Going Without Eyeliner Feels Like A Social Experiment

I found out that my "signature look" was more of a crutch; here's how to deal when eyeliner isn't an option.
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Nicole
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I found out that my "signature look" was more of a crutch; here's how to deal when eyeliner isn't an option.

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I used to think if I were stranded on a desert island and could only have one beauty product, it would be black eyeliner. I love eyeliner so much. I have at least 15 black eyeliners and I use them all.

Without eyeliner, I feel like a different person. When illness and injury struck recently, I couldn’t wear any eye makeup. That meant I would be forced to forego eyeliner for days. It was a hard pill to swallow.

Without eyeliner, I don’t even recognize myself. I religiously draw some variation of a cat eye basically every day. That’s my look. But being sick and injured taught me you don’t always need black eyeliner. I was so attached to my look of heavy black eyeliner and nude lips, going without was one of the boldest moves I have been forced to make, beauty-wise.

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I read somewhere that young women who wear makeup to work get “wedded” to looking a certain way in the workplace and as a result, do not function as well if they don’t have makeup on. I feel like I did this to myself in a way by wearing basically the same eyeliner look every day.

My eyeliner obsession got interrupted when I came down with an icky case of pinkeye. One morning, I woke up with my eye glued shut, so I rushed to the doctor to get antibiotic eye drops. I didn’t wear any makeup while having pinkeye, so luckily, I didn’t have to throw anything out; but the full course of antibiotics seemed like the longest seven days of my life. I didn’t want to ruin my precious collection of eyeliners/makeup, so I toughed it out and didn’t touch ANY eye makeup for seven whole days (except one day I cheated, because I needed to look alive; I used a sample mascara I had in my purse and threw it away immediately).

Then, I had a particularly rough time cleaning and got a broken blood vessel in one eye and a slight black eye, with a super-painful cut near my eyelid. I need to watch where I bend over. This is the second time I’ve done this.

Anyway, the eye injury sentenced me to 10 days of not being able to wear makeup because there was an open cut on my eyelid and my eye was bruised and sore down to my cheekbone. I couldn’t put any pressure on my eye, and in order to let it heal, I obviously had to leave it alone. So I crawled under a rock for about a week.

I took a couple pictures as I was healing, but not at my worst point. I still can’t believe I gave myself a black eye twice.

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When I had pinkeye, I decided to wear really loud lipstick, to draw attention away from my eyes. Now that I’m healed, I really like the look of just mascara with bold lipstick. I know every beauty magazine ever has said to do that, but I never listened until I physically could not wear cosmetics on my eyes. Now that I’m healed, I’m incorporating more no-eyeliner looks into my repertoire.

Illness and injury are the only two instances where I forgo eye makeup. When you’re leaving your eyes alone, the focus is automatically on everything else. Your skin needs to be as perfect and even as possible, your lips need to be moisturized, your eyebrows need to be groomed; and to brighten up the face, there’s lipstick. Lipstick is your best friend in sickness and in health.

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Here I am in one of my favorite orange-reds: Sephora Lipstick in Jealous. I love it because it almost looks like coral.

Since I was sick for collectively over 10 days, I got pretty adventurous with my lip colors. Two new favorites are Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Black Cherry, and good old Wet n Wild Lipstick in Hot Red. I like to layer on the black cherry for a glossy, goth look.

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I think it looks hot. Am I pulling it off?

As a pick-me-up, I also grabbed a tube of Wet’n’ Wild Hot Red at my local drugstore and was surprised at how much I like it. It goes on super smooth and is a classic, glossy fire-engine red. And the best part was that it was $1.99.

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I relied on Olay Fresh BB Cream, a super-lightweight and moisturizing tinted moisturizer during my little rough patch. It has a really mild, fresh scent and light coverage that lets your skin shine through, but evens out any dark spots or discoloration.

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Not photographed: Dior Brow Stylist pencil, a fantastic eyebrow pencil with a super fine mechanical pencil tip and brush on the end, and Maybelline Lash Discovery waterproof mascara. Yeah, I used mascara for these photos because I’m celebrating my healthy eyes.

The silver lining of these lousy experiences taught me I don’t need tons and tons of eyeliner to survive, which is really cool. My “usual eyeliner” even feels like a little much now. Mascara’s another story.