Have you ever wondered why your eyes water when you put on makeup? It can be quite frustrating to apply your favorite eyeshadow or mascara only to have your tears smudge it all away. But fear not, there is a scientific explanation behind this phenomenon.

why do my eyes water when i put on makeup

The Tears Behind the Makeup: Why Do My Eyes Water When I Put on Makeup?

Have you ever experienced watery eyes while applying makeup? It can be frustrating and lead to smudged eyeliner or mascara. Many people wonder why their eyes seem to produce excess tears when they put on makeup. There can be several reasons for this phenomenon. In this article, we will explore the potential causes of watery eyes while applying makeup and discuss ways to prevent this issue. Understanding the factors that contribute to watery eyes can help you enjoy a smoother makeup application process.

Eye Sensitivity

One reason why your eyes may water when you put on makeup is eye sensitivity. Some individuals have naturally sensitive eyes that can become irritated by certain ingredients commonly found in makeup products. Ingredients like fragrances, preservatives, and certain types of pigments can cause irritation and lead to excessive tearing. If you have sensitive eyes, it’s important to choose makeup products specifically formulated for sensitive eyes or opt for hypoallergenic alternatives to minimize the chances of irritation and watery eyes.

In addition, using expired or contaminated makeup can also trigger eye sensitivity and cause your eyes to water. Makeup products have a shelf life and should be replaced once they expire. Using expired makeup can introduce bacteria or other harmful substances to your eyes, leading to irritation and tearing. Make it a habit to regularly check the expiration dates of your makeup products and discard anything that is past its prime.

Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions to makeup can also result in watery eyes. Some individuals may be allergic to certain ingredients commonly found in cosmetics, such as latex, nickel, or specific types of fragrances. When your eyes come into contact with these allergens, they can become red, itchy, and watery. If you suspect that you have an allergic reaction to a particular makeup product, it’s best to discontinue its use and consult with a dermatologist or allergist to determine the exact cause of the reaction. They can conduct patch tests to identify specific allergens and recommend alternative products that are better suited for your skin.

Furthermore, it’s important to note that allergic reactions to makeup can develop over time. Just because you have used a product in the past without any issues doesn’t guarantee that you won’t develop an allergy to it later. Pay attention to any changes in your skin or eyes after using a new makeup product, and discontinue use if you experience any adverse reactions.

Eyeliner and Mascara Application

The specific application technique of eyeliner and mascara can also contribute to watery eyes. When applying eyeliner, avoid lining your waterline or inner rim of your eyelid. This area is particularly sensitive, and applying eyeliner too close to it can cause your eyes to water. Instead, focus on lining the outer part of your lash line.

When it comes to mascara, make sure to remove excess product from the wand before applying. Applying too much mascara can result in clumping and flaking, which can irritate your eyes and cause tearing. Additionally, avoid pumping the mascara wand in and out of the tube, as this can introduce air and dry out the product, leading to flaking and irritation.

Pro Tip:

If you frequently experience watery eyes while applying eyeliner or mascara, consider using waterproof formulas. These formulas are designed to resist smudging and running, reducing the chances of irritation and watery eyes.

Eye Makeup Removal

Removing eye makeup properly is essential to prevent irritation and watery eyes. Leaving traces of makeup on your eyes overnight can lead to clogged pores and irritate the delicate skin around your eyes. When removing eye makeup, use a gentle makeup remover specifically formulated for the eyes and avoid harsh rubbing or tugging. Instead, soak a cotton pad with the remover and gently press it against your closed eyelid for a few seconds to allow the product to dissolve the makeup. Then, gently swipe the cotton pad along your lash line to remove the remaining makeup.

After removing your eye makeup, rinse your eyes with cool water to further cleanse and soothe them. Pat your face dry with a clean towel, being careful not to rub your eyes vigorously. Proper eye makeup removal can help prevent irritation and reduce the chances of experiencing watery eyes during application.

Contact Lens Interference

If you wear contact lenses, they may contribute to your eyes watering when you put on makeup. Contact lenses can sometimes shift or move slightly during makeup application, causing them to become displaced and irritate your eyes. Additionally, makeup particles or residue can adhere to the lenses, leading to discomfort and tearing. To prevent this issue, consider applying your makeup before inserting your contact lenses. This way, you can minimize the chances of makeup interfering with your lenses and causing watery eyes.

Pro Tip:

If you prefer to apply your makeup after inserting your contact lenses, make sure to thoroughly wash your hands before touching your lenses or eyes. This can help minimize the transfer of makeup particles to your lenses and reduce the risk of irritation.

Underlying Eye Conditions

Occasionally, watery eyes during makeup application can be a symptom of an underlying eye condition. Conditions like dry eye syndrome, blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids), or conjunctivitis (pink eye) can cause excessive tearing and sensitivity to makeup. If you experience persistent watery eyes or other associated symptoms, it’s important to consult with an eye care professional. They can evaluate your eyes, diagnose any underlying conditions, and provide appropriate treatment or management strategies.

