OMG!!! It’s a Crisis!!!!


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In response to MY  email:

General comments/questions
Message: First of all, I’m a huge UD fan. I’ve written about your products on my blog many times. My Naked Palettes are in constant use AND your 24/7 eyeliner pencil has ALWAYS been in my constant rotation. That 24/7 Velvet eye pencil is my favorite. I recently set about to purchase my 6th one and the store (Ulta) was out of stock. So I purchased the 24/7 Watermark pencil instead. WHAT HAPPENED? OMG. I had a major crisis because the pencil was a horrific item to sharpen–it wouldn’t and I literally wasted more than half a pencil trying to sharpen it. I wrote about it in my blog: Yes. I wrote about a beloved brand of mine and the less-than-stellar experience. Look–I write with humor so it is’t a mean post–I’m just so upset about what happened. And while I’m at it, you should realize that we women over 50, 60 still wear cosmetics–do not shut us out. Include us. We spend a lot of money on cosmetics!! Thank you, and I hope you come up with a better pencil to sharpen. Best, Cathe Urbanski

It is true ladies. I am in crisis mode right now. And it all started with an eye pencil!

Well, yeah!! It IS happening.  It’s a crisis!

I’m sure I’ve written about the Urban Decay 24/7 Velvet Eye Pencil.  In fact, I know that somewhere in the bowels of Atypical60’s archives, there has to be something about how great the 24/7 Velvet Eye Pencil is.  I’ve purchased this pencil multiple times. It has always served me well.

Image result for urban decay 24/7 velvet glide on

I’ve always been happy with this eyeliner!

You see, I love to tightline my eyes.  This is a process that makes the eyes look a bit livelier.  You very carefully line the eyes close to the waterline and in between the lashes.  You need a very pliable and soft pointed pencil to do this with or one false move and you’ll be walking with a seeing-eye dog.

This is a close up of tightlining. I DID go over the mess with a Q-Tip. Also, note the red spot on my nose. Wanna know what happened?  I was making a feeble attempt to stiple my foundation on just the way Jay did when I had my makeover and I stipled a bit too hard.

The Urban Decay Velvet Eye Pencil has always been my go-to.

Runner up is the inexpensive elf liner pencil. But, in my atypical fashion, I really use the elf pencil for my brows and when I’m in-between the Urban Decay, it’ll work to tightline.

Shadow & Liner Duo Stix

Three bucks..and I use it as a brow pencil!

The elf pencil costs $3.00 The Urban Decay costs $20.

And so, last month I drove to Ulta to repurchase the UD Velvet Eye Pencil.  As is my usual bout of luck, my color, Velvet Black, was out of stock.

However, what I did spot was the brand’s 24/7 Waterline Pencil.  I figured it was probably even better than the Velvet pencil because it was made for the waterline which is great for tightlining,

I purchased the pencil in the color “Legend” which is just another name for the color black. The purchase price was the same as the other Urban Decay pencil –twenty bucks.

Image result for urban decay legend watermark eyeliner

I should only HOPE my pencil stays this big!

The price didn’t even bother me because I’m pretty-much brand loyal when I find something I like.

The next morning, I was very excited as I used my new pencil. It did a magnificent job and my liner stayed on all day.

Understand. Since this is a very soft pencil, it must be sharpened more often than a harder pencil.

And here’s where the crisis began.  After about a week of tightlining, it was time to sharpen the tip a bit.  Caveat—when I say “sharpen” I don’t mean into a sharp point. If that were the case, I would hear Ralphie chanting to me “You’ll shoot your eye out kid old lady!”

Image result for ralphie you'll shoot your eye out kid

And we have almost the same glasses! I will try to not shoot my eye out Ralphie!

It is now the last week in April since I made the purchase of the pencil.

I started to sharpen the pencil in my special eye pencil sharpener. One side is for a thinner pencil and the other for the wider pencil.

