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


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. @_@”

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:


Lioele Gel Liner (


Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Liner (


MAC Blacktrack Gel Liner (


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



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About Bun Bun

Hello! My name is Juli and Bun Bun is my alter-ego. I blog to share my love for makeup, how to apply it, and what works or what doesn’t work, all from an Asian perspective.

My first makeup product was a shimmery light blue lipstick which I proudly wore all over my eyelids and lips. It cost $2.50, felt like $250, and made me feel like a million bucks.

  • PositivelyNice

    LOL! This post is hilarious. Microwave? You really did it? =PMy Maybelline has dried out on me after 3 years. I am only half way through, and I love Maybelline!! I want to finish my gel liner. But I guess I have to resign to fate and just bin it, because it applies okay but flakes halfway through the day. Makes me look like I’ve cried charcoal out of my eyes.
    I’ve never thought of reviving it though. And so never tried any of those methods you mentioned. I probably wouldn’t, because I have a backup Sasa gel liner, and backup M.A.C BlackTrax. LOL, no need to revive. I can’t wait to try my backups. In my short makeup lifetime, Maybelline has been my one and only, and served me well. haha, if I continue talking, I’ll be writing a memorial for Maybelline Gel Liner already. Sigh, I really miss it.

    • BunBunMakeupTips

      @PositivelyNice HAHAHA! Yes! It was either do it or dunk it. It was SO dried up.
      Wow, I cannot believe your gel liner lasted 3 years. We’re talking about the crazy weather in Singapore right??? =O I have the Maybelline one, have two of them actually, and they don’t work for me at all. GRrrr!! One smudges like crazy (totally understand your ‘cried charcoal out of my eyes’) and the other feels like…. dried up peanut butter. LOL! I don’t know where that came from!!
      I don’t know what to do with mine. They’re just sitting there, taking up space in my already bursting makeup cabinet.

      • PositivelyNice

        @BunBunMakeupTips  @PositivelyNice I guess it’s dunk it then! haha. Ahhh, it’s such a pity that Maybelline doesn’t works for you! It’s definitely the cheap and good one, well raved on Youtube too. Yes, amazing right that it lasted so long. My brown one that I open once in a blue moon is still fine. =D

  • beautycabby

    Very good (and funny) tips, Bun! Do you think the microwave method will work with cream shadows too? I have a few Benefit Creaseless Creams that have dried up.

    • BunBunMakeupTips

      @beautycabby Thank you for getting my humor!! HAHAHA! Hmm… I really wouldn’t bet on it, given my experience with this gel liner. It made it just ever so slightly improved but I would just recommend you to go get another one if you truly do love it. Not worth all the accumulated bacteria, I guess.

  • BAMBIx

    I LOL when I know that the white spot is your toothpaste. LOL! how did you manage that? hehe
    That’s very interesting! I personally think that the heating method is the best in the sense that it does not alter the ingredients of the product; the percentage of the ingredients are the same. But it has less quality than it was, like what you said, because some active ingredients may not be able to tolerate heat. That’s only my opinion! hehe.

    • BunBunMakeupTips

      @BAMBIx I don’t know!! LOL!! And I always have toothpaste ALL OVER MY CLOTHES. Hahaha!
      I agree with you that heating is the best among all coz it doesn’t alter the formulation as much as the others. I think this is your area of expertise coz you make your own soap! =D

      • BAMBIx

        @BunBunMakeupTips Wow, I’m shy when I read the word area of expertise. No-no, I’m still new to soap making, and have to learn a lot more.>///<
        I’m never good in any crafts, cooking, or homemade things. I’m such a boyish girl, except that even the boy can do more neat things than me. And even eye make-up is hard to me (I’m embarassed now DX) but it is your area of expertise! So the only thing I can do is soaping. haha. I wish I graduated from chemistry school, not economics school, LOOOOL.

  • Jenny86

    It´s a shame Benefit doesn´t have their creaseless cream eyeshadows in a black color, because I have 2 cream eyeshadows from that brand that can be used as a liner and as cream shadows (and they do not crease or move in the whole day!) and they are like the first day I bought them 2 years ago!!!

    • BunBunMakeupTips

      @Jenny86 OMG! Are you serious! @beautycabby also mentioned it below! This product seems to be really good. I must go and take a look. What are the 2 colors you own?

      • Jenny86

        @BunBunMakeupTips  Hi hun! I have My date´s My brother (I think is discontinued now, I use it as a wash of color and also as highlight on my cheekbones) and also Sippin N Dippin, which is an exact dupe for MAC Rubenesque PP (in fact, I had a sample of Rubenesque, and Sippin N Dippin is more pretty!). Damn, how I wish Benefit made a black one to use as eyeliner, because I have used half the pot of Sippin N Dippin and bought it almost 2 years ago, and still has the same smooth consistency; the only one that is more dark to line the eyes is the shade Strut, but is more like a smoky denim color. I also tried Stiletto, a gorgeous cranberry shade, and it complimented very well my green eyes when used as eyeliner, need to restock on that one!

        • BunBunMakeupTips

          @Jenny86 WOAHHHH!!!! Super tempted!!!! Okie I’ll be in town tomorrow. MUST.GO.CHECK.IT.OUT. Lol! Thanks for the recommendation! *hugs

        • Jenny86

          @BunBunMakeupTips Thank you for your blog and making my day everytime I see there´s a new post from you!!! :) Merry Christmas, lots of love and hugs! 😀

        • BunBunMakeupTips

          @Jenny86 *bursting with happiness* =D Merry Christmas to you too!

