A Makeup Artist’s Trick for Removing Eyeliner That Has Been Fossilized Onto the Lash Line

Photo: Getty Images/People Images
Raise your hand if you've been afflicted by fossilized eyeliner. You know what I'm talking about: The horror of finding that a liner was just so budge-proof that it settled into place in 1999 and never left the party. Or alternatively, that feeling when you wake up in the morning looking like a sad prom queen from excess mascara that held onto lashes for dear life while washing and somehow chose overnight to let go. It's an interesting dilemma, because you want that eye makeup to stay long enough to do its job, but not past the sink.

While the natural reaction is to try scrubbing and wiping away that makeup with a simple facial cleanser or makeup remover, the key is really about perfecting your technique, and that technique involves a Q-tip. To properly get off every last bit of that black around your eyes, consider it your secret weapon.

"I always just wanna start by putting Bioderma on a Q-tip and just going around the eyes to make sure that there is no makeup buildup from previously," says Katie Jane Hughes, a celebrity makeup artist who works with everyone from Ashley Graham to Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (who she appears in the tip-filled video with). When I reach out to another veteran makeup artist Molly R. Stern, she echoes the effectiveness. "Using a Q-tip can help make sure you really remove all the build up in the lashes," she says.

It's brilliant because micellar water is the go-to French girl way to cleanse your face, and the cleanser itself—which is light, liquidy, and contains tiny oil molecules that bind to the oil in products—works to sweep the excess away. Twirl the Q-Tip from the inner corner of the lash line to the outer corner, so that it can get into all the nooks and crannies of your eye to get off every. last. bit. of makeup. Together, they're the power duo of making your face a squeaky-clean blank canvas.

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