There is never an issue sharpening the elf pencil. She sharpens beautifully.

Look how nicely the elf pencil sharpens. And I’ve had this pencil for a few months now. The sharpener is over a year old!

There was ne’er an issue with my 24/7 Velvet pencils either. They sharpened beautifully on the same sharpener. In fact, I could sharpen the Velvet pencil down to the nub and use every bit of black tar-like coal to line my eyes.

This pencil was having a bit of difficulty sharpening.  It kept getting stuck as I rotated it. I cleaned the sharpener thinking that perhaps there was a bit of old pencil stuck in it.

See what a mess my hands are after sharpening the pencil? Ugh- my nails are even worse.  How did that random strand of hair get in this pic?  Oh..that’s right–I shed like a dog!

After a huge black mess on my hands and my clothing, I tried to sharpen the pencil again.  I was left with an uneven point that broke off. So back in the sharpener again. A lot of wasted product and a pencil that was growing smaller with each rotating turn.

I had no idea where the point went and I was left with a plateau and tried to make the best of it.

My plateau point!

After a few days with the plateau point, I scratched the inside of my waterline.  Time to resharpen.

You know that I do get a bit emotional at times.   Well, this pencil was now putting me into crisis mode.  I downright refused to use the elf pencil because it was the principle of the matter. I friggin’ spent twenty bucks on a pencil that was made for tightlining and the damned thing would not sharpen correctly.

So, I tried an experiment—and this is disgusting. I saved the shavings from the Urban Decay pencil and the shavings from the elf pencil.  Not only was I now the proud owner of a rather enormous collection of pencil shavings, but they were falling on the carpet and creating stains.

Yes ladies!  THIS is how my sick mind works!  I needed to see just how much of the pencil I sharpened off  so I tried an experiment.  Just call me Nigella Degrasse Tyson–I’m like a scientist!  Check out yet another random strand of falling hair!

Image result for neil degrasse tyson

I would venture to say my scientific ability puts me up there with Neil Degrasse Tyson! 

Bonaparte was now in crisis because the carpet in my make-up room, the room he never goes into was stained and Bonaparte Felix Unger was going ballistic with his French naughty talk-and not the delightful naughty talk either!

That twenty dollar pencil is going to cost me the price of a Stanley Steemer visit!

A month later and I’m left with half a pencil that has the most awful point in history.


I’m so disgusted. This is a crisis worse than spilled milk!

My crisis is bigly.   I will have to look for an eyeliner pencil that can be sharpened. Do I search in vain for the 24/7 Velvet pencil in Black? Do I look for a different brand?

This is so pathetic.  All because of a stubborn pencil that refuses to sharpen correctly!

No!!  I’m going to remedy this crisis and ask you to help me.  What eye pencils do you like?  What’s your favorite?  I need one that stays put, that glides on nicely and that sharpens well!

Can you help me?  Please?

On another note, I went beyond hitting pan earlier this evening.

When I arrive home from work, I like to relax in a soothing and hot bath. It is my “me” time and it’s better than drinking.  I save my aperitifs for the weekend.

Last year—or maybe the year before, Oona took a trip to Mackinac Island in Michigan.  ( My daughter has become a Mid-Westerner with Northeast political ideals!) I think she went to Wisconsin too. Regardless—she brought a jar of body scrub home for me. I’m a huge fan of body scrubs because they really do an excellent job of exfoliating the skin.

Anyway, I always had a jar of Bath and Body Works Orange Ginger Body Scrub on hand until they changed the thing to “Energy” and rebranded it and it became more difficult to find it in the stores.

Upon her return from Mackinac and Wisconsin, Oona gifted me with a jar of Cinnamon Clove Organic Body Polish by a brand-named Trillium.

