Maybelline Colorsensational Lip Liner in Choco Pop: Review, Swatches & FOTD

If there is one color I am not really fond of when it comes to lip colors because of all the visual trauma I had as a child thanks to all the ladies I saw with those garish brown shades. Now that I have learnt to experiment with things and looks a little, I have finally found myself working with brown based shades. An obvious partner to any lipcolor is a matching lip pencil so as my collection of brown lip shade grew, so did the lip liners. I love Maybelline so one of the first lip liners I picked up is from the Maybelline Colorsensational Lip Liner in the shade Choco Pop.

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Price: Rs 320 for 5 gms

The Maybelline Colorsensational Lip Liner comes in a pencil packaging with a transparent plastic cap. The body of the pencil is of the same color as the lip shade so it makes it pretty convenient to locate the shade you want. The cap stays in place so it is quite travel friendly however the lip liners do not come with a sharpener so you need to carry one with you.

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The liner has a really creamy texture which glides over the lips without any tugging or discomfort. The problem with this creamy texture is that you need to be gentle with the lip liner because the tip tends to break easily. Also, even though it is pretty smooth during application, it does tend to settle in fine lines and accentuate any dry areas so you need to apply a lip balm under it.

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Coming to the shade, Choco Pop is a very earthy and rusty brown with very fine shimmer particles. The shimmer particles are really fine so even though you do not get a matte finish, the glossy effect is not over the top. The color pay off is decent but you need atleast two layers for the lip liner to pop up on pigmented lips. Staying power is decent as well with the liner staying put for a good 3-4 hours but it does have a tendency to smudge a little because of the creamy finish.

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Overall, I think it is a decent lip liner that does what it supposed to do. I love the quality of the lip pencils and the shade is definitely a keeper. I kind of like wearing my lip liners on their own on some days and I do see myself doing the same with Choco Pop as well. Totally recommended if you are looking for a good product in a pocket friendly price range.

Book Review: The Sialkot Saga by Ashwin Sanghi

During my last visit to Cha Bar there was the usual wait to get a table so I decided to kill time by looking around the bookstore. What started as a casual “I will just look what’s new” ended up with a basket full of books. One of the first books I picked up that day was Ashin Sanghi’s Sialkot Saga. I have read 3 books written by this author before I bought Sialkot Saga and thanks to my previous experience with his writing, I was definitely looking forward to quickly pay for it, take it home and start reading it.  

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The Sialkot Saga is a mix of two stories, one that has been going on for centuries and the other which starts with the partition of India and Pakistan. The book starts with the story of Partition of India, 1947 where the last train from Pakistan has just entered Amritsar station and Railway Constable Sukhbir Singh stumbles upon a boy who has survived and just when he was about to give up the search for any other survivors, he hears another cry.

The historical portion of the story takes you back to Pataliputra where King Ashoka is dealing with his conscience post the War of Kalinga. He is now trying to create a society of Nine Men, who will guard the secret they think will ensure peace, better, healthier and longer life.

The story further moves on to the metropolitan cities of Mumbai and Kolkata where it talks about two protagonists-Arbaaz Khan and Arvind Bagadia. Over the next few pages you learn all about their lives, their childhood, what motivates them, their demons and all the big and small moves they make to move up the ladder of success.during the course of time you see that their paths cross more often than normal indication some kind of an underlying association.

The book is filled with real episodes that have happened  since 1947 and even refers to famous personalities like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Indira Gandhi etc. Some of the characters are clearly inspired by famous goons and celebrities which made the story interesting but overall it lacked the usual mysterious tone.I was expecting the usual dose of the typical Sanghi style of linking modern day-to-day functioning to a particular chapter of a historical event but in this book I just got like two pages of it. This book was more drama than mystery and even though the characters and the plot made me read the whole book, my interest level started dwindling after the first 100 or so pages. Also,I felt kind of cheated by the title if I may add because the whole thought behind it was only shared during the climax and even the climax lacked the usual charm of the author’s previous writing. 

