L’oreal Hip Kohl Liners vs Guerlain Terracotta Kohl Loose Powder

Today we are going to compare and contrast two similar looking products – Guerlain’s Terracotta Loose Kohl liners and the newly released L’oreal HIP Kohl Eyeliners.

Loose powder eyeliner is a funny one. It can be messy. It gets in your eyes. You don’t get much powder for your money. On the other hand, loose powder kohls can give a softer, smouldering look compared to a gel liner or a pencil. It’s more likely to come of on my waterline than a pencil (I have weepy wet eyes that pencils don’t seem to like). Many report them to last extremely well.

This is my personal collection:


Dude! I can’t believe I paid for every single one of these buggers.

Here is the Guerlain. It’s in a very sexy gold topped bottle, stunning! You get a very measly 1g for £20. (I know what you are thinking other half – and no, I can’t take them back). That works out as £1958.00 per 100g. Yes, read that again. This stuff is more expensive than diamond dust!*

*(I don’t actually know what diamond dust costs, or of what use it would be to anyone)


The L’oreal HIP, in a chubbier, uglier bottle but its ok. The lid seems to be a homage to the Guerlain but it just looks like the head of a teletubby:

Google Image Result for http___www.greenpeace.org_raw_image_full_international_photosvideos_photos_toxic-teletubby.jpg.jpg

It kind of obvious that the Guerlain looks better, but darhling – the HIP costs $13 for 1.5g. Thats $876 per 100g. You shouldn’t expect faux gold for that price.

This is what the applicator looks like:


On the left is the Guerlain which is a solid stick applicator – perfect for poking yourself in the eye at 7am in the morning when you can’t see a thing. The L’Oreal one is a thinish sponge tip.


Now – I’ll tell you that my first experience with the L’Oreal HIP was a success. I was using the burgundy one and it looks really good! I love the sponge applicator (more on this later) and it really got me thinking….why was I paying £20 per Guerlain Kohl, compared to the £9-£10 (with the damn exchange rate) for the HIP (I actually paid less….see end of the post).

However…when I did the first proper swatch, comparing the too blacks it was painful clear which kohl was more pigmented, smoother and true:


This was with one swipe. The HIP has a more powdery, crumbly texture ad you can see from the small particles. Don’t forget this is a Kohl. A kohl, by tradition, should be a very intense, smokey pencil.

This was the blues:


Once again no comparison in terms of pigmentation.

Swatches with flash:


No Flash:


Names of colours, from my fuzzy memory:



Guerlain’s packaging is really nice and it’s pretty obvious that it would be the winner – it’s inline with the rest of the Guerlain looks, luxurious and pretty. There’s nothing wrong with the HIP packaging though, apart from the fact that the lid reminds me of Po (of teletubbies). The HIP packaging is quite secure, a screw on lid type, the Guerlain is a little bit more contentious, I think more product could potentially fall out of it if you were to drop it (and each tiny particle is like what – £5?!)


Guerlain 1 Hip 0


HIP’s colour range is somewhat of an obvious but very wearable range of colours. Black, gold, blue, plum…you know the obvious shades. They can work for anyone, any skintone, there’s nothing horrid but nothing amazing there either.

The Guerlain colour range also has the black, blue, brown colours – conceived slightly differently – the colours are a little less metallic and shiny than the HIP. However – Guerlain’s has some real knock out colours – Oriental Metal and Oriental Bronze (both LE but you CAN still find them on eBay and some other websites like escentual.com) just gives me judders – they are stunning. They are colours that have something very fine, unique and high end about them – I would imagine HIP’s version of it would be a Olive Khaki Green, which would still be lovely but is like comparing walking in Timberland Boots with Jimmy Choos.


Guerlain 2 Hip 0


As you can see from the swatches the Guerlain is FAR more pigmented – much than I actually realised because HIP is not actually bad at all for pigment – it just isn’t as amazing as the Guerlain.


Guerlain 3 Hip 0


A lot of people are cautious of using loose Kohl liners because of the loose issue – will it go everywhere? Will I get it in my eye? Well…yes and no. Both of these get into my eye when I apply. Putting powder that close to your eye kind of guarantees it will get into your eye, even if it is only small particles. I noticed it more with Guerlains and it took a few good blinks to get them (eyes) back to normal again – I have sensitive eyes so that amount of powder feels huge in there.

On the other hand, there isn’t any long standing irritation. Once the initial discomfort is gone my eyes feel fine for the rest of the day.

Now I said I liked HIP’s sponge applicator more than the Guerlain stick because the stick doesn’t give at all (being solid, like). HOWEVER – the HIP sponge creates far more dust and fallout because it is by nature – a sponge! To the point that when I was swatching, the Guerlain was fine but the HIP spat out quite a lot of bit of dust I had to blow away.


