Is It A Dupe? essence Cushion Eyeliner vs. Stila Got Inked Cushion Eyeliner

essence Cushion Eyeliner vs Stila Got Inked Cushion Eye Liner

I’m baaaaaack!  Holy mackerel, it’s been a while since you and I spent some time together here on the blog.  So what have I been up to?  Well, it’s kind of a long story…so I filmed a ‘Chit-Chat Get Ready With Me’ video a few days ago and it should be up on my YouTube channel very soon.  In the video I explain what exactly has been going on in my life, plus I chat a little bit about some things you guys have been asking me about lately.

I’m so happy to be back to blogging, I’ve missed it a lot but sometimes life (and health issues) can get in the way the things we enjoy doing.

Today’s blog post is a smackdown featuring 2 cushion eyeliners: “In the red corner, weighing in at 0.10 fl.oz. the eyeliner known only as essence THE CUSHIOOOOON Eyeliner….. And in the blue corner weighing in at 0.15 fl.oz. …..the undisputed legend… Stila GOT INKED Cushion Eyeliner!  *crowd cheers*

Ok, that was a bit overly dramatic and awkward.  Anyway, so as you already know I love finding affordable dupes for high-end makeup products (and makeup brushes).  It’s always nice to save some of your hard-earned money to spend on a Starbucks Caramel Popcorn Frappuccino or perhaps a cheeky little product from The Ordinary (yes, their products are now available in South Africa – check out my IG post here).

Cushion makeup products are all the rage at the moment (they have been for quite some time now) – cushion foundations, cushion blushes, cushion colour correctors, cushion liquid liners, and cushion lip tints.  And I totally understand why cushion products are so popular: Cushion dispensers diffuse watery lightweight creams through a sponge, which help to spread the product in a softer, more natural-looking way.  Cushion products are also basically foolproof to use, because they are water-based.  If you love the look of an intense just-applied liquid liner look that is smudge-proof, fade-proof and beginner-friendly then you’ll love these little pots of cushiony goodness.

I actually prefer cushion liners, above gel liners.  I often find gel liners can become dry, thick & gunky after a couple of months – making it very difficult to create a smooth line.

Stila Got Inked Cushion Eyeliner Review Swatches

I’m going to start off with the Stila Got Inked Cushion Eyeliner, because I’ve actually already reviewed it in another blog post (review).  For the most part, I still stand by everything I mentioned in that blog post – it’s incredibly pigmented, longwearing, easy to use but does cost a pretty penny (R365,00).  I highly recommend you go check out the blog post because I also included some tips on what to do & what not to do when using the Stila eyeliner.

Did you know?  Stila is now cruelty-free (as of 2017), they have completely pulled out of China and are PETA certified (read this article on ‘Cruelty-Free Kitty’).

For the record, you can purchase Stila products at Woolworths and Truworths stores.  The Woolworths online store also stocks a wide variety of Stila products, but not the entire range unfortunately.

essence The Cushion Eyeliner Review Swatches

Next up we have essence Cushion Eyeliner, which retails for R65,00 (massive difference in price, right!?).  When I first started playing with this cushion eyeliner from essence, I immediately thought of the Stila one and wanted to compare them for you in a blog post.  To be honest, I was expecting the Stila cushion liner to be a tad more pigmented, and a tad longer lasting.  As it turns out, I was wrong!  Both of these liners perform exactly the same.  You’ll see in the swatches below – pigmentation is on point for both, plus both dry down super fast to a highly pigmented intense black semi-matte finish.  In terms of longevity, if I really had to be nitpicky then I would say the Stila liner lasts just a tiny bit longer (I’m not referring to multiple hours here, more like under an hour).

The liquid formula of these liners puts you in total control of colour pay-off, shape, and thickness of your winged liner.  Plus, just like the Stila one, the essence liner also doesn’t flake, smudge or transfer to my crease (I have been blessed with the curse of hooded eyes).

Essence is a cruelty-free brand (always have been), and you can find their products at Clicks, Dis-Chem, Takealot, and selected Foschini, Edgars & Red Square stores.  By the way, this eyeliner is marked at R61,00 in the Takealot online store.

Top Tip: One thing I noticed after using these 2 cushion liners for a while, is that it’s best to really push down into the sponge to load up your liner brush to get on-point pigmentation.  If you saturate your brush with the black liquid, then you won’t have to go over the same line twice.

essence Cushion Eyeliner vs Stila Got Inked Cushion Eye Liner Swatches

The swatches above are only ONE swipe of each cushion eyeliner, essence is on the left and Stila is on the right.  See?  They look identical!  The only thing I noticed when I compared the two swatches, is that the essence liner is a teeny tiny bit more warm-toned but it’s still a pitch black shade.  Other than that, I think most people wouldn’t even notice a difference.  I asked Neal if the two swatches are the same eyeliner or two different eyeliners, and after inspecting them close-up he said: “You’re trying to fool me here, these lines come from the same eyeliner.”

Ok, so we’ve established that both cushion liners are great – BUT at the end of the day you’ll have to ask yourself if you’re looking for something budget-friendly or something a little more high-end.  If you opt for affordable, you should definitely hit up the essence stand!

