Home Reviews Tom Ford Eye Defining Pen vs By Terry Intensive Liquid Eyeliner

Tom Ford Eye Defining Pen vs By Terry Intensive Liquid Eyeliner

by Sonia G.

I wanted to share a very brief review about the Tom Ford Eye Defining Pen but I didn’t want to do it without talking about the By Terry eyeliner at the same time… these are both the holy grail eyeliners of my life :




The Tom Ford in Deeper and the By Terry in So Black. The TF costs 55 usd, it’s very expensive but even at this price it’s still worth it. You don’t even imagine how much precious time this thing has saved me in the mornings. The By Terry costs 43 usd in Barneys but for some weird reason, for once in our life, By Terry products are cheaper in Switzerland than the rest of the world (but I won’t shout because they may hear me and increase the prices…).

The TF has two ends, a shorter and a longer one but I just use the longer one so I cannot really take profit of  “a dual eyeliner”. I think that the product inside is delivered for both ends without a separator within the middle of the pen, I feel like a sort of ball moves around when you shake it so in my opinion using one or the two ends of the pen is the same result for the customer… (to be verified). The shorter end is too difficult to control for me anyway, it’s not flexible and the only way I can make it work is if I do very Lady Gaga looks, this kind of look for example will be completed with the shorter end, but that is not what I am looking for on a daily basis… I want something like that and that is achieved perfectly in lighting speed on a daily basis with the longer calligraphic end of the TF.

I have tried many eyeliners before, even very praised Japanese brands, but never ever something allowed me as a beginner in eyeliner application, achieve the application that I was initially aiming for.

When you start to apply your eyeliner you know what you want to do, but how many times have you ended with a different application ? Often thicker or not well balanced, for me it was an issue I was experiencing it on a daily basis. My application always ended too dramatic compared to what I really wanted. That does not happen anymore and that is why this is so worth it for me. It does what you want where you want it. You place it and you have your eye definition for the whole day.

The color is black, really black, evenly black from the start to the finish,  thin or thick it keeps the same intensity. The lasting power is mind blowing, much better than “24 hours eyeliners” or the Dolly Wink, lasts all day since 6:30 am till 6:30pm and beyond, it will start to fade at some point in the evening but will still look ready to rock until I remove it before going to bed.




The By Terry eyeliner is even blacker, and will remain blacker for longer, you can apply it on Friday evening and on Sunday it will still be there… this is how much is lasts on me! Like a tattoo, unlike the Tom Ford it won’t fade at all until you remove it  (with waterproof makeup remover) but the By Terry is not as easy to use, the tip allows a bit of flexibility so you can still control it nicely but the Tom Ford (longer tip) remains much easier to use.

Tried to swatch it but have a look at Temptalia swatches that are better 🙂





Bottom line

If you are a beginner – with a comfortable budget – and need the best tool for eyeliner application, the Tom Ford is the one to go for. It’s very long (17.3 cm), if you need to go very close to the mirror you may hit it but it does feel incredibly well balanced on my hand and I am sure this helps to draw the application with more control. We just need more colours, I want this eyeliner in brown first, then any other colour because with such a thin application I will be able to use other more dramatic shades and still keep the application subtle and elegant.

If you are a hardcore party person, you need the By Terry. I am on my second one because I made the mistake of not closing it properly (you may have to hear a second clap!!!) be careful, even if you think it’s closed, it  may not be, just make sure and push 😉 I also have the purple one, very intense but if you apply a powder eyeshadow on top of it it will tone down the purple, make it more subtle and totally unique.


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Angela 27 October, 2013 - 8:30 pm

You are, by far, the best reviewer of beauty items! Thank you for taking out the time to give amazing details.

Sweet make up temptations 27 October, 2013 - 9:12 pm

thank you Angela 🙂

Jessica 27 October, 2013 - 9:46 pm

I just bought a By Terry Lip Pencil on sale for $5.25 USD. I have the famous balm but I just find the line to be too expensive- same with Tom Ford. I have one lipstick and though it is lovely, I can’t justify spending that much.

Sweet make up temptations 27 October, 2013 - 10:18 pm

hi Jessica,
I totally understand you, Tom Ford and By Terry are extravagant luxury beauty items but here a simple drugstore liner costs around 20usd and I bought in the past so many eyeliners that just couldn’t deliver what I was expecting so I ended up spending much more than 55usd… when you are lucky to find luxury items (that are worth it) on sale it’s a blessing 🙂
In my opinion the TF liner is still worth it’s indecent price tag just because of the time it makes me save, if I could get the same result with any other eyeliner I would prefer spending less but that didn’t happen yet 🙁

Stacy 27 October, 2013 - 10:42 pm

Thank you I think :p!
Somehow I resisted this liner when it came out (you know I am so “strong”) but now I think I may just have to pick one up….

