Latest Stories

Tricks of the Trade

Make your eyeliner smudge-proof


My eyeliner always gets smudged. I’ve used pencil and liquid eyeliner and even tried setting them with black eye shadow but nothing seems to work. How do I make my liner smudge-free?

—KC Anne Santos

Unless your plan is to look like a ghoul for Halloween, smudged eyeliner is a no-no. It is one of the most common makeup problems, and is probably one of the most asked beauty questions, at least for my column.

Personally, this is my biggest makeup issue because my eyeliner always smudges (even at shoots, which is why I always have to warn my makeup artists).

For a time I was resolved not to wear eyeliner until I found a way to prevent it from smearing, which meant my eyes were less defined and pretty for some years, not counting the times when I had a makeup artist to do it for me.

It seems we’ve all had our fair share of eyeliner woes. One too many times we’ve caught a glimpse of our reflection with streaky eye makeup (or simply, raccoon eyes) and since made a conscious effort to avoid this embarrassing fiasco. The lot of us are prone to this, as our eyes get oily throughout the day and cause our eyeliners to slide and settle into our under-eye area. But as much as a touch-up is necessary after a few hours, our makeup should never be all over the place.

Before you store your favorite eyeliners for good, just as I did, know that there are ways to smudge-proof your makeup. It took me some practice and a lot of help from top makeup artists, but I finally learned the secrets to creating sultry lined eyes that last for hours. Here are some easy tips you can follow to make smudged liner a thing of the past.

Try the smudge-proof test. I used to think that all eyeliners are the same; and that the only differences were probably in the color and the brand. But as I was out to find the perfect smudge-proof liner, I discovered the distinction—consistency, glide and resistance all mattered. The only way to know if your eyeliner has all three qualities is if you try it on the back of your hand and notice the following: how well the liner draws, whether it distributes an equal proportion as you line it, how it feels against the skin and how long it stays on when you rub it. When you start comparing one liner against the other, then you’ll see how much better the other fares. This requires a lot of trial and testing, which is actually the fun part. Because once you’ve found your smudge-proof liner, you’ll know you’ve found gold.

Use a makeup primer. As our busy day progresses, we barely notice how much activity our eyes make. With all that blinking, our eye area becomes oily and our eyes may begin to water. This causes our makeup to move and smudge, especially if we’ve used a medium- to full-coverage foundation. Makeup primer or base prevents all that from happening, as it acts like a bridge between skincare and makeup. It keeps skin moisturized without getting oily, and allows makeup to adhere better. This means makeup stays in place for a much longer time, which is what you need to prevent your liner from smudging. This extra step makes a big difference, and will keep the rest of your makeup fresh from morning to evening.

Load on more powder. You were on the right track by setting your liner with black eye shadow. I still recommend you do that, but don’t forget to set your entire eye area, too. Aside from the primer, face powder (whether you prefer to use pressed or loose) will keep your eyes from getting oily or watery. This does it by setting your makeup, which means it won’t be moving or smudging in the next couple of hours. Applying a lot more powder will prevent smudging, just remember to use a big, fluffy brush to remove the excess.

Know where to apply liner. Where you apply your eyeliner also makes a difference. If you are used to drawing liner on top of your eye shadow, maybe you can try applying it on your inner lash line instead, which is what most makeup artists do to create a more natural definition. This may require practice though, but it really does make your eyes appear bigger. The right way to do this is by gently lifting your upper lid and drawing on the line right under your eyelashes (this is why consistency and glide are so important).

Got a beauty question? E-mail ask.kellymisa@gmail.com

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: beauty , Eyeliner , Lifestyle

  • Anonymous

    What ingredients are in the products you advise to prevent smudging? They could cause more problems than they cure. See http://www.nochemicalcosmetics.com for free
    reports on how to recognise and avoid the chemicals and contaminants in the
    products you use.

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. How to enjoy Buntod
  2. Life lessons I want to teach my son
  3. Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  4. ‘Wild West’ Masbate’s pristine marine gems
  5. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  6. Sweet party for Andi Manzano
  7. Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  8. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  9. Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  10. How Margie Moran-Floirendo keeps her dancer’s body
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  4. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  5. Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  6. How Margie Moran-Floirendo keeps her dancer’s body
  7. This is not just a farm
  8. President Quezon was born here–and so was Philippine surfing
  9. Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  10. Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  3. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  4. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  10. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer


  • Camilla’s brother dies in US after head injury
  • Luisita farmers storm DAR compound
  • Trillanes, Ejercito confident they are not in Napoles’ list
  • Easterlies to prevail in Luzon, Visayas
  • Lacson eyes P106-B ‘Yolanda’ rehab masterplan
  • Sports

  • Mavs roll past Spurs 113-92, even series at 1-1
  • Phelps having fun in his return to swimming
  • Murray breaks down in tears at Scottish ceremony
  • Mixers trim Aces; Painters repulse Bolts
  • Donaire junks Garcia as coach, taps father
  • Lifestyle

  • Photos explore dynamics of youths’ sexual identity
  • 12th Philippine Food Expo set at the World Trade Center
  • No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  • The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  • Homemade yogurt, bread blended with pizza, even ramen
  • Entertainment

  • Sony developing live-action Barbie comedy
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Return of ‘Ibong Adarna’
  • Practical Phytos plans his future
  • In love … with acting
  • Business

  • Facebook profits triple as mobile soars
  • Insular Honors Sales Performers at Testimonial Rites
  • Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock
  • Cost-recovery provisions for affected gencos urged
  • This time, BIR goes after florists
  • Technology

  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos in Middle East urged to get clearance before returning
  • PH seeks ‘clearer assurance’ from US
  • China and rivals sign naval pact to ease maritime tensions
  • What Went Before: Manila bus hostage crisis
  • Obama arrives in Tokyo, first stop of 4-nation tour