This stuff lasted for a long, long time and was excellent.  It didn’t even smell of Cinnamon (not my favorite scent) but it smelled lightly of clove. Very relaxing and really made my crepey skin soft.  I hit to bottom of the jar tonight and am going to order a jar from the site.  It’s great stuff and you don’t need a pencil sharpener to enjoy it or reap the benefits.

I also didn’t need shaving cream for my legs with this stuff. I need a refill!!

It bothers me when a product doesn’t live up to what it should live up to.  Pencils need to be sharpened.   Why then, would a cosmetics company create a pencil that is near impossible to sharpen without wasting over half the product away?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all our crises were as “critical” as an eyeliner pencil?  Our world would be remarkable now—wouldn’t it?

It would be even better if we could solve world issues with eyeliner pencils and sharpeners. The country who gets the most wear out of the pencil without sharpening it would be the winner.

It’s a thought!

The eyes turned out very well today. Even with the plateau tip!!

Here’s a cool song “Lazy Eye”—Hmmmm it must’ve been written about me and my lazy eye!  Silversun Pickups. Maybe it’s a song about underperforming eyeliner pencil!

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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51 Responses to OMG!!! It’s a Crisis!!!!

  1. I would take your pencil back to Ulta. Sounds like it was defective. I return stuff there all the time. Good luck!

  2. Lynn McClain says:

    Throw away your sharpener. Head to Sephora and pick up the black automatic eyeliners by Lancôme or Marc Jacobs. Clinique makes a decent one, too. I use all of these and love them, plus they’re much more gentle on the aging eyelid.

    • Catherine says:

      LOL. Lynn, I got a good smile out of your comment. I DO need something more gentle on my eyelids because I’m always pulling on them. It’s not user friendly! I wrote in another comment that I’m a fan of Marc Jacobs products so this is a good thing–you are the second person to suggest Marc Jacobs! Thank you so much!!! Xoxoxoxo!!!!

  3. Miss Bougie says:

    The softer the pencil, the harder it is to sharpen. Reminds me of the kohl pencil I had in the 70’s. Very difficult to get a pointy tip. I remember sharpening it with a kitchen knife, “woodsmen” style.

    Nowadays I use Smashbox Always Sharp 3D eye liner. It has a built in sharpener in the twist of top, so it stays always sharp. I use 3D Orchid, which is a violet, as I have green eyes. There are many more colours available. Since I found this pencil I haven’t strayed. I find it’s the best I’ve come across.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi B, Hmmm. The idea of a self-sharpening pencil is a good one. I didn’t even think of Smashbox. Thanks for the heads up. And I’ve thought of using the woodsmen technique but with my clumsy luck I would end up cutting a finger off!!! xoxoxoxo!!!

  4. Anna Barrow says:

    I use Bobby Brown Long Wear eye liner in black and have been doing so for 3 years.It comes in a pot and you need to apply with a small brush AND it stays all day !
    Greetings from the UK – I have been following your blog for a few months. Its a real humorous, informative breath of fresh air. I always look forward to them ……

  5. jilly tamba-nhabay says:

    Good morning from north of Scotland Catherine.
    I can totally relate to your problem, I returned one pencil and was told by the snooty sales person that ‘of course it wouldn’t sharpen, I hadn’t purchased their OWN sharpener !
    I wasn’t told of the magic properties of their own sharpener and advised to buy one at time of purchase, had I been I would have left both on the counter and walked away. What a con ! like buying a dress and being told that it could only be washed in the manufacturer’s own ( very expensive ) laundry soap !
    I’ve never actually found an eyeliner, far less a tightliner that stayed put for more than the time it took me to arrive wherever I was going without circling my eyes like a raccoon , any help here guys ?