Sweet make up temptations 27 October, 2013 - 10:46 pm

I don’t want to force anyone.. I hope you can at least try it, for me it works amazing well Stacy, HG for my life! Been using it since the Scotland trip early September, I hope it will carry on for some decent time before I have to rethink repurchasing…

Stacy 27 October, 2013 - 11:58 pm

No force for sure just a respected good review ;). I had my hand on it when it first came out you just re enforced my original urge to try it. I have been using and loving the Chantecaille Le Stylos for a long time so it will be good to try something new.

Sweet make up temptations 29 October, 2013 - 6:22 pm

I haven’t tried that one Stacy, is the tip a bit flexible ? has it long lasting power ? thank you 🙂

Jillian 28 October, 2013 - 12:57 am

The By Terry Ligne Blackstar’s tip can be flipped too if the tip wears out… extends the life a bit and makes the $43 a little easier to swallow, lol.

Sweet make up temptations 28 October, 2013 - 6:24 am

I did Jillian but both ends ended dry 🙂

Jillian 28 October, 2013 - 6:23 pm

Bummer! I really want to try the TF liner now. Great post!

Sweet make up temptations 29 October, 2013 - 6:38 pm

Thanks Jillian, if you do, please please please report back to me 😉

Ylona 28 October, 2013 - 7:14 am

That’s what i’m searching for a while, a liner easy to use, precise and time saving !
Thank you for the review !
Again it’s a TF <3
I just feel it's kind of the best make up brand of the moment !
Where did you bought it ?


Sweet make up temptations 29 October, 2013 - 6:26 pm

I have to say that TF did exceptionally good this year, my award goes to them without any doubt.
I bought it in Harvey Nichols when I was in Scotland.
Bisous and see you soon!

Makeupremastered 28 October, 2013 - 7:50 am

Every time Ive tried to but the Tom Ford its been out of stock- I will try again when i travel in Dec. I have found the new Charlotte Tilbury to be my favourite pen style liner- It has allowed me to perfect my feline flick- tho’ I still really want the TF as I think it is true black for a different look.

Sweet make up temptations 29 October, 2013 - 6:31 pm

Hello Jo 🙂 I may place a new order with CT before Christmas, I would like more pencils anyway and maybe I’ll consider the liner but I am concerned about the lasting power, I saw your post and it looks like it has good lasting powwer… I should try it, I just hope she makes more colours, that would definitely convince me 🙂

Jeanette 28 October, 2013 - 10:24 pm

They both – but the TF in particular – sound amazing. I need to check if they come in like espresso brown. Thanks for the review!

Sweet make up temptations 29 October, 2013 - 6:38 pm

They will have even more customers if they do it in brown … tonight I have planned to write to them 🙂

Marga J 29 October, 2013 - 7:40 am

Great review! I think I’ll go for Tom Ford than the other. Its lighter and longer. This will def be in my purchase list.

Sweet make up temptations 29 October, 2013 - 6:42 pm

Hi Marga, the line can be so insanely fine and easy to draw! if you do get it please let us know how it worked for you, I (and we) always appreciate feedbacks 🙂

Raglo 29 October, 2013 - 3:53 pm

My absolute HG liquid liner is hands down by Kanebo Sensai. I’m not going to claim I can achieve a perfect line every time, it’s not that simple due to my lids – there are folds of skin around the outer corner of my eye that swallow up any line I draw there, and they’re not identical on both eyes, so it’s not as basic for me as drawing a triangle and connecting dots… But. That liner is a masterpiece.

The idea was planted in my mind during a makeup course I did with a celebrity makeup artist and she said if you want the best of the best in anything in makeup that would have originated from calligraphy – brushes, liners etc – go Japanese. They are simply the best, you can’t replicate thousands of years of calligraphy and ink drawing heritage, they just are that good.

I systematically went through all the luxury beauty counters just to be absolutely sure and it really was a matter of choosing between Kanebo and Shiseido in the end (these happen to be the only Japanese brands that are available where I live). I preferred Kanebo’s packaging and got that one.

I’ve had the liner probably around 3 years and have used it under 20 times because I’m trying to spare it. It closes like an expensive gold pen – the packaging is metal and you twist the cap on like a screw until it’s airtight. The thing just does not dry out! What I also love is that you can buy a refill for it.

It also says a lot how Kanebo just don’t care about such trivial things as variety – you get brown or black and this applies to their pencil liners, mascaras and eyebrow pencils, and that’s it – you’ll like it and take it, because the product and formula are that good.

Everything about it is just first class (in my experience) – the formula, the brush (oh the brush, it does almost everything for you, almost!) and the packaging (even if you only bring it out for New Year’s eve and your birthday, it will just wait for you and stay as nice as it was when new).

My definition of HG is something like marriage – you find the right one and you stop looking :D. I’m sure there are other great options out there but I’ve found my “one” and I’m sticking with it, it’s good enough for me to not even want to try anything else :).

Jeanette 29 October, 2013 - 6:48 pm

Oh, that is some kind of recommendation! I will definitely have to check that one out. Thanks!