Overall, I have to say I was left a little disappointed with this book considering the kind of expectations I had. I think the author tried to move away from his niche but wasn’t quite successful and that just resulted in an unsatisfying reading experience. I applaud the author for trying to write something different from his usual genre but I think his attempt to put a little bit of the Sanghi effect in the book really confused me as reader.

Brush Egg Makeup Brush Cleaning Tool: Review

Now that I have started reviewing brushes regularly on the blog, I quickly wanted to talk about this tool that helps me keep these my brush babies nice and clean. I got to know that there is something called as Brush Eggs ( I have no clue why they call it that) through Instagram when one of my fellow bloggers posted how easy it was to clean brushes with it. I wasn’t sure that such a tiny little thing could actually do what it claims so I decided to put it to test and quickly ordered one from TMart.

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Price: Varies depending on where you buy it from.

So the Brush Egg is an oval shaped silicon product that has a flat base with groves and an oval end open at one side for you to insert your fingers to keep the brush egg in place. It’s basically like an egg cut in half and I guess the creators agreed with my example for the shape and hence the name. The brush eggs are usually pretty small and the ones I have seen online are either of the size of my palm or even smaller. The one I own was the biggest size TMart have and is enough to wash even the huge face brushes I own.

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The grooves on the flat surface of the egg help to clean out all the makeup that has accumulated on the brush. The knob like grooves are supposed to help create lather but I did not really see them doing anything to foam up the products I use to clean my brushes. Having said that, they do come pretty handy when I try to clean the smaller brushes.

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So the way I use the brush egg is that I soak my brushes and after a few minutes, I just swirl the ends and sides of the bristles gently all over the grooves for a good 2-3 minutes and then rinse them as usual. I do need to repeat this process for the thicker brushes, especially the kabukis to get all the makeup out.

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As I mentioned before, I wasn’t really sure how effective this tiny thing would be when I saw online but it since I have used it, I know why people rave about it. I usually used my palms to clean the brushes before I bought the brush egg so it took me a good 10 minutes or so to get all the product out of the dense ones and don’t even get started about the effort that went into cleaning my foundation brushes but with the brush egg though, it takes less than five minutes to clean even the densest( if that is even a word :P) brush I own.

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 All in all, I agree that a brush egg is definitely a very pocket friendly and efficient way to clean up your brushes. The best part is that they are totally affordable and you don’t need to use any specific brush cleansers with these, in fact it doesn’t help in reducing the amount of product you need to clean the brushes as the grooves assist the product in deep cleansing of the bristles. I used to dread washing my brushes but this tiny little toy has helped alot in getting me motivated to clean up my brushes more regularly. I bought my brush egg from TMart as I was already placing an order with them but you can find them on Ebay or even Amazon.

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil in Iced Mocha 617: Review & Swatches

I am so happy that NYX is finally available in India and I can’t wait to do a huge haul from them. Till the time I visit their store and do some damage to my wallet, I am going to take you through some of the products I bought a few months back from Thailand….yup…still going trying to review everything I bought almost a year ago **facepalm**. Anyhow, the product I am going to talk about today is the NYX Jumbo Pencil in the shade Iced Mocha(617).

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Price: Rs 550 for 5 gms.

The NYX Jumbo Eye Pencils are these chubby pencil with a white body and transparent plastic cap. The packaging is nothing special and the cap is a little flimsy so I do make sure I am careful when I am travelling with it. I like the transparent cap though because without it you can’t really differentiate between the shades thanks to the standardized packaging. Also, these need to be sharpened after a while so if you are travelling with them, make sure you carry a sharpener  meant for chubby pencils.