    J xx

    • Juliet says:

      That’s actually so awful it’s funny! Greetings from Glasgow btw

    • Catherine says:

      Jilly. I love your comparison!!! And for some reason, I’ll bet that many companies change up the width of their pencils within milligrams for that very reason. They probably make sharpeners that only fit their pencils. What a crock!! I’m going to return what is left of the pencil just to see what the reaction will be!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  6. Francesca says:

    It will sound crazy but the tip came from a make up artist and worked for me with a khol pencil. Keep the pencil in the freezer. As Miss Bougie said: the softer the pencil, the harder it is to sharpen. Give it a try. If it does not work, return it.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Francesca! The chillling of the pencil is getting a TON of love here. After I finish my evening’s writing, I’m going upstairs to put those pencils in the deep freeze!!!! Thank you so much!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  7. fiona says:

    Hi Catherine
    I would return it also, it isn’t fit for purpose. Failing that, try putting it in the fridge/freezer for an hour or so before you sharpen it and see if that helps. xxx

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Fiona! It seems like the consensus is to return–which I will. It’ll also give me an exuse to go back to Ulta! I;m also going to start using my freezer for cosmetics pencils!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  8. Juliet says:

    Just a quick thought re the breaking pencil – can you firm it up a little before you sharpen it by putting in the refrigerator for an hour or so before you sharpen? Obviously once it is done, store it as usual – that’s worked for me in the past

    • Catherine says:

      Juliet–the fridge solution is getting a lot of love here! I’m definitely going to be doing that and hoping Bonaparte doesn’t think it is a new-fangled snack item!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  9. hipchick66 says:

    I use only 3 brands for tightlining, and they all work well and sharpen well. The original UD 24/7 pencil, MAC PowerPoint and Sephora (can’t remember the name but it’s waterproof and a thin pencil). Also a suggestion, put your UD pencil in the fridge for a bit before sharpening. I don’t need to do that with the pencils I use, but have used that trick for other pencils. Oh, and I use a round metal sharpener, it’s always been the best for me.

    • Catherine says:

      Yeah–Lori!! I LOVED the original UD 24/7. It wasn’t at Ulta in my color last time and now I’m thinking–was it discontinued? I don’t remember seeing it at all! It was a great pencil! Sephora’s brand has been very hit or miss for me. Their liquid eyeliner was a miss but if you recommend the pencil, I may try it–we both have a lot in common!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

      • hipchick66 says:

        Sephora still has the regular UD, so does urban The Sephora pencil is called 12 hour wear. Hope you find something you like!

      • Catherine says:

        I just sent an email to Urban Decay and PM’s their FB page. Yeah. I hope I find something too. I’m sure I’ll go back to the Urban Decay Velvet 24/7 but it’s so frustrating!!! Have a great night Lori!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  10. Bridget says:

    Hi Catherine ~ I had the same thing happen with a pencil I bought and it made me so angry! I have had good luck with Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner pencils, and Lune & Aster pencils. They work for me for tightlining.

    Not related to this, but an article I thought you might appreciate:

    • Catherine says:

      Bridget. I have to go off the pencil topic here and give you a huge THANK YOU. Who is this Sali Hughes? I’m feeling myself on the verge of being obsessed with her. That article rang so true–she’s great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am familiar with BB but I don’t think Lune & Aster is sold anywhere near me!! XOXOXOXO!!!!!

      • Bridget says:

        Catherine – I have just recently become aware of Sali Hughes – she is a British style/fashion writer (who I now stalk on Twitter).

        Lune & Aster is the “store” brand at Blue Mercury – if nothing else, stop in the next time you’re in Center City at the Walnut Street store. The products are really nice (at least those I have tried so far), and the eye pencils are $22.00, so about the same as what you usually pay. 🙂

      • Catherine says:

        I have to check this out. There’s a Blue Mercury in Wayne so I wouldn’t even have to trek to Center City. I need to make a trip to Blue Mercury because I’ve only been there once and didn’t have time to look around!!! THanks for the tip!! XOXOXOXO

      • Bridget says:

        P.S. She also lead me to this, which has a lot of interesting stuff:

  11. patricia blaettler says:

    i am loyal to L’Oreal pencil perfect self-advancing eye liner. No need to sharpen. Lasts a looong time. $12.00