Raglo 29 October, 2013 - 8:06 pm

You’re welcome!

Actually after reading this post and writing my comment, I stopped by the Shiseido counter and remembered all over again why it was not an easy decision to make. The Shiseido one is absolutely marvelous too!

I swatched it, it was (is) raining outside and I’ve since washed my hands with soap four times and it’s still on. It really was the packaging that swayed me, because I don’t use liquid liner very often, only for special occasions and then I like to go full on 60s Audry Hepburn graphic flick, so I thought at the time the way the Sensai closes would keep the liner from drying out and getting ruined, and thankfully I was right.

I’m always put off by the packaging of Shiseido cosmetics at the counter, the plastics etc look so shabby after being touched and thrown around so much, and I don’t know why I think that because all the Shiseido items I have are perfectly lovely even after over a year living in my makeup bag. Even today looking at the liquid liner I thought, god this plastic feels cheap, but I have to remind myself that maybe a thousand people have just had its way with the poor thing…

Point being, the Shiseido one is simpler packaging, it just snaps closed and the brush is a little bit smaller but the same principal as the Kanebo (I think it’s smaller, I didn’t actually compare them). Also I got the impression that the formula is more matte, though very, very black still, so for someone who likes a thin line and uses a liquid liner every day, the black or brown Shiseido could be wonderful and there wouldn’t really be an issue about it possibly drying out, if it’s part of the daily routine ;).

But yes, for me the Kanebo is HG, I love the slightly lacquer like subtle sheen it has and… Really can’t say enough nice things about it :). Although Sonia has now made me feel lazy about what my work look is and if I were looking to incorporate a liquid liner into my look, which I might, I think I may just invest in a brown Shiseido :D.

Sweet make up temptations 30 October, 2013 - 7:09 pm

Olga, don’t be lazy and rock the eyeliner for work 😉 even black I do it every day! it just changes so much in any look!

Raglo 30 October, 2013 - 9:57 pm

You’re asking for the Moon!!!
And I’ve yet to see you wearing the kitten flick to work ;).

But I will make an effort to wear it more often, perhaps I’ll start on my days off, when I can take as much time as I want getting ready 🙂

Sweet make up temptations 1 November, 2013 - 9:40 pm

I went to the counter yesterday and checked it out… Unfortunately it was too dry so I couldn’t verify the intensity neither the lasting power… sad… I hope I can try it one day 🙂

Raglo 2 November, 2013 - 9:38 am

Mmm, too bad :(. I have the same issue with their pencil liner here. I’m looking for something to wear on the tightline that won’t transfer, and their’s looks very, very promising swatched on the hand, as does the Shiseido. The Shiseido is softer, but that one I tried in the store and it did transfer to my lower water line. I don’t think I can try the Kanebo one because it is dry and rubbery as heck in the store! It’s so hard, I think I tried once and gave up. Perhaps I’ll ask them to sharpen it for me so I can try it and actually test how it wears. Fingers crossed!

Sweet make up temptations 2 November, 2013 - 6:44 pm

The ones I like to use are Lancome In love in shade Chocolate Affair, the Three or the Nars longer than life. I recently picked up the very new By Terry Khol, there is a green a blue and a brown, I got the green but Kate from Drivel about Frivol got the blue one (it’s stunning but I just wouldn’t wear such a color), these are good candidates if you happen to come across them at the counters…
Just ask them and let me know if you managed to test it 🙂 thank you Olga!!!

Sweet make up temptations 29 October, 2013 - 7:36 pm

Thank you Olga, that’s really truly interesting…
that’s exactly how I feel about the Tom Ford, very calligraphic tool, same feeling, same ease…
I am not sure I can find anything better than this TF because it does a fantastic job, but I am not married either 😉
the problem I had with some of my HG’s is that after some time the formula changed and they decreased quality, suddenly jumping from top of the list to the very bottom, I hope yours will always keep exactly the same quality!

Raglo 29 October, 2013 - 8:11 pm

Lol @ “… but I’m not married either” 😀
Mhm, I totally agree – I look for a new HG if the formula’s been cheating on me ;).

Sweet make up temptations 30 October, 2013 - 7:10 pm

hahaha see Olga… they don’t have to provoque us 😀

Wenyi Zhang 9 December, 2013 - 1:29 am

The TF one is made in Japan.

Sweet make up temptations 11 December, 2013 - 7:50 pm

thank you 🙂

Lisbeth 2 January, 2014 - 4:20 am

Hi. I love your review and I’m interested to buy. Do you think this liner is good for hooded and oily lids? Or could you recommend me? I love the really black liquid eyeliner. All along I only have been using mac liquid eyeliner and it does stay for a long time. Thank you.

Sweet make up temptations 2 January, 2014 - 2:01 pm

Hi Lisbeth, thank you! I really think the TF is one of the best, for me it’s the best. I have even tried the Kanebo now but it doesn’t last long enough. On my lids, medium oily I’d say… lasts also longer than Mac.


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