How to Keep Your Eye Makeup on Your Eyes

Natasha Burton


There are few things more embarrassing than heading to the bathroom after an important work meeting or in the middle of a date only to see that your (meticulously applied) makeup has made its way off of your lids and lashes and decided to settle in dark circles under your eyes. Awesome.

This stellar situation happens for a number of reasons, according to the experts we spoke with. Read on for their advice on how to avoid the dreaded raccoon-eye syndrome and pro-tested tips for keeping your makeup where it belongs.

1. Check your makeup’s expiration date.
Older makeup is flakier makeup, according to actress and model CariDee English, who won cycle seven of America’s Next Top Model. “Most makeup and beauty products have a small number and letter on the packaging that tells you how long it’s good for,” she says. “For example, your mascara may say ’12M’ on the packaging, so if it’s been longer than 12 months, toss it!” When makeup expires, the chemicals within it can break down, meaning it won’t work the way it’s supposed to.

MORE: 6 Ways to Make the Most of Your Makeup

2. Prime your lids.
The eyelid area produces a lot of oil, English says, so it’s essential to apply a base to ensure shadows and eyeliners stay put.

Kate O’Brien, founder of makeup brand Alima Pure, suggests first dampening your brush just slightly with clean water when applying your base so your makeup won’t budge after application. Then, apply a natural eye cream first, bringing it up to the lid so that it acts as a primer. “I let it dry for a few minutes and then I apply my eyeshadow, followed by eyeliner,” she explains. “By that point, the eye cream won’t be wet, rather a bit tacky, acting as the perfect primer for eyeshadow and eyeliner.” To further lay a base, she advises applying a lighter shadow shade before layering on a darker color.

3. Embrace the spooly.
English swears by this tool, which is essentially the end of a mascara wand (with no product on it) or eyebrow brush. “It’s great for combing through your eyelashes to make sure they are all straight and untangled,” she explains. “If you swipe on layers of mascara on tangled or bent eyelashes, the mascara will flake off easier because the tubing of the mascara product—what coats your eyelashes— has a harder time adhering.”

 4. Conceal after applying your eye makeup.
After you’re finished with your eye makeup, apply a light concealer under your eyes, O’Brien says. By doing this step after shadow, liner, and mascara, you’ll be able to wipe off any excess product that landed there without ruining your face makeup. Plus, concealer will help combat oiliness, keeping your under-eye area fresh and clean.

MORE: 6 Mistakes You’re Making With Your Mascara

5. Refresh as needed.
Despite your best efforts, makeup can still sometimes get trapped in your under-eye area due to watery eyes and dryness (especially in cold, winter months). O’Brien says she carries a small pot of coconut oil in her purse for mid-day touch-ups, since it doubles as a makeup remover and moisturizer as well. “If I need to refresh my makeup, our Satin Finishing Powder does the trick,” she adds. “It’ll fit perfectly in your handbag.”