Bad Eye Makeup Habits Made Me Look Like A Not-So-Sexy Vampire

Seven tips to avoid frightening yourself in the mirror with your own red eyes.
Publish date:
March 21, 2013
eyeliners, How-To, tightlining, allergies, habits, contact lenses

I, Pia, have never wanted to be a vampire. Finding makeup to flatter that skin tone must be the pits. And while I do believe there's a shade of red that works for everybody, I’ve found it’s best to not wear it near or in my eyes.

My own personal Twilight Saga started with my insatiable need to try every type of eyeliner I can get my hands on. I've been blessed with very few allergies, so I thought I had a protective forcefield that would fight off ingredients that don't agree with me.


Worse, I had a habit of falling asleep with my contact lenses in (I've since had my eyes blasted with laser beams), which is a huge no-no, and anyone who tells you it's OK needs a laser beam to the brain.

Anyway, I woke up on the morning of a job interview looking like I had fed off the blood of a small village. Water, eyedrops--nothing helped. And it wasn't just a spot; the entire whites of my eyes were a ferocious blood red.

I thought I was dreaming. I was terrified of my own reflection. How could I face the world? Was I stuck like this?

I decided to suck it up, send an email to the interviewers warning them of my appearance, and go to my interview. And if they hadn’t hired me, perhaps I would’ve learned my lesson.

It took me a while to figure out the exact combination of aggressors that were causing the red eyes. I stopped sleeping with my contacts in but continued messing around with all kinds of eyeliners. Two more times, my liner promiscuity led to vampire eyes, startling my coworkers and earning me the designation of “the evil twin.” Runa, the non-evil twin, was supportive, but even she couldn't look me in the eye.

To avoid scaring any more babies (and grown-ups), we’ve come up with a few simple rules for keeping sensitive eyes healthy and human-looking.

1. Choose long-wearing pencil eyeliners, like L'Oreal HiP Color Truth Eyeliner, instead of cream- or gel-based ones that are more likely to travel into your eye. In my case, it was a waxy waterproof liner that did my eyes in. Despite being waterproof, it smudged into my eye because it was so soft. Your pencil should work with minimal pressure, but it shouldn't smush into a cream on contact.

2. Clean the tip if your pencil after every use. A swipe with a makeup-removing wipe, like Ole Henriksen Purifying Eye Make-Up Remover, will remove any dirt or debris that can irritate your eyes.

3. Don't use a dull pencil. Keep your pencil sharpened so it glides on easily, but not so sharp that you’re stabbing yourself.

4. If your liner is too hard, try blasting it with your dryer for five seconds to soften it up. Stabbing at your eyes with a hard liner can irritate them--especially your lower lash line.

5. Lining the lower, inner rim of your eye can be risky if you wear contacts. I’ve wound up with smudges on my lenses so many times. If you must do the water line, try dotting instead. Place dots of liner in between your lashes to fill in the spaces. This will give the illusion of a lined eye with less liner.

6. Use an eyeshadow primer like e.l.f. Mineral Shadow Primer so your eyeliner and shadow won’t migrate into your eye. You'll also have to reapply much less, so you're less likely to encounter any mishaps.

7. Lastly, for the love of all things holy, stop sharing your eye makeup with other people. NOT EVEN YOUR TWIN.

What's the worst reaction you've ever had from eye makeup? Did anyone throw garlic at you?