Is Eye Makeup Bad For Your Eyes?

Eye makeup

If 2020 taught us anything, it was that when all else failed, technology kept us connected.  The old adage that all one needed was food, friends and a home was modified to add digital devices in all shapes and forms as we learnt to stay connected while living apart.  Thanks to the pandemic, schools, tuitions, office and even socializing has moved online with digital time soaring for the young and old alike.

Eye problem

Conjunctivitis – Using products on the eyes that are way past their expiry date, or items that are not stored properly after usage could lead to bacterial growth on the applicator. This contaminates the product and when you use the product again, it causes infections. Some of the riskiest eye makeup products out there include waterline eyeliners that go on the inner rim of the eyelid rather than outside the eyelashes, false eyelashes and color contact lenses. Then there is mascara that—if used beyond the expiry date—can cause all sorts of eye infections.

Allergies – There are countless formulations used by cosmetic brands rounds the world with additives like colorants, fragrances and preservatives. It’s always sensible to opt for fragrance-free and allergen-free product. Look for labels that say hypoallergenic which means they can be used even by people with sensitive skin and allergies. As far as possible, opt for brands that are chemical-free to counter allergic reactions like redness, irritation, and infections to your eyes.

Corneal abrasion – One of the most serious eye problems caused by makeup, corneal abrasions occur during application with, say, a mascara wand or an eyeliner tip, that could end up scratching the cornea. Sometimes, a corneal abrasion could become infected leading to a potentially blinding corneal ulcer. Corneal injuries are usually painful and if your eye feels scratchy and tender, visit an eye specialist without delay.

How to Avoid Eye Infections While Using Eye Makeup?

Avoid Eye Infections While Using Eye Makeup

Never share your makeup with others or use someone else’s. Sharing makeup is one if the easiest way to contract an infection. Keep in mind, your eye makeup is yours alone to use. Not even your sibling’s.


Never apply makeup on your waterline. While you might come across a lot of videos showing just that, resist the temptation. Chances are that without practice, you run the risk of scratching your cornea. Another common fallout of applying kajal or eyeliner in the waterline is that you could end up blocking the oil glands that secrete oils to protect your cornea besides introducing bacteria directly into the eye. The result; itchy, watery and sensitive eyes


Expired makeup products? They belong to the trash not your eyes. If you have creamy, or liquid eye makeup products that are close to expiry or already expired do NOT use them as they could be infested with bacteria or fungi that could cause severe damage to your eyes. While it may not be noticeable by the naked eye, an easy way to gauge if your makeup has gone bad is to quickly check its texture, color, or smell. As a thumb rule throw away eye makeup that’s over three months old, and once you’ve opened a mascara, get rid of it in a month because the pumping action of the wand introduces air—and bacteria—into the product.


Avoid using flaky, dry and powdery eye shadow. And definitely no glitter! The flakes and particles could end up in your eye, causing redness and itching.

Follow this timeline to know when to get rid of makeup products:


3-4 months

Liquid/ Gel Eyeliner

3-4 months

Cream Eyeshadow

6-8 months


1 month

Brow Pencil

24 months


If you’ve recently had an eye infection, make sure your eyes are completely healed before applying makeup. It’s best to sanitize all makeup before using it after an infection.


Always cleanse your face before you go to bed. Eye makeup when left in and around your eyes overnight could cause infections in the long run.


If you are prone to skin allergies, it’s recommended to introduce new makeup one product at a time to gauge what’s causing sensitivity.


If you have had an eye surgery, it is best to not use any eye makeup for at least three months.

Lastly, if you’re reading this because you are suffering from an eye infection caused by makeup, book an appointment with your ophthalmologist at the earliest. Remember, your beauty routine should not come at the possible expenses of your eye health.

About Aishwarya Menon

Aishwarya is a Content Specialist at Lenskart and has previously written for publications like Lonely Planet, TOI, Yahoo, etc. She loves writing bios as much as 3-year-olds like their greens. In her free time, she enjoys planning holidays in her head and reading books that are almost always unheard of.