Can Lip Liner Be Used As Eyeliner?

Oh no, it's happened. You're doing your makeup for work or a big night, but your eyeliner dried up or ran out. So you start to think, "Maybe I can use lip liner instead. I mean, it's basically the same thing, right?" We've checked with what beauty experts have to say about using lip liner as eyeliner.

It turns out that while the basic ingredients are the same, lip liners have additives that eyeliners don't have. The eyes are delicate organs, and some of the chemicals found in lip liner aren't safe to use around the eyes. This means that you should never use a lip liner in place of eyeliner.

But what exactly is the difference between eyeliner and lip liner that makes lip liner unsafe? And if you can't use lip liner, what can you use instead? Continue reading for the answers to these questions, as well as how to make your own eyeliner.

A woman putting a red colored lip liner on her lips for a photoshoot, Can Lip Liner Be Used As Eyeliner?

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What Is Eyeliner Made Of?

An up close photo of a black cosmetic eyeliner on a white background

People have been wearing eyeliner for more than 5,000 years. It can even be traced back to as early as Ancient Egypt. The main ingredient in early eyeliner was kohl; a toxic mixture made primarily of lead. Today eyeliner is made of less toxic ingredients that are safe to use around the eyes.

The main ingredients in eyeliner are oils, waxes, clay, and pigments. The oils, waxes, and clays work by forming a thin layer on your skin and helping the liner stick. Pigments such as iron oxide are used to make brown and black eyeliner, while titanium dioxide is used for white eyeliner. Eyeliner usually comes in either pencil, cream, gel, or liquid form, and the type of eyeliner depends on the amount of each ingredient used.

What Is Lip Liner Made Of That Makes It Unsafe For Eyes?

Different colored lip liners on a white background

There's no arguing that eyes are important organs, but they are also delicate organs, which is why we should be extremely careful with what we choose to put near them. Many things could get in our eyes that could cause them discomfort, harm, or even blindness. Let's look at certain qualities of lip liner that makes it unsafe for use around our eyes. 

Different Amounts of Ingredients

Like eyeliner, lip liner is made of fats, waxes, and oils. What makes a difference is the amount of these ingredients. Lip liner has higher amounts of them, as well as a higher amount of alcohol. These higher amounts are necessary so that the lip liner doesn't dry out your lips but can cause irritation and discomfort to the skin around your eyes. If that isn't enough, the irritation can cause you to rub your eyes more, ruining your makeup.

Different Pigments

We're sure you've noticed that lip liners most commonly come in various shades of red, pink, and purple. Eyeliner comes mostly in shades of black and brown. While it can sometimes be found in bolder colors, they often aren't as bright as the colors found in lip liner.

To achieve this wide range of brighter colors, some different pigments and additives have to be used. These pigments and additives often have a stronger chemical composition than the ones used in eyeliner, and therefore aren't safe to use around the eyes.


Using lip liner as eyeliner can cause cross-contamination. Our mouths come into contact with more things than our eyes do (think eating, drinking, etc.). Germs and bacteria that are on our lips can get transferred onto the lip liner. If that same lip liner is used as eyeliner, then those germs are coming into close contact with your eyes. This can cause eye irritation, discomfort, and even infection, which a medical professional needs to treat.

What Can You Use If You Don't Have Eyeliner?

It turns out that there are a couple of things you can substitute for eyeliner if you don't have any. These things are safer than eyeliner, and you probably already have them on hand in your makeup bag: mascara and eye shadow. Here's how to use them.


A woman holding her mascara on a pink background

For a more defined or precise look, mascara is an effective substitute to use in place of eyeliner. The properties of mascara are similar to gel or liquid eyeliner, meaning that it works great when creating makeup looks that need to be sharper. To use mascara as eyeliner, you will need a small angled brush. Here are two eyeliner looks you can create with mascara.


