For every great TikTok beauty hack, there’s another one better left on the app (and not part of your beauty routine).
One such hack that falls into the nope category involves using a lip liner as a base for a smoky eye look. See here:
While the intent is to prolong the eyeshadow look, experts say that lip and eye products are not interchangeable, and that this tip could come with some serious consequences (including blindness).
In fact, the Food and Drug Administration specifically says to avoid using lip liner anywhere near the eyes (or better yet, using any other cosmetics near your eyes unless they’re specifically intended for that area).
Below, find out the risks associated with using lip products near the eyes, and some safer alternatives to make your smoky eye last.
What are the risks of using lip liner around the eyes?
Like diaper cream and chafing lotions, beauty products are developed for use in specific areas. Eye makeup products are formulated with ingredients that are safe for use around this delicate area, while lip products are not, according to Dr. Diane Hilal-Campo, board-certified ophthalmologist and founder of Twenty/Twenty Beauty.
One ingredient in lip products that could pose a risk to the eyes is color additives. While such additives are strictly regulated in the United States and several are approved for cosmetics, in general they’re not approved for use around the eye, according to the FDA.
Beyond ingredients, lip products may “contain ocular irritants, which can cause irritation, infection and even lead to blindness,” Hilal-Campo said. The mouth area has gram-negative and anaerobic bacteria that can be extremely damaging to eye structures, she said. “Temporary blindness can occur if only the surface structures are affected, but blindness can be permanent if the bacteria were to enter the eye,” Hilal-Campo said.
Lip liners are applied and reapplied to the lips, often without sanitizing. “Warm, wet and dark environments, like our mouth, are breeding grounds for bacteria,” Hilal-Campo noted. “Our mouths are teeming with millions of microbes, and every time you use a lip product without sanitizing it, you’re allowing for new bacterial growth. When you apply that product to the eye area, you are introducing new bacteria to a different area, risking infection.”
And even if your lip products are sanitized or brand-new, using them around the eyes is simply not worth the risk.
Finally, products designed for the eye area are required to go through specific ocular safety testing, which lip products are not, said Krupa Koestline, a clean cosmetic chemist and founder of KKT Consultants.
Signs of an allergic reaction or infection around the eye include redness and irritation, soreness, inflammation, sensitivity to light, watery eyes, oozing and crusting, Hilal-Campo said. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, visit your ophthalmologist immediately.
How to create a long-lasting smoky eye with eye makeup
We get it. The only thing worse than spending considerable effort blending your smoky eye is seeing your hard work fade away not too long after. Thankfully, there are ways to increase the longevity of your smoky eye without using lip liner.
According to makeup artist Aaron Barry, prep is key. First, use a cotton pad and a cleanser to get rid of excess oil on the eyelids that could cause your eyeshadow to slip off. Barry advises a gentle cleanser, as cleansers that contain harsh chemicals and fragrances can irritate eyes and lids. That can activate more oil production on the lids and shorten how long your eyeshadow lasts.
Next, use a waterproof eyeshadow stick to prime the eyes. This prevents eyeshadow from creasing on the eyelids and creates a blank canvas for the eyeshadow to adhere to.
From there, choose three complementing eyeshadow tones: a light shimmer or metallic eyeshadow to use as a highlight, a medium-toned shade, and a darker shade for additional depth.
Here’s how Barry recommends creating a smoky eye: “With a flat brush and packing motions, cover your eyelid with the medium-toned shade. Then, one eye at a time, line the upper lid with a dark eyeliner and quickly smudge with a brush. Apply the darker eyeshadow shade over the eyeliner and blend upwards to cover the eyelid and outward toward the outer corner of eye. With a fluffy brush, sweep the medium-toned eyeshadow from the outer corners upward and through the crease to create a diffused, smokey look. Finally, add the light shimmer eye shadow on the inner corner of your eye for a pop of highlight.”