  12. Momcat says:

    Hi Catherine,
    I recently purchased Marc Jacobs Highliner Matte pencil in ‘ Iron’ which is a very dark grey it has its own little sharpener built right the bottom of the pencil. It has excellent staying power and goes on very smooth. Having been a life long contact lens wearer ( wore gas permeable’s which are hard and recently switched to soft torik lenses) I am ULTRA choosey about eye make up. No sparkles or glitter or flakey crap allowed. The MJ pencil is pricey but I figured that if it was a fail I can return it to Sephora. I stopped tight lining after I started getting these GROSS styes in the left eye right on the water line. Not the fault of tight lining just hmmmm getting older according to the eye doctor. Eye isn’t as moist and the follicles or little pores clog more easily producing these pus filled atrocities. Now I just stick to the lash line under the eye. I do go between the upper lashes for a fuller look because I rarely wear mascara. Good luck but like the other’s above I’d say take that pencil back and ask for another or your money back. Make up companies DO NOT like bad press,
    my sister in law was a sales rep with Maybelline for many years. I had purchased a lipstick that gave me lip hives and she told me to return it to the retailer and if they gave me a hard time to ask for the company’s 1-800 number. I did and no issue with the return ( it doesn’t cost the retailer a cent as the product is ‘ written off’ by the manufacterer)

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks Momcat! I am a huge fan of Marc Jacobs foundation and the contour powder. Perhaps it is time for me to check out his eye liner pencils. I just went on the site and they are $25. that’s pricey but not much more than the Urban Decay. Wow! You know–I’m a very good “complainer” because I do it with humor and I didn’t give much thought to returning a pencil that is half sharpened but the more comments I receive about it, I’m going to move forward with it! Thanks!!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!

  13. Margaret says:

    I don’t tightline because my eyes are too sensitive, but I do use BE shadows and use a few of their dark shades with their liner brush to line my eyes outside of the water lines. I agree with the others here and would definitely return it to the store or contact UD and make some noise. It’s unbelievable how everything is made so cheaply these days!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Margaret! You know, I am going to write to Urban Decay. I should post on their FB page because I’m so upset about this. Actually, I just PM’d their FB page. Let’s see what happens!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!!

  14. doodletllc says:

    First of all, I sliced the corona of my eye with a brand new hard pencil…yikes…and then we got on a plane for Disney World…I had to go to the Disney medical clinic (yes, there are clinics tastefully hidden around the parks) and I was transported to a local medical center…yikes, yikes. I use the soft pencils now (blue is my favorite) and have the same problem with the sharpening and the tip turning to mush. Self-sharpening can be the way to go, but the colors are basic. So Marc Jacobs gets good marks?…where can you get Marc Jacobs? On line? I can’t go without my eyeliner. 🙂

  15. Rachel says:

    Man, I’d be raging about sharpening away most of my pencil!! Can you return it with got stock pile of shavings?
    I swear by a YSL one. Yes, it’s dear, but it’s soft and the only one that sticks to my waterline at all, and it doesn’t come off as black “sleeps” (the stuff that kids have in the corner of their eyes on waking).

    • Catherine says:

      Rachel. I reblogged this post. I received a ridiculous formulatic response from Urban Decay. I’m honestly rethinking purchasing anything from the company. Another company that is shilling their special sharpener and patronizing the mature woman in such a condescending tone. I happen to like YSL’s beauty products so I’m sure it’s a great one! XOXOXOXO!!!

      • Rachel says:

        I can’t believe they suggested the only way you (!!) could solve the problem with THEIR product would be by buying another thing from them. They could at least have graciously offered you a refund instead. Not cool.

  16. Catherine says:

    Reblogged this on Atypical 60 and commented:

    I need to reblog this post because I’m so grateful for all the wonderful responses and suggestions. Man. I love you so much. I have THE best blog readers on earth!
    And secondly, because I HAVE to share the response Urban Decay sent me. I am not happy with the patronizing tone. Thoughts?