  • graceannhawkins

    This is why I wish gel liners came in MUCH smaller containers.  I NEVER get through one before it goes off or dries.  I have done all of the above to revive them and they do work to some extent but I see it as poor product design to sell it in such large pots that you’ve never get through it without it going funny first.

    • BunBunMakeupTips

      @graceannhawkins Make that two of us, or like, EVERYONE of us! Lol! I wish they came in smaller pots and I don’t mind paying slightly higher. At least I’ll finish it (probably), and can buy more colors to play with at the same time. Won’t that be win-win for consumers and companies?

    • Jenny86

      @graceannhawkins Best comment ever! I´m so totally agree with you!

  • CarrieNash

    Castor Oil? Makeup Forever sells castor oil to add to cosmetics for various uses and their item description is as follows:
    This plant-based oil is an ingredient often used in cosmetics.
    It can be used to soften dense textures such as foundation, artificial blood, grease make-up and camouflage creams and to ease application.
    Castor Oil can also be used to create shiny effects on the skin (sweat, tears, body enhancement : culture, performing arts).
    It offers a natural-looking sheen to some latex and silicone special effects applied to the skin.
    It can be mixed with other formulas by adding the amount of oil needed to obtain the desired effect.
    Ricinus Communis Oil (Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil.
    I’ve not tried it but I will be buying some at the pharmacy just to have on hand.

    • BunBunMakeupTips

      @CarrieNash Wow wow wow, so much information! Lol! Thanks for sharing. Inglot also has something that you can mix with dried up gel liners and mascaras to get them working again. But I prefer to just get a new tube coz I really don’t know how my skin will react to a tweak in the formula.

  • kenzilisa

    I can’t believe that companies say their product is only good for 4 months! I don’t go through a whole pot in 12 months!  They definitely need to make smaller pots, or sell a product to revive the gel liner.  I have a trick that I use for mascara to prolong its life that I am going to try with my gel liners that are dried up: when I start doing my makeup I put my mascara tube somewhere warm like in my bra, under my arm or between my thighs. I leave it there while I do my makeup and by the time I get to putting on mascara (usually the last step anyway!) it’s warm, and more liquid. Great for mascara that is a little old and dried up.  I’ll let you know if it works with the gel liner!

    • BunBunMakeupTips

      @kenzilisa Girl!!! You’re SO FUNNY!! XD I totally laughed out loud when I read that part where you place your mascara inside your bra. This is seriously the most bizarre beauty-related thing I’ve heard. Lol.
      You’re gonna be so busy! Mascara under one arm, maybe lash primer first between your thighs, gel liner under your bra, brow gel under your butt, maybe?
      Oh yes, please do let me know if it works!! =D

  • rainbowglamour

    Have you tried using 70% alcohol? This tutorial mentions it and seems to be a way to repair cracked powders and revive cream products.

  • Aussie_Donna

    I cover all my cream/gel eyeliners and shadows with a doubled layer of food plastic wrap directly on top of the jar before sealing with the lid.  In the 5 or 6 years that I have been doing this, I have NEVER had anything even remotely dry out.  In effect, covering the product with food safe plastic creates an air tight seal.
    I have read some other “suggestions” that were offered by others which included using things such as Vaseline, mineral oil and alcohol.
    Y I K E S !!!
    I strongly suggest that before anyone uses petroleum by-products (Vaseline), pure alcohol (kills collagen & is capable of causing blindness if used before evaporation) and mineral oil ANYWHERE ON THEIR BODY, that they do some research about the serious dangers associated with the use of these.  It truly concerns me that there may be some young and or inexperienced people out there who read blogs and accept what they read as credible.

  • Aussie_Donna

    Jenny86 I have Benefit’s Creaseless Eyeshadow in TOWNE CAR which is black.

    • Jenny86

      Aussie_Donna Thank you, but sadly that shade is from 2007 – 2008 and it´s discontinued since a long time ago :(

      • Aussie_Donna

        Jenny86 Aussie_Donna  Oh so sorry to hear that.  I now feel especially pleased that my Town Car is still going strong, it really is lovely.

  • tweeda

    i put a bit of oil base make up remover in my drug store gel liner and its been working for more than a year and counting. 
    As i have hooded eyes, and I’m asian, i definitely get smudges from both gel, liquid or pencil liners, 
    what i do to avoid that is to coat not only my lashes with mascara but start the stroke from the water line, both top and bottom. takes a bit of practice, but it last the whole day. and even if you fall asleep you still wake up with not so smudged eyes!

  • Saamii

    Can I use rubbing alcohol to fix my gel liner?

    • BeckyDowdell

      Saamii Alcohol dries things out!

  • malleat1

    have to say, you have nice sense of humour 😀 … thanks mixing medium will do

  • BunBunMakeupTips

    malleat1 Thank you! =D

  • PaigeEyers

    I’ve found that Vaseline is best for long term revival on my Bobbi Brown Black Ink and Urban Decay Perversion, also, my UK lasted longer before drying than others I tried. Maybelline has been the worst so far, and heat helped that most ^.^

  • entrotlek

    Hahaha! So I just tried the blow dryer trick….lets just say that my sink used to be white. I second the 10 second microwave trick. Worked like a charm and my microwave is still as clean as a whistle. Thanks for the tip!

  • elliefalk

    Those are some great tips! Thanks! So, for the microwave and hair dryer methods, do you have to remove the cap or leave it on?