One of the first things people who just met me ask – as soon they learn that I write for the beauty beat in a magazine title – is: “Which mascara/eyeliner should I use that won’t smudge?”
I usually respond by giving them a list of product recommendations while they take notes. But this is actually the shortcut answer. And in all honesty, my recommendations might not prove to be as failsafe as these hopefuls expect. Here are all the reasons why:
1. Everyone’s eye shape and eyelid movement is different
Just like no two person’s fingerprints are the same, I believe that no two person’s eye shapes are the same. Heck, for most of us, our two eyes aren’t even symmetrical. This means that when we blink, our eyelids move and fold in different ways, and it is precisely when the skin folds and creates contact that smudging of eye makeup occurs. Some people blink harder than others, or others have hooded upper eyelids, which cause eyeliner on the upper eyelids to transfer to the undereye area more easily when they blink.
If your eye makeup always smudges because of blinking, you can’t really stop blinking, right? So simply avoid drawing eyeliner and eyeshadow too heavily close to your lash line, and definitely avoid filling in the waterline with eyeliner. Also, try a transfer resistant formula like Heroine Make Smooth Liquid Eyeliner Waterproof, $15.90 from firstbeauty.com.sg or Kat Von D Tattoo Liner, $32 from Sephora.
ALSO READ: 15 EYELINER HACKS EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW
2. Skin type plays a part
Some people have oily skin, others have dry skin, and then there’s every combination skin type in-between too. Your facial skin type also extends to the skin around the eyes and hence there are people with oilier eyelids than others. The oilier your eyelids, the more your eye makeup will smudge, it’s only logic. And get this: Even the most waterproof of formulas sometimes don't work for people with excessively oily eyelids. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything about it. Applying an eyelid primer may help in varying degrees, depending on how oily your skin is and other factors like your eye shape and blinking movements. Try Essence I love stage base for eyeshadow & concealer, $4.50 from Watsons or Smashbox 24 Hour Photo Finish Shadow Primer, $39 from Sephora.
3. Shifting factors
Photos: Instagram @caradelevingne, @victoriabeckham and @kunismilax
No matter how prepared you are or which waterproof products you use, as long as you wear eye makeup – liner, shadows, mascara – there is potential for smudging at any time. This is simply because all the factors involved are changing all the time. Our skin quality and sebum level changes according to the environment, the movement of our eyes shift and change too.
For example, I have come to rely on some pretty budge-proof eyeliners and mascaras through years of trial and error, but whenever I come down with a cold, none of them hold up against my hard sneezes as my eyes press shut really tightly with each “ah-choo”. When these unfortunate situations happen, there’s not much you can do but use a cleansing wipe to remove all your eye makeup, thoroughly and just try again later... or tomorrow. Otherwise, simply embrace the smudgy smoky eyes look à la Cara Delevingne, Victoria Beckham, Mila Kunis… the list goes on… which goes to show that you’re not alone in your smudged eye makeup plight.