Benefit They're Real Push-Up Eyeliner review

Benefit They're Real Push-Up Eyeliner review, swatches, photos
I was somewhat surprised to find that Sephora ME was giving out travel-sized samples of the Benefit They're Real Push-Up Eyeliner from the Benefit counter. I had expected sachets of The Porefessional, minis of They're Real mascara or That Gal, vials of perfume, even mini kits as gifts with purchase, but not something this recent.
I am someone who does not really mind any kind of black eyeliner, as long as the fiddly thing is pigmented and black enough, if you get my drift. I'm not into pencil eyeliners except on the lower waterline, but apart from that, I am not fussy about liquid or gel eyeliners. In fact, I can even put up with wonkiness or gloopiness or thickness. Who is going to examine my eyeliner that closely?
Very few people like the Bourjois Erasable Eyeliner, whereas I do - reviewed here - and have used it in quite a few eye looks I have done. I draw the line (pun intended) at an eyeliner flaking and spreading all over the place of its own free will. But apart from those, anything from an eyeliners goes with me.  I'll take anything, although I reiterate that I do not like pencil eyeliners.

Here is my review and swatches of the Benefit They're Real Push-Up Eyeliner.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been really playing with this - note the absence of EOTD posts! I have swatched, scraped, smudged, swiped, smelled, sketched, scratched and run out of suitable verbs beginning with the letter 's'. And, my first impressions changed.

Packaging of the Benefit They're Real Push-Up Eyeliner

This is possibly my favourite thing about this eyeliner. Mind you, this is the mini size I am talking about. The external box, as you can see, is very reminiscent of They're Real mascara. I foresee confusion arising.
Benefit They're Real Push-Up Eyeliner review, swatches, photos
The inner tube is no-nonsense and non-garish. Very nice.
The applicator is where the surprise begins. It is a slanted flex-tip applicator with a little slit for the product to come through when you twist up the back-end.
Benefit They're Real Push-Up Eyeliner review, swatches, photos
The sealed product came with a little orange stopper, which you MUST keep to prevent the product from drying out.
The applicator is a lint- and dust-magnet. Look at the tips carefully. The photos below are taken on different occasions.
Benefit They're Real Push-Up Eyeliner review, swatches, photos
Benefit They're Real Push-Up Eyeliner review, swatches, photos

Formula of Benefit They're Real Push Up Eyeliner

I was showing my Mum my recent haul and her description of this formula is most apt. I am quoting my Mum verbatim here:
"The thing that comes out of this applicator is JUST [caps added by me to show emphasis] like the kajal my mother used to make at home with castor oil or pure ghee, over a lamp. She used to store it in little steel jars. My sister and I had to apply it every day until I discovered makeup, rebelled and insisted upon Max Factor." 
So. Kajal in a tube. That's what it is. With the consistency of butter, rather than "gel". My Mum thought it would go on better with a brush and she is right - what is the whole point of a proper eyeliner tube or pen if you have to faff about with a brush?
But that home-made kajal would go on the waterlines, not on the eyelids. It would need to be thinner to go on the eyelids.
The ingredients are paraben-free.
Benefit They're Real Push-Up Eyeliner review, swatches, photos
Have a dekko at the swatches. Forget the line, I have proper, on-eye swatches ahead; I want you to look at the texture here, untouched by brush or hand, directly from the tube, two times to drive it home:
Benefit They're Real Push-Up Eyeliner review, swatches, photos
Post-application, you get these stringy and blobby bits on the applicator. These need removing before you put the orange stopper back. You are running late and have to clean up an applicator tip first. Of course you will be sweet-tempered and patient as you try to get black blobs off an applicator, your fingers, dress and elsewhere!
Benefit They're Real Push-Up Eyeliner review, swatches, photos
Benefit They're Real Push-Up Eyeliner review, swatches, photos
My problem with this is that it comes out "goopy", if you know what I mean - in pills or strings. Uneven.
And, the ends of the line tend to be more blobby (sorry for using words like that but I cannot think of something more apt). Pilling, if you like. Even the SAs in Sephora were saying how uneven the texture was and promptly recommended the Benefit Magic Ink liquid eyeliner or the Bad Gal pencil.
Benefit They're Real Push-Up Eyeliner review, swatches, photos
If you have ever seen home-made kajal in little jars, you know it can only be applied with a brush or even the fingertips for evenness. Squeezing it out of a tube is going to lead to "blobs" or pills of the product coming out. A thin, angled brush, on the other hand, would do a much better job.
I do not know if this is going to improve with practice. These days, who has the time to practise using eyeliners? I would have persisted with it had I been a Regency debutante. We all lead busy lives. 
The product does not smudge easily. You can spread out the blobs and make the line thicker, which is messy if done in a hurry.
Benefit They're Real Push-Up Eyeliner review, swatches, photos
After a nice while, it "dries" enough to be be scraped out, like this:
Benefit They're Real Push-Up Eyeliner review, swatches, photos
Like... dry manure, innit?

