I am Middle Eastern, which means that I have a deep and sort of religious need for eyeliner: Liquid eyeliner is the sacrament Middle Eastern women are anointed with by their mothers and big sisters in their teens, and never parted from subsequently. (I have never met another Middle Eastern woman who didn’t feel this way about eyeliner.) Despite the fact that I have been wearing liquid eyeliner since I was 13, I am horrible at applying it. I can never get my eyeliner flicks to match, no matter whether I use a pen, a gel with a slanted brush, or a pot-and-ink. Applying eyeliner is usually a torturous endeavour that involves removing and reapplying product until my eyelids are raw and red from makeup remover — at which point I give up and hope that no one notices the flicks don’t match.
Then, last year, I stumbled across the Flick Stick by Lovoir, and everything changed. I can’t remember how I came across it, but it was probably inevitable an algorithm would recommend it to me at some point, given how often I’ve Googled “how to make your eyeliner match.” Its design is simple: two double-ended pens (one for each eye), consisting of a stamp that you press against the corner of your eye to mark out a cat’s-eye flick, and a felt-tip-style eyeliner to connect the flick to the rest of your eye.
The first time I used it, I made a mistake — I tried to use it as an eyeliner. In fact, it’s a template tool: something to use before eyeliner to mark the perfect cat’s-eye flick on the corner of each eye. I position the stamp end carefully at the corner of my eyes — you only get one shot at this, so it takes a bit of practice — and then press it down to create the outline of a cat’s-eye flick. Both flicks will be equally sized, and perfectly even, providing you angle them at the same point outwards from your eye. (The best way to do this is by looking at yourself in a small magnifying mirror and holding the stamp so that it’s angled down towards your eye, rather than angled upward.)
I’ve already repurchased the Flick Stick in two different sizes (it comes in 8mm-, 10mm-, and 12mm-size stamps to accommodate a range of looks, from daytime to a more dramatic eye). For a daytime flick, I go with an 8mm; for an event, I opt for the 10mm flick; any bigger and you look like Amy Winehouse.
I hesitate to call any product life-changing, but last year, I cried before a wedding, because I messed up my eyeliner three times and kept having to take off all my eyeshadow and redo it, causing me to almost miss my train. (Going without eyeliner was not an option.) Since the Flick Stick came into my life, I haven’t cried before a single event.
A word of advice: Prime your eyelids first, otherwise it will smudge everywhere. (I have oily eyelids, but from browsing online forums, transfer seems to be a problem for other users. I use Urban Decay’s Primer Potion.)
An eyeliner comes with the Flick Stick, but I prefer to use NYX Professional Makeup Epic Ink Liner — the best in the game, and cheap. You can remove your eye makeup with whatever you normally use; provided you’ve primed your lids, it will stay on all day.
Some other Strategist-recommended eyeliners
If you’d rather use a liquid liner, Strategist audience manager Rosie writes, “In the three years I’ve been wearing NYX liner, I’ve had housemates, colleagues, store cashiers, drag queens, and even passport-control staff ask what eyeliner I use, and I’m quick to tell them: It’s £7, and it’s the only one you’ll need.”
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