Behold the awesomeness:
From left to right: E.L.F. cream eyeliner in black and my 2 favorite brushes for applying it (the slanted eyeliner brush by Ecotools and the small "smudge" brush by E.L.F.--which can do way more than just smudging); Jordana Fabu-liner in black and black Milani Liquif'eye (though I think they may have changed the name to Liquid Eye for 2012)...
Now when I say these are good CHEAPO eyeliners, I don't mean to imply that they are good FOR cheapo liners--they kick the butt of high-end $20-$30 liners, too. That being said, let me go through each liner one by one and tell you why it rules and why you need it.
Liner of Awesomeness # 1: In-Color Fabu-liner by Jordana
(click to enlarge)
We'll start with the In-Color Fabu-liner by Jordana (pictured, badly, above), which will set you back a whopping $2.99. OMG how I love this little liquid liner pen. It's like a friggin sharpie for your eyes. Check out the point on this baby...
And that point is perfect--just the right stiffness but with enough flexibility to allow you to go from a thin to thick line easily. This liner is PITCH black and it goes on so smooth with no tugging or skipping...and it doesn't smudge or "migrate" either. It's so unbelievable that this liner is so cheap yet so awesome. Honestly, I would have never thought to try it if not for Nouveau Cheap's rave reviews of it. Before I read that review, I just kind of assumed this liner would be crap because I equated the Jordana brand with poorly-made teeny bopper junk that 12 year olds waste their allowances on--Shame on me for being such a makeup snob!!
You can find Jordana stuff at Walgreens (I've never seen Jordana products anywhere but Walgreens). It's natural habitat is an under-the-counter display that is--well--under the counter where the makeup section cash-register sits (has anyone ever actually seen anyone work that cash register? I know I haven't...is it there just for decoration or something??). If you don't have a Walgreens in your area, you can order these directly from the Jordana website.
I reach for my Fabu-liner when I want just a very thin line at the base of my lashes to make said (painfully sparse) lashes look thicker. I've been known to do a quick cat-eye with this liner, too. It makes doing the little "flick" at the outer eye corners a cinch!
Liner of Awesomeness #2: Milani Liquif'eye liner pencil in black
If you're more of a pencil-liner kind of girl (or guy), then you will LOVE Milani's Liquif'eye pencil! Once again PITCH black and so buttery smooth--it never tugs or skips and you need apply no pressure at all when using this. It just lays itself down all nice and cooperative-like where ever you want it. And don't think its creaminess means it will run or smudge because it doesn't! This is the only pencil liner that can withstand the frickin oil slick on my lids. Other pencils tend to melt away into a puddle of raccoony nastyness above and below my eyes. But not this baby! LOVE LOVE LOVE!! And it only costs about $7 (or, if you happen to be a Navy wife like me, you can get this at the NEX for only $4!)...
I usually reach for my Milani liner when I want a thicker, less precise, softer line.
Liner of Awesomeness #3: E.L.F. Studio cream liner in black
Why I didn't shoot a pic of this with its cap on, I'll never know. But what I DO know is this is the final member of my cheapo liner holy trinity because: 1) it is (yes--again) PITCH black; 2) they ain't joking when they called this CREAM (seriously, it's so smooth and glides on SO easy); and 3) it doesn't run or smudge once its applied (honestly, I don't mean to repeat myself over and over again--those just happen to be the 3 crucial qualities every good liner must possess).
Now, obviously, this kind of liner needs a brush, and the brushes I use are:
E.L.F. small smudge brush (top) and Ecotools angled liner brush (bottom).
Here's a close-up of the Ecotools brush. I forgot to snap a close-up of the E.L.F. brush but, rest assured, it is perfectly thin and precise.
I use my E.L.F. cream liner with my Ecotools brush when I'm looking to do a sharply flicked vintage-looking cat eye. Beauty blogger/youtuber Nymphette has a killer tutorial for how to do this and that's the method I use.
I get my E.L.F. cream liner at Target for $3. If you can't find it there, you can always order it directly from their site here.
Well, I DO believe I have finally come to the end of this epic post. Of course, I realized I forgot to include swatches of the liners above, so here they are:
Top 2 lines--Jordana, Middle 2 lines--Milani, bottom 2 lines--E.L.F.
So there you have it. Cheap ass eyeliner that does a kick-ass job. Now hurry up & go getchoo some!