Elizabeth Best | 08 July 2019

You spend ages in the morning crafting the perfect eyeliner only to look in the mirror at the end of the day and gasp. Your crisp clean lines are gone, and in their place a sooty mess that makes you look like you haven’t slept in days (or got punched in the eye, neither of which are a good look). Is it just a bad eyeliner? Not necessarily. 

You could have naturally oily lids which make normally steadfast liners slide on down. Or maybe you rub your eyes through the day and aren’t super aware of it. Whatever the reason, here are some handy dandy tips to avoiding the dreaded smudge.

1. Prime, prime, prime

Yes you should be using eye primer before putting anything on your peepers. Primer from your face may be enough but sometimes, particularly if you have hooded or particularly oily lids, you’re gonna need a primer made for your eyes only. Make sure you let it set before applying your liner or eyeshadow. 

2. Steer away from creamy concealers

Or if you are going to use a cream concealer, make sure you set it with a bit of setting powder. Creamy concealer applied under the eyes can have the same effect as the oily lid thing, making your liner migrate south and then hello dark circles! Aim for less oily/creamy concealers or as mentioned, set them with a swish of powder before applying liner. 

3. Set your actual liner

This one is my super secret pro tip: set your liner with eyeshadow. Yep that’s right, find an eyeshadow that is the same colour as your liner and, using an angled brush, and follow the line you’ve already made, pressing it in as you go. This will ensure the liner is set in place. And for bonus points, if you want a shimmer or glittery effect, use a shimmer shadow to do the setting. You’re welcome. 

4. Try waterproof eyeliner

If you REALLY don’t want anything to budge, then invest in a good waterproof eyeliner. But be warned, the really good ones can be near to impossible to remove without industrial eye makeup remover so make sure you have a good one on hand. Makeup removers that contain oil are particularly good at vanishing waterproof products and are gentle on the skin as well, so no more rubbing at it forever. 

5. Bring in some oil-absorbing blotting paper

If you’ve tried it all, maybe consider starting your prep routine with some blotting paper. If you suffer from oily eyelids leading to the liner slip and slide, blotting could help. Before even priming the area, use the papers to blot away any oily residue on the skin, to start with a clean, dry surface. Then prime and repeat all other steps. 

Of course these aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution and you may need to try a few different techniques before you get the perfect routine. Or even try combining a few of the tips to really lock that liner in there. As someone with hooded eyelids, I feel your pain but honestly, now that I do a few of these I can get even the dodgiest of eyeliner formulas to stay put with regular success. Now get out there and wing it! (Your eyeliner I mean… or your life. Whatever really.) 

About the author


Elizabeth Best is a journalist, beauty expert, foodie and travel lover with a mild obsession for all things shimmery. She likes long walks down the makeup aisle and you can follow her adventures on Instagram @thebeautypalate.


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