  17. Redabuk says:

    Wait! “Mature” make up lovers?!? Who’s that?!? Love you Catherine!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Redabuk. Yeah. W. T. F.???? I”m glad I hit pan on my Naked palettes–I refuse to repurchase. I’m soooooooooooo sick and tired of how older women are patronized –it really hit a nerve!! I’m appreciating the love–thank you!!! XOXOXOXO

  18. Cathe says:

    I had a similar experience with an Aveda pencil. I took it back and was told it was my sharpener. Apparently they get dull overtime. Sure enough a new sharpener did the trick! Still have the pencil 3 years later. I’m like you, I never throw makeup out.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Cathe. I have quite a few sharpeners. But I’m just so pissed off at UD now that I ended up throwing the pencil in the trash. It was a waste of money for me and today I’m using the cheapo elf pencil and it’s working fine. That pencil is one of the very, very, very few items I’ve ever thrown out. It killed me to do it–absolutely killed me-it was throwing money in the garbage!! Oy!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

      • Catherine Farrington says:

        Sometimes it’s better to get rid of something that eats away your time! Sounds like a good choice. BTW, love your blog ❤️

  19. Suzy C. says:

    Patronizing and just a fill in the blank type of response. If they are so certain that their pencil isn’t suffering in quality, they should have sent you one ALONG with a new sharpener. What would that cost them, really? 3 bucks? Geeze. I love my Naked eye shadow palette as well. I thought I would NEVER leave my favorite brand of 40 plus years – but the UD Naked eye shadows go on and stay on the best. Glad to know to beware of their eye liner pencils. PS. I was born and lived in Phila for 25 years. LOVE IT! Take care!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Suzy! Right?? I wasn’t even asking for anything either. Patronizing is such bullshit. I’ve been very brand loyal but my loyalty just ran out. LOL!! Where in Philly? Center City??? Do you travel back?? XOXOXOXO!!!

  20. Margaret says:

    That’s a condescending brush-off if I ever saw one, and I find it offensive too. I won’t be purchasing anything from them again. There are plenty of competitors who have better customer service than this!

  21. julie says:

    Am I the only one obsessed with Laura Mercier tightline? Its like an eyeshadow that you use a wet brush with, mix a little water until it becomes thick like shoe polish. I am not coordinated enough to use a pencil, I always end up with the top liner coming off on my bottom waterline, not a look I like.
    Also, return return return! I never abuse the return policy at Ulta, Nord or Sephora but will for sure return stuff I don’t like. I have always wondered what they do with the returned items?

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Julie! Thick like shoe polish? I’m going to check this stuff out. Mercier is a French brand so I think I’ll check it out when we are over there to see if the price is better! I can tell you that at Nordstrom, the returned makeup is thrown out–as is underwear. Depending on the “age” of the handbags, the newer ones in pristine condition will go back on the floor. Older ones will be sent to Rack–if in bad shape they will be marked “damaged” and I have no idea where they go from there. XOXOXOxO!!!

      • julie says:

        I also meant to say that the Bobbi Brown Art Stick also has its own “special” sharpener!! OMG! I misplaced mine, got on the website, couldn’t find a replacement to BUY, live chatted with an agent only to be told that you can’t buy a replacement! WTF! Am I the only person who misplaces a sharpener???? Luckily I have a wonderful Nord beauty stylist who I quickly texted, she replied that the sharpeners are a hot commodity and couldn’t find one at the counter. This amazing lady later snapped a pic of a sharpener amongst a pile of products in a drawer. She gave me her own!!!!! HOLY customer service! If you ever need another contact for beauty, let me tell you that this gal is amazing, and the samples!!! YASSSS she sets me up so when I travel I have nice packets, no need to worry about the 3 oz rule!

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