Guerlain 4 HIP 0


The most traditional way to apply kohl is to use the stick and place it along the waterline and blink, whilst pulling it out at of the other end* (I will embed a video of this technique at the end of this post). HOWEVER – this just isn’t possible with HIP since it is a spongy applicator. The best way with the hip is just to dab it along the waterline – easier for beginners if you ask me.

Guerlain’s stick is better for doing a dot of colour (say on the inner corners). L’oreal’s is safer to do this with since it’s sponge but creates a lot more fallout.

And although I admire the Guerlain method of closing your eyes and pulling the applicator out, I can’t quite to it to my delicate peepers…I’ve had too many pupil dilating drops in my eyes and lights shone down them to take risks.


Guerlain 4 HIP 1


For a Kohl, ideally you want something very very fine (this is going to be next to your eyeball) and non irritating. There was no doubt that the Guerlain was silky smoth and rich. L’oreal’s is much more like a loose pigment eyeshadow (like a MAC pigment – golden lemon, golden olive – that sort of fine yet still chunky looking powder). HIP tkaes 2 coats at least to make the colour opaque and true – Guerlain’s only needs of swipe.


Guerlain 5 HIP 1


Some people find that loose powder kohls smudge easier on them because of their powdery texture – others find it lasts longer than normal liners like pencil.

For me, I find that the liner is effective at staying put althought with my weepy eyes there is usually a smidgen of smudging just underneath my eye that can be easily wiped away. The line doesn’t stay perfect as such, but the colour is very much still there for the while day. I’d say that these two were pretty much equal on that.

Guerlain 6 HIP 2


Guerlains is £20 or $33 for 1 gram.
L’oreal HIP’s is $13 or £9 for 1.5 grams.


Guerlain 6 Hip 3



In many ways, this isn’t quite a fair contest. Guerlain’s is better in many many ways but it also costs double. L’oreal HIP’s is actually a VERY GOOD loose powder liner (but I won’t say Kohl – I don’t think the colours are intense enough) – it just isn’t as good in a side by side test with Guerlain’s but quite frankly, if you are on a budget, I think you would still enjoy using the HIP.

When it comes to the basic colours, like Black, Brown and Blue by all means get the HIP. For special colours like the Oriental Metal and Bronze, and even Glow, I’d get Guerlain. If money is no object get Guerlain. If you have a make up sickness get both. Like me.

I bought the L’oreal HIP from eBay – there are lots of sellers on there selling the liners in a set of 5 for around £25 (five of them for the cost of one Guerlain!).

….to be honest there’s no reason why you can’t use your pigments with a drop of water to make it into a liner, or good old eyeshadow wet…these liners are definitely a luxury item.

Video of Guerlain Kohl Application:

Phew! I am exhausted now. Pass the coffee…

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  1. says

    LOL – the HIP liners do look like Po!
    I really wanted a Guerlain liner – despite the expense, looks like it’s a need now rather than a want 😉 x

  2. says

    Thanks! I almost picked one (or two since they were bogo) at the drugstore…but then I realized that I still love my Stila smudge pots no matter what

    P.S I though diamond dust should be dirt cheap since diamond only has value as a gem when it’s up to certain size weight, and the price go up (or down) exponentially …that’s it to say, if someday people decided to grind the heart of African to dust …it will be worthless…

    • Row says

      Hey Citrine

      Ok so now I’ve learnt something about diamond dust! I haven’t touched my smudgepots for a while infact I haven’t been near stila for a while!

  3. silvia tejera says

    i am driving crazy looking for the shade ORIENTAL BRONZE in guerlain, please if any of you know where to find it let me know! thanks a lot

    • Row says

      Hi Silvia

      I’ll keep my eyes peeled – have you tried all your counters? I found some of them have lots of older LE ones in stock

  4. silvia says

    hi, thanx for your comment! i have checked everywhere…i want it so bad..please if you find me let me know, i´d be soo happy!

    • Row says

      Hey Vanessa!

      I am doing a comparison between two creamy kohls soon, stay tuned :) x

  5. Tara says

    How does the hip kohl work as an upper lash liner? I just ordered one of ebay and I’m hoping to use it as an eyeliner, not just on the waterlines. Thanks

  6. says

    Wow, I’m glad I read this review and watched the video. I never knew exactly how to handle that stuff, and I am always tempted to buy some and invariable put it back thinking it will be a hassle. I can’t wait to get some and try it out now, thanks for a very informative article and a great tip. BTW, is anyone here old enough to remember the Kohl you could buy at the drugstore in the 1970s that came in the little red terracotta urn containers? I think Revlon used to make it. Wish I could find that again.