Hourglass Cosmetics

Hourglass 1.5 mm Mechanical Gel Liner – Obsidian

July 25, 2014

New this fall from Hourglass is their 1.5 mm Mechanical Gel Liner in Obsidian ($45 for pack of 3 or $16 each). It’s their thinnest and softest waterproof eyeliner that comes in a twist up pencil. The product description:
  • The precision 1.5mm tip ensures effortless control, and allows for lining in between lashes
  • The unique formula, poured into a slim mechanical component, has the malleability, intensity and staying power of a traditional gel; no pot, no brush, no clean-up required
  • The waterproof, transfer-proof and long-lasting formula delivers extended wear
  • The supple, moisturizing formula glides on smoothly and dries quickly
  • Two clicks is all you need to line the eye, each advanced mechanical pencil lasts for approximately 17 to 20 uses
  • Only dispense product as needed – mechanical pencil does not retract
  • Free of phthalates, sulfates, talc and gluten, no animal testing
  • Ophthalmologist tested
I’ve been testing the new eyeliner this week in warm humid weather in Southern California and have been impressed with the lasting power. It holds up quite well throughout the day. I tested it on a few nights out and it didn’t bleed, smudge or fade. The tip is super tiny for precise application – the 2 click claim is true. You only need 2 clicks to dispense enough liner for each eye. I’m rarely able to apply eyeliner in a single stroke. The same applies with this one. I prefer to feather it along the lash line. I like that it doesn’t tug or pull. The formula is soft but not too soft. Some eyeliners can tug on the eye irritating my sensitive eyes. This one from Hourglass is gentle and I had no irritation.
The 1.5 mm Mechanical Gel Liner comes in one color right now, Obsidian, which is an intense black. It’s not quite as intense a color as you can get with some liquid liners, but for a pencil and gel formula, it’s still a true black. Many black eyeliners turn greyish on my skin or look ashy so I typically opt for colors like plum, brown or bronze. Hourglass Obsidian is a true rich black without looking harsh.
I’m still working on taking face photos, it’s harder than it looks. I’ve found it pretty difficult to get eye photos. Here’s a close up I took of my eye although the flash washes out everything:
A few comparisons here to some other black eyeliners. You can see how the Hourglass 1.5 mm tip is small compared to other eyeliners so it offers a truly precise line:

Thumbs up. I’m often skeptical of black eyeliners because I’m picky with the color and pigment. I can’t always pull of the color because it often looks harsh or ashy on my skin. The Hourglass 1.5 mm in Obsidian is good in color and the formula is very good. I find it well priced for a higher-end liner. I’ll have a round up post next week of my favorite black eyeliners.

The packaging is really well designed. It twists up easily and I love that there is no sharpening required to keep that super fine precise tip. It glides on easily, stays put and doesn’t smudge. It’s all I could want in an eyeliner. I hope Hourglass will expand the shade selection.

Hourglass 1.5 mm Mechanical Gel Liner in Obsidian launched on Hourglasscosmetics.com* this week. It will be available for purchase at Sephora* next week starting July 29 and available at Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Net-A-Porter.com, Space NK starting August 15.
Note that select retailers* will have this available as a single eyeliner for $16, all others will have it available in the trio at $45.
This post contains items that were sent courtesy of Hourglass for review consideration.

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  • Anonymous

    Thank you so much for this post! I was wondering about this eyeliner!

  • This sounds amazing! I love that they sell it in 3 packs, because 17-20 uses seems weirdly specific and kind of a small amount, IMO. I wish they sold refills, though! Thank you so much for the review, Sabrina. πŸ™‚

    • It does sound very specific, I like that they tested it to tell us how approximately how many uses we get per pencil, so many brands don't disclose!

  • Oh so this one's a pencil!? I don't know what made me think this would be more liquid in form! Was eagerly waiting for someone to review this. Its definitely very expensive for a liner though!


  • $16 for only 17-20 uses, and I use up a lot of eyeliner in one look, I'll pass!

  • I'm not totally sold on this. It seems like a good idea, but rather expensive! For a total of around 60 uses for $45, I would rather take a fine eyeliner brush and use regular gel liner. Great review, as always though!

    • I love gel liners with the brush, but in this summer heat I can't seem to get much to last longer than a couple hours, I can't use most primers because they irritate my eyes/dry them out πŸ™

  • I love Hourglass and this looks like the very fine black pencil I have been waiting for. With my hooded eyes, thick black lines are a no-no and I just cannot master liquid eyeliner. Bobbi Brown's gel eyeliner in a pot is the only black I can use, but this looks much easier to apply. I shall try it and see whether it's worth the price! Thanks for the review.

    • I am liquid eyeliner challenged as well, it's so hard for me to get an even line, I have a couple that I've fallen in love with – I'll have a post next week. But I really like this Hourglass pencil, it makes eyeliner application super easy.

  • I was excited about this until I saw how few uses each pencil can hold. Kind of shocking considering how other high-end liners hold many more uses.

    The Makeup Writeup

  • I was eagerly waiting for this review! It sounds like a very very good gel pencil liner but I do have second thoughts about the price vs the use you get out of it. I would be ok with it if it was easily to purchase but since the shipping costs to here are outrageously high I might pass. I love how you included a close-up of your eye btw! I know it's not easy, I struggled with this as well, but it's good!

    • Thanks Teri! That's too bad Hourglass isn't readily available in Belgium. Thx for your kind comments about the eye photo, I adore your pics, they are always so clear and sharp!

  • Cubicledweller

    Thanks for this review and comparison. I'm definitely a brown, plum and any shade but black eyeliner kind of gal, but I just may try this one! I have oily eyelids which has been great for fending off wrinkles, but only a couple of eyeliners actually stay put on my eyes. Chanel Stylo waterproof and NARS Larger than Life are my HGs.

    • Chanel and NARS are great ones! I find the Hourglass lasts longer and stays put better in this summer heat πŸ™‚

  • Susan

    Please could you let me know what shadow you are wearing with the liner? I adore bronzey/gold colours and that looks absolutely stunning!

    • Hi Susan,

      Thank you! The colors in the photo aren't really accurate since the flash washed everything out. The shadows used were a combination of:

      NARS Dione Dual Intensity Eyeshadow
      Edward Bess Cosmic Bliss Quad

      Hope this helps!

  • This looks amazing – I'm such a fan of gel liner, really want to try this out! Not impressed that it only lasts for 20 uses though, I'm sure pot gel liners last longer!


  • As with anything by Hourglass it looks amazing! Twenty uses is by no means justifiable though, especially if you use this every day. You can buy much cheaper products that last a couple of months.


  • The Chanel ones are great. I have them and is the best eyeliner I ever used.
    Lots of love, xx


  • I like the way it's got a lot thinner nib to it, i always struggle to keep my eyeliner line thin. Great review.

  • This looks really interesting… Something that stays so fine during application is a first for a mechanical pencil! Thanks for the review πŸ™‚


  • Emy

    The thin nip looks perfect for everyday looks. I almost put it on the to-buy list until I saw the cost per use. Even for high-end eyeliners, 20 uses should only cost $5-8 at most. (Most high-end liquid liners I use tend to last at least 2-3 months.)

  • Emy

    P.S. It'd be wonderful if you could let us know down the road if one pen does last 17-20 uses! πŸ™‚

  • That haze of black looks so cool πŸ˜€ And I love that Hourglass discloses very clearly just how much liner you're getting in one of these, too — I'm hoping that the formula will warrant the cost for me (it's so hard to find liners that will last on monolids without primer), but I think it's great that they're so upfront about the small amount.