It’s not like applying an even layer of eyeliner with the perfect wing is a walk in the park. And as if that’s not enough of a challenge, we need to maintain it throughout the day! Because eyeliner can smudge and smear, turning your stunning look into a messy one. It sometimes moves to the lower eyelid, creating what they call ‘raccoon eyes’, which I assume is not the look you’re going for if it takes you 40 minutes to create.
And when this happens, you’re going to have to check yourself in the mirror every 30 minutes to wipe your under eyes and get rid of the messy look. And by midday, you’ve practically wiped away your eye makeup layer by layer and it’s all gone.
But chill. It doesn’t have to be like this. Whether it’s caused by oily skin, humidity, or the wrong eyeliner formula, there are things you can to do prevent or at least minimize eyeliner smudging. Keep reading to find out how!
How To Prevent Eyeliner From Smudging
1. Let your skincare absorb first.
If you’re doing your skincare and you move on to applying makeup before letting your skincare absorb, it might be the culprit. Your eye cream and the products you apply closer to the eye area need to be absorbed first.
If not, the products are going to mix with each other and move around. Wait for your eye cream to settle down before moving on to your eyeliner or concealer.
2. Use primer.
If you’re someone with oily eyelids, no wonder you’re dealing with eyeliner smudging. Oils can mix with the eyeliner formula, causing a smudged look.
Well, eyelid primers are made exactly for these types of situations. An eye primer is going to smooth out the skin while also absorbing oil.
A foolproof option is the Benefit Stay Don’t Stray Eyeshadow Primer. Apply an even layer of the primer all over the eyelid. Let it settle and only then start applying your eyeliner.
3. Set your eyeliner.
An easy fix for preventing makeup smearing is, of course, setting your makeup. After you’re done with your makeup, use a setting spray to fix everything in place. This will help with your overall makeup.
But if using a setting spray doesn’t solve your eyeliner smudging problem, you can try setting your eyeliner with a setting powder. Use a clean eyeshadow blending brush and get a tiny bit amount of setting powder.
Dust the brush over the eyeliner. You only need a tiny amount to set your eyeliner so avoid using too much powder as you’re going to reduce the color payoff of the eyeliner.
4. Draw thin lines.
Ideally, eyeliner is thin on the inner corners of the eyes and a bit thicker toward the outer corners. Well, everyone is entitled to whatever makeup look they’re going for.
But from my experience, if you have hooded eyelids like I do, avoid drawing thick lines on your eyelid. This is how your eyeliner stains the upper eyelid, creating a messy look.
5. Stamp your eyeliner with eyeshadow.
This is a method that’s used for other makeup products such as blush and bronzer. You apply a cream formula and ‘stamp’ it with a powder formula. This makes the product transfer-proof and long-lasting.
And this works amazingly well with eyeliner too. You need your eyeliner and an eyeshadow with the same color as your eyeliner.
Apply your eyeliner first. Then use an angled brush and dip it into the eyeshadow and go over the eyeliner. This will prevent eyeliner from smudging by locking it in and minimizing transfer.
6. Clean up your lashes.
If you frequently end up with eyeliner stains on the lower or upper lash line, it might be because of the way you apply your eyeliner. When you draw multiple lines, the eyeliner can move and get into your lashes and stay there.
And when you blink enough times, those lashes can stain your lids. Here’s what you do. After you’ve applied your eyeliner, clean up your eyelashes by using tissue paper. Go over the lashes and pick up any eyeliner stains.
You can also use a cotton swab to pick up any smudges from the corners. This way, you know for sure that there’s no residual eyeliner pigment left there and your eyeliner won’t transfer to lashes. Make sure mascara is your last step.
7. Use a gentle eyeliner.
If you have sensitive eyes, like yours truly here, you need to eliminate this option first. Sensitive eyes water easily, which makes your eye makeup, including mascara and eyeliner, move down and smear.
So check if it’s your eyeliner is suitable for your eyes. Look for labels like ‘suitable for sensitive skin’ or ‘hypoallergenic’. If not, you might want to consider tossing that away because your eyeliner is the culprit.
8. Use a smudge-proof & waterproof formula.
Using a waterproof, or at least water-resistant eyeliner is a good way to ensure your eyeliner stays put. On top of that, look for the label ‘smudge-free’, which means that the eyeliner is very unlikely to move and transfer to your upper or lower eyelid.
9. Use the right type of eyeliner.
In case you’ve missed our guide to eyeliner types, not all eyeliners are the same. If you’re using kajal or kohl eyeliners, you should expect some level of smudging.
These types of eyeliners usually have a creamy consistency, which you can feel right when you start using them. They glide on the eyelid.
Because of this, they are usually more suitable for smudged looks and they don’t usually create a very clean, sleek, and defined look.
10. Skip tightlining.
If you’re using an eye pencil for the waterline, which is called tightlining, it might be what’s giving you the smudges. Tightlining is applying eyeliner on the lower and upper waterline.
When you do this, you’re more likely to deal with smudges. It’s because of the proximity of the eyeliner to the eyes, which causes watery eyes and then eyeliner stains on the lower eyelid. If you can, skip using eyeliner on the waterline.
So make sure your eye pencil is not a kohl or kajal. If you want that sleek cat-eye look, look for a liquid eyeliner or an eyeliner pen.
So this is how to prevent eyeliner from smudging. Realistically speaking, it all comes down to the eyeliner most of the time. But if you’re stuck with what you have right now, try these methods to minimize transfer and smudging. Additionally, you can always turn lemons into lemonade and go for a smudged, smoked-out look. Instead of obsessing over a clean look, try a soft smokey eye by further smudging your eyeliner with a brush.