K-Beauty Pencil Eyeliners 101 Part 1 – Etude House, Espoir, & VDL!

Happy weekend! I’ve been wanting to do another K-Beauty 101 post, so here’s a thorough look at and comparison of cream/pencil liners from Etude House, Espoir, and VDL. I was going to make this just one post, but you should know by now that I’m extremely long-winded 😂. So I decided to separate it into 2 parts for your guys’ sake! Part 2 will talk about Innisfree, The Face Shop, Tony Moly, JSM Beauty, as well as a final comparison of every liner covered in both posts. This is going to be a long one, so grab a snack and enjoy the read! ❤


I have come to own a lot of K-Beauty eyeliners, because I find them to be versatile products that can turn a drab look into a fab one with the right colour choice. They also tend to go on 1+1 deals pretty often, so it’s easy to get carried away!

I will be bolding important information in each paragraph like the price, amount of shades, etc. if you want to just skim through 😀 !

•○ Etude House ○•


I’ll start with the brand I own the most liners of – Etude House! Pictured above are the Play 101 Pencils. I used to have quite a few more, but have since gotten rid of them due to reasons I will mention below.


These currently come in 35 shades, with new ones being released and old ones being discontinued all the time. Quite often the discontinued ones will be on 50% sales at the stores, so it’s a great time to pick them up! The main selling point of these eyeliners is that they can be used anywhere on your face, and come in 5 different finishescreamy, matte, glossy, shimmer, and glitter. I personally find they mostly work best on the eyes, although the glossy and creamy finishes work best elsewhere as they do not set like the matte/shimmer/glitter ones do.

Once the matte/shimmer/glitter liners set, they stay all day without budging! They are also waterproof, and feature a twist-up component so you don’t have to sharpen them. They still come with a sharpener (to maintain the tip pointy) at the bottom of each pencil! My main issue with these is that the matte and glitter finish pencils tend to dry up and become useless very quickly. I’ve tried melting them, chopping them up, and using mixing mediums, but nothing seems to save them once they’re dry. The shimmer, glossy, and creamy ones last forever though! The shimmer finish is my favourite because they glide on effortlessly and are great quality. All 5 finishes go for 6,000 KRW for 0.5g.


Again from Etude House are the Play 101 Blending Pencils (a big chunk of these were sent to me for an old review is why I have so many 😛). As the tip is thicker/more rounded, they can be used as liners, cream eyeshadows, contour, cheeks, lips, or basically however you want to use them! I feel like these serve the “variety of uses” concept better than the regular pencils. They come in 25 shades, and 4 different finishes – creamy, jewel, jelly, and velvet. I’ve done a more complete review of these here!


I’ve owned the majority of these for over a year now, and they’re still just as creamy as when I first got them! Like I stated in my previous review, the creamy texture is my favourite, with the jelly being my least favourite. Jelly works fine on the lips/face, but doesn’t set on the eyes. The creamy and jewel textures stay all day, although I recommend setting the creamy texture with a similarly-toned eyeshadow to guarantee it won’t crease when you’re using it all over your lids.

Size comparison between the Play 101 Pencil/Blending Pencil

These work REALLY well in your waterline – glide on incredibly easily and last forever. You can also use an angled brush directly on the tips of these to then line your eyes if you find the tip to be too thick for what you want. Also a twist-up type, but no sharpener at the bottom. Requires a little trial and error to use as eyeshadow. These have since lowered in price by 400 KRW since I last reviewed them, and are now 7,500 KRW for 1.1g/0.9g.


And finally the newest addition to the Etude House liner series – the Super Slim Proof Pencil Liner Gel. I got this pencil recently, and only have one, so my experience is based solely on this colour. These come in 10 shades, and boast a 1.5mm tip! They’re waterproof, and claim to last all day, which I find to be accurate.

Super Slim (far right) compared with Play 101 Blending Pencil / Play 101 Pencil

You can get some seriously sharp wings with this thing! I found it to glide on a little rough when going directly to my eye at first, so I recommend drawing a line on your hand first to warm it up. You should also be careful of twisting it up too much because they’re so thin they’re bound to be prone to breakage. This is a great product in theory, and I’m happy with the pigment, long wear, and colour, but at 7,500 KRW for only 0.08g I find it a little pricey.

