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Battle of the Bronze – Marc Jacobs Highliner Dupes

Bronze Liners: NYX, Smashbox, Marc Jacobs

Bronze liner is what I turn to when I want to add a bit of smokiness to an otherwise minimal eye. It’s warmer and softer than black, and provides enough definition to elevate the look without taking it over the top.

I recently purchased the NYX Retractable Eye Liner in Bronze, and when I got it home I realized that I have two nearly identical colour dupes: Smashbox Always Sharp Waterproof Kohl Liner in Penny Lane, and Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Crayon in Ro(Cocoa).

These three liners are so close in colour, and each at a different price point — I decided to put them to the test.

Price

  • NYX Retractable Eye Liner: $7 CAD for .012 oz.
  • Smashbox Always Sharp Waterproof Kohl Liner: $25 CAD for .01 oz.
  • Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Crayon: $31 CAD for .01 oz.

Thanks, liners, for making the price comparison super easy by containing basically the same amount of product (the NYX liner contains a hair more, so it’s even less than $7 per oz.)

Colour

bronze-liner-swatches-nyx-smashbox-marcjacobs

L-R: NYX Retractable Eye Liner in Bronze, Smashbox Always Sharp Waterproof Kohl Liner in Penny Lane, Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Crayon in Ro(Cocoa).

The colour of all three liners is nearly identical — definitely close enough that I would call them dupes. There are slight variations in tone in the swatches, but they are practically indistinguishable on the eyes. The Smashbox liner has a reddish undertone; the NYX liner is a bit deeper; the Marc Jacobs liner has a metallic finish that isn’t as glittery as the NYX and Smashbox.

Workability

Each formula gives you about a minute before they set, and once they do, they do not budge. If you’re applying right from the pencil, you are likely not going for a precise line; you definitely have time to smudge and smoke it out.

The Marc Jacobs Highliner provides the smoothest application, but the Smashbox and NYX are perfectly acceptable formulas as well. The tip of the NYX liner has the tendency to crumble off if you press too hard.

bronze-liner-tips-nyx-smashbox-marcjacobs

L-R: NYX Retractable Eye Liner in Bronze, Smashbox Always Sharp Waterproof Kohl Liner in Penny Lane, Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Crayon in Ro(Cocoa).

The Smashbox liner gains points here for literally having a sharpener in its cap; every time you twist the lid on, the liner gets sharpened. This is a cool feature that perhaps explains the price, but it also probably wastes a lot of product. If you’re smudging your liner out anyway, you don’t need a super sharp tip every time, and because the formula is so soft, it wears down pretty quickly. Also, at its sharpest, the point is not even what I would describe as sharp.

Wear

It’s no surprise to me that the Marc Jacobs Highliner wins for wear — I use this liner in black to tightline and it is the only liner I’ve ever used that I have a difficult time removing. Ro(Cocoa) did not move at all, even when I washed my hand with soap.

bronze-liner-swatches-after-nyx-smashbox-marcjacobs

Swatches, after being washed with soap. L-R: NYX Retractable Eye Liner in Bronze, Smashbox Always Sharp Waterproof Kohl Liner in Penny Lane, Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Crayon in Ro(Cocoa).

The surprising result here is that the NYX liner actually beats out Smashbox for wear. Both are definitely waterproof, but the Smashbox liner disappeared as soon as I rubbed my finger over the swatch. The NYX liner didn’t hold up perfectly, but performed better.

Verdict

The best liner here is the Marc Jacobs Highliner, by a mile, and it’s also the most expensive. I personally recommend getting The High Life: Essential Hues, a trio of minis with black, copper, and bronze liners. It costs the same as one full-size liner ($31), but gives you more variety. If you’re more adventurous with colour, you might like the Coveted Color version as well.

However! The better dupe here is definitely the $7 NYX Retractable Eye Liner, which comes in a variety of neutral and vibrant shades, just like the Highliner.

Do you know of any other dupes for the Marc Jacobs Highliner? Share them in the comments below!

June 13, 2016
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