(If you think they're like apples to orange roughies, though, you are legally free to flame me in the comments section below.)
Here's the packaging for the NYC pencil I received. I opened my e.l.f. pencil several years ago; and since my last name is not Collyer, I do not still have the packaging for it. Rest assured, it was also some variation on translucent plastic glued to a thin piece of cardboard.
I like how they said 'Made in PRC' instead of 'Made in China'.
Note the claims that the product has a '[l]ong-wearing formula' and is 'smudge-proof'. I was doubtful of these claims, but decided to give it a trial out in the real world anyway--I was just going to dinner alone, and was okay with being the crazy raccoon-eyed lady to my waitress and fellow bus riders.
On the eyes:
Though it may not be as obvious in the photos, the glitter in the NYC pencil was much more noticeable than the e.l.f. pencil's shimmer. However, the NYC glitter was somewhat chunky, and not always evenly distributed.
In the photos below, I used a shadow from a NYX palette for the browbone highlight; Wet 'n' Wild ColorIcon pencil in taupe for the brows, mixed with whatever was left over from the previous day on my angled brush; and L'Oreal Infallible eyeshadow in Sultry Smoke (a.k.a. Pebble Grey).
Infallible? Certainly not when applied to dry, sleep-deprived, wind-weathered skin--which I hope you'll forgive me for. Nevertheless, I continued with the product because 1) it's a cool-toned grey, which matched with my cool-toned shirt; 2) it's a mostly matte shade, which kept it from interfering with my liner-focussed tests of shimmery-ness; and 3) I didn't feel like using an ogdoad of shadows. The shadow was applied with my fingers, after I found that it was not so cooperative with a brush.
I used an angled liner brush to lightly smudge out the eyeliners.
You can see in the last photo that the NYC liner was already beginning to smudge past my bottom lash line. Not too promising, unfortunately. Then again, due to my eye shape, almost all liners do at least a small amount of smudging, especially soon after application, before they're completely set.
|(Your) left: e.l.f.; right: NYC.|
Both, I feel, looked okay after this reasonably short period of time. However, I'd also been careful to abstain from rubbing my eyes, wiping them when they watered, going diving or doing other things that I normally do when I wear (more trusted) eyeliner. Like my Urban Decay 24/7 black glitter eyeliner pencil in Oil Slick, for example.
However, when I got some of the NYC liner on my finger during application, it rubbed away easily and quickly.
Packaging: e.l.f.'s shimmer pencil comes with a sharpener built into the cap, which was convenient; NYC's doesn't come with any sharpener. On the other hand, the plastic cap housing the sharpener broke off easily. I slightly prefer the sturdier NYC one, in that respect.
Texture/Appliaction: e.l.f.'s is waxy, which makes it harder to work with; occasionally, clumps will come off. The texture is the same as their normal Essential Brightening liners. NYC's is much better--though not as creamy as, say, Urban Decay's, or any of the liquid-like pencils. However, the chunky glitter in the NYC one does make it less suitable for tightlining or for the waterline.
Glitter: For the black colour at least, NYC's is definitely better. While the other shades of the e.l.f. shimmer pencils are quite shiny, the black one is not very different from the normal matte one. If you were to point at your eyes and shout 'LOOK! GLITTER!', then your victim would respond, 'Huh?... oh, okay, there. I see some.' with the NYC pencil. With the e.l.f. one, however, their ADHD might take hold of them before they notice anything.
If you really want glitter, you should definitely go with a glitter liquid eyeliner.
Longevity: Both are relatively poor. The NYC one smudged very soon after application, and its glitter travelled as well. When I've used the e.l.f. one in the past, however, it faded quickly, and was very prone to smudging when tightlined with. Both will smudge/disappear easily if you make contact with them.
However, if you don't usually have a lot of trouble with non-long-wear liners, these might work just fine for you. Again, my monolids can be a little finicky with eyeliners; and allergies and contact lenses cause me to touch my eyes often.
Price: NYC retails for US$2.50; e.l.f. retails for US$1.00. However, price can vary greatly by retailer; I know that e.l.f. products cost somewhat more at brick-and-mortar resellers than they do online/from the manufacturer.
Also, drugstores may have different promotions; e.l.f. has their own promotions on their site as well, although these oftentimes just offer some free product, rather than being a direct price discount.
Availability: I believe that NYC products are only available within the USA and Canada, at drugstores. (Where I live, I only see it sold at Rite Aid; CVS stopped making the brand available at their stores some time ago.) e.l.f. is available online in the UK and most of continental Europe, but not at physical stores like in North America.
Which is better?: I personally would not go out and buy either, lest I was in special circumstances; needed a liner in an emergency, and in some dystopic world these were the only somewhat-suitable items; or had a sudden lapse of discretion (which is why I have the e.l.f. pencil). While I do prefer the NYC pencil as a product, in any of the more likely situation in which I'd have to purchase either, I'd just take the cheaper one (e.l.f.'s).
Besides,I personally don't like glitter so much--there are classier things I could wear. Like a sock monkey suit.
Note: This review contains one product (NYC) that was sent to me free of charge for feedback; the other product (e.l.f.) was purchased with my own funds. Opinions for both are my own. I was not compensated for writing this review.