Cake eyeliner is a dry, pressed (cake of) powder. To use it correctly, you dampen your eyeshadow brush and muddle it on the cake until you achieve a mixture the consistency of shoepolish. In my mind, it’s an eyeliner that’s as precise as liquid, but easier to use. And of course, you don’t have to worry about your product drying out before you use it all: The cake dries to its original state, ready for your next dampening.
You can’t really talk about cake eyeliner without mentioning Laura Mercier’s (it’s famous)… which is why the company’s reformulation of this classic product seems rather a bold move. (Click here to see the original cake eyeliners — though Emerald Green was discontinued in 2008.)
The new product is called Tightline Cake Eyeliner, and you CAN use it with water. But Laura has also introduced a new product called Tightline Activator. Once you use Activator on the cake, it becomes sealed against penetration by water. Muddle as you will, you won’t get any real pigment from the mixture (see the first swatch).
Tightline Activator is a small bottle of fluid. In terms of packaging, it looks identical to Trish McEvoy’s Finish Line; in terms of texture, LM’s Tightline Activator feels a bit oilier. I recommend applying just one drop of Tightline Activator directly to the bristles of your brush: if your mixture is too wet, the eyeliner bleeds.
The new cake liners are $22; Tightline Activator is $20 for .25 oz. (7 ml).