Review: TONYMOLY Backstage Gel Eyeliner (black) | Hello Pretty Bird! - A beauty and not-so-glamorous lifestyle blog

15 April, 2014

Review: TONYMOLY Backstage Gel Eyeliner (black)

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I have a confession to make: I own a gazillion eyeliners, but 90% of the time I just use the same one (Wet n Wild black Megaliner, in case anyone's curious). My favorite eyeliner has remained as such for a long time because it's cheap and very pigmented, but there is one little problem - it's not waterproof. Not a big deal for everyday wear, but I'm still searching for an awesome waterproof black eyeliner to wear whilst scuba diving. (Or going out in the rain. You guess which scenario is more accurate.)

I read some good reviews of TonyMoly Backstage Gel liner around Ye Olde Internette, so I decided to give the black one try and test it's scubabilities. Will it survive a deep sea dive (in my kitchen sink)? Keep reading to find out...

First things first, a little background: TonyMoly is an inexpensive Korean brand. I believe that they have a few shops in North America, but chances are you're going to end up ordering this product off the internet if you decide you want it. I got mine off eBay for about $7 - you can also get it from the Urban Outfitters website for $14.

That long black thing sticking out of the cap is a brush. The built-in brush makes this much more convenient for travel, but I have sort of mixed feelings about it.

On one hand it's not completely awful (sometimes the applicators included with inexpensive cosmetics are ridiculous and eye-stabby) - this one is actually pretty soft and comfortable to use. It's stiff enough to make nice, solid lines, but not so stiff that you feel like you're scraping all the skin off your eyelid. I like that. But personally I found it a bit too wide to make really thin and precise lines. There may be a bit of a learning curve because I'm more used to using a very thin and floppy brush to apply liquid liner, so I could be wrong. But anyway, here's what it looked like when I used it on my eye:

Not so bad if you're going for a thicker line, actually. But I think I'd bust out a different brush for more subtle, precise looks.

Brushes shmushes, let's talk about the actual product. Ooh, shiny:

If you've ever used a gel liner before, then you're probably familiar with the texture - it's semi-solid, but creamy once you dig into it with an applicator and start spreading it around. I found this one to apply very smoothly and consistently - no skipping or dragging. Hand swatch:

It's black. And consistent. That's why I look for in my eyeliner, so yay. But is it waterproof? Let's find out! Here's what happened when I ran my hand under the sink for about 30 seconds:

No discernible change. Good work, TonyMoly Backstage Gel liner. But now I find myself wondering if it's also smudgeproof... here's what happened when I ran my finger over the swatch repeatedly:

OK, so it's not totally smudgeproof. But it held it's ground pretty well considering how vigorous I was being with my strokes. Lesson: Don't rub your eyes while you're wearing this!

I've worn this a few times now, and I find that it fades a little bit by the end of the day, but for the most part it remains intact. I also didn't experience any weird smudges/flakes or "panda eyes" from normal wear. Bear in mind that my eyelids are not especially oily, so I don't know how this would fare on oilier skin. Because of its water-resistent nature you will likely have trouble getting this off with regular washing, but when I used my normal makeup remover (Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover) it come off easily and without incident.

Bottom line:
I think TonyMoly Backstage Gel Liner has an excellent formula and it's something I will definitely incorporate into my regular makeup routine from now on. The included brush is handy and actually pretty decent, but for finer lines you'll probably want to use a different applicator.

Where to buy:
As I said above, you can get this off the Urban Outfitters site for $14. But if you want a better deal, head over to eBay - I got mine from cosmeticmarket2012 for a mere $7.33 shipped. I've ordered from that seller several times and they seem to be reputable, plus they always include samples with your order, so I'd recommend them. FYI, this eyeliner comes in several shades, so make sure to double-check which one you're ordering if you're doing the eBay thing!

What do you think of TonyMoly Backstage Gel Eyeliner? What's your favorite waterproof eyeliner?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, check out my full disclosure policy.


  1. This a great rich black. The brush scares me but you you did an amazing job if you applied and winged your liner with it. I will let you know if I have any luck with my winged liner.

  2. Reminds me of a LORAC Pro Cream eyeliner I have, though the pot shape is a little different. The quest to find the perfect waterproof eyeliner is neverending. Best of luck in your epic quest.

  3. Would you recommend the LORAC liner? I haven't used tons of gel/cream liners because I'm more into liquids. Mmm, liquids.

  4. They retail for about $19.00, although I got mine on sale. I would recommend the formula; it's super smooth, creamy and long lasting, but the brush built into the cap (same as the TonyMolly) is rubbish.

  5. $19 isn't too bad. Though I'm liking that my new friend TonyMoly is under $10. That makes my wallet sing.

  6. I've heard so many good things about this product and I think you just sold it to me LOL.

  7. Haha yes, glad to enable! I'll be curious to see if you like the brush or not. Seems like people have mixed opinions about it.

  8. This looks lovely, it seems to be really pigmented too :) xx

  9. It truly is! Worth a try if you're ever looking for a new gel liner. :)

  10. I had no idea Urban Outfitters had TonyMoly online! I've been wanting to try some Asian brands, but ebay for makeup makes me nervous. I love how dark black this liner is! Thanks for telling us! xoxo Lauren

  11. Yes! They actually carry stuff from a bunch of Korean brands on the website - TonyMoly (obviously), Skin Food, 3 Concept Eyes, and maybe some others. The prices are a bit higher than ordering off eBay, but of course then you don't have to deal with long shipment times or the possibility of counterfeit items...

  12. for some reason, when I first bought this eyeliner it was very smooth and great to use but overtime it started to smudge on me...
    anyway, great post!

  13. Hmm that's strange. I'll definitely pay attention and see if it starts behaving oddly as time goes by!

  14. I recently bought this eyeliner from Urban Outfitter because they had a 20% beauty item sale. I wore it the other day and sadly, it smear on me within a couple of hours. I heard ton of great reviews! Maybe I'll give it another shot?

  15. I find that this only smudges a little bit on me, but my eyelids aren't oily. I could see it being more smudge-y if you have oily eyelids though. Maybe it's worth another try? I hope it works out for you!