Application, results and thoughts

I admit that I sometimes get even liquid eyeliner wonky. So yes, I definitely struggled with the uneven pills and blobs that were coming out of the applicator. If at all anyone can get this right without using a brush, it is probably those with loads of patience, really steady hands and loads of practice. Presuming I ever acquire the last one, I will still lack the first two.
Here is an on-eye swatch. Product applied on the upper eyelid alone (the thing on the lower line is Lancome Crayon Kohl). It does not look as bad as you expected from the swatches and what I said before, does it? This is from my first try. Nothing to complain about. Super-pigmented black. It needed Nuxe Micellar Water to come off. I was prepared to keep using this eyeliner and to swear it was not as bad as people were saying. But read on....
Benefit They're Real Push-Up Eyeliner review, swatches, photos
Now for the ABSOLUTE HEARTBREAK:
Benefit They're Real Push-Up Eyeliner review, swatches, photos
I ended up picking little black specks like these from my face EACH BLOODY TIME. From the restroom. During the football. In the car. A.R.G.H.!
This flaking/pilling has persisted with each use and occurs in the latter half of the day, and not immediately after application, even though the line on the eyelid does not disappear entirely. Imagine going out to watch the football after a long day and then your friends are telling you there are little black flecks on your face....
No, do not blame my mascara for the flaking. I have reviewed Lancome Hypnose Doll Eyes here and am on my second tube and have enough experience and sense to know that it never flakes. Ever.
Summary
Even if we conclude that I simply do not know how to use this thing and accept that I am only a product junkie and not a makeup expert, how do we explain the flakes, which keep recurring? Or the clumps, blobs or goop, or similar onomatopoeic words I have been amusing my niece with? No, I did not receive an old, dried-up product - I got mine from Sephora Dubai, within weeks of its launch, sealed, and have always closed it with the orange stopper thingy.
I really like how jet black this is. I must also say that despite the flecks that fall down, the line remains on my eyelids. But that is about all. I will use up this sample on shorter outings, but will definitely not repurchase, that too, for $24.
There are so many better, easier eyeliners out there - such as the Too Faced Three-Way Lash Lining Tool reviewed here, where I do not have to worry about formula or application, and I can get it right even with my non-existent skills.
Why would I waste (hard-to-find) time practising using this when other eyeliners, such as the Too Faced one, work brilliantly from the word go? I find that the most hassle-free way of applying this eyeliner is with a thin, angled brush. Why not sell it in a pot and call it kajal? After improving on the pilling, of course, or thinning out the formula for the eyelids. I would buy one for me and one for Gran!
The bottom line: If it works for you, brilliant. I would tolerate most black eyeliners, but draw the line at flaking.
Disclaimer: Customer gift from Sephora ME. Not a PR sample. My blogging activities are unknown to Sephoras anywhere.
  1. I couldn't agree more.. I wasn't a fan of the texture or the gimmicky product itself. Its goopy and dries very quickly. I found that the pen sometimes dispensed way too much product and I just couldn't work it with it to save my life. I think your mum nailed it with the description...

