Never mind the shaky hands–your cat eye is only as good as your eyeliner. Liquid liner pens are the popular way to go (unless you’re a die-hard brush/gel user) because of their opacity, precision and portability. No matter high end or low, the universal gripe of these eye-winging wands seems to be that they dry out rather quickly, sometimes in mere weeks if you use them daily–big bummer if you’ve spent a pretty penny on one. Rather than just chuck them, here are a few resuscitation tricks ranging from easy to Macgyver.
Shake it out: Can you hear a little ball bearing inside your pen? That’s for mixing things up. If you haven’t been doing so already, give your eyeliner a few good shakes before applying and the product should be able to escape the pen more easily. You’ll find this in eyeliner with brush tips more so than felt-tip ones.
The Run-around: This is another pretty obvious option, but potentially wasteful. Run the tip of the eyeliner on the back of your hand or inner wrist until product shimmies out of there. You can get a bit more vigorous if using a brush-tipped liner. For the felt-tipped ones, running it over a paper towel dampened with warm water could do the trick. You don’t necessarily want to dunk the tip into water directly or pass it under a running faucet because that’s only a temporary solution that might oversaturate the tip and make your liner too watery. Also, if that was a waterproof formula, well, it isn’t anymore.
Hot Water: Depending on how you store your eyeliner (ideally room temp, tip-side down) sometimes the product can get gloopy in the pen, disrupting the “flow.” A dip in a hot tub can liven things up. Just let your eyeliner pen sit in a cup of hot water–firmly capped, tip-side down–for a few minutes. Afterwards, remove the liner from water, give it a few good shakes and try running the tip over the back of your hand to encourage ink flow and you should see the streaky mess form back into bold solid lines. You can repeat this a few times until you get the consistency you desire.
Re-hydrate: If you’re at your wit’s end and nothing else has worked, a last-ditch extreme effort involves a bit of surgery. Open the back of the pen–generally it’s a twist-off or you can use tweezers or your nails to pry it open. Take the ink rod out (tweezers would be helpful, unless you want eyeliner all over your fingers) and dip the end in warm water for a few seconds– you can sometimes see the water absorbing up the rod. You don’t want to inundate it completely so half a minute usually is more than enough time. Take it out of the water and blot the whole thing with a paper towel. Drop it back into the pen and close it back up. Sometimes it helps to store it tip-side down for a bit to let gravity distribute the water evenly. BONUS: For mega hydrating, mixing a few drops of glycerin into this water dip will prolong your liner from drying out again quicker and give the consistency a bit more plumpness.