It's funny how fads work; I've never found myself interested in or attracted to the Guerlain loose kohl eyeliners (perhaps because it seems like they've "just always been there"?), but when L'Oreal comes out with a cheaper version, I go crazy over it and can't get enough. My little sister laughed at me about it when we went shopping last night: I told her I wanted them, she asked me, "why don't you get some, then?" ... and I had to explain that I already had a few of each.
And yet I still find myself wanting to take new ones home.
Without further ado:
For each of the six colors, I've drawn a rectangle of color and a thin line of color in order to ensure easy differentiation between the shades and to show how the kohls can be used.
So, what do I think of the kohls? I can't say enough positive things about them. From what I have read, the most common complaints about the L'Oreal H.I.P. kohls are problems with fallout and eye irritation; read on for my thoughts on these issues.
I have occasionally had trouble with getting fallout in my eye (which is especially problematic for contact lens wearers like myself), but have played with the kohls enough now to figure out how I can avoid this problem. I start by applying Urban Decay's Primer Potion (which will henceforth be referred to as UDPP) directly on my waterline using either a finger or a synthetic concealer brush. I then open the kohl and pull the wand out most of the way, such that the applicator on the end is hovering inside the clear plastic stopper on the tube. After jostling it around a little inside that space to knock off most of the excess, I scrape it gently along the sides of the stopper to remove any remaining excess. (There will always be more than enough left on the wand for proper application, so don't worry about "scraping it all off.") I then apply it to my waterline using a soft "tapping" motion (rather than a "dragging" motion, as one might with an eyeliner pencil). I've had no problems with fallout in my eyes after applying the kohls in this manner. I have had problems two or three times with fallout below my lower lash line, but this is easily fixable with a cosmetic wipe. Just in case, though, I wait to apply my undereye concealer until I've finished applying the kohl liner.
I haven't had any problems with eye irritation with the exception of the times I have gotten fallout in my eye, but it seems to me that this is a preventable problem, so don't dismiss these gems right off the bat just because you've heard this. I have sensitive eyes myself (so much so that I have to wear daily disposable contact lenses because the two-week ones hurt my eyes after a few days' worth of buildup, even with regular cleanings), and I've managed to make them work for me just fine.
As for the staying power and color selection: I've tested them all out now, and all six seem to be decently shimmery (but not sparkly or over the top) and long-lasting, though the brown in particular tends to migrate from my waterline to my lash line instead of staying put. On my deep blue eyes, I think I like the teal best because of the fun "pop" of color it creates, but I truly love them all almost equally (except the pesky brown one - I do like it, but it doesn't get quite as much love from me as the other five). My best friend borrowed my burgundy kohl for New Year's Eve, and it looked especially incredible against her brown eyes.
The one true downside to the L'Oreal H.I.P. kohls is their frequent lack of a protective/sanitary seal. I watched an employee unpack these from a sealed shipment box in one store and saw for myself that the ones I purchased came without seals; however, I have heard reports that some shoppers have found their kohls sealed, so I'm at a loss as to what L'Oreal is thinking here.
I have spotted these myself at Walgreens, Target, and Fred Meyer, and I believe others have spotted them at other drugstores as well. Price will vary depending on location, but the MSRP for these is $11.99 each, and so far the retailers seem to be sticking to that. Remember, though, that there are often BOGO sales or BOGO50%, which makes these even more affordable if you're willing to wait for it.
Update 3/5/09: I have added a picture comparing the H.I.P. Teal and Navy kohls with the Bleu (yes, it really is spelled that way) Guerlain kohl for your viewing pleasure:
While the line of H.I.P. kohls is fabulous in its own right, I maintain that it does not contain a dupe for the Guerlain Bleu kohl.
H.I.P. Kohl Eyeliners: Teal, Navy, Black, Gold, Burgundy, Brown
Terracotta Loose Powder Kohl: Bleu