Back To Black

1960s eye flicks addict Lauren Oakey lived and breathed Babydoll black. Now it’s gone, whatever will replace it?

The thing about discontinued products is that I’m usually the one nodding along to someone else’s tale of woe, the disappointment dripping from their voice as they complain that their face won’t look right again without the blusher they’ve used since they were 17, or they have a good mind to boycott a brand for daring to get rid of the lipstick they got married in.

I’ve listened to loads and sympathised, made soothing noises and said “Oh what a pain”, willing the person back from the brink of tears. “But there’s so much makeup!” I’d think as I helped to scour eBay for an unused Aerin bronzer, or given a bottle of Chanel Pro Lumière an expert sniff to ensure it was still fit for purpose.

You never think it’ll happen to you. Until obviously and inevitably, it does. YSL Babydoll liquid liner was so my jam – evenly soaked fine brush hairs for the sharpest flicks in a deep, dense unmovable black. It dried immediately, leaving no time for it to leak into tear ducts or appear as a mad slash of black half an inch too high up my eye. It made my eye look exactly how I wanted it and buoyed my confidence like a faithful pal. It was perfect.

I did a weird sort of dance around the YSL counter in Brighton when I went to buy a new one recently. I headed to the display it’s usually on, ready to grab it and make the sales assistant’s life easy. But nothing, not even a cavity where it once sat on counter. I bobbed awkwardly over to the other display, fear starting to creep in. NOT THERE EITHER. By the time the sales assistant arrived I had broken into a cold sweat, eyes darting everywhere, willing it to appear and for it all turn out to be a big, elaborate joke. The assistant looked like I badly needed a hug (SHE WAS CORRECT) and allowed me to help her rummage through a sea of gold boxes in a drawer. I was handed its sponge-nibbed replacement and while fearing the worst, I tried to love it as much, but it was like ordering an espresso martini and getting cold decaf Kenco.

So, after a wallow, I set about finding a new liner love; something that will transform my morning look from ‘recently woken newborn mouse’ to ‘don’t worry, everything is OK now. Ronnie Spector’s in the house’. I needed it to be a solid part of my day in an increasingly confusing world. 

Some gained high marks in colour, but not in staying power. Some were dragged across my eye like a tantrum-y child leaving a shop, leaving jagged ink in its wake as though I’d applied it on a trampoline. I thought my eyes were done for.

But, enter RMK’s Ingenious Liquid Eyeliner, £16.50, Its chunkiness felt wrong in my hand and I felt the same sort of guilt as when I’m stroking someone else’s dog. But it went on brilliantly, holding enough liquid in its brush to glide effortlessly across my eye but stayed tapered enough at the end to kick it up into a neat flick. I also discovered another belter in Dior’s ultra black and sexy It Line Eyeliner, £26.50, which stays on your eyelid like my nan at the front room window, waving off relatives. I can only describe them as having the exact same consistency as the perfect gravy. I’ve worn these guys on rotation for weeks and they’ve given me no trouble. 2017 might have been saved after all.

So now whenever someone starts to get sad at me about their forever lost mascara, instead of inwardly tutting and wondering what all the fuss is all about, I’ll look them in the eye for probably longer than is comfortable, and say “I know, mate. I know”.

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