I chose these four:
Estee Lauder Automatic Eye Pencil Duo in Walnut (which actually I found the title to be misleading as it has a sharpener and smudgey-thing on the other end instead of another color)
Maybelline Unstoppable in Espresso
Estee Lauder Eye Defining Pencil in Deep Brown
Ulta in Chocolate (nothing special on this packaging, really, so I assume it is sort of their standard, and this was a twist-up).
In order to easily tell them apart since the colors are so similar and also to test the control and consistency, I just used them to label themselves on my inner forearm.
This Estee Lauder Duo walnut one was the lightest of the bunch, but I threw it in there anyway. As you can see in the photo, it straight-up flakes off and leaves glitter-sized chunks of itself all over. The control wasn't too bad, but no one wants to have to go back over their liner with a brush or q-tip to get rid of the gobby and/or dark parts. I'll give this one a pass on that, though, because since it comes with the smdugey thing, it is likely that it is SUPPOSED to be as soft and move-able as it is, so I don't think this one is actually designed for a clear, concise line. Once you factor that in, it is quite nice (and it does smudge and blend well).
The Maybelline Unstoppable in Espresso was extremely similar in quality to the Estee Lauder. Chunks aside, had it been a blind test, I'd have assumed it was same brand, different shades. The color, however, I wasn't too stoked with, but that's just personal preference.
This Estee Lauder Eye Defining Pencil in Deep Brown was surprisingly great. I just sort of scrawled the name, so that's my fault, not the liners, but even with my quick scrawling, the control and the color is quite nice and the color just glided right on. The liner was soft and manageable, yet didn't leave weird clumps, I didn't have to go over anywhere twice, and I was pretty happy with this one!
This was my least favorite of the bunch. I was pretty surprised with the shoddy quality of this one since other Ulta products I've tried are pretty rockin'. This, however, was extremely hard to control and was so dry that the color just didn't transfer well. You can see how it took me a few tries to actually press hard enough for it to really transfer clearly. Definitely not the winner.
So what's my verdict?
Oddly enough, the Estee Lauder Eye Defining Pencil was, in my opinion, the best of the bunch. I didn't expect this as, of the four, it was the most plain-jane and the only one that wasn't a twist-up. History has proven that I will choose a twist-up 9 times out of 10. I'd say that Estee Lauder has nailed the art of a standard, oldschool pencil liner. Honestly, my money was on the Ulta for being the best of the bunch and we see how *that* worked out, so I guess that just goes to show that you shouldn't necessarily rely on the brand!
Listening to: "Monster Party" - Kasstrick Bacteria