Here at BRAVA, we love nothing more than an e-mail with feedback from our readers. Seriously! Someone’s got to keep an eye on us—and local optometrist Kathy Beerntsen did just that. The following is some constructive feedback she sent about the “Walk the Line” eyeliner feature from our January issue.
I enjoy your magazine but as an optometrist, I cringed when I read the recommendation […] to apply eyeliner on the lower lid “above the bottom lashes.” I have had to correct this behavior countless times in my 20 years of practice as it can cause infections in the eyelid, and can interfere with the normal function of the Meibomian glands within the lids […]. Please check your information more carefully as I’m sure you do not want to encourage unhealthy practices.
I e-mailed Kathy back, and asked her to expand a bit more so I could accurately explain to our readers why applying eyeliner above the bottom lashes isn’t a healthy practice. Here is her professional advice:
Why is it important to replace our eye makeup often?
Infection can happen in two ways. Any eye makeup product will become contaminated with bacteria even through normal use. Our skin is populated by Staph. aureus and Staph. epidermidis, and the makeup applicators will transfer these bacteria into the product, which is often a good culture media for bacterial growth. So as a general rule, all eye makeup products should be replaced frequently, probably no less often than every three months, to prevent this type of contamination. The eye can become infected either in the conjunctiva (commonly referred to as “pink eye”), or in the eyelid, known as a “stye” or hordeolum.
Why should we discontinue the practice of applying eyeliner above the bottom lash line?
Applying eyeliner along the lid margin above the lashes also interferes with the normal tear film. Inside the eyelid are oil glands known as Meibomian glands. These tiny glands secrete oil into the tear film, which acts as a stabilizer to prevent evaporation of the watery part of the tear film. When the openings of these glands are blocked by eyeliner, they cannot function properly, which can contribute to dry eyes. The glands also can become infected due to stagnation of their contents. This is often how a “stye” or hordeolum originates.
What about contact lenses? Do contact lens wearers have extra issues to worry about?
Yes, eyeliner on the lid margin can cause problems with contact lens wear. Since any product placed on the lid margin ultimately works its way into the tear film, it will tend to stick to the contact lens surface, causing blur and discomfort. Infection is also a consideration here, as the contaminated product is sticking to the contact lens and therefore spending significant time on the ocular surface. In general, hypo-allergenic products are preferable for this reason. Avoid any “waterproof” products as they form clumps in the tear film as opposed to dissolving.
If you didn’t have a chance to catch the January issue, the following are a few of the other tips on how to wear colored eyeliner from Kati Corbett, makeup and hair stylist with Julia Grace Salon in Madison.
- Don’t match your eye makeup with your clothes.
- To make eyes appear bigger, avoid applying eyeliner all the way to the inner corner of the eye.
- Any eye color or skin tone can jive with any eye makeup colors—the key is ensuring the color schemes complement each other.
- Avoid bold sparkles in your eyeliner or shadow—they enhance harsh lines and wrinkles.
And as a bonus tidbit, here’s the information on where to buy the pencils shown above (clockwise from top):
- 24/7 Glide-on Waterproof Eye pencil. A little golden accent goes a long way when topping a neutral, shimmery shadow. Shown in Honey. $17 by Urban Decay
- Evercolor Starlight Waterproof Eyeliner. An ocean-inspired hue brightens blue eyes. Shown in Caribbean Sea. $25 by mally
- Soft Kohl Kajal Eyeliner Pencil. A classic deep blue is a perfect pair to a soft, gray smokey eye. Shown in Royal Blue. $3 by Rimmel London
- JobaColors Eyeliner. If jeweltones make you cringe, try a sultry smudge of charcoal. Shown in Smoking Gun. $7 By Honeybee Gardens
- HIP Color Chrome Eyeliner. Pair a pretty plum with a subtle brown palette for the ultimate in sophistication. Shown in Violet. $10 by L’Oreal Paris
- Precision Eye Definer. A bold green complements skin-colored neutrals. Shown in Black Jade. $4 by Black Opal
- “Take me out Liner.” For daring (and girly) souls, partner pink with a shimmering gray or brown shadow. Shown in Sushi. $5 by Hard Candy