Kat Von D Ink Liner in Trooper Review & Swatches

Good news and bad news. Bad news? My beloved Chanel Écriture de Chanel Eyeliner Pen already dried out! After a couple of months and probably less than 20 uses, it decided to just die on me. :( This drives me a little mad because I paid so much for it! But the good news, it led me to find something cheaper that I now love even more (much more in fact)! Blacker, richer with a finer tip. Enter Kat Von D Ink Liner in Trooper!

Kat Von D Ink Liner in Trooper
Kat Von D Ink Liner in Trooper

If you know Kat Von D, you know her signature eyeliner look. And if anyone could create the best black liquid eyeliner, it would probably be her. The brand makes 2 versions of their liquid eyeliner: Tattoo Liner and Ink Liner. And the confusing thing is both have Trooper as their black shade name. The Tattoo one has a brush tip, though, whereas the Ink one has a felt tip. Reviewing today is the Ink Liner version. :D

The pen is a shake-and-apply, felt-tip style with a cap that snaps shut with a loud click! I have had this pen for a couple of months now and with almost daily use, everything still feels like new. The tip still maintains its super fine shape (no fray in sight!), the ink still flows smoothly, and the black is still jet black just like when it first came out. So yes, I have high hope for this pen to outlast the Chanel one by a long shot!

Kat Von D Ink Liner in Trooper
Kat Von D Ink Liner in Trooper
Kat Von D Ink Liner in Trooper
Kat Von D Ink Liner in Trooper

The formula is waterproof, budge proof, and flake-free. I have worn it with and without eye primer and eyeshadow and I'm happy to report that it performs well in all conditions tested. The line always looks fresh and maintains its slightly glossy finish at the end of day/night until you remove it (and you will need one of those dual-phase eye makeup removers to take it off completely).

The black ink flows smoothly to the tip so you don't need to shake it again in the midst of application. The fine tip is super precise and deposits smooth and even pigment in one stroke. Achieving a crisp line is always effortless with this pen. The tip is rather firm but is still flexible enough that you can flick easily to create a winged-out look without tugging the skin. Going back and forth over the line does not move the existing layer so you can keep building the intensity as much as you need. The tricky part, just like with most liquid eyeliners, is that it sets very quickly so there's not much room for mistakes. A steady hand is always a must! :)

Kat Von D Ink Liner in Trooper
Kat Von D Ink Liner in Trooper

For those who prefer a natural look, this pen is perfect for you as well because it can really get between the lashes. On minimal makeup days, I just wiggle the tip between the lash roots to give an illusion of thicker, denser lashes without looking obvious like I just apply a black liner. And if you wear falsies, you can also use it to cover up the lash band for a more polished look (like I did in the close-up photo at the end of this post).


There are 4 liners currently in my rotation right now: Kat Von D Ink Liner, Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner, Etude House Drawing Show Brush Liner, and Marc Jacobs Magic Marc’er Precision Pen.

As you can see in the swatch comparison below, the Kat Von D is almost as black as the Marc Jacobs one! Compared to the Stila one (which has a finer tip), it doesn't go on as ultra fine but the difference is very minute, 1 mm apart in thickness perhaps. The Etude House one doesn't really fit in with the group because it has a brush tip but I thought I'd throw it in anyway. :D  Also note how opaque the finish of the Kat Von D is! These lines were drawn in one pass. No layering. No going back and forth! :)

L-R: Kat Von D Ink Liner in Trooper, Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner, Etude House Drawing Show Brush Liner, and Marc Jacobs Magic Marc’er Precision Pen
L-R: Kat Von D Ink Liner in Trooper, Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner, Etude House Drawing Show Brush Liner, and Marc Jacobs Magic Marc’er Precision Pen

And here's how it looks on me. Notice the subtle shine? I like that it's not too shiny or too matte! :) I also used the pen to tight line to create an illusion of thicker and denser lashes!

Wearing Kat Von D Ink Liner in Trooper
Wearing Kat Von D Ink Liner in Trooper
Wearing Kat Von D Ink Liner in Trooper
Wearing Kat Von D Ink Liner in Trooper

To sum up, I am absolutely in love with the Kat Von D Ink Liner in Trooper! It is everything a great black liquid liner should be — smooth, jet black, precise, and long-lasting. Not to mention it is very reasonably priced, too! I'm just hoping that the tip won't fray and becomes too soft over time, at least not before the ink dries out! :)


US$18 at Sephora

฿800 at Sephora Thailand



  • Oh geez, Jaa! I did not know that they come in two versions! I just know that there was Trooper! I learned something today! HAHA! TY. Anyway, this is seriously beautiful! And there’s Etude House in the US? They’re everywhere here in Manila. Also, can you check out LORAC Front of the Line PRO Liquid Eyeliner? I’ve been wanting to get that, too, but Trooper is cheaper so i might have a change of heart. LOL. Thank you for the review, Jaa!

