10 Makeup Tips for People Whose Eyes Are Always Watering

Simple fixes for a not-so-simple problem.

<p>Telnyawka/Getty Images</p>

Telnyawka/Getty Images

As the unfortunate owner of what my ophthalmologist describes as two “medically dry” eyes, I understand the trials and tribulations of dealing with eye sensitivities. And, as a self-described makeup lover, I’m no stranger to the very real damage a single tear drop can do to an entire face of makeup. After all, dryness is one of the main contributors to watery eyes, as well as allergens, corneal infection, poor blinking habits, contact lenses, and certain medications.

Even with a robust eye care routine (yes, I have an eye care routine), there’s always the looming threat of watery eyes when it comes to a full face of glam. So over the years, I’ve collected a few tips and tricks to minimize the likelihood of eye watering as well as the potential damage that watering might cause. Ahead, I’m sharing my 10 best makeup tips for people whose eyes are always watering.

Use Eye Drops Before Makeup

Unfortunately, if your eyes are feeling dry or irritated before you’ve even applied makeup, things are likely only going to get worse during the application process—and almost certainly lead to wateyy eyes. To minimize any potential damage or watering, apply eye drops before applying your makeup to help reduce discomfort and flush out any potential irritants. Wait a few minutes for the drops to do their thing before moving on to your makeup.

Start Your Makeup Routine With the Eyes

Professional makeup artist Natalie Dresher always starts her makeup with the eyes, but says it’s all the more important when working on someone with watery eyes. That way, if (and when) the eyes start watering, they won’t ruin any of the base work.

Prime and Prep the Eyes Well

The right priming and prep work is crucial to minimizing any damage from eye watering. Tears are salty, meaning they can dry out the under-eye area. Prepare for the inevitable with a hydrating under eye cream to help moisturize the area and stretch the wearability of makeup. For the lids themselves, Dresher suggests taking a slightly different approach to priming. Rather than adding moisture, she prefers to create a waterproof base using a dryer concealer, like Tarte’s Shape Tape Concealer ($32), on the eyelids.

Try Some Vaseline

If you find your eyes watering throughout the eye makeup application process, Dresher suggests using a pointed cotton swab to tab a tiny amount of Vaseline near the area that is watering. By applying the Vaseline (or other petroleum-based product) as close to the eye as possible, it creates a physical buffer that prevents tears from dripping down the face and ruining makeup.

Choose Hypoallergenic Makeup Options

Watering eyes may be the result of an allergic reaction to something in your products—perhaps a particular dye or fragrance, both of which can be particularly irritating for sensitive eyes. To rule that possibility out, opt for hypoallergenic eye makeup options, like the Tower28 MakeWaves Mascara ($28).

Stay Away From the Waterline and Lower Lashes

While lining the waterline is a great way to add some depth and intensity to your makeup, it’s unfortunately not so great for watery eyes. That’s because the waterline is home to oil glands meant to regulate eye lubrication. Applying makeup in the area can clog those glands, making eyes dryer and ultimately more likely to tear. Dresher also suggests avoiding any makeup along the lower lashline, since any amount of watering may potentially cause smudges in the area.

Keep Tissues Handy

It sounds intuitive, but remember to keep a tissue or two on hand while applying makeup. That way, when a tear or two inevitably escapes, you’re prepared to intervene—and keep your makeup intact.

Avoid Under Eye Powder

Like we mentioned, salty tears can ultimately dry out the under eye area. And powder can make that situation all the more difficult. Not only will it emphasize those fine lines and wrinkles, but it may also absorb the water as it runs down your face, creating tear streaks in your makeup. Instead, opt for a setting spray under the eyes. That way, tears will sit on top of the makeup rather than absorbing into it.

Opt for Latex-Free Eyelash Glue

If falsies are a nonnegotiable in your makeup routine, consider using a latex-free lash glue. According to Dresher, latex can be particularly irritating near the eye, even without an allergy or eye sensitivity. By avoiding the ingredient altogether, you can help minimize tearing.

Fully Remove All Makeup at Night

The best way to minimize makeup damage from watery eyes is to minimize the likelihood of eye watering altogether. That’s why it’s essential that you fully remove all makeup in the eye area at night—by clearing the base of the lashes and eyelids every single night, you can help prevent the glands from getting clogged up or getting dry and irritated. Try using a dedicated eye makeup remover on a cotton pad, since it can be difficult to reach the eye crevices with soap and water alone.

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