How to Rescue a Dried-Out Gel Eyeliner Using Make Up Store Mixing Liquid & Bobbi Brown Gel Liner

By | August 4 2011 | 30 Comments

gel liner

Anyone who’s into gel liners knows just how revered Bobbi Brown’s Long Wear offerings are, and they’re lauded for a reason: they’re blimmin’ excellent. Dense and creamy, absolutely saturated with colour, long-wearing and easy to use, they’re the best I’ve ever tried, and yup, they’d want to be at €22 a pot.

The problem with Bobbi’s linery offerings – and pretty much all gel/cream liners – is that they’re prone to drying out. There are some things you can do to limit that like not leaving lids off for too long while you’re making your face up and screwing those lids on super-tightly, not leaving the pots in very warm rooms, but because these products are wet and creamy, the moisture will just eventually evaporate.

If you don’t use your liner quick enough, you’ll be left with a mini Gobi desert inside your expensive glass pot. That little feller above contains about a half quantity of Sapphire Shimmer, which a quick search through the blog reveals I bought back in 2008. Erk! It’s probably best off in the bin but as it’s not quite dead yet, merely stiff and not very workable, I wanted to see if I could resurrect it from its coma state.

Emboldened by my recent success at saving a shattered Inglot blusher, I got thinking. From watching YouTube tutorials on how to create lip palettes from lipstick bullets, I knew I’d need some heat. I also reckoned I’d need some sort of mixing medium, but as I’d never come across a gel liner fixin’ How To, for the rest of it, I was on my own.

Here’s what I improvised:

gel liner

So, what’ll you need? Bearing in mind this was pretty much trial and error on my part, I picked:

  1. Make Up Store Mixing Liquid. This is something you can use to make a liquid liner out of a loose pigment and so I reckoned it’d work well to mix with my gel to re-hydrate it
  2. You need to heat the dry-ish product with the mixing liquid in the microwave, so you need a suitable container. It should be fairly tiny, so an egg cup would be perfect. This espresso cup was handy, and about the right size
  3. The actual gel liner itself
  4. a knife (actually you’ll need two, as I discovered shortly!)
  5. a firm synthetic brush (another discovery towards the end of the process)

gel liner steps

And here’s what you do – it’s fierce easy.

  1. Scrape out the product from the pot and dump it into your little container – at this point I realised my gel liner wasn’t as dry at the base as it was at the top so it stuck to my knife, cue frantic running back to the cutlery drawer to snatch another to scrape the product off, and flick it into the cup
  2. There you go – product resting happily at the end of the cup, ready for step three
  3. Now add a drop or two of the mixing liquid – my gel liner wasn’t too dry, but I’m guessing if yours is very very dessicated you’ll need a little more
  4. Make sure to scrape out every scrap you can – I took this opportunity to clean the pot as well, ready for its new, 2.0 self. Now put your cup/receptacle in the microwave and blast on full power for 10 seconds. That was enough to turn my gel liner and liquid into a spongey mass. I gave it a very quick stir with a snipped-off Q Tip to make sure everything was blended, and shrugging my shoulders, decided it looked grand, and there probably wasn’t any point in blasting it further. Again, I think this is something you need to judge on a case-by-case basis – if your gel is dry as a bone it’ll need more liquid and more microwave time, but I think to be safe I’d go in increments of five seconds just to be sure to be sure
  5. I plopped it quickly back into its original pot and as you can see, it looks pretty loose and wormy right now, so it needed some tamping down
  6. I legged it again, this time to the bathroom to snatch a firm shadow placement brush which I used to quickly press the product into place

I then screwed the lid firmly onto the pot and left it for a bit.

So, did my ministrations work? Actually they did. The liner’s a little different to how it was when new, not quite so firm in texture (but neither is it as thin and fluid as the Catrice one, for example) and it seems to have lost some opacity too, though it’s still very buildable; another slight minus is wear doesn’t seem to be quite as amazing as it used to be. But I can use it again, which is the main thing, so all in all, I’d rate my rescue as pretty darn successful!