To create wings using mascara, you will first need to dip your mascara wand into the tube so that it gets plenty of fresh product on it. Next, take your angled brush and dip it into the mascara wand to pick up the mascara. You can then run the brush along your eyelid as you would with normal eyeliner, starting at the inside corner and working your way to the outside corner. The angle of the brush makes it easy to create the sharp point of a wing.

Click here to see this angled eyeliner brush on Amazon.


For a dramatic look, you can also apply mascara to your lower lash line. Load the brush in the same way you would to make wings, then use the pointed edge to draw along your lower lash line. (Be careful not to poke yourself in the eye!) 

You should know that this method may take practice, as the brush isn't as easy to control as an eye pencil, and the lashes could get in your way. Be prepared to erase the eyeliner and start a couple of times.

See More: Does Bottom Eyeliner Make Eyes Smaller? 


Different colors of eye shadow palettes on an orange background

Eyeshadow can be an effective substitute for eyeliner if you want a smudged or smokey look. To use it, take your eyeshadow brush and dampen it. Dampening the brush allows the powder to stick together, making it easier to control and less messy. Then, use it like you would normal eyeliner, pressing it into the base of your lashes.

Another great thing about this method is that you aren't limited to just one color of eyeliner. If you want a more natural smokey eye, you can always use black or brown. But with so many eye shadow colors, you can also create some bold and colorful eyeliner looks!

Can You Make Your Own Eyeliner?

You can make your own liquid eyeliner with natural ingredients that you may already have on hand. If not, they can be purchased for relatively cheap. To make your own liquid eyeliner, you will need:

  • Activated charcoal
  • Beeswax
  • Coconut oil
  • Distilled Water
  • A small bowl

Activated charcoal is a type of carbon that is used to detox the skin. It is a powder that usually comes in capsules. This is what will give your eyeliner its black color. Both beeswax and coconut oil have antibacterial properties and are great for the skin. Beeswax will make the eyeliner thick, and coconut oil will help it to apply smoothly. Water is used to control the consistency.

How To Make Your Own Liquid Eyeliner

  1. Add two capsules of activated charcoal. Hold one capsule of activated charcoal over the bowl and twist it apart. Empty the contents into the bowl. Repeat with the other capsule.
  2. Grate the beeswax (or use beeswax pellets) until you have ⅛ teaspoon and add it to the bowl.
  3. Add ⅛ teaspoon of coconut oil.
  4. Mix the charcoal, beeswax, and coconut oil.
  5. Mix in the distilled water. ⅛ teaspoon is recommended, but you can add more or less depending on how thick you want your eyeliner to be.
  6. Store in a resealable container to keep it from drying out.

Click here to see this 100-count of activated charcoal capsules on Amazon.

Check out these beeswax pellets on Amazon.

How Do You Use Lip Liner As Eyeshadow?

It is not recommended to use colored lip liner around the eyes, but nude lip liner can be used as a base for eye shadow to help make the eyeshadow last longer and the color more intense. 

To minimize the risk of cross-contamination, buy a separate lip liner to use as an eyeshadow base. You should also avoid wearing lip liner on your eyes for long periods of time and try not to use it too close to your lash lines to cut down on eye irritation.

Is It Safe To Use Lipstick As Eyeshadow?

Different shades of pink and red lipstick on a pink background

We've already mentioned that certain chemicals found in lip liner pigments can be dangerous to put around your eyes. The same applies to lipstick. But thanks to new beauty trends, makeup that does double-duty is becoming more popular, including lipstick as eyeshadow.

If you still want to use lipstick as eyeshadow, some brands make lipsticks that are considered to be safe to use on eyes. To know if a lip product is safe to use on eyes, look for a label in the description or on the tube that says, "Eye Safe."

See Also: Does Eyeliner Go On Before Eyeshadow?

In Closing

We hope this article helped to answer your questions. There are risks involved when using lip liner as eyeliner, so it should be used with extreme caution or not at all. If you're out of eyeliner, use only lip products labeled as safe for eyes, substitute mascara or eye shadow, or make your own. Thanks for reading! 

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