Home Makeup Tips How to Apply Gel Eyeliner Without a Brush

How to Apply Gel Eyeliner Without a Brush

by Sandy Taylor

If you’re looking to apply gel eyeliner but lost your brush or don’t want to use it, there are still ways to apply your gel eyeliner without the brush.

Although it’s tricky, using the right techniques can help you achieve great results.

In this post, I connected with beauty experts and asked them to share with me their best tips to apply gel eyeliner without a brush.

Here’s How to Apply Gel Eyeliner Without a Brush: 

Try Your Pinky Finger or Q-Tip

Fawn Monique, a celebrity and runway makeup artist who is dubbed the “go-to” make-up artist for beauty editors and production companies in New York and Los Angeles, suggests to lightly pat your gel eyeliner on with your pinky fingers to fully saturate the color at the lash line. To create a gradation of the shade, Fawn suggests blending the eyeliner out over the lid.

She also suggests adding powder (metallic/matte to create a layered texture on top if so desired). This technique gives you a lived-in smokey eye effect with staying power. Use a cotton Q-Tip and moisturizer for any clean-up.

For the precise line, try using a pointed Q-tip saturating it with the gel and using it as a “mock” felt tip pen if you don’t have a brush handy. Start at the inner corner of the eye and follow the lash line towards the outer section of the eyelid, slightly lift-off, and wing it.

Make-up by Fawn Monique, Photography by David Patino

Try a Paintbrush or Tweezers

Kailey Brumwell, a beauty blogger, and owner of BeautyBrainsBlush suggest that if you don’t have an eyeliner brush, use a small flat paintbrush instead.  If your paintbrush is too wide, you can remove some of the bristles to make it smaller and more precise.

Dip the paintbrush into your gel eyeliner, grabbing a small amount of product. Apply it directly above your upper eyelashes in a thin line. Depending on the size and shape of the paintbrush, you may be able to create a winged eyeliner look.

No paintbrush either? Try to find a small object with a thin, flat, or curved end. Make sure it is blunt, and not pointy! The back end of tweezers or the tip of a pen cap might work for this.

Clean the object you found, dip it into a small amount of the product, and lightly apply it to your eyelid. Depending on the object, it might be better to “stamp” on the eyeliner instead of dragging it.

Try Using a Pencil Liner

If your waterline is too sensitive for brush bristles, you can also try to use a pencil liner as it usually feels a bit gentler. To apply gel eyeliner with a pencil liner, simply dip the pencil into the gel liner and apply it along your waterline or lash.

I find that using a pencil of the same or similar shade as your gel liner works great. This technique does take a bit of practice and I recommend not overloading your pencil with too much gel liner if you are first starting out. Start with small amounts and you can also add more as you go.

After you’re done, remember to wipe off the tip of your pencil.

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