Gel Makeup Is Way More Versatile Than It Sounds!

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We are always on the prowl for versatile makeup that also lasts throughout the day. It’s a lot to ask for, isn’t it? These days, not really. Lucky for us there’s been an influx of products you can use in a million different ways due to their unique liquid gel consistency. Gel eyeliners and brow gels (we’re loving Benefit’s new Gimme Brow Gel) are good ol’ standbys, but now we’re seeing brands branch out into a variety of gel colors for lips, cheeks, and beyond.

Typically the formulas are lightweight enough to blend really well and easily absorb into skin, meaning they’re perfect for natural, subtle looks. The amount of moisture in the formulas give more of a stain effect, which means you get more lasting power than you might with, say, powder products. And to top it off, gels can be used in more than one way. For example, wear cheek gels as a lip stain—and get more for your buck! These three low-maintenance gels and gelées have earned a permanent spot in our beauty arsenal. Also, don't worry about gels drying out. If for some reason your product dries up, just use a liquid mixing medium like Inglot Cosmetics Duraline to bring it back to life!

Eyes: Inglot Cosmetics AMC Eyeliner Gel

$12 | shop the product 

Inglot launched these makeup artist–favorite eyeliner gels a couple of years ago, and added new colors this year (yay!). Among the 22 shades, there’s an option for every situation, including plum, silver, green, yellow along with classic brown and black. You get a ton of intense pigment in a smooth formula that really lasts. But the key is in the product’s versatility—you can wear the liner as a shadow, mix colors to get original shades, and even add a bit of the pigment to a lip balm to create a custom lip color. The options are endless, and it’s all about getting creative and having fun; see more ideas here! One caveat: they’ll dry within about 60 seconds, so work quickly.

How to use: Apply with quick strokes, using a bent or flat angled brush to get an even line. If you’re a newbie try applying the product with Inglot Cosmetics 30T Bent Angle Brush; it makes application easier! Pros might prefer a flat angle brush like Inglot Cosmetics 31T. To prevent the product from drying out, cut the product shield only halfway open. 

Cheeks: Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelée

$22 

Inspired by the hydrating power of coconut water, Josie Maran developed a line of six hybrid cheek stains—we’re partial to Gateway Red, a true, classic red that looks intimidating in the pot, but blends out into the perfect sheer, natural-looking tint. At first glance, the product might look more like a cream, but apply and you’ll get that instant, long-lasting gel effect. Unlike your average blush, these don’t just sit on the skin—they actually absorb in and provide hydrating benefits (the formula is 50% pure coconut water and contains vitamin E–rich argan oil). The fresh flush really has staying power and goes on easily with a brush; but to keep things simple we prefer a finger application. Bonus: it’s perfect as a lip stain, too.

How to use: For best results, use your finger to dab the product onto your cheek and blend. These are sheer and natural-looking, so it’s hard to overdo it!

Lips: Clarins Instant Smooth Crystal Lip Gel

$22

Available in two shades, Crystal Plum and Crystal Pink, these gels provide some serious tint and shine, plus a slight plumping effect. Don’t be fooled by first impressions—this is truly a gel, and when you first squeeze the product out, it sort of looks and feels like a tacky, thick syrup (with a pleasant, candy-like blackcurrant scent). But despite the consistency, this product, unlike a lot of lip glosses, isn’t sticky at all once you put it on. Instead, you just get instant moisture and a high-shine wet look in just one step (rather than balm + lipstick + clear gloss). There’s a good amount of color, too—not as much as a lipstick, but the pigment is definitely noticeable. 

How to use: Squeeze a tiny bit of the product out onto the top of your hand and use your finger to dab onto your lips. The plum is a grape-y shade that’s beautiful on darker complexions. 

From the Community: Beautylish members show us the products in action!

• Irene L. shows just how natural Benefit Gimme Brow Gel can look.
• Josie Maran Cheek Gelée plus beautyblender! Ashley L. demonstrates.
 Electric masquerade-worthy makeup featuring Inglot AMC Gel Eyeliner by Jasmine P.