Whether your makeup style is glamorous or something a little more understated, applying eye makeup safely is essential for maintaining healthy eyes. 

Mascaras, eye shadows and eye liners come in literally thousands of different shades and can be used to make your eyes look bigger, brighter and more beautiful by enhancing their natural colour and shape. New colours, looks and products are constantly being released and your options for application are endless – but are you unknowingly exposing yourself to risk of infection?

A research study from the UK has brought to light that many women are using cosmetics and beauty products that are past their use-by-date which is putting their eye health at risk*. It is highly recommended that any eye make-up, such as mascara or eyeliner, should be thrown out after 6 months of use. Make-up houses bacteria which can cause infection or irritation after use. Consider the following safety tips.

7 tips for safe eye makeup application

  1. Never apply makeup in a moving vehicle. Scratching the eye with a mascara wand is the most common makeup injury!
  2. Do not share makeup or applicators. Cosmetic brushes pick up bacteria from the skin which can be easily transferred.
  3. When applying eye shadow, always use a clean applicator brush.
  4. Insert contact lenses before applying makeup. Take them out before you begin makeup removal.
  5. Avoid using eyeliner on the inside/wet area of the eyelids as this can cause irritation, block glands and cause sties.
  6. Remove eye makeup before going to sleep. Sleeping with makeup on increases the possibility of allergic reactions or irritations.
  7. Hypoallergenic, mineral or organic makeup can help if you are very sensitive.

Eye makeup storage & expiry

  • Discard any makeup that has passed its use-by-date, changed colour or developed an odour. Preservatives lose their potency over time and may no longer be able to fight bacteria.
  • Discard mascara after six months.
  • Keep makeup properly sealed and stored out of direct sunlight.

Seek professional advice

If in doubt, seek the professional advice of your local independent optometrist. Our community of expert optometrists do more than just test eyes and prescribe glasses. Learn more about what an independently-owned optometrist has to offer in a comprehensive full-scope eye examination.

Time for an eye test?

Having your eyes tested every 2 years by your local independent optometrist is the best way to safeguard your vision and stay on top of your eye health – ensuring any changes in your vision can be detected early. Book yours today.

Find your nearest optometrist now


*Ng, Alison Ph.D.; Evans, Katharine Ph.D.; North, Rachel V. Ph.D.; Purslow, Christine Ph.D. “Migration of Cosmetic Products into the Tear Film”. Eye & Contact Lens: Science & Clinical Practice: September 2015 – Volume 41 – Issue 5 – p 304–309.

Related Articles

What is dry eye?
Understanding colour vision deficiency and blindness