Blushers & Bronzers, Tutorials , , , ,

30 Replies to "How to Rescue a Dried-Out Gel Eyeliner Using Make Up Store Mixing Liquid & Bobbi Brown Gel Liner"

  • Orla says:

    Oooo!! Fab. I have a Mac one I want to ressurect. Chairs missus!

  • Briliant idea Kirstie, I’ll definitely be giving this a go to resurrect some of my gel liners.

  • ArtDonatella says:

    I know Inglot has a liquid especially created for stuff like this!

    I have a Smashbox cream liner and two Stila gel liners that are so, so dry, you cannot work with them anymore. And the worse thing is, I’ve never used the Smashbox one, was and still is brand new, the bastard :(

    Great tips, off to google ‘Makeup Store’ now.

  • Kirstie says:

    Oh you can get make up store in Arnotts, by the way!

  • Pinky says:

    oh my god this is so AMAZING! but i could cry cos it’s three weeks too late!

    i bought a dud eyeliner in The Loop but couldn’t return it a) because i lost the receipt and b) it’s in the airport and I can’t get all the way back there.

    So I threw it out and bought a new one. Kicking myself now! I could have done this…

    But it’s an ab fab post to be sure, I shall be bookmarking it!

  • I love this, it’s a great idea. I have two gel eyeliners that are dried out so will be trying this soon.

  • ZsaZsa says:

    Cool. I love it when you give us tips like this

  • rosey says:

    Love posts like this, especially the step by step pics. However the description ‘loose and wormy’ made me shudder!

  • Kirstie says:

    loooooooooooooooooose and worrrrrrrrrrmeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  • Lisa says:

    Would this work on Bobby Brown longwear cream eyeshadow? Mine has almost dried out after only 2 months…

  • Kirstie says:

    Lisa – sure it’d be worth a try anyway

  • rosey says:

    Kirsie arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! I can’t stop thinking of worms now! I think you need to compensate for my mental distress by sending me some award tickets :D

  • Chris says:

    This is a marvelous idea! I own many, many gel/cream liners. Some are still in the orginal packaging because I want to use up the ones I’ve already opened. If any of them dry out, I’ll use this trick to get them working again. Thanks, Kirstie!

  • Louise says:

    Hi, this is a great post. I have a bobbi brown gel eyeliner in Serpia and have been using it for some time. It’s always been dry, stupidly I thought it was meant to be like this! I would like to follow what you have done but can’t get the Make Up Store Mixing Liquid, it’s not available here in France. Is there another brand that do a similar product. Thank u :)

  • Fee says:

    Beauty MacGyver strikes again :)

    I have a BB gel liner that isn’t really dried out as such (still usable) but it’s very flaky, it’s really annoying. If I’m using it I have to to put it on first before the rest of my make-up and use eye drops before putting in my lenses to get rid of the specks. Is this a common problem? Might try this to see if it improves things.

  • Fee says:

    <3 the Richard Scarry pic

  • Reme says:

    Hi Beaut.ies, I too have some gel eyeliners hanging around waiting for me to get some life (and ease of use) back into them… A few months back I saw something on youtube about inglot having a product specifically for this purpose and I have the following entry on my ever growing ‘cosmetics I must buy’ list ‘Inglot drops for dried out eyeliner’. As far as I can remember the girl just dropped two drops onto her gel eyeliner and it was usable again, easy peasy.

    I just had a browse on their website, could this be the product? There’s no description for what duraline actually does… Has anyone used it?

  • Reme says:

    P.S. where can one buy Inglot in Dublin??

    Thanks in advance!

  • Karen says:

    I tried doing this with some silicon primer and a shriveled up smudge pot from Stila a while ago and it worked grand too but like yourself, the consistency changed a bit. Still, I had a total touch of the Blue Peters doing it

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