Saturday, October 22, 2011

D.I.Y. Liner/Sealant Formula

The good thing about a sealant is that it can be used to suspend pigments and glitter, so that you can apply an intense swatch of it as glitter or just foiling your pigments and shadows for a more dramatic look. There are ready-made formulas around from many brands but if you can't get hold of them easily, or at a convenient price, you can always make your own with the below ingredients.

  • Cheap
  • Works on pigments but not on glitters
  • Not long-lasting (pigments and glitter will fall off easily once the water evaporates)
Eye Drops
  • Gentle
  • Not too cheap but not very expensive either
  • Works on pigments but not on glitters
  • Does not seal makeup although it sticks better than water
Glycerin Solution:
  • 1/4 to 1/3 parts with water
  • Affordable
  • Does not suspend or cling to glitters
  • Does not seal makeup although it sticks better than water
Oil-free Makeup Remover: 
  • Foils shadows very well
  • Not expensive but not cheap either
  • Works on pigments but not on glitters
  • Does not seal makeup although it sticks better than water
Eyelash Glue:
  • extremely longlasting
  • gives very intense glitter liners
  • works with glitters but not with pigments 
  • have to apply the glitter AFTER you apply glue, which may be messy
  • pain to remove
  • expensive to use in large quantities
Experimenting with various glitters and pigments.

My Formula?
Gum Arabic solution.
Gum arabic is a natural gum of plant origin, and is used in pill coatings, confectionary coatings, painting and a whole variety of other uses. (But as with anything, if you tend to have sensitivities, just swipe a little on the inside of your elbow to see if you are allergic before use. I don't have any problem with it.)
  • This sealant sets into a "glaze" and will not rub off until you wash it (liners in top image are actually completely dry and budge-proof but look "glossy" and wet) 
  • You can easily get it from most Art Supply stores (usually the watercolor paint section) for a few dollars
  • You'll need to dilute it for use, which means 1 bottle will last forever
  • Don't use this if you need to smudge or blend anything. This will really set it.
Diluted gum arabic solution (30% concentration) in dropper bottle.

Get a dropper bottle and mix your formulations as per below:
  • 25-30% concentration - good for making liners and you will get a more budge-proof and glazed texture
  • 10-20% concentration - good for pigment or shadow foiling (do NOT wet your brush with this and touch it to your pan shadows as this will SEAL them)
  • 2-5% concentration - put a tiny bit into a spray bottle with toner and make your own makeup setting spray
Be sure to test on your hand the first time too. If your liner cracks or feels a little too thick after it dries, you'll know your formula is too concentrated.

Step 1: Apply black liquid liner to the lash line just to keep some definition. This will also serve as a guiding line for your glitter or metallic liner. 
Step 2: Add pigment or glitter slowly to a tiny drop of your sealant, and mix with your liner brush until the formula looks almost like it is becoming clumpy.

Step 3: Use a fine brush to apply your glitter liner just above and slightly overlapping the black liner applied earlier. You can use either a gel liner brush (small tapered flat brush) or a pointy super-fine brush like the one I used (get these at an art supply store).
Don't worry about applying an opaque and even line in a single stroke. You will likely have to make several passes as there won't be enough formula on the brush to finish your line. 

Step 4: Apply mascara last to finish the look. There will be no messy fall out to clean up, and your liner will last for hours and hours.

Cleaning up:
Gum arabic solution is water soluble, so if you get any on your hands, counter, etc, water will get it right out easily. However, like any makeup, the glitter and pigments themselves will cling to your skin, so to really remove it from your skin at the end of the day, make sure you use a proper face wash or makeup remover and rub gently to dislodge everything.


  1. Haha. This article was from three years ago but I have been going mad looking for something that is natural to seal my cake eyeliner. I just got the gum arabic and can't wait to try it. So excited! Thank you for thinking outside the box!

  2. I use gum Arabic for sealing my eyebrow powder. I am thinking of making a black eyeliner as well.

  3. I use gum Arabic for sealing my eyebrow powder. I am thinking of making a black eyeliner as well.

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