The Gel Pencil That Does Everything

The pigment and staying power of a gel, the idiot-proofness of a pencil. Thanks, Hourglass.

One of the biggest beauty launches this season was Benefit’s They’re Real! Push-Up Gel Liner. And, I mean, I love me some boob-related product puns (and some Benefit cosmetics), but it wasn’t quite the pinnacle of eyeliner technology I’d hoped it would be.

Maybe I’m a spaz, but that thing requires some practice, am I right? I’m not returning mine just yet--I do like the way the bendy tip lets the product ooze neatly into my lash line--but I’m not exactly swiping on a cat-eye with it before running out the door.

Enter Hourglass’s new 1.5MM Mechanical Gel Eye Liner.

Full disclosure: I’m obsessed with Hourglass. They can do no wrong (or haven’t yet, anyway). Their formulas are flawlessly long-lasting and packed with good-for-you ingredients, and their packaging is luxurious and weighty.

Hourglass’s 1.5mm liner does not disappoint. As you may have already guessed from the name, this automatic twist-up pencil is very thin. It’s actually a little thinner than the Anastasia Brow Wiz, or the similar brow pencil from MAC. Be careful not to twist too much--two clicks per eye should suffice. I lost quite a bit of product because I am overzealous in all things and also have no sense of consequences.

The slim design allows the tip to really get in between the lashes for the subtlest of tightlining while also being precise enough for the easiest cat-eye ever. I mean, when’s the last time you could wing it up with a pencil without some massive (perhaps eye-threatening or wrist-tiring) sharpening beforehand? And everyone knows pencils are the go-to for makeup neophytes. So simple a prehistoric human with no prior cosmetic experience or familiarity with societal beauty standards could use it!

Plus, there’s a reason gel formulas are preferred by many a makeup artist, and this pencil is no exception: it ensures a smooth glide, blackest-black pigment, and a wear that won’t quit. Like, seriously won’t quit, so make sure you’ve got that waterproof remover handy, yo. I know staying power like that freaks some people out, but I’m like YES, STAY FOREVER. ALL THE BLACK LASH LINES FOR ME.

If I weren’t afraid of needles, I’d get my tightliner tattooed on (that’s a thing!). How awesome would it be to wake up with eyeliner on and never even have to think about it?

Anyway, here are three different eye looks I created using just the 1.5mm liner, a smudge brush, and a coat of mascara to top it off.

The “Oh hey, yeah, I totally just woke up too”


Don't hit the mascara yet. Fill in the upper waterline and between the lashes. The gel doesn’t set immediately, so don’t freak out if you get a little lower waterline transfer action. Dip a cotton bud in remover before it dries to clean it up, then gently pat the area dry with the other end of the bud so it doesn’t affect your upper waterline when you blink.

The “I shop at ModCloth”


If your wings aren’t crisp enough or your hand wobbles, soak a tissue in remover and twirl a cotton bud in the soaked part for the perfect saturation to clean up your lines. I like the pointy buds for this task, but be careful with those! Squeezing a normal Q-tip a few times to pack the fiber together also works.


The “I just wanna daaaaance”

Line your eyes and both upper and lower waterline like you’re 2002 Avril Lavigne. Then smudge those bad boys out with a dense, short-bristled brush (your fingers work too--this look is not about perfection). Now get real friendly with your mascara.

The liner is available as a single or in a three-pack. I recommend the single if you’re just looking to test it out, but you’ll likely want the 3-pack. Each pencil is good for 17-20 uses, and if you appreciate a solid, long-wearing gel liner in an easy-to-use package, you’ll blaze right through it.

Do you guys fill in your waterline? I usually don’t, since I’m not a huge fan of how it feels. But then, beauty is pain, right?