review: Nvey Eco cake eyeliner

Bonus homage: fondly dedicated to my favourite eyeliner-wearer.

Test-driving currently. I’d tried a sample a while back–maybe a year or two ago?–and liked it, then promptly went off and used other stuff. As you do. Or I do, anyway. You don’t? Blimey.

Well: it’s a pressed baked powdery sort of cakey contraption. Small round container, opens and closes with a satisfying snap. Shiny black outside, nice lettering. Mirror on the inside of the lid. Available in brown or black; I’m using brown for reasons of gingerness. Can be used dry or wet; wet, works well for tightlining.

INGREDIENTS: Zea Mays Starch (Organic Corn Starch)*, Zinc Stearate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Organic Jojoba Seed Oil)*, Benzyl Alcohol (and) Salicylic Acid (and) Sorbic Acid, Stearic Acid, Organic Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Oil*, Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot Seed Oil), Glycerin. May Contain +/-: CI 77492, CI 77491, CI 77499, CI 77019 (Mica), CI 77007, CI 77947 (Zinc Oxide). *Certified Organic Ingredient

PRICE: around $25.00 for 1.5 g / 0.52 oz

Cruelty-free, organic, sustainable, etc.

Some rough-sketch quick comparisons:


Viz, Laura Mercier’s one in Mahogany.

INGREDIENTS: (Mahogany Brown): Talc, Propylene Glycol, C9-15 Fluoroalcohol Phosphate, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Alcohol Denat., VP/VA Copolymer, Magnesium Myristate, Polyethylene, Zinc Stearate, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum), Polymethyl Methacrylate, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Tocopherol, Alumina. May Contain (+/-): CI 77742 (Manganese Violet), CI 77499, CI 77491, CI 77492 (Iron Oxides), CI 77007 (Ultramarines), CI 77288 (Chromium Oxide Greens), CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide).
Ingredients vary from shade to shade. All are free of bismuth oxychloride (CI), but the nicest of their new ones, plum, includes carmine 😦

PRICE: $22.00 for 2.2 g

LM also needs to be applied damp. Similar shade of, well, basic brown. However: easy to underapply the LM by using too much water, and each time it’s used, you’re mixing water into the liner in its pan, then using that as a palette, dipping into the resulting paste and swirling around (and adding more water as needed) along the way.

Nvey: slightly different technique. Brush out some liner *dry*, onto back of hand or somewhere or other. Mix in water. Apply. Doesn’t work if you add water to the liner in its pan. There may, who knows, be some complicated technique to that: but I haven’t figured it out.

Pros of both: Produces a finer line through the lash-roots, doesn’t gunk up lashes as much as a gel one. Both the LM and the Nvey do the job. Both are very portable, lightweight, durable, don’t (in my experience) break. Highly recommended for travel; also as they don’t use up your carry-on liquids allocation; I get geeky about traveling with hand-luggage only…

Advantage Nvey: easier to use–no issues of adding too much water–and applies like a dream. Also, will basically last forever (like many a cake; not real edible ones though, alas).

Advantage LM: cheaper.


Bobbi Brown Chocolate Shimmer Ink:

  • INGREDIENTS: isododecane – cyclopentasiloxane – polyethylene – trimethylsiloxysilicate – disteardimonium hectorite – propylene carbonate – lecithin – phenyl trimethicone – hydrogenated polyisobutene – methicone – barium sulfate – bht – phenoxyethanol [ /- iron oxides (ci 77491, ci 77492, ci 77499) – mica – titanium dioxide (ci 77891) – blue 1 lake (ci 42090) – carmine (ci 75470) – chromium oxide greens (ci 77288) – manganese violet (ci 77742) – yellow 5 lake (ci 19140) – chromium hydroxide green (ci 77289) – bismuth oxychloride (ci 77163) – ultramarines (ci 77007) – ferric ferrocyanide (ci 77510)]
  • PRICE: $21.00 for 3 g (but: as already “bulked out,” you use more than you would with the more concentrated dry cake)


  1. Lovely stuff, and one of the best gels I’ve ever used.
  2. BB is the nicest colour of all those looked at here, what with the shimmery business and richness of hue: the cakes can, I’m afraid, be best described as plain flat browns.


  1. Can be gunky round the lash-roots; I have fine lashes (though thickish and longish), and they’re easily gunked and clumped.
  2. I’m afraid I’m one of these slightly klutzy people who find screw-top jars a pain, and I’ve already experienced the trauma of dropping a glass jar of eyeliner. I’m avoiding them.

Silk Naturals Cream Eyeliner in Mahogany:

  • INGREDIENTS:  Certified Organic Castor Oil, Fractionated Coconut Oil, Candelilla Wax, Carnuaba Wax. May contain: Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, Magnesium Stearate, Boron Nitride, Iron Oxide, Tin Oxide
  • PRICE: $6.50 for 2 g (in a small flat plastic flip-lid container, very no-frills but will you look at that beautiful price?)


  1. Lovely too: nice warm shade, very slight shimmer.
  2. Huge pro: cheap as chips.
  3. More clumsy-user-friendly that teeny glass jars with screw-top lids.
  1. and it’s a big one: not as long-lasting as an, ahem, proper actual gel. But: fine for most purposes.

Favourite Google image search-result for chocolate +deus ex machina: see reviews (c/o image) for why, and search-result not being entirely random...


Enter everyday practicalities.

Cake wins: I have to admit that I do prefer it for tightlining purposes, and find it completely reliable at certain times of year such as this one right now; with gels, on the other hand, even ones that ordinarily don’t irritate me and are fine on skin–even with them, in allergy/cold/flu season I’ll get some irritation from bits in my eye. Even teeny bits, at the end of the day. And at this time of year, the day-job means that those days are long (14-15 hours). Add in that it’s in the nature of the job (sorry, not divulging any more than that) to be intensive, require full focus and energy throughout–obviously, though, like any other job, with some light relief and even comparative relaxation in meetings. Compound that with part of the job involving staring at computer screens, and you throw in some bonus dryness of the old eye.

“Cake or Death?” in its full context (warning: you will require nearly two hours for this, and some tasty treats and other supplies)

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