    • Actually a friend sent me the Etude House from Singapore! ^_^ I have the Lorac Front of the Line Pro liner but I honestly did not see anything great about it at all! The black is very diluted and it’s impossible to build up to an opaque black! I don’t know why everyone’s raving about it. I’m starting to think that I might have a bad batch because I bought it on sale for only $10! I gave up trying to make it work. At this point I think the Kat Von D is a better choice for me. :)

  • Hey Jaa, wow, so sorry to hear about the Chanel liner! I ended up giving mine to a friend because I just don’t use liquid liners that much. I should check with her to see how it’s doing!

    I know so many people who are fans of this liner, so I’m not surprised to hear you love it, too! You do such a wonderful line with liquid eyeliner: I need to learn a few tips and tricks from you! My line always breaks up when I try to wing it out with a liquid liner.

    • I can’t believe the Chanel one just dried out like that! I have the Marc Jacobs one for more than a year (oops!) and the ink is still super black and flowy! :D

      You may be putting too much pressure on the skin? Just glide it slowly. A steady hand and smooth flow of the ink is very important, too, in my opinion! Everybody plays a part! Both the user and the pen! :D Other than this, I really don’t have any other tips or tricks I’m afraid. :(

  • I’ve heard pretty amazing things about this eyeliner and you confirm them all! Yay :-) Loving the close ups again. I think I’m developing a product close-up obsession because of you >_<

    • Hehe it’s fun, isn’t it?! Amazing how you can see all the minute details that your naked eyes can’t see otherwise! Are you using a macro lens, too? :D

  • I didnt read anything or look at anything other than that background you have going on there Jaa lol. I was so mesmerized by it I stared at that ( and only that) in all the pictures and now…Im going to have to come back to read the rest of the post :)) ( yes im cwazy :)) )

  • this is my absolute FAVORITE black eyeliner of ALL time!! gives great ease of use and stays put!! i’ve literally bought 3 in the past 2 years! great review.

  • Oh! I really like the finish on this one. I want to wear liquid a bit more frequently but it’s always such a Goldilocks situation.

    • It took me a while to find something that I really like so I understand your pain! Here’s to hoping that you’ll find your perfect one soon! :)

  • Sounds awesome! :-D I’m sorry the Chanel one kind of let you down though – it seemed so promising! I have to give credit to my rather elderly Lancome Artliner one – although it has frayed a bit, and does now transfer a little, it’s been going strong for something like 3 years…

    • Lancome Artliner! Omg I totally forgot about it! I have it somewhere and I remember liking it! I need to dig it out and give it some love!

  • I was off liquid liner for a while, but now I have 3 to compare. There’s one by Dolly Wink, one by Bobbi Brown which is a gift, and another by Eyeko. I’m not sure if we have this at our local Sephora (haven’t stepped into one this year!) but something to look forward to when I finally do visit Sephora. LOL!

    • The whole year? Wow! Do you at least shop online? :D I’ve tried the Dolly Wink one (love) and also Eyeko (not so much hehe)! Looking forward to your review on the Bobbi Brown! :)

  • I don’t use liquid liners so much but I’ve heard so many things about this one! How is it compared to the Dolly Wink one?

    • The tip of the Dolly Wink one is much softer and so it’s easier to glide along the lash line. The ink is black and long-lasting, just like the Kat Von D. :)

  • Hi Jaa, I just reviewed this eyeliner not that long ago and I agree with everything you said. This eyeliner is the bomb! I am so envious of your eyeliner skills, the line looks absolutely flawless! Any tips?

    • Thanks, Agata! I really don’t have any special tips or anything but as I was just telling Sunny that I try to move my hand slowly and steadily along my lash line. The smooth ink flow and jet black coverage really helps a lot, too, because you don’t have to go back and forth to fix the line! :)

  • This is gorgeous! Love the finish and that precision tip to get between lashies on days you may just want to accentuate you eyes a little bit.. Great price too! Thanks Jaa1

    • Exactly! I really love this pen because it can do so much. Affordable price only makes it that much more awesome! :)

      • I have used the tattoo liner and I honestly think it’s the best liner I’ve ever tried. I have really struggled to get a fine and precise line. I’ve tried Loreal, Maybelline, MAC, Laura Mercier, Smashbox, and Bobbi Brown gels. And then I have different Sigma and MAC brushes – can’t get it right. Well, not easily. With the tattoo liner, it was like 2 seconds. I was speechless. It must be the brush and the tip. Here’s my only issue with it and I wrote to the company as well to see if they could offer a solution. After 5-6 uses, the ink flow would just stop on me (UGGH!) and I’d push on the tip and swirl it on my hand and it would start up again. I store the pen down and tightly cap it so I’m not sure why this is happening. I might just get another one and see if it happens again but otherwise, the tattoo liner is a must have. Really great results.

        • That’s odd! I’ve never had such problem with mine. Were you able to exchange it? And I agree, it’s so easy to draw lines and create sharp wings with this liner! I’d categorize it into a “must-have” item as well!

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