It's rare that I get two deluxe samples of the same product in different shades, but when I manage it, it's definitely prime reviewing material. In this case, I got two tubes of the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner: a brown (Mad Max Brown) in a gift with purchase and a black (Trooper) in my most recent Sephora Play box. I recently fell in love with the Physician's Formula Long-As-Hell-Name liquid liner, and while it's a tough act to beat, I figured these super popular Kat Von D liners might prove able opponents.
The Kat Von D Tattoo Liner is a brush tip liner that retails for $20 at Sephora. Trooper and Mad Max Brown are the only two shades, which is a bummer; comparable products like the Makeup Forever Aqua Liner contain double the product and come in a slew of shades. The Kat Von D range does offer a few similar products with more colors, however, like the Lighting Liner (with metallic shades) and the Ink Liner (with a felt tip). If this product's shade range expands, I'm hoping they come out with more awesome names like "Mad Max Brown." Because, you know, I have a history with Mad Max in general, and especially Mad Max Brown.
Do you have any idea how long I've waited to use this gif? Do you?!
Physician's Formula on top, Kat Von D on the bottom.
The Tattoo Liners have a very soft, relatively fine brush tip that is easy to control. I got an even line of color without any tugging or skipping on my lids. The thin point makes it easy to poke between your lashes and fill in obvious gaps, although admittedly, I'm too lazy to do that on most days. I'd say the Kat Von D brush is maybe a hair thinner than the Physician's Formula, but not by much.
Trooper on the left, Mad Max Brown on the right. Also, check out that sweet concealer crease!
Trooper is a rich, opaque black color that dries semi-matte. It has decent staying power; I can wear it for a good eight hours with only a small amount of smudging and flaking at the end of the roughest days--I'm talking one or two microscopic flakes on my lid or a grain-of-rice sized smudge after I've cried at the movies. It's also decently resistant to rubbing. The above left picture shows how Trooper holds up when your intrepid reviewer forgets she's wearing eye makeup and paws at her eyes for a full 10 seconds before realizing what she's done. It's a little feathery and there's a little flakiness, but overall, pretty impressive!
Mad Max Brown, though, doesn't quite live up to its namesake's rough-and-tumble reputation. The formula is more watery, and I needed two passes to get a rich brown color. I also found that it was slightly more prone to smearing if my eyes watered. That said, it's a damn pretty shade; in real life, it looks more like a soft black and is great for light makeup days.
I decided to swatch the Kat Von D Tattoo Liners up against the Physician's Formula 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner and Serum in Ultra Black. Honestly, in a blind swatch test, I couldn't tell Trooper and Ultra Black apart.
I also dampened a facial cotton and ran it across the liners three times. Mad Max Brown didn't hold up nearly as well as the other two. In all fairness, I don't think most people run a sopping wet cloth across their eye makeup and expect it to stay flawless, but it does show that Trooper is the better formulated shade of the two. Also, props to the Physician's Formula liner, because it barely budged until I whipped out the baby oil.
I understand the hype for these liners, I do. The packaging is beautiful, the brush is efficient, and Trooper is a fantastic basic black. Is Mad Max Brown just as good, though? No, it's not, and that's what prompts me to drop the score from a 5 to a 4. I likely won't purchase these in full sizes, either, because I think the Physician's Formula 2-in-1 liner is just as good at half the price.
Unless they release new shades and give them amazing names like Imperator or Aunty Entity. I'd be all over that shit.
RATING: 4 out of 5.
Kat Von D products are sold at Sephora.