Review: Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Gel CreamLiner

By Voxy  

Really, people, you don’t have to fill up all the space on the product packaging with buzzwords. Draw a flower in there instead, or write “blue, rhinoceros, triangle.” It would be just as useful, since there is a direct correlation between the length of a product name and my likeliness to respond with ::eyeroll:: and move on. (Actually, I think a good comparison could be drawn between cosmetic product names and MLA paper titles. I smell a future Foxy Voxy contest topic!)

I bought these when I was at the drugstore buying allergy medication and Kleenex. I admit that I only bought them because I was feeling sorry for myself, what with the sneezing and the runny nose and the whole miserable allergy thing. Yes, it was a self-pity cosmetics purchase. Didn’t I say I was going to try to stop self-medicating with cosmetics this year? That’s clearly going well.

I am somewhat redeemed by how surprisingly interesting this product is. The “Shimmer Strips” line started with their Shimmer Strips Custom Bronzer, Blush, and Eyeshadow, which is a clear drugstore dupe of the much more pricey Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick (Physicians Formula: $11.95; Bobbi Brown: $38). When these proved successful, they expanded the line to include shimmer strips of eyeshadow and a blush/highlighter combo. I was (and still am) skeptical of how successfully they could force these gel/cream liners to fit into the “Shimmer Strip” model, and I sort of wish they hadn’t bothered trying. There are three different colors of gel liner in the package, each of which is contained in an annoyingly shaped square brick of plastic. The bricks interlock, so if you wanted to (for some unknown reason), you could attach them to one another and carry them around that way, thus making them a “strip.” Yeah, I don’t buy it either.

Each package is designed for a different eye color, and Physicians Formula designates each of the three colors as useful for creating different looks. The top shade is for a “natural” look, the middle is “playful,” and the bottom one (which is pretty much always black) is “dramatic.” So, I bought the green eyes kit, for self-evident reasons, and was surprised to find that the top shade, the “natural” shade, is … green. Now I have never been one of those people who say you can’t match your shadow or liner color to your eye color, but I have never before seen a green eyeliner marketed as part of a “natural” look. Huh. As you will see from the swatch below, it’s a medium grassy green with a touch of moss to it. More yellow than blue. It’s surprisingly nice, but I still can’t say it’s really “natural” looking. The middle shade looked blue in the packaging, and even looks more blue than purple in the open container, but it turns out to be a warm purple. And the black is, well, black, so I didn’t swatch it.

These have excellent, excellent staying power. The swatches that I did on my arm lasted until the next day’s shower without smearing or smudging on clothes or bed linens. They looked exactly the same the next morning as they had the previous afternoon when I swatched them. On eyes they perform almost as well. They give you a brush with the packaging but as usual I said “thanks but no thanks” and used my own. Theirs is, I think, a touch too wide for doing anything but a thick line unless you have excellent brush technique (in which case you probably already have your own brush that you like.)

I would consider buying some of the other kits, even though I would be crossing the eye-color boundary and buying products not designed for green eyes (the horror!), because some of the other colors look quite nice, and at $10.95 for a three-pack it’s an inexpensive way to experiment with gel/creme liners that are of good quality.



Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Gel CreamLiner: $10.95

Provenance: Purchased.

Price/Value Ratio (drugstore: poor/fair/good/excellent): Excellent.

Purchase again? Yes, I predict I will be getting a refill on this prescription.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holla in the comments!)

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  1. avatar marigolds
    Posted April 19, 2010 at 9:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Huh — I don’t have any experience with the Mad Minerals line! You know swatches are never reliable, but that Bare Necessity looks both darker and less pink than MAC Painterly. If I try them I will definitely let you know.Yes, those Z Palettes have been quite the rage lately! What did you get?  

    2 large, 2 small. I’m going to depot almost everything and try to get them all into the Zpalettes – I think it will really help with storage and accessibility. (I can’t wait to depot the Confessions of a Concealaholic stuff – I really like the Lemon Aid, but that packaging is a pain. SO BIG.)


    • avatar a biologist
      Posted April 19, 2010 at 11:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

      What do you mean by depot? I looked up the Z Palettes but just looking at them online I wasn’t clear how it would limit packaging. Are there a lot of brands where you can buy refills? I think it’s a neat idea in principle.


      • avatar Voxy
        Posted April 20, 2010 at 12:21 am | Permalink | Reply

        Yep, you can buy refills for many higher-end lines (including MAC, which is not exactly high-end but not drugstore either). MAC individual shadows are $14.50 apiece, but the refills are $11.00, so you can save $3.50 per if you can come up with something to house them in.

        In most products, the actual pressed powder (of the shadow, or blush, or whatever; it could be a cream also) is housed in a small metal tin, which is itself protected by plastic packaging. Removing this metal tin is called “depotting,” and it allows you to store more colors in less space, because you get rid of all the extra plastic packaging.


        • avatar a biologist
          Posted April 20, 2010 at 10:13 am | Permalink | Reply

          Ah. I just looked and my makeup, including the drug store stuff, is indeed in little tins. I see now! What a great idea.


  2. avatar Baz
    Posted April 18, 2010 at 11:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

    lemming (although I don’t really know what that means more than from this particular site’s contexts/usage)

    I have maybelline eyestudio blackest black liquid liner in a pot. It looked so black and fantastic on the pic.

    I don’t care for it. I have to clean the brush which is hard and stubby so not very good for application. IT’s supposed to be like rubber glued to your lids. No smudging, no racooning.

    I’m not pleased. I almost sent a before and after pic last week I was so amazed at how far from its claim this product veers.

    SO, I will be putting these little whipper snappers on my payday wishlist. Yes, I know. It’s still the middle of the month and I already have to wait for payday.
    Darned female necessities! And ya know. For what? For whom? I do it for my kids, but do they notice? Do kids notice what their profs wear when it isn’t just to laugh at them?

    Sorry. Had a run in this weekend that has me wanting to be attractive again. I mean, attractive so as to arrive at LoOOoOoOove.


    • avatar Voxy
      Posted April 18, 2010 at 11:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Yes, I am all curious about your weekend adventure!

      Do you use an eyelid/eyeshadow primer? That will help prevent smudging too. These transfer a tiny bit from my upper to lower lid but it’s nothing that can’t be wiped away with a quick finger. In general, though, I’ve been really pleased with the staying power of these!


  3. avatar marigolds
    Posted April 18, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Those are pretty cute. I just ordered a couple of the NYX gel eyeliners along with my HAUL of Hot Pots and some ZPalettes (seriously, go look up the ZPalettes. I’ll wait.) I’ll let you know how the NYX ones are. (I also hear GREAT things about this stuff:
    Supposedly the “bare necessity” is exactly like MAC Painterly. If you try them first, will you let me know how they are?)


    • avatar Voxy
      Posted April 18, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Huh — I don’t have any experience with the Mad Minerals line! You know swatches are never reliable, but that Bare Necessity looks both darker and less pink than MAC Painterly. If I try them I will definitely let you know.

      Yes, those Z Palettes have been quite the rage lately! What did you get?


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