These eyeliners come in cake form and need to be used wet. The case is exactly the same as the eyeshadows and blushes so you can put them into the customizable palettes. I have "vintage" ones that didn't go into those palettes as well. They're pretty much the same size though.
|From left: Black Ebony, Mahogany Brown, Bleu Marine, Forest Green, Plum Riche, Charcoal Grey, Orchid Shimmer, Ground Espresso, Gunmetal Smoke and Turquoise Ink|
I have 10 shades in the swatches above. These were taken in sunlight and the picture is clickable if you need to see a bigger view. The first three on the left, the original shades Black Ebony, Mahogany Brown and Bleu Marine, were the only ones that existed for years. Black Ebony is your basic no-fuss black. Mahogany Brown is a light brown and Bleu Marine is a dark navy. Then came Forest Green, Plum Riche and Charcoal Grey. Around the same time, Nordstrom released a tiny trio that included Gunmetal Smoke, Turquoise Ink and the original Bleu Marine. I reviewed this trio immediately upon release. At that time, the product itself seemed to have been reformulated, sparking complaints from old customers looking to repurchase their favorite colors. (I notice differences between the old and new formulation but I have no problems with it.) This also coincided with the release of the Tightline Activator, which I think, caused further confusion about how to use the product.
|Same swatches, no sun and applied with water as above|
I wanted to set a few things straight by simply saying, the product can be used without the activator as I have done so in all my swatches. I use plain water or eye drops without any issues. The activator gives you more saturated color and creates a sheen but once you use it, there's no going back. The product no longer works properly with water once you have used the activator with it. I don't know why that is so. Although once tempted to grab the activator, I was advised against it. So I never bought it.
Orchid Shimmer, from last fall's Moonlight Collection, was one of the later releases. It's something of a dark violet but it's different from the other shades because of the shimmer. This is not very apparent on the eye, however. The brand had tried a similar shimmer in Turquoise Ink but you barely see it even on the pan. I don't think that this is something that they should keep trying. Instead, I would have preferred to see my favorite Ground Espresso (a rich brown-black) be included in the regular shades.
Ground Espresso is available in a multi-use palette from Sephora. In that palette, they also have the beautiful Burgundy Wine which I really want but I can't seem to justify spending the $98 on the kit because that's the only thing I really want from it. There is also a trio that Sephora sold over the holidays that included a shade called Violet Asphalt. I remember another violet that was in a spring makeup set sold exclusively by Nordstrom a few years ago. So far, those are all I've seen. Personally, I could live on Black Ebony if that was the only shade they sold. For tightlining, I like that really black shade on my lashline and it works with everything. Ground Espresso and Bleu Marine are my next best recommendations.