If Your Eyeliner Keeps Smudging, Your Skin Type Could Be To Blame

In today's age of armchair makeup experts and viral, one-swipe eyeliner applications on TikTok, trying to achieve the perfect liner look at home can feel especially frustrating. Then, when that painstakingly applied liner smudges into a blur within two hours of leaving the house? Well, that often elicits a very different "F" word reaction. 

Before you start carrying touch-up liners in your bag — or, worse yet, giving up on your favorite looks entirely — consider your skin type. We closely associate our skin types with the all-over makeup we use — foundation, concealer, powder, bronzer, etc. But eyeliner goes on our faces, too. So, why should it be treated any differently? 

If your eyeliner constantly looks smudged, runny, or blurry no matter how carefully it's applied, it isn't a sign from the universe that you were never meant to rock a fierce cat eye. Nor does it mean you're applying your liner incorrectly. In fact, the issue could be as simple — and, more importantly, fixable — as using the wrong liner for your skin type.

Getting to the bottom line of the problem

Oily skin is often thought to reside in hot spots like the facial T-zone or on the scalp, but in reality, excess oil production can occur anywhere on the body — yep, including on the eyelids. Medical News Today confirms that oily skin is incredibly common and can be caused by a number of factors, including genetics, hormones, harsh cleansers, and other environmental stressors. 

Skin "oil" is actually a blend of fatty acids, wax esters, and other lipids. The oil, or sebum, is produced and released from the sebaceous glands under the skin's surface. Sebum is more noticeable on the aforementioned oily hot spots because there are more glands present in these areas of the body — around 900 per square centimeter. 

While the right amount of sebum can keep skin hydrated and healthy, too much can cause makeup to slide around and smudge throughout the day. All of a sudden, your impeccably drawn eyeliner becomes grunge-tastic by noon. Luckily, having oily eyelids isn't the death sentence for your favorite liner looks that you might think it is.

Don't just wing it — try these options instead

Oily skin is, in essence, overly moisturized skin, which means your best bet for finding a smudge-proof liner is to look for water-resistant or waterproof products. Eyeliners like powders, gels, or pencils aren't ideal for oily skin, as the softer formulas are more prone to movement and loss of pigmentation. For oily lids, it's best to opt for water-resistant, long-lasting liquid formulas. 

Liquid liners, ideally with a precision tip or brush applicator, offer a more precise finish, keeping your lines sharp and defined. If you're uncomfortable using liquid liner or prefer your makeup to be a tad feathered and not perfectly crisp, you can still use waterproof versions of your go-to soft formulas. Applying a primer to the eyelids before lining your eyes can also help to block moisture and lock in your look for all-day wear. 

And, if you're in the mood to troubleshoot, you should evaluate your daily routine for common skincare mistakes that lead to excess oil production too. Whether you choose to get to the root of your oily skin woes or find techniques and tricks to work around them, achieving the perfect eyeliner of your dreams is more attainable than you think — even if it's not in one fell swoop like some of your favorite TikTok MUAs.