Bun Bun Makeup Tips and Beauty Product Reviews

Tutorial: Does Using Heat To Revive Your Dried Up Gel Eyeliner Really Work?

Makeup How-To: Tips & Tutorials
December 12, 2012
Composed by : Bun Bun

We’ve heard it all.

Tricks of the Makeup Trade on how to make your gel eyeliner last longer:

  • Store your pot upside down
  • Keep it away from harsh lights
  • Cap it tightly after every use, no,  cap it after each dip. Meaning open – dip – close – apply – open – dip – close – apply – repeat
  • Use a clean brush
  • Don’t add water with the intention to moisten it

Do all of the above, and still have your gel liner dry up right before your very eyes, even before you hit half of the pot. And we’re talking about a gel liner pot that is used daily. You can probably slow down the aging process with these tricks, but not prevent totally gel liner from drying out.

You know it doesn’t behave quite the same as before anymore, not as buttery and soft, application takes more effort and you see dried flakes on the undereye area. At first you think they’re flakes from your mascara until one day you decided to go mascara-less and yet still end up with them ugly dark spots. Not even the kawaii kind of freckles. @[email protected]

I’ve gone through MAC Blacktrack, Kate gel liners, Maybelline gel liners, Coastal Scents gel giners, Inglot gel giners, Lioele gel liner and Bobbi Brown Black Ink. A good mix of high end, mid-range and drugstore brands there, and they all perished in the same way.

So no matter what class of branding your beloved gel liner belongs to nor does the universe care whether you perform the Tricks of the Trade with as much diligence as Monarch Butterflies migrating during fall, gel liners will eventually end up looking like dried mud.

Sad, I know, but true.

You can see how cakey and dry it appears when applied to the skin.

Some claim theirs can last them 1 year, companies advise against using one for more than 4 months, but most people see gel liners performing at their best between 4 – 6 months.

The local climate plays a big part in the life span of your gel liner too. People in colder countries report that they need to rub the pot between their palms to ‘warm it up’. In Singapore where it is always warm, the gel liner is always ready for use. But I believe this also hastens the speed of it drying out. Once it really dries up, it’s hardly possible to re-activate it anymore.


Wait, what? There is hope for dried up gel eyeliners??




There are too many ways of breathing new life into your gel liner so I’ve categorized them into three main methods for easy understanding. ^_^*

Revive Dry Gel Liner Method 1:

Add a liquid (glycerin, eye drops, mixing medium, etc) to gel liner and mix. I would advise against using tap water as it isn’t as sanitary.

Revive Dry Gel Liner Method 2:

Add 2 drops of baby oil (like Johnson & Johnson) and mix. You can even use Vaseline jelly, basically any oil-based product that is safe for the eye area.

Revive Dry Gel Liner Method 3:

Heat it up (blow dryer, hot water, microwave, etc).

In my opinion, Method 1 requires far too much work. LOL. Too messy, too much trouble, too much time! Method 2 is slight less troublesome, but I worry about the addition of oil to the original formula. I have oily enough eyelids and the idea of adding more oil just doesn’t sound inviting.

That leaves us with Method 3, the heat method! Even within Method 3 there are more ways than one. Let’s go over them one by one.

Method 3.1 – Hair Dryer

You can use medium-high heat on your hair dryer and blast it at the frozen dried up gel liner. You should wear an oven mitt while holding onto the pot to prevent it from getting blown away and also to avoid getting your fingers burnt from the heated pot.

Method 3.2 – Hot Water

Place your gel liner into a zip lock bag and put it in hot water. I find this a little troublesome because I need to get a zip lock bag, get a pot, wait for it to be filled with some water, wait for it to boil, then continue. Too much trouble.

Method 3.3 – Microwave

And that quickly brings us to the third and final method for this Reviving Your Dried Up Gel Liner Tutorial — THE MICROWAVE! WOOHOO!


Idiot-proof steps: Place pot in oven, wait for 10 seconds, remove. Done.


* getting excited by myself *

You can, of course, do a little bit of stirring in the melted substance to ensure the refreshed mixture is evenly distributed but I chose not to mix mine too much. I just left the super dried up bits as they were and only stirred near the bottom.


So the important question is,

Does Using Heat To Revive Your Dried Up Gel Eyeliner Really Work?


I guess some things are irreversible. Like time. And dried up gel liner formulae. Lol.

Heating it up definitely made it softer than before and application was easier but it just wasn’t as creamy and smooth as when it was at its best. Just not so amazing anymore.

In the following picture, on the left shows application after heating up, or rather, melting down, and on the right is the before. Definitely smoother, creamier, and less dry.

The white spots are actually toothpaste. HAHAHA! I don’t know how I managed to have toothpaste end up on my inner wrist when I brushed my teeth, and so many spots! I’m careless like that.

The dead gel liner, though awakened, did not impress as much. Smudging was more apparent and tiny black flakes still fell like snowfall. Okie, not as drastic as snowfall, but you get the idea – irritating black spots under the eye. I’d say the melted version is but a shadow of its former glorious self.

From this experiment, I would conclude that if you really are in need of a gel liner and do not have time to go out and get a new pot, resuscitation of a dried up gel liner via the above mentioned tips and tricks would save you for a night or two.

For prolonged use though, just get yourself a fresh new pot of gel liner. Because you deserve better. 🙂


Click on the links below for more info on recommended gel liners:

Find it here: Lioele All In One Gel Liner


Find it here: Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Liner


Find it here: MAC Blacktrack Gel Liner

Have you tried reviving a dried up gel eyeliner before? Or any cream-based product? Which method did you use?



2 thoughts on “Tutorial: Does Using Heat To Revive Your Dried Up Gel Eyeliner Really Work?”

sophia says:

Can it fix shimmer shadow cream?

Hmmm not sure about that, haven’t tried that on shadow cream before. Maybe you can try and let me know? =D

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