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If you are aware about the Jumbo Eye Pencil range, you know you are spoiled for choice when it comes to shade selection. I already own a beautiful bronze shade from this range ( reviewed here ) but this time I wanted to try a shade on the cooler side and well Shade no. 617 or Iced Mocha seemed to be the perfect fit…i mean what can be more cooler than ice :P. Jokes apart, Iced Mocha is this gorgeous taupe with a very light green undertone. It doesn’t pop up as much as I would have liked on my skin tone and looked more pale golden then taupe but on lighter indian skin tones, this looks the perfect combination of brown, grey and gold.

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One of the biggest reasons that I love these jumbo pencils is their texture. These pencils are super soft and so creamy that they apply like a dream. Blending the product is a piece of cake thanks to the texture and there is absolutely no tugging or pulling involved. Having said that the color does have a tendency to fade incase you blend it too much so you have to be a little careful and not go overboard, especially when it comes to the softer shades like Iced Mocha.

The website tells you that these jumbo pencils can be used as liners as well but I don’t see how because well they are jumbo and the moment I try to use them as liner, I have a thick layer of eye shadow on my lids. I do use them sometimes to line my water line but I haven’t been able to use them as a liner on eye lids till date.

Apart from wearing them as eyeshadows, you can obviously wear them as a base for your powder or glitter eye shadows. For someone like me who has super oily lids and struggles with keeping their eye shadow in place, these work as an amazing base. When I wear them under my eye shadow, they obviously last longer and it particularly makes my life easy with glitter based products because there are minimum fall outs.

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These jumbo pencils do not disappoint you when it comes to pigmentation and I get a beautiful wash of color on my lids in a single swipe. The only issue is that due to the creamy texture, the eye shadows do have a tendency to crease particularly on oily eyelids so a little bit of primer and a dash of setting powder helps the shade last longer. Staying power is not great if you use the pencil as on its own lasts, it for around 2-3 hours post which it starts creasing but if I wear it with a primer then I am sorted for a good 5-6 hours without any creasing, smudging, budging or fading.

All in all, I am pretty happy with the new addition to the mini NYX Jumbo family I have in my vanity. The quality of these jumbo pencils along with the huge shade selection is definitely the USP of this range and now that we have NYX here, I am looking forward to expanding my collection. These pencils give you true value for money, work as eyeshadows, base and even some of them as waterline liner so I don’t see any reason for not picking them up.

Book Review: The Speaking Ghost Of Rajpur by Priyonkar Dasgupta

I have some very fond memories associated with my summer vacations while I was in school and to be honest I can give anything to go back to those two months filled with lazy days, games with friends, visit to the grandma’s house and all the silly adventures with the cousins. The recent book in my mailbox, The Speaking Ghost Of Rajpur by Priyonkar Dasgupta took me down the memory lane with this cute cover and I definitely got really excited to read about all the summer adventures the blurb promised.

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The book is all about Shoumo and Shoumik who are brothers and their trip to their Cousin Joy’s place in Rajpur during their summer vacations. The boys spend their time reading, playing games at the nearest arcade, cycling to nearby towns while chasing mysteries and rumors that range from dating girls to facing ghosts.

The theme of the book was captured so well with the cover and I absolutely adore the illustration on the cover as well as inside the book. It definitely reminded me of books and comics I used to read as kids.

The plot is interesting, language pretty straightforward and the narration has a nice flow to it. The author transports you to the small town of Rajpur and the little details of the boy’s life with her writing. Character development is the highlight of the book and you absolutely fall in love with little Shoumo. The ending was definitely the high point of the story and everything just merged together seamlessly.The only  thing I did not like about the book is that it is a bit too descriptive at certain places which affects the pace of the story.

I am not going to divulge much details about the story but all I will say is that it a really well written, the story is quite interesting and the narration is brilliant. it took right back to the 90s and the little joys of childhood.  If you find yourself thinking of the good old days – not so old, just the nineties then this is a must pick.

Vega Face Pack Brush: Review

A few days back I went to an impromptu outing to a fancy party and even though my friend had everything I needed to change my look from day to night, I struggled. I struggled because I am so used to using brushes that it took me a while to go to doing my makeup with my fingers which  is kind of weird as I switched to brushes after the longest time but now I have used brushes even for stuff like applying face pack. Coming to facepack, well I used to apply face packs with fingers which was definitely pretty messy so when I saw this facepack brush from Vega and took a glance at the price, I picked it up without thinking twice.

