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How to Apply Gel Eyeliner for an Eye Look That Lasts

For a line that is lasting, precise and buildable, gel eyeliner is where it's at. Here's how to make that liner glide right on.

In its fancy little glass pot, gel eyeliner can be quite intimidating. You don't want to grab too much (or too little), and you don't want to drag it across the lid. But applied correctly, gel eyeliner gives you a look that is lasting, precise, and buildable! You'll need gel liner and a synthetic angled brush. That is what's going to make that liner glide like an Olympic figure skater.

How to Apply Gel Eyeliner

1. First, dip your brush into the gel eyeliner. Just "kiss" the surface of the liner with the brush, pressing just slightly into the gel cake. I like to start from the outside of the eye first. If you want to do a wing, draw that first.

2. Run your brush right along your lash line, stopping at the middle. Creating this initial stopping point will ensure that you don't have to hold a steady hand the entire time, potentially creating a wiggly line.

How to Apply Gel Eyeliner

3. Now place your brush at the inner corner and begin dragging toward the center.

4. Meet the line you started from the outside right in the middle. If you can create two solid lines, you can create one perfect line!

How to Apply Gel Eyeliner

5. Now, load up those lashes with mascara! Start with your top lashes. And don't forget the bottom lashes!

6. Pair a strong, crisp gel liner with a bold or a glossy nude lip as we've done here.

Here are some extra tips for working with gel liner:

  • Make sure you replace the lid tightly! Gel liners are prone to drying out. If you notice the product pulling away from the sides, it's dry.
  • After you've screwed that lid on tightly, store your liner upside down.
  • If you goofed, and your liner is feeling a bit dry, you can use OTC eyedrops to liven it up a bit. Just a few drops though.

Here are some picks for your best gel!

L'Oreal Infallible Lacquer Intense Gel Eyeliner

Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner

NYX Gel Liner and Smudger

Smashbox Jet Set Waterproof Eye Liner

For more makeup tips and tricks from Ivy, go to Wake Up for Makeup.


Ivy Boyd

I have a Bachelor's degree in Graphic Design, but it's creating works of art on faces that I love most. By day, I am a Senior Education Consultant for Sephora as well as a freelance makeup artist. The rest of the time, I'm creating content for my makeup and beauty blog, Wake Up for Makeup, reading product reviews, watching tutorial videos and reading makeup artist books. I live and breathe this stuff and if you could eat makeup, I'd probably do that too. I also love painting abstracts, running, attending music festivals and acting weird with my husband and our two awesome cats. I'm here to tell you what products are legit, how to better use the ones you have, give you ideas to shake up your routine and guide you through some fun tutorials I know you can dominate.

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