model in bright eye make-up

Beauty Doesn’t Have to Mean Pain: Top Tips on Using Eye Makeup Safely

Valentine’s Day is approaching and it is in this season that we often like to do just that little bit extra for that special somebody or even just for ourselves. Either way everybody likes to look their best and for many make up is a key part of that beautification process, however, one thing that makeup cannot cover is the development of an eye infection. It is important that in the course of putting on make up that we take the necessary precautions to protect our eyes from harmful substances and bacteria.

Below are some top tips on how to use eye makeup safely:

Only use cosmetics that are designed for use around the eyes

Other types of makeup could contain substances that would be harmful to the eye.

Throw away eye makeup after it’s expiry date and get new products

Many people are guilty of keeping their makeup longer than they should with mascara being one of the main culprits of makeup-based eye problems. Infection-causing bacteria grow easily in creamy or liquid eye makeup.

Never share eye makeup, even with family or close friends

Bacteria can easily be transferred via the sharing of makeup; it makes no difference sharing your make up with a family member as opposed to a total stranger

Test the products before you fully use them

A good way to do this is to introduce only one new eye makeup or care product at a time. Don’t add another new product until you know you’re not reacting to the first one.

Be weary of false lashes

Wearing false lashes, particularly strip lashes, can pose many potential threats to the eye if not used with caution. Firstly, the use of eyelash glue applied to the lash line could cause bacterial infections if the glue were to enter the eye. Aggressive application of lashes can cause abrasions and/or irritation to the eye and long lashes can act almost like a wind funnel, directing wind into the eye and drying the eye out.

Wash your eye makeup off at night to prevent the build up of bacteria and oil

Always apply makeup outside the lash line, away from the eye, to avoid blocking the oil glands of the upper or lower eyelid. These glands secrete oil that protects the eye’s surface.

Avoid applying eye makeup whilst moving or when distracted

You could accidentally poke yourself in the eye and potentially scratch your cornea, not only is this painful but this could also potentially cause long term damage to the eye.

In summary, makeup can be a wonderful thing, but if the necessary precautions are not taken things could go ugly very quickly.

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About the experts

Ms Bola Odufuwa-Bolger | Consultant Ophthalmologist / Clinic Director


Bola Odufuwa is a consultant ophthalmologist at The Royal Free Hospital and clinic director at My-iClinic. She specialises in cataract, glaucoma, paediatric, and laser refractive surgery, and has had extensive training at Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, where she gained expertise in the management of various eye conditions.

Odufuwa is a well-renowned activist and leader in ophthalmic care and gives lectures to optometrists and ophthalmologists around the globe. She is also regularly involved in the training of junior doctors and medical students.

Bola Odufuwa’s special interests include optimal refractive outcomes following cataract surgery, non-penetrating glaucoma surgery, and assessment eyesight in children with special needs: particularly dyslexia and autism.