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  2. This doesn't look very good! I have a mini coming in my beauty subscription box his month, so I'm looking forward to trying it myself. The name doesn't make sense - 'they're real'' - what are? The black lines on my eyes??

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  3. oh my very disappointing :/ i was actually thinking if trying it, u saved my money (y)

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  4. I think marketing teams realise how terrible some products are and hence create a hype around them at their launch hoping to sell as many numbers as possible before reviews start pouring in about how the product actually is. Thanks for the honest review and pics that show the texture accurately.

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  5. MyBeautyJunctionJuly 23, 2014

    HAHAHAHA I actually had to laugh out aloud at the "black lines on my eyes" being real part. It made sense for the mascara, but definitely not for the eyeliner. Even the SAs were saying it was a flop.

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  6. I just really really don't get it! I've seen youtubers say it's amaaaazing but if they get flown to benefit events well...you'd be unlikely to say it was bad!

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  7. MyBeautyJunctionJuly 23, 2014

    Believe me, I tried to get the thing to work. I still maintain it doesn't look half bad ON my eyelids but the flakes on my cheeks are a huge put-off.

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  8. MyBeautyJunctionJuly 23, 2014

    I have read reviews where it works - why not try it in-store? It doesn't cut it for me at all :(

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  9. MyBeautyJunctionJuly 23, 2014

    I would have gritted my teeth and went on using it, but the flakes falling off were just....

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  10. Thats really bad, did you check if there was issue with this packaging/lot only. It hurts when you spend and product turns out to be crap.

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  11. MyBeautyJunctionJuly 23, 2014

    Thankfully, I did not spend on it - this was a sample from Sephora, as the first sentence in this post (and last sentence) says. And judging from other reviews and comments, this product does seem to have issues.

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  12. rashmi devJuly 23, 2014

    Fabulous pictures renu :) even m waiting for my mini to arrive .. placed order just to get this mini version for free as I was 90 percent sure this will not work for me .. so settled for smaller version ...
    really enjoyed reading ur review ... The product is much raved on some blogs n I wonder why ?

    N ur disclaimer ...

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  13. Paritashah26July 23, 2014

    I have seen a lot of reviews and most of them though are very positive but I dont think i will ever get this (if it comes for free then its diff), it definitely looks like it'll get clumped up and not be smooth

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  14. I love how honest your review was! I was skeptical at the product at the get go, especially after seeing the tip and how the product comes out (not pretty). Still amazed at how some people can rave on and on about this while the design flaw is so obvious. ^^;;

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  15. MyBeautyJunctionJuly 23, 2014

    Lol as long as you don't pay good money and it doesn't work, you won't feel bad!

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  16. MyBeautyJunctionJuly 23, 2014

    Even if you sort out the clumping and get a decent line on the eye like I did, if it dries and flakes after a long work-day, what is the point? Each time I wore it for more than five or six hours, I have had those flakes on my cheeks.

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  17. MyBeautyJunctionJuly 23, 2014

    Thank you :) I can get how it could work out better with a brush, and managed to get a fairly decent line on my eye without a brush, but with all that, I still keep getting dry flakes on my cheeks at the end of the work-day. And my cheeks are oily by then so the flakes STICK to my face. Not pretty.

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  18. Megan JohnsonJuly 23, 2014

    My In-Laws took me to Sephora for my birthday and I got this (due to all those raving reviews). . . really wish your review came out sooner :) I found the exact same problems and I'm sad to say that I hate it. I'm sticking to my felt tip liquid liner, my Eyeko never disappoints me like this did.

    Also I put my liner on last for a bold line and it didn't want to stick because of the eyeshadow, it just formed itself into a ball and fell onto my battle station. :/ Super disappointing and I don't want to tell me In-Laws how sad it makes me.

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  19. Allison @neversaydiebeautyJuly 23, 2014

    Great review. I was planning to pass on this because I assumed it would be too difficult for me to use. But the flaking is unforgivable unless you got a wonky one. I love the idea of trying a sample. I wish my local Sephora had offered me one as that's the only way I'd be convinced to buy it.

