Permanent Marker as Eyeliner: Beauty Hack or Hazard?

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There is something satisfying about applying perfectly even winged eyeliner, but there are some shortcuts that might be putting your health at risk. Taylor Swift recently confessed that in her younger years she occasionally applied permanent marker as eyeliner for her iconic look. And while she warned readers not to do it, the question remains is this a genius beauty hack, or is it asking for trouble?

We enlisted the help of VSP network eye doctor Arian Fartash, aka the Glamoptometrist, to give her take on this situation. While seemingly convenient, applying permanent marker near your eyes could have some ugly consequences.

“Permanent marker is a no-no for the eyes. Not only are the chemicals dangerous near the eyes (alcohol is a main ingredient), but the pigment is very hard to remove without increasing your chances of damaging the eyelids and eyes permanently. The lids can become red, swollen, and stained with dye. In worst case scenarios, the ink can get into the eyes which can severely damage the corneas and affect sight,” explains Dr. Fartash.

She also shared some other safety tips for applying eyeliner to help avoid eye irritation.

  • Avoid applying eyeliner on your water line, which can clog pores and cause styes.
  • Stay away from heavy glitters in your eye makeup. The glitter can fall into the eyes and scratch the eye’s surface, which can lead to scarring if not treated properly.

The FDA also shares in its eye cosmetic safety checklist an important reminder to only use cosmetics around the eyes that are intended for that specific use, make sure you keep eye makeup clean, and stop using products if you experience any irritation. If you do experience persistent or worsening irritation, don’t hesitate to see your eye doctor.

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