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Are Watery Eyes Ruining Your Makeup Game? Stay Dry With These Tips!

Photo by Sunny/Getty Images

You bought the viral makeup products, you nailed the look, and now you’re…crying with unintentional smudges around the eyes? That’s what it can look like if you’re someone (like us) who suffers from watery eyes after makeup application. There’s no predicting when it will happen—it just does. And it can take a look from glam to sham in seconds. Enter: makeup tips for watery eyes. “Watery eyes can occur if you suffer from dry eyes or you use triggering products in the eye area,” explains Heather Raffaela, an ad and editorial makeup artist based in Los Angeles. Raffaela adds that if your eyes start to water immediately after applying a certain product, you could have a sensitivity to it. 

If the process of elimination doesn’t work, and you’ve already enlisted the help from hydrating skincare, we’ve rounded up tips below. Raffaela and fellow makeup artist Annette Davenport explain how to stop watery eyes from ruining your makeup routine.

About the Experts: 
Annette Davenport is a professional makeup artist and hairstylist based in Los Angeles. 
Heather Raffaela is an ad and editorial makeup artist based in Los Angeles.

9 Tips to Stop Watery Eyes From Ruining Your Makeup

1. Grab a Handheld Fan

Calling this her top tip, Davenport says, “Take a small fan to help dry the eye, and then use a small brush to touch up the areas that were messed up.”

2. Apply Translucent Powder

We often use translucent powder to set our makeup and blot oil on our face, but it also helps stop watery eyes in their tracks. 

“I use a translucent powder or powder in my shade and pack it slightly under the eye and in the outer corner that waters,” Davenport says. “Then, I slightly blend it out. It creates a smooth base for you to tap with some kind of tip. I also keep tissues on hand for absorption.”

Our translucent powder of choice? The cult favorite icon that is the LAURA MERCIER Translucent Loose Setting Powder. Just ask TikTok. 

3. Avoid Mascara

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about mascara, it’s that it can be triggering to sensitive eyes. Depending on the formula and your overall sensitivity, mascara can often be the culprit for your tears. Because of that, Davenport suggests avoiding mascara if you can. 

“If it’s a must, then apply a small amount of waterproof mascara, combined with waterproof eyeliner (if you opt for liner in the first place),” the MUA says. “Waterproof makeup is key, but I tend to find minimizing products is best.”

When it comes to waterproof mascara with non-triggering formulas, we opt for the ANASTASIA BEVERLY HILLS Lash Sculpt Mascara, which sensitive-skin commenters have praised. When it comes to lower lashes or eyeliner, we suggest avoiding the waterline if you think it may lead to a sensitive or allergic reaction.

4. Apply an Allergy Eye Drop

It can never hurt to have LUMIFY Redness Reliever Eye Drops on hand. “They will at least alleviate any redness in the eye,” says Davenport.

5. Just Breathe!

Wait, that’s it?

According to Davenport and Raffaela, just a few deep breaths can at least stop the wateriness from getting worse. “I suggest nose breathing, because it’s more beneficial than mouth breathing,” Raffaela says. “Breathing through your nose can help filter out dust and allergens and quickly dry up your eyes.” The more you know!

6. Reach for Your Essential Oils

People say essential oils are super versatile, and they’re not kidding. We often use them to put our minds at ease, and the same can be said for easing the waterworks. 

“Try smelling essential oils,” Raffaela advises. “The two that have worked for me are peppermint and lavender oil.” 

7. Avoid Talc Products

Plenty has been said about talc over the years. While it’s still up for discussion, one thing can be confirmed by a pro.

“Talc is a product that can cause lots of sensitivity, so I would suggest starting there first,” Raffaela says. Some of the best makeup in her opinion comes from talc-free brands that include IPSY Glam Bag faves like LAWLESS, HONEST BEAUTY, KOSAS, SAIE, ILIA, MILK MAKEUP, and TOWER 28

8. Use Cream Products Instead of Powder

Something else that could cause eye irritation is loose powder finding its way into the eyes. 

“I’d suggest using cream products to help prevent this from happening,” Raffaela shares. “There’s a big selection of cream and liquid eyeshadows you can use to help prevent powder from falling into your eyes.”

The BOBBI BROWN COSMETICS Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick is a beautiful neutral shade you can take with you on the go to amplify any eye makeup look effortlessly.

9. Consistently Clean Your Brushes

This is a tip that comes straight from Team IPSY (not that our experts disagree!). While you should always clean your brushes consistently for the sake of hygiene and effective application, it’s also crucial for sensitivity. Dirty makeup brushes can attract bacteria, and makeup buildup alone can’t possibly be good for anyone. We can tell you firsthand that our eyes water a lot less with freshly cleaned brushes.

We’re big fans of the JAPONESQUE Solid Brush Cleanser, thanks to its balm formula that breaks down lingering makeup from the brushes. 

Want in on all the IPSY makeup fun and more? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started with your own IPSY beauty subscription. Already an IPSY member? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and TikTok @IPSY.

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About the author
Dahvi Shira
Dahvi Shira
Dahvi Shira is a Los Angeles-based beauty writer, who has a passion for hair, makeup, and skincare. She contributes regularly to Mane Addicts and her blog, Skyelyfe. Her work has also appeared on Glossy, People, E!, Sweety High and more.
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Article Last Updated July 9, 2024 12:00 AM