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  20. MyBeautyJunctionJuly 23, 2014

    Oh, and HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY! Hope you had a blast and great gifts apart from this one <3

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  21. MyBeautyJunctionJuly 23, 2014

    Thank you! I was surprised about the flaking, more than the application difficulties, because it was totally unexpected. Even so, for $24, an eyeliner that needs practice or special techniques is simply not worth it.

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  22. Blobs and flakes are not fun :(

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  23. What an awesome and thorough review. I'm also going to pass on this, but thank you for taking one for the team and reviewing it. :)

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  24. Oh man! Kaajal is totally NOT supposed to flake - this totally did remind me of homemade kaajal, as well! <3 Glad that someone can relate! :)

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  25. Poo@beautyandmakeupmattersJuly 23, 2014

    thats terrible and a total waste of money.. I was loving the name and the unique packaging for a line as was expecting it to behave 100 times better than it turned out to be.. real mess it is.. thanks for ur honest review renu.. those bloody black specks are horrible how can anybody manage with this liner.. arrggghhh.... :P :-X

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  26. Chic and AlluringJuly 23, 2014

    Trust me, you are not the first person who got a crumbly eyeliner from this range. I've read so many similar reviews from other bloggers. :-(

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  27. Greta BrinkleyJuly 24, 2014

    That just looks like a hassle! Thanks for being so honest.

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  28. Hmm, maybe I'm in the minority here but I love it! I've been using it for about a few weeks before it's launch (I work at Ulta and we got one to play with!). First time I tried it it worked wonderfully! Tried it the next day, same results. Third day though I had some skipping and didn't know why. A week later we got to attend a class about this liner with Benefit. I asked them about the skipping and was told to try a little bit more product. I did and it has work wonderfully ever since! If I get those little clumps I work them into the lash line or pick them off with the pen itself. I've never been able to line my eyes like this before let alone a wing! For me it's super easy. I'm thinking I should do a review post on this because my experience is so different than everyone else's! :)

    But I do love your honest review. Everything you wrote about I understood and did sometimes have the same issues, but after taking the class I am able to fix it all. My favorite look is to create a cat eye and then line just about it with glitter liner!

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  29. MyBeautyJunctionJuly 24, 2014

    No, they are not, especially if you have an oily face which acts as a magnet for the flakes :'(

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  30. MyBeautyJunctionJuly 24, 2014

    Thank you! I would have skipped it as well since I am super-klutzy, but they were doling out the mini boxes to anyone who looked in the direction of the Benefit counter lol.

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  31. Oh my. I have read that this is tricky eyeliner and seems that this is something I won´t better even try :S

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  32. I bought mine directly from Benefit in a pre-sale. It's been my biggest regret. If I'd bought it at Sephora I could have returned it. I had nothing but problems with it - flaking, unevenness, color wearing unevenly.

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  33. wow that really is a bad eyeliner, flaking no thank you! Thank you for this review, very clear! I won't be buying this :)

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  34. MyBeautyJunctionJuly 24, 2014

    Lol! Makes me wonder if I should ask my Gran to make some so I can try it out. On the other hand, there are all those eyeliners from various brands waiting to be played with :P

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  35. MyBeautyJunctionJuly 24, 2014

    Since I have an oily face, the specks sort of stuck to my cheeks at the end of the day, which was bad. Thankfully it was only a sample.

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  36. MyBeautyJunctionJuly 24, 2014

    Thank you! I did wonder for a minute there if I got a dodgy one, but then the SAs in Sephora were themselves reluctant to try to sell it and were recommending Magic Ink eyeliner instead.

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  37. MyBeautyJunctionJuly 24, 2014

    Thank you! I'm thankful I got a sample and did not end up buying the full size.

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  38. MyBeautyJunctionJuly 24, 2014

    It is great that they conducted a class on this - I wish they would do so in all Sephoras, or at least appoint an expert at the counters.

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  39. MyBeautyJunctionJuly 24, 2014

    I was disappointed with this. There are so many eyeliners out there that are easier to use and don't come with the $24 price.

