Smudged eyeliner is one of the most common and dreaded disasters in the beauty world. It is a horrible feeling to look in the mirror a few hours after leaving your house in the morning and see a raccoon with running black makeup looking back at you. Smudging and running eyeliner is natural as the day progresses, especially if it is hot or humid outside. However, there are many ways to prevent your eyeliner from smudging in order to maintain a freshly-applied finish all day long.
1. Set Your Liner
One of the most effective, tried and true ways to prevent your eyeliner from smudging throughout the day is to set it as soon as you apply it. After you apply your eyeliner, let it dry for about thirty seconds to one minute to ensure that it has hardened up. Then, dampen a small eyeshadow crease brush with setting spray (make sure to get it damp, not dripping) and dip it in translucent setting powder.
Dust the translucent setting powder liberally along your bottom and top lash lines where you applied your eyeliner. Let the damp setting powder sit on your skin and dry for a minute or so, then blend it into your skin until there are no white traces or undertones left on your skin. Make sure to blend gently to prevent disrupting the precision of your eyeliner. The setting powder and setting spray combination provides your liner with a protective sealing barrier that prevents it from running and smudging as the day goes on.
2. Smudge It Yourself
This might sound counterintuitive, but an excellent way to prevent your eyeliner from smudging throughout the day is to smudge it yourself immediately after you apply it. Oftentimes, after you apply your eyeliner, excess amounts of product you applied will flake off and run down your skin, leaving tell-tale black streak marks in their wake.
You can prevent this from happening by using a Q-tip or a small brush to remove the excess eyeliner from your skin after you apply it. Immediately after you apply your eyeliner, gently blend the edges of the liner with a Q-tip or brush to remove any excess product.
This trick does create a blended, slightly smudged look. If you’re striving for more precision with your eyeliner, try some of the other tips in this post.
3. Use Eyeshadow Primer
While it is most common for eyeliner to smudge and run down your face, it can also smudge upward from your top lash line to your crease and brow bone. This happens most often in humid weather, if you sweat a lot on a certain day, or if you have naturally oily eyelids that easily pick up product.
Fortunately, there is an easy fix to this problem: just use eyeshadow primer. Even if you don’t plan to apply eyeshadow, swipe a liberal amount of eyeshadow primer across your entire eyelid, from your lash line where your eyeliner is applied up to your brow bone. The primer will keep the liner on your top lash line from creeping up your eyelid. A great-quality eyeshadow primer is the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Original (an invisible formula), Eden (a nude, brightening formula) or Minor Sin (an invisible formula with a slight shimmer) ($20.00).
4. Angle Your Wings Up
The outer corners of your eyes, which crinkle up when you squint, move around a lot during the day and tend to produce moisture. If you apply winged eyeliner that sits on the outer corner of your eyes, it is likely to smudge and smear away throughout the day as it is exposed to moisture and friction from your eyes moving.
In order to keep your winged eyeliner from smearing, simply angle your wing up higher to keep it away from the problem area around the outer corner of your eye. You can still create a sharp, precise, traditional winged line; just beware of the smearing problem your eyes’ outer corners can create.
5. Wait for Your Eye Makeup to Dry
Before you apply your eyeliner, wait for all of your other eye makeup to dry to prevent smudging your liner against wet makeup. If you apply liquid eyeshadow primer, wait for the formula to dry before you line your eyes. The same rule applies for cream eyeshadow formulas.
Also, when you apply your eyeliner itself, keep your eye closed and motionless for thirty seconds to a minute after you apply your liner to your top and bottom lash lines in order to give your eyeliner formula time to dry and harden and prevent smearing it before you even get a chance to leave the house.
Smudged and running eyeliner can be extremely frustrating. Fortunately, you can use the tips in this article to effortlessly prevent your eyeliner from smudging for a long-lasting, fresh finish.