Sensitive Eyes Can Wear Eyeliner Too With One Crucial Hygiene Tip

Having sensitive eyes is a true struggle for people who like to wear makeup. You execute the perfect double-winged eyeliner only to have your eyes become red and itchy within the hour. If you find yourself avoiding eyeliner and eyeshadow out of fear that you'll irritate your eyes, it may be time to make an important change to your makeup routine.

Unhygienic makeup habits can wreak havoc on your eyes and eyelids. You can experience red, watery eyes and extreme itchiness. Even worse, eyeliner can block pores along your lash line and cause swollen eyelids. Your sensitive eyelids may also be more likely to get unsightly and uncomfortable bumps, such as styes or cysts, which sometimes require medical attention.

But don't throw out your eye makeup collection just yet — you can successfully wear eyeliner without irritation as long as you take the proper preventative steps. If you want to improve your eye hygiene, you can start by cleaning your makeup brushes.

Keep your brushes clean

If you have sensitive eyes and want to wear eyeliner, you need to keep your makeup brushes clean. As you use your makeup brushes, they accumulate dead skin, leftover makeup, and whatever germs happen to be floating around your home. Naturally, rubbing your eyelids with dead skin and bacteria is a guaranteed way to get an infection.

For this reason, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends cleaning your makeup brushes every week. To clean your brushes, all you need is warm water, shampoo, and a clean towel. For the shampoo, stick to a gentle, unscented shampoo. When you wash your brushes, focus on the top area of the brush that touches your skin. The AAD warns that getting the entire brush wet will weaken the glue that connects the brush head to the handle. Once you are done washing your makeup brushes, lay them out flat on a clean towel. Leaving the brushes flat will help them fully dry and prevent moisture from gathering at the base of the brush.

If you want a quicker sanitizing process, ophthalmologist Dr. Diane Hilal-Campo suggests using an anti-bacterial spray on dry makeup brushes (via Bustle). However, you should still fully wash your makeup brushes once a week.

Good eye hygiene habits

Cleaning your brushes is the most important factor for preventing makeup-related eye irritation, but there are other good eye hygiene habits that you can implement. Remember that mascara that you got in 2015? It's time to throw it out. Makeup takes a long time to expire, but applicator tools become unsanitary much more quickly. The University of Rochester Medical Center advises that you dispose of makeup tools that touch your eye (such as mascara wands and eyeliner pencils) after three or four months.

You should also take extra care when applying makeup to sensitive eyes. Where you place your eyeliner has a dramatic impact on your irritation and infection risk. A study published in the academic journal Eye & Contact Lens: Science and Clinical Practice found that there was a far greater probability of makeup getting in subjects' eyes when eyeliner was applied to the interior of their lash line, as opposed to the exterior.

At the end of the day, thoroughly clean your eyelids. Use makeup remover until your eyeliner and eyeshadow are completely gone and follow up with a gentle cleanser, such as baby shampoo. When you keep both your makeup tools and your eyes clean, you can happily sport your favorite eyeliner without risking your health.