Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Marc Jacobs The Sky-Liner Crashes and Burns

I have tried several things from Marc Jacobs' makeup line.  I have not been particularly impressed with any of these things.  His mascara looks lovely, but flakes off at the end of the day, in exactly the same way as my favourite stand-by drugstore mascara looks and flakes.  I once received a sample lip gloss in a colour that is not at all my style, and I admit I have not brought myself around to trying it.  I had high hopes for the liquid liner, which in fact does look nice, and I love a felt tip - but it doesn't apply well over eyeshadow, and the tip is a tad too wide to ever make a sharp point at the end of my liner wing.  I have a lipstick or two that feel nice enough, but they don't last any longer than other lipsticks and the colours aren't anything unique.  In sum, I don't get the big deal about Marc Jacobs.

Anytime I say this, people get weirdly defensive and insist I at least try the pencil liners.  The smoothest, the creamiest, the longest-lasting, the prettiest colours...  "Don't write off Marc Jacobs until you've tried the liners".

So I tried the liners.

This photo is terrible and I don't care because fuck Marc Jacobs

Marc Jacobs Holiday 2015 "The Sky-Liner"

I'd like to clarify that I do, in fact, already have and regularly use one of the sample-sized black high-liners, but I find it no more impressive (that is to say: not really) than anything else I've tried from the line.  It is hard and dry, which made it impossible to use on my upper lashline.  After a friend recommended it for the waterline, I have found a use for it - while difficult to apply, it does last awhile and fades quietly away instead of melting into my inner corners the way every other liner in the world does.  But I have never been blown away by this liner, so still, I don't get the big deal about Marc Jacobs.

In the spirit of fairness, I decided I'd wait until the holidays and buy a sample set so that I could finally give this mystical, supposedly brand-rescuing product a chance.  Unfortunately for both me and Marc Jacobs, this year's set is "The Sky-Liner", which is actually and without hyperbole the worst eyeliner I have ever used in my entire life.  When I was 14 I bought my makeup at the dollar store and these liners from Marc Jacobs are still the worst liners I have ever used.

I was warned.  I looked up reviews before my purchase, and one in particular pointed out that these were hard, difficult to use, and generally so poor that the brand had actually pulled them off the shelves.  After investigation, I wasn't able to find much on the reason for the product recall (including the full-sized permanent line) and assumed - wrongly - that they had been removed for reformulation in an effort to avoid them staining the brand's reputation.

But no. They simply sold them to Canadians.  Typical.

After a few weeks, the holiday Sky-Liner set and full-size liners reappeared on the Canadian Sephora site and in Canadian stores (with no simultaneous appearance for USA consumers).  I assumed - again wrongly - that this indicated that the issues with the product had been resolved.  I had suspicions that the quality-control process could have been completed so quickly, but I figured I'd take the chance and see for myself.

And now I can show you too.

Have you ever seen swatches this bad?

Those two faint shadows of what possibly might be a swatch are the blue ("(Wave)length") and the Limited Edition purple ("Boys & Berry").  I assure you, these are not one gentle brush of the pencil across my hand. I scrubbed.  Particularly with the purple, which I had most been looking forward to, I rubbed back and forth again and again and this was the absolute best I could produce.  Don't believe me?  Watch:

Marc Jacobs "Boys & Berry"

Fuck you, Marc Jacobs.

The other colours were similarly disppointing, as the photo above clearly indicates.  The champagne colour ("In the Buff") perked me up a bit, as it at least applied, somewhat similarly to the black sample liner I already owned, though it was not what I'd call impressive.  It was only when I tried the black that came in this set that I realized why people usually have such a high respect for these liners: it was creamy and opaque in one swipe, and despite running my finger over it several times since, it has not smudged one iota.  THIS is a liner I can get behind.  I was so shocked, in fact, that after my initial double-take, I swatched it again.  And then again.  (That is why there are three stripes of black in my swatch photo).  I could not believe it.  I already own and use daily one of the black highliners, and it was never anything like this.  And not a single one of the other liners in this set was like this.

For science, I went into my storage and pulled out the second black sample highliner I had in there (waiting for when my current one got used up) and swatched that one too.  This liner was not awesome either.  It was about on the level of the champagne from the Sky-Liner set; better, but not outstanding.  For anyone who's counting, that means that out of NINE Marc Jacobs high-liners that I have personally tried, only ONE has not been garbage.

That is not at all a good record.  I would like to especially point out that this set is a sample set, intended (here I go making assumptions again) to impress people enough to draw them to the brand.  Unfortunately, due to a level of wretchedness that I have never before experienced, this set is for me the final nail in the Marc Jacobs coffin.  You'd think they'd be too embarrassed or self-respecting to actually release this rubbish out into the world, never mind charge $58 for it, but evidently the brand's need to cash in has no lower limit.  Gross.

It also pisses me off a LOT that they knew the product was bad (else why remove it from stores and the Marc Jacobs website?) and rather than fix it, they insultingly shipped it off to the Canadian warehouse to be disposed of into northern shoppers' carts.

Fuck you again, Marc Jacobs. 

So that's that then. Unequivocal (by which I mean "good enough for me") proof that Marc Jacobs makeup tends toward "overpriced crap" and the brand itself toward "offensive, avaricious asshole".  I now feel justified in never again spending a dime on this brand, and will no longer wonder if I'm the crazy one for not liking it.  This set has now finally reappeared on both the Canadian and USA Sephora sites.  Please don't buy it.  You're welcome.