6 Mistakes That Are Making Your Eye Makeup Smear All Over Your Face
By: Crystal Tate
Whether you love a good smokey eye, winged eyeliner, or dramatic lashes, eye makeup is often the focal point of any look. After all, who doesn't want their eyes to pop? But anyone who's ever spent 20 minutes mastering the perfect cat eye knows there's nothing worse than painstakingly applying your eye makeup...only to have it smudged all over your lids by the time you get to the office.
We know that struggle and we feel you. So we talked to a few makeup artists to find out what's making your eye makeup smear and smudge—and how to fix it for a flawless application, every single time. Raccoon eyes, begone!
USING THE WRONG EYE CREAM OR MOISTURIZER
Your skin-care routine might actually be the culprit behind your smeared eyeliner. If you're using heavy, oil-based moisturizers or eye creams during the day, they might be making your makeup travel down your face. “The eyelid naturally creates oil to protect the eye, allowing you to comfortably open and close it,” says makeup artist Gina Karvellas. “Therefore, adding more oil to this area will make it much more difficult to apply makeup, and more importantly, keep it there.”
To combat this, Justine Purdue, a celebrity makeup artist for global management agency Streeters, suggests reconsidering your skin-care products. “A rich cream should be kept to nights and a less emollient cream or water-based eye gel is good for pre-makeup,” says Purdue.
SKIPPING AN EYE PRIMER
For long-lasting eye makeup, incorporating an eye primer into your routine seems to be the golden rule among makeup artists. “If you're not using primer, then it's never too late to start," says Leah London, lead makeup artist for NOTE Cosmetics. “Eye primer can serve a dual purpose by not only camouflaging any red tones, but also working as a great base for eye shadow to last and pop all day long, bypassing any smudging.” Try the OG of eyelid primers, Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Sin ($22, sephora.com), which our beauty director swears by to keep eye makeup and mascara in place. (We also like this option from NARS.)
USING TOO MUCH PRODUCT AT ONCE
If you use too much shadow on your applicator or brush, that can lead to smudging. “When applying eye shadow to your eyes, it’s best to apply a little product at a time,” says Rick DiCecca, Artistry’s global makeup artist. “It’s easier to add, yet not so easy to subtract.” If using powder shadow, for example, tap your brush lightly to remove excess powder, which can help avoid overloading your lids with product.
USING A PENCIL EYELINER
“Pencil eyeliners are usually oil-based and are bound to travel all over the lid,” explains Karvellas. Instead, try using a gel eyeliner. “As long as you give it just a moment to dry, they usually last the longest, even in your waterline,” says Karvellas. Plus, it's generally easier to apply than liquid liner.
USING REGULAR MASCARA
To prevent the raccoon-eye look, celebrity makeup artist Hector Simancas suggests using waterproof mascara. “On the top lashes, add mascara only from the middle to the tip of the lashes, not on the root,” says Simancas. “This helps keep the lashes closest to the waterline clear if your eyes water and will help prevent smudging.” You can also stick with your regular mascara and add a topcoat of waterproof mascara just to the tips of the lashes, which are most likely to touch your skin and create unsightly smears.
NOT SETTING YOUR EYE MAKEUP
Many women simply apply their eye makeup and start their day without actually properly setting the products applied near the eye area. “Skipping this step will cause your eye shadow and eye liner to bleed into your concealer giving off the appearance of dark circles,” says Jonet Williamson, a Romio beauty expert and New York City-based makeup artist. “To avoid this, try dusting a bit of translucent setting powder under your eye where the concealer and shadow meet.”