I hope all the ladies out there reading this blog post today are having a great Women’s Day!



  1. veronique
    9 August 2017 / 14:36

    Awesome! So happy to see you are back! Ive been checking your blog every day to see if there is a new blog post up. 🙂 Loved the review, Luzanne, Im going to buy the Essence one. xxxxxxxxx

  2. wilma
    9 August 2017 / 14:44

    This is great, I’ve been looking for a new eyeliner that’s easy to use. Thanks, L.

  3. Cassandra Blackmore
    9 August 2017 / 14:59

    Luv Essence products but wasn’t sure how this eyeliner would work out.. Now I’m definitely getting it


  4. geraldine h
    9 August 2017 / 16:57

    I can’t believe the swatches are identical, that’s so cool!

    G x

  5. ziyanda
    9 August 2017 / 18:11

    I have the Stila one and I love it but will maybe rather get the Essence one next time to save some cash. TYSM for always trying to help your readers save their hard earned salaries for something more important. 😉

  6. R Fourie
    9 August 2017 / 18:56


    I enjoy reading about dupes for high end products.


  7. 9 August 2017 / 20:57

    Welcome back Luzanne, and Happy Women’s Day to you too! This was a great review to announce your return. I was actually on the lookout for a new eyeliner and I was conflicted between buying a high-end brand and a drugstore one. It is great to know that essence is still producing amazing products at affordable rates and I think that I will settle on buying their product and save some money as opposed to the Stila one. I bought the Stile smudge eyeliner a few years back and I was really disappointed by it so I guess I have always been a bit hesitant about the brand. Thanks again for a great review.
    x Rivania | The Glam Unicorn

  8. Jolene Krantz
    10 August 2017 / 07:59

    Yipeeeeee ! I am so very so very glad that you are back. You were missed.Will definitely go and check out your you tube video. Take care xx

  9. Naseera
    10 August 2017 / 09:32

    Thanks. Been looking for a good affordable eyeliner for a while.

  10. qondiswa
    10 August 2017 / 12:15

    Love the new lay-out of your blog, looks great! 🙂 I’ve used the Stila Liquid Liner Pen and it’s tops for me, it creates an easy wing.

  11. melinda K
    10 August 2017 / 12:25

    Your photos are so amazing!! *heart eyes*

  12. diana
    10 August 2017 / 12:29

    I just bought the ESSENCE eyeliner and I’m so excited to use it!

    Thanx, L. 😀

  13. 10 August 2017 / 12:52

    Welcome back Luzanne!! So excited to see a new post. I am so getting the Essence Liner. I’m all for budget friendly makeup.

  14. Leighann
    10 August 2017 / 13:12

    Hi Luzanne,

    I’m so happy to be reading a blog post by you after what feels like ages!! Welcome back and I’m looking forward to more reviews, esp for the NYX total drop foundation and The Ordinary products.

    Sending you much love and hugs!!

  15. lindie
    10 August 2017 / 13:22

    We’ve missed you, Luzanne!! 😀 Can’t wait to read more reviews and blog posts, you have always been one of my favourite SA bloggers.

    I’ve been using this essence eyeliner for months now and I will keep repurchasing it, it’s so good!

  16. sameera F
    10 August 2017 / 13:25

    Love you and your blog Luzanne


  17. Susana Pillay
    10 August 2017 / 13:54

    Thanks so much for this post!!

    It’s so great to have you back, I have missed reading your posts with a cup of coffee in hand

    I always opt for a cruelty free brand and I’m so glad to hear that Stila is no cruelty free

    I cannot wait to pop down to my closet dischem or clicks to purchase this little pot of gold.. I mean eyeliner by essence

  18. Lalannie
    10 August 2017 / 15:59

    Back with a punch!! And the winner is Luzanne!!! Great post as always.
    I don’t wear eyeliner as I have serious hooded eyelids but it is good to know.

  19. bronwyn
    10 August 2017 / 17:41

    Hi Luzanne, so glad to see you are back. 🙂

    Definitely going to opt for the Essence liner instead next time I need a new eyeliner.

  20. paula
    10 August 2017 / 18:05

    Hope you had a wonderful Womens Day Luzanne X

  21. Kelly
    10 August 2017 / 22:07

    So glad you’re back and I hope you’re doing well 🙂 Lol when you did the whole boxing intro for the eyeliners I literally burst out laughing! That was hilarious! Wow those swatches look identical … Thanks for your always honest reviews!

  22. 13 August 2017 / 19:59

    How did I miss this??? Glad you’re back! I’ve been like a stalker checking in to make sure I haven’t missed a post since the last one.

    Can’t wait for the You tube GRWM video!

  23. Vanessa Christiane
    22 August 2017 / 20:06

    You’re totally hilarious in this review!

    I love the essence range and the fact that they are basically the same vs cost I would definitely try and recommend as I always fob with friends always tell them about how awesome the Cosmetix Group”s product range are!

    Thanks for all of the information definite product that I’ll be looking for the next time I travel into George.

    Thanks Luzanne! Always up front and honest with your reviews!

  24. Becs
    6 February 2018 / 13:27

    HI 🙂 Do you have a tutorial on how to use cushion liner? Would love to know how you apply 🙂 Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.