I have a theory that the people at Bic have at least a small stake in the beauty industry. Firstly, the company's full name is sexy and French— Société Bic— as is 75% of everything beauty-related. Secondly, the brand is known for their ballpoint pens and lighters, both of which are slowly but surely falling out of favor, what with iPhones (I wrote my senior thesis in Marker Felt font in Notes) and cancer, leaving the Bic C-suite red-faced and ripping their hair out. “We must keep pens relevant!” they shout, shaking their fists at the heavens. So what do they do? They invent and patent beauty pens, and then license the designs to brands. They didn't charge YSL, though, who popularized the beauty pen craze with Touche Éclat , and because they're also French. (I'm making all of this up.) And thus, a new generation of sleek, convenient, and portable product is born, running the gamut from blushes to teeth whiteners:
Clinique De-Puffing Eye Massage
Here we have a good, old-fashioned ballpoint-variety pen. You may be familiar with roll-on perfumes, but the metal ball delivery system is best taken advantage of when used for under-eye products. The perma-cool rolling tip helps massage away bags while dispensing brightening serum. And if you're a germaphobe, the pen eliminates the alarming notion of dipping your bacteria-laden finger into an open pot of product.
Trish McEvoy Instant Pick-Me-Up Lips
Regardless of applicator, this self-adjusting lip gloss stain is pretty great at developing from sheer to the perfect shade of cool pink. The cheesy name is actually quite befitting — it's a nice product to have on hand to brighten up your face when that wave of boring dullness sets in around 4pm.
Dior Instant French Manicure Pen
This is for those who have zero dexterity with a nail-polish brush. Similar to paint pens, the pointed felt tip dispenses a thin layer of opaque paint with which to paint your low-calcium, yellowy nail lengths a healthier, prettier shade of white. I prefer it in conjunction with a tinted top coat like Dior's Nail Glow to take down the starkness and add shine.
Ellis Faas Blush
Did you have a weird, almost perverted obsession with gel pens as a kid? Meet Ellis Faas: a makeup line comprised almost entirely of pens. They also offer a specialized polished chrome container in which to store them — because any pen fetishist knows that drawers, pockets, and tabletops won't do.
Essie The Cuticle Pen
This product might be worth the irritating three minutes you spend endlessly twisting the opposite end of the cylinder to coax the product out of the brush (the one flaw of many brush-ended beauty pens — take note, Bic). Cuticle oils are a nice idea, but hardly worth remembering. Get in the habit by keeping one of these little yellow guys at your desk to brush on whenever you receive your twice-daily Groupon emails.
Givenchy Mister Light
Worth noting solely for being the fuller-coverage answer to Touche Éclat.
Make Up For Ever Calligraphy Brush
While not technically a pen, it is designed to mimic calligraphy pen, so it counts for our purposes here. The tapered square shape lends itself to both thick and thinner strokes, and with enough practice, it will give you that effortless, one-stroke flick at the corners of your eyes.
LCN Care Pen with Calcium
Like topical steroids for your fingertips, the felt-tipped marker dispenses a sheer layer of fortifying calcium to bare nails. Its three replacement tips included on the opposite end imply that you should apply with such vigor and frequency that the tip would need to be replaced before finishing all 5ml.
Go Smile On The Go
This is the most mindless teeth-brightening product next to whitening toothpaste. In fact, keep it next to your whitening toothpaste, and simply brush on after each sink session. (Or keep it at your desk, in your purse... any other place that “on-the-go' products are stashed.) The hydrogen-peroxide formula is gentle and has a pleasant minty flavor.
Make Brow Pen
The tiny felt brush is the perfect tool for drawing the tiny brow hairs that you can never get to look natural with a pencil. And the light taupe shade, Calm, is perfect for enhancing even dark brows ever so slightly — just color in the areas between the hairs. It leaves no waxy or powdery build-up on the brow hairs, just shading the skin beneath.
Trish McEvoy Beauty-To-Go Refillable Pen
Full coverage, medium, sheer, shimmery, matte—doesn't matter. This pen literally can't tell the difference as long as your favorite foundation is in liquid form. And because it's an inanimate object. Just fill the twist-apart tube with your brand of choice, pop back in, and click to dispense the product into the brush tip. It's the perfect way to travel with liquid foundation in your carry-on.
Photos by Mathea Millman.