Basic yet essential, black eyeliner is a makeup staple. It’s pretty safe to say that any brand with eyeliner in its line makes one in black. Charlotte Tilbury’s Rock ‘N’ Kohl Iconic Liquid Eye Pencil comes in six shades (including black), and claims to combine “the silky application of a liquid liner with the sultry, smudgy texture of kohl” in a waterproof formula that lasts up to 14 hours. We tried the matte Bedroom Black shade to see if it deserves a place in our eyeliner game.
Find it HERE
Tested October 2019
I regularly skip liner in my eye looks. When I do wear it, I usually make it the centerpiece of my makeup and love to do a little wing on the top lash line, maybe with some shadow in the crease for definition, and call it done. I first used this eyeliner to do just that, drawing along the top lashes and using a small, precise brush to wing out the outer edge. This pencil applies easily but somewhat patchy at the same time and I had to use a small brush to smudge and even out the line. I was pretty happy with the result…at first. Then I went about my morning for exactly 17 minutes before catching a look in the mirror to see the disaster that had ensued. On one of my eyes, the liner had transferred to the center of the lid and the wing had lost definition…in less than 20 minutes! I couldn’t even get out the door let alone make this last “up to 14 hours.”
I tried again the next day, testing this liner’s ability to tightline instead. When I wear black eyeliner, tightlining is important for me because my lashes are on the lighter side; the entire effect of eyeliner can be ruined by a gap between black liner, blonde lash roots and black mascara. Basically, if I can’t get right up against the lash roots to cover them the color won’t look seamless. I used this on the upper waterline and smudged it along and in between the lashes. It worked quite well, but created fallout. And little black eyeliner flakes on pale skin can be hard to clean up.
I was impressed with the staying power of the liner on my top waterline. At the end of the day, it was still there (although the liner along the lashes had faded again). I found it hard to remove everything, however, and used both a makeup wipe and then a cotton ball soaked in Clinique Take the Day Off Makeup Remover. After using these two removers and washing my face, I could still see black along the rim of my eye and woke up with it smudged down on my lower lash line. Maybe that’s what they mean by “Bedroom Black.” No thanks.
I truly wish this liner performed better on me. I am such a fan of Charlotte Tilbury’s artistry; her aesthetic is the sought-after Hollywood glamour vibe and her looks are usually eyeliner-centric. So to have her eyeliner disappoint is a bummer. I may use this here and there for tightlining because that’s how I think it performs best, but there are drugstore liners at a third of the price that are more reliable.
Liz’s Verdict: Disappointed. It’s a pass.
Charlotte Tilbury’s website literally calls this kohl pencil “magic” claiming it will “channel your inner rock ‘n’ roll muse with sexy smoked-up rock chick eyes in an instant” and last 14 hours. While I’m not sure I want to be a rock chick for 14 hours straight, I’d take a solid 8.
I think for the purpose of this review it’s important to distinguish between an eyeliner and an eye kohl- because as a liner I don’t like this at all (it’s messy), but as a kohl it does what it says (smoked-up rock chick). Kohl is another word for kajal which is made by grinding the mineral stibnite. Kajal is natural while Kohl is made using waxes and pigments. Whereas eyeliner is applied along the outside of the eyes to define their shape, kajal/kohl is meant to be applied to the inner rim along the lash line aka the waterline.
I’m not sure if I have especially watery eyes or if I just rub them more than average (because of my contacts) but my liner always smudges. Whether I want a smoked out look or not, I get it. Because of this I tend to use liner sparingly. For wear test #1 I lightly lined both top and bottom lash lines and crossed my fingers for a miracle. Honestly, it performed about as expected-smudged around the outer corners after just 2 hours of wear. The mess was enough that it bothered me but not so much that I couldn’t wipe it away with a q-tip and move on with my day.
When I used this as a kohl for wear test #2 (aka with the intention of it being smudged/smokey) I followed pencil application with a tiny brush and got the most evenly blended look, albeit quite dark.
Now I’m not sure about the “crushed pearl powder to support natural collagen production” but aside from that it does most everything it says. If you’re looking for a black-as-night, buttery soft, smudge resistant kohl pencil, this is a good option (notice I didn’t say great because for $2 less Marc Jacobs has a gel pencil that I much prefer). Around the holidays Charlotte Tilbury has mini sets, that would be a great way to try this luxury item without the hefty price tag.