Monday, August 22, 2011

Cheap Thrill #2: Fanny Serrano's gel eyeliner in 'Black'

Ever since the advent of gel eyeliners 5 or 6 years ago, many other brands have jumped on the bandwagon. But unlike its lofty predecessors (MAC’s fluidline, which I have recently reviewed, and Bobbi Brown’s Long Wear gel eyeliners come to mind), many of the ‘me too’ versions lacked the stellar qualities of its progenitors. They either dried up too quickly, or dried too slowly (or simply did not set at all), or dragged upon application, or flaked incessantly during the day.  

Fanny Serrano (FS) is a local makeup artist who has recently started his namesake brand of cosmetics. His line was the first in the local market to offer gel eyeliners, circa 2009. Back then, they only offered it in one color: black. I purchased one in the hopes that it would be a good and inexpensive alternative to MAC’s ‘Blacktrack’ gel liner. I remember the first time the sales associate (SA) opened the small pot to show me what’s inside. I was too excited to notice that the consistency was different; it was waxy. In fact, the tester they had on hand had been stirred in with baby oil. (To illustrate further, imagine a small jar of peanut butter that has been stirred so that the oils would spread throughout the product.)

Using the MAC fluidlines as a point of comparison, I noticed that the FS gel liner’s consistency was different. It also did not have the fluid glide and the black crisp line that I have come to expect. But it was workable, so I kept using it. A week after, though, I noticed that the product had started to harden. And it was getting harder and harder to use the product. The SA advised me to stir in some baby oil to soften the product. It worked but it ruined the appearance of the gel liner. =(  I also needed to constantly stir in oil every time the product hardens again.
Look at that. That's what happened when I stirred in baby oil. By the time I took this picture, the product has re-hardened. 
Here's another shot. I'm not picky with appearances and packaging, but the constant need to stir in baby oil was a turn off back then.

To cut the story short, I stopped using the FS gel liner. I had the ‘Blacktrack’ anyway and it would be an utter waste if I prioritized the FS gel liner over it.

Fast forward to last week - I was at a local mall (Landmark, Trinoma) doing some shopping errands for my Mom when I found myself in the hallowed halls of the health and beauty department. On a whim, I decided to look again at the FS gel liner. (I sincerely believe that it had called out to me, begging for another chance! =P) And this time around, I saw that Fanny Serrano (or at least the cosmetic chemists he works with) had gotten it right.

It still came in the same old glass pot but the product it contains is now in league with my much loved MAC Fluidlines. It now has the same gel crème consistency, the same smooth and fluid application that does not skip a beat, the same intensity as ‘Blacktrack’, and the same (if almost better I might say) lasting power. And just like the fluidlines, I need an oil or silicone based makeup remover to remove every trace of it.

See the gel-creme consistency in this new version? It's a far cry from its wax-based predecessor. Bid 'adieu' to baby oil!

Size and consistency comparison with a MAC Fluidline (in Waveline, a deep blue shade). Of course, FS on the left, MAC on the right. The MAC is 2++ years older than FS, so the consistency has changed a bit.

Another shot. You can see that FS is almost double the size of MAC. I hope it maintains its creaminess for many more years to come.

The only difference I could notice is that the new FS gel liner takes a little bit more time to set. With the MAC Fluidlines, I have only a few seconds to half a minute to correct smudges before it sets. This one may take a minute to 2 minutes to finally dry down. But that is a minor quibble compared to all its positive traits.

Unlike the old version which was composed mainly of microcrystalline wax, the new version is silicone based.
Ingredients for the old and new gel liners differ drastically. You can click on this pic to enlarge and see more about the ingredients.

Texture and size comparison. Size, the same; texture; big difference.

Why did I label this as a cheap thrill? Well, it comes in a whopping 5 gram size for a mere PhP 225.00. Plus, I was lucky to get an additional 10% discount bringing the price down to PhP 202.50. If you calculate the price per gram, it boils down to a mere PhP 40.50/gram. Now that is really cheap.

Have I told you yet that this is a really good buy? =)

This was a timely purchase as my ‘Blacktrack’ is in its old age and is nearing retirement. I do plan to alternately use both as I do not want to completely discard ‘Blacktrack’ just yet. Here are some pictures of the product applied on my eyes:

See the intense black line and how it contrasts nicely with my eye color?

Here's another shot of me looking down.
Last picture. The product used for tightlining and regular upper lash lining.

This now comes in another color: a true brown shade. I’m still pondering if I need this color for my lower lash line. But for now, the ‘Black’ version more than makes me happy.

‘Til my next post ladies!

P.S. I pray that Fanny soon adds other color options to his gel eyeliners. A shimmery violet would be just wonderful. Or even a dark cobalt blue and a true dark brown. He could even throw in one speckled with shimmer just like the Japanese brand Kate’s version or a blackened red (now this would be really something). =)


  1. hi! thanx for reviewing this product..i just bought elf creme liner and am not very happy with it..will definitely try this one!:) btw, love reading ur reviews sis, very detailed..:)

  2. Awesome review. I'm currently using the ELF cream eyeliner and it recently shrunk, I've had it for almost a year now. I revive it either by adding baby oil or Eyemo. :D once I finish this, I'm planning to buy the maybelline lasting gel liner.

    and thanks for being a follower of my blog, you don't know how much it means to me. I sincerely thank you. :D

  3. @ joan - Hi! I have E.L.F. cream liner, too (the brown one). And I feel the same way as you do. It's so good to know that I'm not the only one who feels the same way about it. =( Thank you for dropping by and come back soon!

    @ Hollie - Hi there! Aw, thanks. I'm still very much a newbie. I really appreciate you dropping by and leaving a comment. =) I haven't used Eyemo just yet to revive my ELF liner. Thanks for giving me this tip!

  4. I went to a Fanny Seranno stall in Watsons Sm Sta. Mesa but I have not found this baby. :( Too bad because I want to get one badly, any suggestion on where can I find one?

    My little new world:

  5. @My name is chien - Hey there! Thanks for dropping by. =) Sorry to hear you couldn't find it at SM Sta. Mesa. Why don't you try Trinoma's Landmark Health and Beauty Department as well as SM North Edsa's?

  6. this review is really nice. :D I currently have the Maybelline lasting gel liner, and so far I'm super contented with it. Will definitely try this one. :D

  7. Hi Roxy. Thanks for dropping by and following! I just subscribed to your blog as well. =)

    Yes, do try this one. I've been using my MAC Blacktrack gel liner less and less because of this.

  8. You should try Essence gel eye liner,a European brand, I bought mine for only P229! I'm loving it a lot. If i could only wear it everyday, every second and every moment....I would. Let's just say I am always looking forward for a reason to have to wear it. ^_^

    1. Hi Kimchi Express! :-P I love your blog name!

      Whoa! That's a good buy. Where did you buy it? I don't think I've seen any Essence brand in the malls near where I live.