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Price: Rs 120

The Vega Face Pack Brush has  white wooden handle, black ferrule and cream bristles. The brush has a flat surface with densely packed bristles. The bristles are thick and look rough but they feel pretty soft on the skin and do not irritate the skin even a bit.

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The shape and density of the brush pick up sufficient quantity of product and applying the pack to various parts of the face is pretty easy. I like how the brushes are light in color so I can see exactly how much product I have picked up. The flat structures helps in an even application even to areas like the corners of the nose or around the eyes.

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I was a little afraid that the bristles might get stained by the brushes because they are so light in color but they clean up pretty well. I clean it using baby shampoo like I do with my makeup brushes and I do take my time with it because the brushes are dense so you have to make sure that there is no product stuck in the middle.

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I am pretty happy with the brush. It hasn’t shed a hair , retained its shape, application of my face packs is so easy with this brush and my nails are particularly thankful. The bristles are soft, their quality great, there has been no shedding and it is so affordable so basically I have zero complains.

Tap-Your-Beer @ Smoke On Water, Connaught Place

A few days back I was having this conversation with a friend that how Connaught Place or CP as it popularly known as was such a hub when it came to outings when we were kids. It did end up loosing its charm a few years back but after the recent renovation and a host of new restaurants opening up there, CP is slowly getting back to the top my “I want to spend my Friday night here” list.  One such Friday night was spent on attending the media launch of Smoke on Water, the first tap-your-beer Gastro-pub.

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As soon as you enter the place through a quite a huge and interesting looking door, you are greeted with a mix of grungy and rustic interior with brick walls, exposed ducts, wooden tables with a beer tap on them, multiple screens and amazing music. The have two floors to themselves and the place is pretty spacious.

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The USP of this place is their unique tap-your-beer system that allows guests to pay according to how much they drink rather than paying for the whole pint or glass and brands like Hoegaarden, Bira, Stella and Fosters to choose from.

Apart from the beer, Smoke On Water has quite a quirky cocktail menu. We started with the desi cocktails that came in pauwa bottles which were placed inside a fish bowl with liquid nitrozen placed in it. I am a big believer in you eat with your eyes first so the place definitely got some brownie points for surprising us with these cute desi daru bottles with colorful cocktails, surrounded by smoke. Totally recommend trying the Kaala Jamun one which was best of the lot.

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Next on our servers recommendation, we moved to one of my favorite drinks – the Long Island Ice Teas. They have a couple of versions of the original LIIT but the one that caught our attention was a mix of LIIT with red wine and a super cheesy name ‘Love is in the air’. This is definitely one of the best drinks on the menu and I would urge you not to skip it if you visit the bar. We also tried the Kiwi Cucumber Mojito, Pomme Basil Sangria and the Thai Mojito all of which turned out to pretty refreshing particularly the Kiwi Cucumber Mojito which was called in for another round.

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Drinks obviously go hand in hand with finger food and I guess Smoke on Water agrees because they have 16 varieties of chicken wings to pair up with your favorite beer or cocktail. Out of the ones we tried, some of our favorites were the peanut butter wings, parmesan garlic, mango and peri-peri. The wings are served with a generous serving of tartare sauce which turned to be the perfect combination with most of the flavors of the wings.

On the food front, we also tried crispy baby corn, onion rings, grilled polenta with feta cheese, nachos, chicken meatballs and a really flavorful chicken pizza. The meatballs with melt in the mouth texture in addition to the super moist chicken stole the show along with the pizza that had this perfect thin and crispy base with well seasoned toppings.

