Gel Eyeliner Isn't As Tricky As You'd Think

The cat eye look and its flick are hard makeup tricks to master. Go to Sephora and see the plethora of Sharpie-like pens with multiple-sized tips of different dimensions and widths. There are also pots with accompanying brushes. It's one of the hardest looks to create, yet it looks like it'd be the easiest. I love the self-contained pens, namely the Benefit They're Real Push-Up Liner, which is gel in a pen, and Rimmel's Exaggerate, which is an inkwell, with a precise, not-too-thin tip. But the gel pots also allow me to create a flawless cat eye and the formula is more forgiving and much longer lasting. Since you apply with a brush, you have more control of both the amount of product and the actual application. Trust me. It's even easier to use then the one shot pens.

Benefit They're Real Push-Up Liner, $24, Sephora; Rimmel Exaggerate Eye Definer, $5, Amazon

There are three critical factors to remember when using gel pot eyeliner or you'll end up going through a half a pack of makeup remover wipes and your blood pressure will shoot through the roof in frustration as you try and create this look. Your SO will tell you, "Babe, it's just eyeliner," but you know that's a myth. It's never just eyeliner. What does he know, anyway?

First, you have to use the right brush. The best options is a thin tipped brush with an equally thin handle. Unless you want to go the Amy Winehouse route, and you don't, in favor of the Adele route, and you do, you don't need a paintbrush. This isn't spackle, ladies.

MAC 209 Eyeliner Brush, $20, Nordstrom

I recommend MAC's 209 brush. Its slightly firm, synthetic fibers allow for preciseness.

Second, you have to pack the right amount of the right product onto the right brush.

Cate McNabb Cosmetics Black Gel Eyeliner, $22, Amazon

I lurve Cate McNabb's version and MAC's Fluidline in Blacktrack is a "can't go wrong" option. I dab and dab and dab, and then dab some more, until the brush is packed with product. It's as though the bristles are wrapped in product and the shape changes and hardens, making it easier to use.

MAC Fluidline In Blacktrack, $17, Nordstrom

But the real artistry comes from the light touch with which you apply the liner. Since the gel formulas glide across the lid, it's almost mistake-proof. However, you can use few thin or pointy-tipped Q-tips, which they now sell at CVS, which has become a beauty mecca in the past few years, to erase any mistakes.

Third, remember, you are going from A to B, with a slight curve, but keep a steady hand. Don't overthink it. I know many makeup mavens who say you need to draw dots along your lashline and then connect them. I say, "Who needs all that noise?" There is like two inches of space to work with here. You can do it. Don't psyche yourself out. Pump your fist like Rosie the Riveter and (wo)man up. After all, it's just eyeliner, to borrow a quote from your lover.

Now that you are mentally prepared and informed, here's the step-by-step portion of our lesson.

Prep the eye with a color-less primer. That will help the gel adhere. I like Urban Decay Primer Potion. Who doesn't? It's the standard.

Urban Decay Primer Potion, $20, Sephora

Pack the brush, as previously mentioned. The bristles should be coated but not chunkily so. I lightly roll the brush in the pot so it picks up just enough product in an almost uniform way. Start from inner corner and push the brush outward. Give the gel a sec to dry. Retrace your line...lightly.

It's okay to retrace each initial line to add more depth, more concentrated color, and more shape. Just don't be heavy-handed. It's okay to only thicken the line at the outer corners, too, but that requires a little more expertise and some practice. You'll get there, though.

Finish with some black eyeliner on the inner waterline to balance the look and to keep it uniform. I also added a silvery shadow in the bottom inner corners and along the outer lashline. Sadly, the one I used is from an old MAC smoky eyes palette which is no longer available.

Cover Girl Bombshell Curvaceous Lash Blast, $11, Amazon

Add three coats of black mascara. I have been ROCKING the CoverGirl Bombshell Curvaceous LashBlast. I normally don't love drugstore brand mascaras, but this one lengthens, thickens, and lasts. It has a dual-ended brush. I use the curvy end first and finish with the straight one. I seriously break out into a sweat when I wash my face at night and try to get it off my lashes, which means it's awesome since it's like adhesive.

Final thoughts? Always, always close the cap of your gel pot really tight. Not only will it keep germs out, but it will prevent the product from drying out and you end up with a chunk of liner that has pulled away from the sides of the jar and into the center. It's unusable and wasted. You can't wet it to get it to regain its former consistency.

Here is the end result. I need a haircut so my bangs sorta obscure my eyes, but you can still get the drift.

Images: Amy Sciarretto (7)