What Happens If Eyeliner Gets in Your Eye? Here’s What to Do!

young woman applied eyeliner close-up
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It takes practice to perfect that cat eye makeup with your liquid eyeliner. Sometimes, even if you are experienced using liquid eyeliner, you could still get it accidentally in your eyeball. 

It happens.

Maybe someone accidentally bumped your arm while you’re doing your makeup, or perhaps you just did it accidentally. Nevertheless, getting eyeliner on your eyeball can be scary and uncomfortable. 

In this article, we’ll discuss what to do if you get eyeliner where it’s not supposed to go. We’ll also give some tips to help you prevent it from happening.


Is Eyeliner On Your Eyeball Dangerous?

It is easy to panic when you get eye makeup on your eyes. Whether it is an eyeliner, mascara, lash glue, eyeshadow, or other makeup, getting any in your eyeball can be scary. 

However, when that happens the best thing to do is to take a deep breath and stay calm.

Usually, eyeliners are applied on the skin and they don’t really cause any problem to your eyes. However, there is a risk of harm because of their ingredients. 

Some people could be allergic to some ingredients. When some particles get into the eyeball, it gets irritated — and you’ll see and feel that. The eyes could turn red, get teary-eyed, go bloodshot, or swell up

Sometimes, you don’t directly get eyeliner on your eyeball. It is possible that tiny particles get into the eyes without you noticing it. When those tiny particles build-up, you may usually find them in the corner of your eye and easily remove them. 

The danger triggers when it happens often, you don’t remove it, and it gets stuck somewhere in your eye. That can cause an infection and irritate your eye further. 

You might see discharge from your eye because the eye is trying to get rid of the infection. When the eye is already infected, you might need to see a doctor to treat it. 

You might see discharge from your eye because the eye is trying to get rid of the infection. When the eye is already infected, you might need to see a doctor to treat it. 

What To Do When Eyeliner Gets Into The Eyeball?

If you accidentally get eyeliner in your eyeballs, here is what you should do.

First of all, you need to rinse your eye thoroughly to flush out the makeup that got into your eyeball. Don’t worry about ruining your makeup, you could always redo it later.

The most important thing is to make sure that you remove the eyeliner that’s in your eyeball. 

First of all, you need to rinse your eye thoroughly to flush out the makeup that got into your eyeball. 

The eyeball isn’t really bone dry so the eyeliner might just be mixed with the eye’s natural lubricant. You might feel that you are getting teary-eyed. That is actually a good thing because the eyes are trying to get rid of the substance that is irritating them. 

By producing tears, it is trying to flush out the eyeliner on its own. You can help by rinsing it out with clean water. You may also make use of eye wash  to remove the eyeliner. This can help flush it out, and it’s always good to have on hand. 

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Make sure that the water you use for flushing out the eyeliner is clean.

If are wearing contact lenses, it will be best to remove your contact lenses before flushing out the eyeliner. You should also clean your contact lenses with the cleaning solution thoroughly because there could also be some eyeliner that got stuck on them. 

After flushing out the eyeliner, it is possible for your eye to be irritated. When that happens to you, moisturizing eye drops  could help provide you some relief. 

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Make sure to rest your eyes for a bit before you return the contact lenses. Give them a chance to recover before you throw the contacts back in, or you’ll just end up further irritating the eyes. 

Some people will feel okay after resting their eyes. However, some may still have irritated eyes for 24 hours. If that happens to you, it may be time to reach out to your eye doctor. 

A few signs and symptoms to watch out for are swelling, discharge, eye pain, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light.

It is possible that there is a substance in the eyeliner that you are allergic to or is really irritating the eyeballs. Furthermore, it is possible that your eye is also getting an infection due to the eyeliner. 

And of course, there could also be corneal abrasion.

Both eye infection and corneal abrasion need to be medically treated to avoid further eye problems. 

