Draw A Cat Eye Sharp Enough To Kill A Man With This $40 TikTok-Viral Eyeliner

Photo: Courtesy of Charlotte Lewis.
When it comes to eyeliners, I am constantly let down. I have searched high, low — all ends of the budget spectrum to find the holy grail of black eyeliners. It's my makeup white whale, and I'll do anything or try anything if it means finding that special one. My requirements don't seem too much. All I ask is for a dark black liner that doesn't skip or smudge and can taper into a beautifully sharp wing. My search has been ongoing for over a decade, and I have yet to find one worthy of my loyalty. So, when this $40 dual-ended liquid and gel eyeliner from Valentino Beauty started making its way around my favorite beauty influencers' TikToks, I was hopeful AF.
The Valentino Twin Liner Liquid & Gel Eyeliner was first recommended in July 2022 by beauty guru Rose Siard, who currently boasts 1.2 million fans on TikTok and was quickly put to the test by Mikayla Nogueira, whose following amasses to a whopping 14.6 million. "I fucking get it," Nogueira says in her viral response video to Siard's recommendation. "This is black as hell. There’s about a zero percent chance of it bleeding. It glides, it’s precise. Even the pencil is amazing. Yeah, this is my new favorite." The eyeliner sold out on Valentino's site within three hours, and it has been restocked several times since then.

Nine months later, enthusiasm for the luxe product doesn't seem to have dwindled on TikTok, among beauty influencers, or in the comments section on the Nordstrom and Sephora sites where it's sold. Reviewers claim they've never had such a long-lasting, inky black liner. Others were impressed with the felt-tip's precision abilities, which supposedly create the crisp wing of my dreams with a single sweep of the hand, making it well worth its hefty price tag. With such effusive praise, I knew I needed to try out the TikTok-viral eyeliner for myself to see if it lived up to its hype. Keep reading for a thorough investigation of fans' lofty claims, and learn if this rec is right for your makeup bag.

SO IMPRESSED by the applicator and liquid liner on this. It is long, sharp, and defined to create a standard liner or something creative and complex. It’s like an actual paintbrush.

sephora reviewer
I have both deep-set and hooded eyes, so applying eyeliner is its own challenge, much less having it stay on. So I tend to approach each new eyeliner I try with a heavy dose of skepticism. But the Valentino liner had been so hyped up, I was cautiously optimistic it would be right for me. I ordered it from Nordstrom, and it arrived two days later in packaging that was intended to impress. When it comes to luxury beauty products, I'd say that many people's draw is the packaging, and Valentino Beauty does not disappoint. The bright red and gold box as well as the liner itself look and feel expensive. There's a heft and solidity to it that embody fancy. Simply holding it in my hand made me feel like a lady of leisure, ready to run off to a gilded bathroom to powder my nose.

I chose to order the Black/Nero liner (because I think black will always be judged the harshest of all the colors), but the double-ended liner comes in three options: black, blue, and red. I am not sure how anyone actually wears red eyeliner, but I am intrigued that it's an option. Blue seems much more wearable, but I digress!

First, I uncapped the shiny gold lids and did a swatch test on the back of my hand, just to see what the consistency of each side was like before putting it on my eye. The gel pencil side felt a little waxy and did tug at my skin, but ultimately laid down extremely well (if not quite as black as I wanted it). But the liquid side. Oh, man. I was not prepared for the way it would glide across my skin with the inkiest, blackest, most opaque line I'd ever seen. The brush felt like a dream, light and airy and easy to maneuver, and the ends of the line swished into an easy tapered flick. If it was that good on the back of my hand, I knew it would be a cinch on my eyes, too.

Stays all day! Doesn’t bleed. Applies so easy and smooth. Able to do the thinnest wing. Like a masterpiece eyeliner.

nordstrom reviewer
As predicted, the liner went on smoothly. Which is particularly impressive because my truest test of whether a liquid liner is good or not is applying it over a glitter eyeshadow. I wore one from the Tarte Maneater palette, which is more textured than a standard eyeshadow but still goes on fairly smoothly (and has very little fallout.) But still, the liner glided across my lid with no skips (except where the hood is, which is perfectly normal and only slightly annoying). Because of my eye shape, I'll admit the application of the eyeliner required more than the three strokes it took Nogueira (I'm also definitively not a beauty influencer who does this multiple times a day!). But I was absolutely impressed by the applicator's ease of use despite my special eye shape. The wing was so precise, so perfectly crisp I actually gasped. I learned this is because unlike other marker-tipped pen liners, Valentino's isn't made with felt, meaning the flexible point will never fray or wear out, ensuring a precise tip with every use.

As for the pencil, it did not work on my waterline, barely even showing up. Even though the pen was narrow enough to draw incredibly close to my upper lash line, I think that my eyes personally look better with the upper waterline filled in. So, I took out my basic (but effective) Clinique Quickliner for Eyes Eyeliner, which I've found stays put and lasts the longest of all my pencils. Even though I definitely didn't need to, out of habit, I cleaned up the edges of the top liner with some Garnier Micellar Water (another A+ recommendation from Rose Siard) and finished two coats of my ultimate favorite black mascara (Dior Blackout) to my lashes.
When I examined myself in the mirror, I was legitimately shocked at how good the liner looked. To quote Taylor Swift, I'd drawn a "cat eye sharp enough to kill a man." It made me feel instantly bolstered and bad ass, like I could do anything I wanted. I even ran my finger across the lid to see if it would smudge or budge, and that liner was solid. No movement whatsoever. In fact, a full day later and several handwashings later, the pencil liner has long worn off my hand but the liquid end still remains (slightly faded down and a bit worn, but there nonetheless). I'm going to have to attack it with micellar water later to finally remove it.
My main gripe is that where my eye creased, the liner did wear off. I'd say within three hours of wear, there was a slight dip in my cat eye where it had rubbed off. It's possible that might be the fault of the glitter eyeshadow or maybe I need to invest in a better eyeshadow primer, but it was slightly disappointing. Pro tip: It's good to always take wear-tests into account when trying out viral beauty products. Most influencers put on makeup looks just for the camera and take them off after filming, so while they might look incredible upon application, the only way to tell how long it lasts is to try it out for yourself. Unfortunately, I wasn't 100% pleased with my experience of how it wore through the evening, but I was thoroughly impressed by the ease of application and the opacity/blackness of the liner itself. I'd recommend it as a splurge for someone who wants to have a fierce wing at a formal event or even a night out. As long as it's not a full-day wear, I think it would be totally fine (and still live up to its viral hype). It also has the benefit of being two liners in one, so ultimately the $40 price tag isn't that steep compared to most other mid-range liners, especially considering the quality of the products.

Luckily, I have a vanity drawer filled with black eyeliners that do the job efficiently, but my search for the perfect one that hits all my requirements still persists. Am I too picky? Perhaps. Below, browse some of my tried and true for all different budgets, and let me know if you have a favorite in the comments. Maybe together we can work to lock down my white whale.
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