We’ve all experienced it: That moment of horror when you glance in the mirror and realize your eyeliner has traveled halfway down your face.
Whether it’s due to sweat, humidity, or oily eyelids, migrating eyeliner can often feel like a losing battle—but it doesn't have to be. Rather than getting frustrated (or deciding to nix the staple altogether), learn how to make your eyeliner last with makeup artist Kira Nasrat's foolproof tips.
Step One: Prep and Prime
To ensure staying power, you’ll want to begin with a clean slate. “I always start by wiping the eyelids off with an oil-free makeup remover by Neutrogena ($7; ulta.com),” Nasrat tells InStyle. “It's great for picking up excess oils that build up in the creases and on the lids.” To prep and smooth the area, she then applies Urban Decay Eye Shadow Primer Potion ($20; sephora.com), followed by a dusting of Koh Gen Do’s Natural Lighting translucent power ($42; sephora.com). “This helps prevent the eyeliner from transferring,” she says.
Step 2: Choose a Waterproof Formula
Since traditional pencil formulas tend to be the most nomadic, look for one with waterproof benefits. They glide right on for a smooth application, but won’t smudge or fade as the day goes on. Shop Nasrat’s picks (above, from left): Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes ($19; sephora.com). Dior Crayon Eyeliner ($29; sephora.com). Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Eye Pencil ($23; sephora.com).
Step 3: Set with Eye Shadow
"Once I finish blending or smudging the product in place, I will set it with an eye shadow shade that is the same color," the pro tells us. She prefers MAC Eyeshadow in either Carbon or Embark ($16 each; nordstrom.com). "These eye shadows are matte and rich in pigment, only complementing the pencil eyeliners," she says. Skip this step if you're using a gel or liquid formula, Nasrat suggests. "Instead you want to prep your lids with the eyeshadow primer and dust translucent powder over the surrounding area you are about to line."
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