Mechan-eyes Your Makeup

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As much as I love makeup, and you know I do, one thing I've never really been able to get the hang of is eyeliner. In fact, I never line my eyes, unless it's for a special occasion, and then I feel that it doesn't look right. I don't do well with eyeliner pencils. I can't get them close enough to the lash line, so the line it leaves encircles my eyes too much, making my peepers look huge. Liquid liner leaves too harsh a line and is hard to control. Ditto those creme liners in a pot that you apply with a flat brush, and they smudge, contrary to their manufacturers' claims. So what's a girl to do? I think I've found the answer. Mechanical eyeliner pencils. They come in a plastic case, and you swivel up the liner as if it was the lead in a mechanical writing pencil. The tip of the liner is so small that it makes it easy to get a thin, natural-looking line right up in the lashline, or inside the rim of the eyelid. Tarte Cosmetics introduced their Emphas-eyes retractable liner (set of two for $28, in black only) on QVC last month specifically for lining the inside rim for a more natural look.

In addition to Tarte's liner, a number of less-expensive versions can be found. Avon'sGlimmersticks eyeliner comes in six colors and costs just $6. Maybelline'sLine Stylist is also available in six colors, including white, and retails for $7. Max Factor, which just revamped their entire line, offers MAXeye Liner, in eight shades that can be used on your brows as well as your eyes (because I've always wanted "Green and Bare It" eyebrows!). They also sell for $7.

A new twist (excuse the pun) on the mechanical pencil is the Estee LauderAutomatic Eye Pencil Duo for $23.50. It's a double-ended pencil featuring the retractable eyeliner at one end, and the blending sponge tip usually found on wooden eyeliner pencils at the other end. Also unlike the other mechanical eyeliners, this one is refillable. It comes with one extra eyeliner cartridge, and refill cartridges are available for $11 each, in seven colors. The genius of this is that you can choose to refill it with a different color if you want to try another shade but don't want to pay another $23.50 for the pencil.

In addition to making it easier to line your eyes, mechanical eyeliner pencils have an advantage over traditional pencils in that they're self-sharpening. Thus they eliminate the need to carry a pencil sharpener in your makeup bag, or deal with the messy shavings they leave behind. I think I've finally found the solution to my eyelining problems. Now I, too can have those smoldering all-around-the-eyes liner look, just like Paris Hilton or the Olsen Twins. Hello, Gorgeous!

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