Tip-size comparison between Blending/Regular pencil/Super Slim liner

I think the Super Slim liners are a little gimmicky, because you can sharpen your Play 101 Pencil and get a similar result for a cheaper price + more product. The Play 101 Blending pencils are my favourite of the 3, and the ones I would recommend the most!

PS. I’ve tried their Proof 10 Auto Pencil in black and HATED that thing, 0/10 do not recommend 😂.

IMG_5672 WM

Here’s a look I did using Blending Pencil #18 on my top and bottom lid, with the Super Slim Pencil on my inner corner, and Blending Pencil #2 in my waterline. The black dot is the Etude House Super Slim Proof Brush Liner.

•○ Espoir ○•


Another brand I own quite a few liners of is Espoir! They have half a billion different eyeliners on their website, so I’ll try to explain these as best as I can. Pictured above, from left to right, are 5 of the Bronze Painting Waterpoof Eye Pencils, 2 of the Color Painting Waterproof Eye Pencils, and 1 Mono Painting Waterproof Eye Pencil.


The Bronze Painting liners come in 13 shades, and are my favourite of the three. They are mega creamy, with unique colour combinations of glitter packed in each one. The packaging is also GORGEOUS! My only issue is that I’ve found that two have gotten a little dry (Healthy Tan/Sand Lilac). This is fixable by rubbing them once or twice on your hand to warm them up before application, and they will go on better.


My favourite by far is Copper Glow, pictured above. From far away it might look like a regular brown eyeliner, but when your eyes hit the light you can see the explosion of ruby and gold glitter. This is seriously my favourite eyeliner of all time! ❤


They also come with a sponge, but I don’t use it very often as I generally don’t smudge out my eyeliner. 17,000 KRW for 1.5g, but I always buy them on 1+1!


The Color Painting pencils have a weird rubbery spongey thing at the bottom, but I honestly have no idea how to use it 😂. These come in 9 colours (they seem to have discontinued Amethyst 😢), and are a creamy, shimmery formula, compared to the Bronze Painting’s glitter. Last all day, don’t budge once set, and glide on very easily. Also 17,000 KRW for 1.5g! 

WM IMG_5743

The Mono Painting pencils come in only 5 shades, all neutral, matte tones. These are my least favourite of the 3 as I find them a little difficult to work with, and not as creamy as the other two. For the price I’d rather go with the Play 101 Pencils for more product at a better price!

WM IMG_5742 2

Like the Play 101 Pencils, these also come with a sharpener.


Here’s an ancient, ugly look I put together using the above pencil 😂. It took a LOT of struggling to get that wing that sharp, and I just don’t find myself reaching for this pencil despite the nice colour. 15,000 KRW for 0.5g!

•○ VDL ○•


Above, from bottom to top, are the VDL Expert Gel Pencil, and the Festival Gel Pencil. These are both colours that can no longer be purchased, but I’ll briefly review them because pencils with the same formula are still being sold.


The Expert Gel Pencil comes in 7 shades, and now has a twist-up component (mine has to be sharpened manually). This is an excellent formula – creamy, ultra shimmery and gorgeous, and stays all day with zero smudging. The packaging of this limited edition pencil is so, so niceㅠㅠ. My biggest issue is the price – 20,000 KRW for only 0.35g.

Comparison between Expert / Gel pencils

The Festival Gel Pencil comes in 6 shades, with a much friendlier price at 12,000 KRW for 0.5g. These are shimmer liners, and start off very creamy when you first buy them. I have found that mine has dried up since I got it in 2016, which is a pity because I loved this thing 😭. They are a twist up product, and also come with a sharpener at the bottom, and a smudge sponge in the lid! I’ve reviewed this one in depth here.

•○ Final Thoughts ○•


If I had to choose my favourite liner out of all of the ones mentioned in this post, I’d have to go with the Bronze Painting Waterpoof Eye Pencils from Espoir! The runner up would definitely be Etude House‘s Play 101 Blending Pencils. I will be making a final comparison chart in the second part of this post, which I will link as soon as it’s up!

I hope this kind of post is helpful to some of you! And feel free to ask any questions in the comments if there’s anything you feel I haven’t covered. See you in part 2! (✿´꒳`)ノ°


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