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The whole ambiance of the place is pretty party-centric with screens all over the place and rock music playing so loud that you can barely hear what the other person is saying but the food and drinks make it worth a visit. I love the tap your beer concept and their finger food menu is definitely something to try especially the chicken wings. I was pretty sad that I was so stuffed with all the food I had that I couldn’t try their burgers but then again,it gives me the perfect excuse to visit them again.

Picture Credits: Urshita Saini, New Delhi Studio

MUA F6 Blusher & Contouring Brush: Review

As most  of you liked the brush review, I am back with another affordable brand that I recently tried for makeup brushes. Makeup Academy UK or MUA is one brand I can’t enough of. They are the perfect example of a brand making stuff that can give any high-end brand a run for its money without making a big hole in your pocket. I have reviewed a couple of other products from my MUA haul and the next is line is the MUA F6 Blusher & Contouring Brush.

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Price: £3 on the MUA Website

MUA F6 Blusher & Contouring Brush is completely black with a black wooden body, black ferrule and black bristles. The brush has an angled shaped with bristles packed tightly and it also comes with a plastic casing to protect it.

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The bristles are synthetic in production so they are obviously cruelty free and pretty soft, silky and flexible. The density of the bristle is pretty decent though it might prove to be inadequate if you are trying to apply or blend blushes but work well for contouring. The bristles pick up appropriate amount of product and do not feel harsh on the skin.

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The way to work with the brush is to apply product using it in an upward sweeping motion. I love the brush for contouring because it gives me alot of precision due to its angular shape and it is pretty much the perfect brush to contour tricky areas like the sides of my nose. The size of the brush gives you a good grip and the brush hasn’t shed a single hair in the past 8 months I have used it for.

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The best part about the brush is that they are so easy to clean and they dry so fast which came to me as a surprise considering the density.  The product had no synthetic smell even when it came and it did not lose its shape or density even after multiple washes.

All in all, the brush turned out to be pretty good investment and the perfect addition to my brush kit. I love the quality and how easy it is to use it for contouring. I was not sure how long the brush would last considering it is a synthetic brush and the price it retails at, but to my surprise it survived all these months and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

Maybelline Color Sensational Velvet Matte Lipstick in MAT4: Review, Swatches and FOTD

Maybelline is one brand I can shamelessly say I am addicted to. Case in point, I have been posting daily for the past 10 days (FYI….new found respect for bloggers who post daily :p) and out of the 10 posts, Maybelline has been featured 4 times including today and I still have few Maybelline product reviews coming your way in the next few days. Anyways, if you have been a regular reader you know my never ending love for lip products so when Maybelline came out with the Color Sensational Velvet Matte Lipsticks….I promptly went to my nearby drugstore, swatched the shades and picked a few up. But as always, I wore it a few times and then it went into the sea of lipsticks I have in my vanity until a few days back when I was looking for a brighter shade to perk up my look and stumbled upon MAT4. After my self-scolding and multiple facepalm sessions for not putting up a review on this product, I finally decided to not waste anymore time and tell you all about it.

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Price: Rs 475 for 5 ml.

The Maybelline Color Sensational Velvet Matte Lipsticks come in a square tube packaging  with a glass body and a black cap that has the applicator attached to it. I like the simple packaging and that the bottom is transparent because I can see the shade. The applicator is a leaf-shaped sponge one and definitely proves to be helpful when you are trying to apply product to the corner of your lips or the cupids bow. The cap stays in place so no fuss about a mess if you are travelling with it.

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The texture of these velvet matte lipsticks is what can be described as a creamy gel. I wasn’t expecting them to be this creamy but they are so they glide on your lips without any tugging or pulling and keep your lips pretty moisturised. I do not use a lip balm directly under this because the texture is soo creamy that lip balm just makes it slippery so I use a tissue to remove the excess lip balm once I have moisturised my lips and the product over it.

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Lets talk about the finish. Ok so when I swatched them I though ya they are creamy but they will settle down to matte finish because that is what the name tells you. But this is what the name does not tell you- One…it is not a lipstick and two…it is definitely not matte. I would describe these as lip creams rather than lipsticks and the finish is more glossy. The glossiness does wear out with time but it doesn’t settle down to a matte finish so yes Maybelline definitely needs to get the name matched up with the finish.

