How to Keep Eye Makeup From Smudging

By Bridget Johnson

A smoky eye is alluring, but a smudged eye is just a mess. Keep your eye makeup where it's meant to be by employing tricks from primers to powders. Start out with good, quality formulations -- cheap or old makeup is not only irritating to the eyes, but can have quickly expired staying power.

Make up
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Set an eye-pencil line with a bit of shadow in a similar shade.

Be Prepared

Don't rub your eyes to save your lids from a midday smudge. After working out, sweating or crying, check your makeup to ensure that nothing needs a touchup. Have cotton swabs and eye makeup remover on hand to easily whisk away any errant smudges. Make sure that you're working from a clean slate as eye makeup added onto oily or sweaty lids already puts its staying power at a disadvantage. Remove any old makeup or residue and rinse, patting dry before you begin your work.

Keep It Waterproof

If humidity and sweat are common foes for your eye makeup, use waterproof eyeliner and mascara. You can also explore formulas advertised as long-wearing, which may need eye-makeup remover to come off at the end of the day instead of simply water. Creamy eyeshadows glide on like a dream but have a tendency to crease, so set with a sweep of powder shadow applied lightly with a brush. Look for longer-wearing cream shadows that dry to a velvety powder finish. Makeup sealant can also be applied over the finished look for extra protection.

Prime Before Coloring

Like a painter uses a base to smooth the canvas for the final coat, a good eyeshadow primer will help keep makeup from budging for hours. Blend a formula evenly across the lid area and let absorb before applying shadow and eyeliner. Formulas range from translucent and opaque nude to shades that add a bit of glimmer to the look. Others have anti-aging properties that hydrate and nourish delicate eye skin while keeping you smudge-proof. And don't forget the lashes: Mascara primer is a clear to whitish formula that sweeps on before you add the color, enhancing the mascara's lengthening or thickening properties and helping keep down smudges and flaking.

Powder Perfect

You use a light dusting of powder to keep your face looking fresh and to set your makeup, and the eyes are no exception. Dust loose powder on lids after the primer and before eye makeup to strengthen the base, or dust after you've applied eye shadow but before applying liquid eyeliner or mascara. Powder shadow can also be pressed along your lash line on top of eyeliner with an angled flat brush for a defined line that's still precise and is less likely to budge. Lightly press powder along the edge of the lower liner to help keep makeup from traveling south.