How To Avoid Getting Eyeliner On Your Eyeball

The best way to protect your eyes from possible irritation and infection due to your eyeliner is to avoid getting it into your eye. Here are some tips on how to do that:

1. Don’t Apply Makeup In A Moving Vehicle

Whether you are riding a private car or on public transit, it is not a good idea to apply makeup, especially eye makeup. You don’t really know if the vehicle needs to stop abruptly or accelerate.

Whether you are riding a private car or on public transit, it is not a good idea to apply makeup, especially eye makeup. 

That could cause your eyeliner to end up in your eyeball. In such scenarios, you may not have the eyewash or clean water plus the sink to flush the eyeliner out of your eyes. Prolonging the time it stays in your eyeball increases the chance of eye irritation. 

Additionally, you may also end up poking your eye or causing an abrasion on the eyeball due to the sudden stop or acceleration of the vehicle. That is why it is never a good idea to apply eye makeup on the go. 

Even if you are already late, just skip the eye makeup until you’ve got a chance to get organized.

2. Don’t Rush Applying Your Eye Makeup

One of the reasons why people tend to have accidents is because they rush things. Rushing your eyeliner application can also cause you to get it into your eye.

Instead, take your time in doing so. 

3. Make Sure Your Eyeliner Isn’t Too Old

The older the makeup is, the more possible for it to change consistency. If you are using a liquid liner, it is possible that the consistency is changed due to how long it is opened. 

You may get too much product out of your applicator due to degradation of the makeup, and that could cause the eyeliner to run and get into your eyeball. Eyeliner comes in different applicators, make sure to get just the right amount of product for what you need. 

Apart from the change in consistency of the eyeliner, you should know that the longer the makeup is opened, the higher the risk of infection. That’s because bacteria could thrive in that liquid media. 

Even if you are using cream liners, exposure could still welcome bacteria. Accidentally putting it on your eyeball can cause you to have an infection. 

Other Safety Tips On Using Eyeliners

Apart from getting the liquid eyeliner on your eyeballs, you could also harm your eye if you use eyeliners or other eye makeup incorrectly or haphazardly. Remember that even if you rock that eye makeup look, you should still prioritize your eye safety. 

Here are a few safety tips on using eyeliners. 

1. Clean Your Face And Hands Before Applying Makeup

Sometimes, we can blame the eyeliner for causing the infection in the eye or around the eye. However, it is not always the case. 

When applying makeup, you should clean your hands and face first. That helps lessen the chance of spreading the bacteria to your eyes. 

Wash your hands!

2. Avoid Sharing Your Makeup

It can be nice to share, especially with your bestie, but sometimes it is not a good idea — especially when it comes to makeup. It may seem harmless, but that could easily be the cause of the spread of infections like pink eye. 

Sometimes, your friend will seem fine because different people can handle the infection differently. Some may show adverse effects while others only show mild ones. Nevertheless, this can be avoided by not sharing your eyeliner. 

Also, if you’re using makeup for areas where it’s not indented, be careful not to contaminate the makeup. For example, if you’re using eyeliner as lip liner, make sure you’re not transferring from your lips to the eyeliner!

3. Remove Your Makeup Before Sleeping

Are you calling it a day already? You need to take off your makeup before bed. That’s the price you pay for using makeup.

You never want to sleep with mascara, eyeliner, or other makeup that is still on your face. That will cause multiple things to go wrong, and some of it can get in your eyes while you sleep. 

There are lots of gentle makeup removers you can use to help remove your makeup. 

4. Know When To Discard Your Eyeliner

Don’t keep on using your eyeliner forever or until it runs out. Eyeliners will expire, and you have to know when you first opened them so you can discard them at the appropriate time. 

Usually, eyeliners should only be used for about 6 months. That helps avoid bacteria from growing in them and infecting your eye. 

If you ever had an eye infection and you used an eyeliner, throw that eyeliner away. That eyeliner is already contaminated! Using it again, even if you are already completely healed, can just bring back the infection once again. 

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).