I can get a much thinner line with my SK bent liner brush (a million thanks for introducing me to that product, I have no idea what I would do without it). I do like the color of the green one though! Teal is gorgeous as well
    makeup morsels recently posted … False Falsies

  11. Amber says:

    Last night we had cinnamon-chip scones for dinner. And then Vosges chocolate bars. And then fake breakfast sausage.
    Amber recently posted … Vortex

  12. alisha says:

    love tarte pencils but the cheek stain is to die for!!

  13. Heidi says:

    I have these in Black, Brown, and Navy. LOVE them, but also had the same waterline experience. Tried to use the Brown on the waterline and full on watershed commenced with brown running down my face! Not quite the look I was going for….. I do think the smoothness and great color payoff makes them well worth it for general lining purposes, though.

  14. marisol says:

    Those look nice but I think I have too many colored liners right now. Is that even possible?

    Never seen the Godfather. I guess I had a sheltered adulthood. Oh and I think you should practice this dance…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2TSy0Z5qTE
    marisol recently posted … Cruisin

    • Karen says:


      You need to get on that ASAP.

      BTW, they drink a LOT of wine in that movie. πŸ™‚

    • Karen says:

      OK, I just watched the video… don’t laugh, but I can fake a decent crip walk. I have to really think about it though!

      • marisol says:

        It’s been added to my netflix queue. I’ve tried the c walk only after many cocktails. Child, I had no clue what I was doing.

      • Karen says:

        You’ll have to have a bottle of red open while you watch it. Then you can raise your glass every time there’s a scene with somebody drinking wine (which is seriously, like every other scene).

        When I do the c-walk what goes through my mind is usually “heel-toe, heel-toe, heel-toe, heel-TOE!”

  15. gio says:

    The purple and teal one look gorgeous! Too bad they can’t be used on the waterline though.

  16. bisbee says:

    I just got the black one yesterday and used it this morning! I guess I’m lucky – no problems using this on my waterline – which is what I bought it for!

    I usually go with a charcoal, metallic brown/bronze or khaki below and above my lashes (I usually go with 24/7 UD liners), but I like black for the waterline. So far, so good – it’s been on for 3 hours and is still there, although it’s beginning to migrate.

    Nothing I’ve found stays put totally, so I always check during the day, and I carry a spare with me. My mainstays for this purpose are a Sephora brand waterproof pencil and Benefit Bad Gal Waterproof liner.

  17. Kim says:

    I’m kind of feeling the teal and the navy and don’t line my waterline, so that works in my favor. I’ve never liked the twist-ups though. This will require some thought. πŸ™‚

    Congrats on the C-walk, btw! I would look like the biggest drone on earth if I tried that. I’m laughing just picturing it… which makes me want to do it!

    • Karen says:

      Try ’em out at Sephora next time you’re there for “research purposes.” πŸ˜‰

      Oh gosh, the only way I can do that dance is if I really, REALLY concentrate. I can fake it but it’s not cute.

      Happy Wednesday, btw!

      • Kim says:

        Happy Wednesday to you too! I’m pretty excited today because it’s the first day of school for the fellas (2nd grade). They looked so grown up; I can’t wait to quiz them when I pick them up from daycare!

        Great idea on the research – I think I’m due for another trip! πŸ™‚

        My bffs and I are throwing ourselves a big 40th bday party next year and we’re doing a group dance (5 of us… should be craptacular!). I’m going to show them that video and pretend I want to incorporate the moves (then watch them die of embarrassment just thinking about me trying it). I can hear the cackling already!

  18. Vera says:

    I bought these during Tarte friends and family sale. When I swatched the black and plum on my hand, I got excited because they were soft and glided so smoothly. I’m the type that loves to line the waterline, so that’s the first place I test liners. I put it on and ohh so pretty and pigmented. Then my water teared and it was all gone in less than a second. However, it does stay on pretty well on the skin, just not moistened skin. lol

  19. The purple looks amazing!!!! πŸ™‚ Too bad they don’t last on the waterline! :/
    Stavroula Plag recently posted … Random Tip of the Day 11092010

  20. lexi says:

    I’ll stick to my UD 24/7 liners – love them and great on the waterlines!

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