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Having said all that about the texture and the finish, I still love the product. I know it is not matte but it is one of the most comfortable lip creams I have with me. I love how light it feels on my lips and the glossy finish is not the disco ball glossy finish, rather it gives your lips the natural kind of plump look. I am not into lip glosses so never ventured into the lipgloss over lipstick trick but this gives me the same effect.

Application as I mentioned is a piece of cake and with the applicator, getting those edges right is no big deal. It slides on your lips and you can easily layer it without making it look patchy or uneven, The product takes a little time to settle but doesn’t bleed or feather.

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Even though Maybelline messed up getting the name of the finish right, they definitely knew what they were talking about when they described the shade MAT 4 or Vibrant Coral. This shade is a pretty coral pink with a bit of a blueish undertone. it is not the usual orange coral you see but more like a pink based coral.  The best thing about the shade is that most shades that are cooled toned don’t work that well with the Indian skin tone but MAT 4 is pretty wearable.

The shades vary in pigmentation and the darker shades are more pigmented but this product has a decent coverage overall. MAT 4 is one of the lighter shades in the range and I get a nice swipe of color on my lips after two coats. Staying power is around 3-4 hours and less if you have meals or a tea-addict like me because it transfers alot. It does leave a little bit of tint behind and fades evenly so you always have a little bit of color on your lips.

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Overall, I am happy with the product. I wasn’t expecting the texture to be this creamy but I like it even though it’s not matte. I am particularly in love with the shade and it just brightens up my face the moment I wear it. The quality is great so if you are looking for a good lip cream then this is a great option but if you want something matte, you need to look elsewhere.

Plum Angel Eyes Kohl Kajal: Review and Swatch

After having tried a couple of skin care products from Plum, I decided to move to makeup. As I am an out an out kajal girl, ordering the Plum Angel Eyes Kohl Kajal was not a difficult choice to make. I have been trying it for a few weeks now so it is time to talk about it on the blog.

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Price: Rs 425 for 1.15 gms.

The Plum Angel Eyes Kohl Kajal comes in a white colored pencil and plastic cap. It is supposed to come with a sharpener but somehow Nykaa failed to send that to me. I would have liked the packaging more if it had been a roll up pencil because carrying sharpener around or sharpening the pencil after every use does waste a lot of product.

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The first thing you notice about the kajal as soon as you apply it how smooth and creamy the texture is. It just glides on your waterline and eyelids without any hassle. It’s a little low on pigmentation so you need to swipe it a couple of time to get those rich kohl rimmed eyes.

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Staying power is not that great because the kajal stays on for about 3-4 hours on my eyes and  then starts smudging. I am soo grateful it doesn’t bleed to create those panda eyes effect which is a total nightmare but it does smudge alot and you have to make sure you d a little touch up after a few hours of wearing it. The staying power gets even lower if you have oily lids and try to wear this as a liner. I have super oily lids and it completely washed away the product in like 2 hours which was pretty disappointing.Also, it transfers and forms an outline of sorts on the upper part of my eyelids as well which is something I really dislike. Removal is obviously pretty easy and it comes off in just a couple of swipes of a makeup remover cream or oil.

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All in all, I would say I am rather disappointed with this kajal. I love my kohls and nothing is worse for me then  a smudged  liner…I am not even exaggerating when I say I can legit cry over it and this kajal made me cry more than once. I am still able to use it on my waterline by setting it using an eyeshadow or smudging it a little but it definitely doesn’t work on my oily eyelids. I personally prefer kajals that are fuss free and I just like it quickly put a nice layer of kajal to make myself look a little more presentable when I do not have too much time in the morning but this kajal needs a little bit of work. Overall, it was fail for me and I am going back to my trusted liners so wouldn’t recommend this one to you.