5. Putting eyeliner in the wrong place.
Don’t apply eyeliner to the eyelid margin, where the eyelid meets and runs along the surface of the eye. It has tiny openings with oil glands that can get clogged “whenever you cover that up with an oil-based or waxy-type liner,” Dr. Wang warns.
That can lead to a sty, an infection of the eyelid resulting from a blocked oil gland, or lid margin disease, an inflammation of the eyelids. Its symptoms are itching, burning, stinging and redness.
Putting eyeliner too close to the lash line also can irritate, says Ginny Kullman, M.D., an ophthalmologist at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans.
“A dull eye pencil also can cause abrasions if you tug too hard,” she says.
6. Ignoring your eye irritation or infection.
See your eye doctor if you have symptoms of a viral infection, such as discharge, swelling of the eyelids, or inflammation of the white of the eye.
And don’t use makeup when you have an eye infection.
If you have an eye irritation or infection, you’ll transfer bacteria onto the makeup, Dr. Wang warns. When you use it after you’ve healed, you may re-infect yourself.
After the infection is gone and to avoid reinfection, “wash all applicator brushes,” Dr. Wang advises.
For pencil eyeliner, “burn the tip a bit to kill the bacteria, wipe it against a tissue to take the residue off, and then sharpen before using it,” she says.
“With mascara, you’d want to buy a new one. But with eyeliner, it’s safe to burn and sharpen,” she says.