Preventing and Managing Watery Eyes During Makeup Application

If you find that your eyes frequently water when you put on makeup, there are several steps you can take to prevent and manage this issue. Here are some tips:

  • Choose makeup products specifically formulated for sensitive eyes or opt for hypoallergenic alternatives to minimize the chances of irritation.
  • Regularly check the expiration dates of your makeup products and discard anything that is past its prime.
  • If you suspect an allergic reaction to a specific makeup product, discontinue its use and consult with a dermatologist or allergist.
  • Avoid applying eyeliner too close to the waterline to prevent irritation.
  • Remove excess mascara from the wand before applying to minimize clumping and flaking.
  • Consider using waterproof formulas for eyeliner and mascara if you experience watery eyes frequently.
  • Properly remove eye makeup using a gentle makeup remover specifically formulated for the eyes.
  • If you wear contact lenses, consider applying makeup before inserting them to minimize interference.
  • If applying makeup with contact lenses in, wash your hands thoroughly before touching your lenses or eyes.
  • If the watery eyes persist or are accompanied by other symptoms, consult with an eye care professional.


Watery eyes while applying makeup can be a frustrating experience, but understanding the potential causes and implementing preventive measures can help alleviate this issue. Eye sensitivity, allergic reactions, improper application techniques, contact lens interference, and underlying eye conditions can all contribute to watery eyes during makeup application. By being mindful of the products you use, practicing proper eye makeup removal techniques, and seeking professional help if needed, you can enjoy a tear-free makeup application process.

Causes of Watery Eyes during Makeup Application Preventive Measures
Eye sensitivity to certain ingredients Choose makeup products for sensitive eyes, check expiration dates, and discard expired makeup
Allergic reactions to makeup Discontinue use, consult with a dermatologist or allergist, and identify alternative products
Improper eyeliner and mascara application Avoid lining the waterline, remove excess mascara, and use waterproof formulas if needed
Contact lens interference Apply makeup before inserting lenses or wash hands thoroughly before touching lenses or eyes
Underlying eye conditions Consult with an eye care professional for evaluation and management

Key Takeaways – Why Do My Eyes Water When I Put on Makeup?

  • Some ingredients in makeup products can irritate the eyes.
  • Mascara and eyeliner can block the tear ducts, leading to watery eyes.
  • Allergic reactions to makeup can cause excessive tearing.
  • Dry eyes can become more sensitive when exposed to makeup, causing watering.
  • An improper application technique may also cause irritation and watery eyes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Eyes watering when applying makeup can be a frustrating experience. It can ruin your carefully crafted look and leave you wondering why this happens. In this FAQ, we will explore some common questions related to why eyes water when makeup is applied and provide answers to help you understand and prevent this issue.

1. Why do my eyes water when I put on makeup?

There can be several reasons why your eyes water when you apply makeup:

Firstly, it is possible that you may be allergic to certain ingredients in the makeup products you are using. Some common allergens include fragrances, preservatives, and certain dyes. When these substances come into contact with your skin or eyes, they can cause irritation and trigger tearing.

Secondly, your eyes may be sensitive to the chemicals present in the makeup products. Certain ingredients can cause an adverse reaction in individuals with sensitive eyes, leading to watery eyes.

2. How can I prevent my eyes from watering when I apply makeup?

To prevent your eyes from watering when applying makeup, consider the following tips:

1. Choose makeup products that are labeled as hypoallergenic or specifically formulated for sensitive eyes. These products are less likely to cause irritation and tearing.

2. Avoid using makeup products that contain known allergens or harsh chemicals. Read the ingredient list carefully and opt for products with gentle and natural ingredients.

3. Could improper application techniques cause eye watering?

Improper application techniques can indeed contribute to eye watering when applying makeup:

1. Applying excessive pressure while blending or applying eye makeup can irritate the eyes and cause tearing. Use a gentle hand and avoid rubbing or tugging on the delicate eye area.

2. Applying makeup too close to the lash line or waterline can also cause eye irritation and watering. Leave a small gap between the makeup and the lash line to prevent contact with the eyes.

4. Can underlying eye conditions cause eyes to water when makeup is applied?

Yes, underlying eye conditions can contribute to eyes watering when makeup is applied:

1. Dry eyes can be a common cause of eye watering. When the eyes are not adequately lubricated, they may produce excessive tears in response to irritation from makeup.

2. Certain eye conditions, such as blepharitis or conjunctivitis, can make the eyes more sensitive and prone to tearing. If you experience persistent eye watering, it is advisable to consult an eye care professional.

5. Are there specific makeup products that are less likely to cause eye watering?

Yes, there are makeup products that are generally less likely to cause eye watering:

1. Water-based or oil-free formulas are often less irritating and can be a good choice for individuals with sensitive eyes.

2. Mineral-based makeup products, which are free of certain chemicals and fragrances, can also be gentler on the eyes.

In summary, the reason why your eyes water when you put on makeup is most likely due to irritants in the products you are using. Certain ingredients, such as fragrance and preservatives, can cause allergic reactions or sensitivity in some individuals, leading to watery eyes.

It is important to be mindful of the products you use and make sure they are suitable for your skin type. Choosing hypoallergenic or fragrance-free cosmetics, as well as avoiding any ingredients that you know you are sensitive to, can help minimize eye watering and discomfort.


  • Maria J. Morrison

    Maria is a professional Beautician and his hobby is beauty & Personal care. she has been for the last 5 years and he loves makeup while on outings as well. Based on his experience with the different types of makeup. She is sharing his opinion about various makeup so that a beginner can get started the right way. Find him onTwitter here. Happy reading.