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  40. MyBeautyJunctionJuly 24, 2014

    I get the concept of the applicator. Unfortunately the formula simply does not work for me. If it was thinner, maybe it would not flake off. Something this thick would be better in the waterline rather than on the skin.

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  41. MyBeautyJunctionJuly 24, 2014

    Bummer - doesn't Benefit take returns? I remember reading a returns policy on their website when I last ordered from there. Thank you for your honest review - I had read it and decided not to buy the full-size, because the formula looked very flakey for my liking, but they were giving it out to all and sundry in Sephora Dubai anyway, where even the SAs recommended the Magic Ink eyeliner and not this one.

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  42. MyBeautyJunctionJuly 24, 2014

    I am quite disappointed, because the applicator looks like it might work. Thankfully I did not end up purchasing and got a sample!

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  43. MyBeautyJunctionJuly 26, 2014

    Thank you. I have edited your comment to remove your hyperlink, since it could hurt my blog's rankings.

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  44. MyBeautyJunctionJuly 26, 2014

    I usually love Benefit - Hello Flawless is my favourite liquid foundation, and Porefessional is my HG primer. Unfortunately, this does not work for me at all despite repeated trials, and keeps flaking :(
    P.S. I have edited your comment to remove your hyperlink.

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  45. Extremely well written review. The hype created around this was just insane. All the blogs had such pretty pictures of perfect cat eyeliners. Thanks for the heads up.

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  46. Megan JohnsonJuly 26, 2014

    I don't feel right returning eyeliner, I'm always afraid it'll end up some horror story returned to the shelf. Thank you for the birthday wishes! My uncle got me a gift card so I was able to get a bunch of ELF lippies which totally makes up for the one bad liner :D maybe I can melt it down and add something to it to make it a better pot gel liner?

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  47. MyBeautyJunctionJuly 30, 2014

    Oooh ELF lippies sound lovely. That is a great idea. I am tempted to squeeze out everything and try it with a brush, though I don't know how far that would help un-flake the formula.

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  48. MyBeautyJunctionJuly 30, 2014

    Thank you! TBH I am not a wing-eyeliner person anyway, so I would have been happy with anything black, reasonably even and hassle-free. Unfortunately, this was black alone and met none of my other requirements.

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  49. You're using the product all wrong. I too was skeptical and at first frustrated. It took a quick look at the applicator and I'm hooked. The reason your getting a rigid line and flaking ? Far too much product is being used. One click should do the trick, and you want to make sure the product is flush with the applicator. This will allow for a smooth application and less mess. The orange tip doesn't need to be saved. As long as you are replacing the cap after each use you should be fine. To make the perfact cat eye or simply a nice black outline start in the middle and drag it out. The rubber tip will help with drag as well as push the product close to the lash line. I would totally give this product a second chance, I did and I've fallen in love. Its an amazing deeply pigmented long lasting gel liner, just make sure to have a good waterproof remover, because this liner is made to last.

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  50. MyBeautyJunctionNovember 30, 2014

    Awww I am so sincerely sorry to hear that. I wish I had said something in an earlier post, or even done my haul post sooner and put in a sentence there. I can imagine how disappointed you must be. Doesn't Sephora USA take returns (presuming that is where you are)? The Dubai one does not... maybe you can return it and get something nice as a birthday prezzie instead?

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  51. Great review! I can't believe they put this product through their own testing and trials (I'm assuming) and still thought we'd all love to have this in our beauty arsenal :/

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  52. MyBeautyJunctionNovember 30, 2014

    There is no "right or wrong" - that is my whole point in this review. Why must something so expensive require so much care while using? There are so many eyeliners out there which don't need skill and you can afford to be klutzy or make bloopers and you will still not end up with a flaky or wonky line. Besides, many other top bloggers have had the same problems as I, so I do not think I am the exception here, and I have tried it out at least a dozen times. All beauty products work for some people and not for others - I share my experience and do not think there is any right or "wrong" here.

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