'Cry-liner' is the iffy TikTok trend experts say won't do your eyes any favours

Even grunge-glam isn't worth *this*

Editor / January 25 2023

The effortless eyeliner aesthetic has been a thing for literal decades. Jenny Humphrey may have taken it a touch too far in the later seasons of Gossip Girl, but besides that, it's basically the epitome of grunge-chic. Think Kate Moss in the '90s.

But while the 'just rolled out of bed wearing last night's makeup' vibe may look cool, we know better now than to sleep in our makeup just for the sake of our eyeliner game.

Instead, TikTok has taken to applying a whole lot of liner, and then literally rinsing it right off, in an attempt to nab the 'too cool to care' slept-in eyeliner effect. You basically want to look like you applied your makeup, cried it all off, and have just the faint remnants left. Er, chic, we guess?

What is the eyeliner rinsing trend?

Take a look at the process, as shown by TikTok creator Steph Hui, crediting original creators @neoitgirl and @aoifeartist for the idea. "it’s that “I didn’t remove my eyeliner properly” look that we’re going for and honestly I loveee," she captioned her video.

Why experts are warning against eyeliner rinsing

Sure, the end result is fairly cool (even though Hui did end up using a cotton tip to tidy up anyway). But something doesn't seem quite right, does it? That's a whole lot of liner to A) wash right down the sink, and B) wash directly into your eyes. Onto the danger factor...

"Washing your eyes with eyeliner on can be very irritating to the ocular surface," optometrist Monica Hazien told Allure re: the trend. "Eyeliner debris can enter the tear film and front portion of the eye (cornea and conjunctiva) and cause eye redness, irritation, foreign body sensation, tearing discomfort, and possible infection."

Not really worth one day of great grunge liner, is it? A gentle cleansing balm or makeup remover helps to break down the product more effectively, ensuring the residue doesn't end up in the eye.

How to get the grunge look safely

As keen commenters were quick to point out on Hui's video and the many that followed, kohl liners can actually create this very effect without the dangerous washing part. Many, like the Clarins Crayon Khôl Eye Pencil in Carbon Black ($39 at Clarins) even come equipped with a built-in smudging sponge that'll guarantee you master your lived-in look.

Clarins Crayon Khôl Eye Pencil in Carbon Black

Another instance of TikTok taking things a little too far, we'd say. Sometimes it doesn't need to be more complicated than a quick coating of kohl!

Main image credit: @stxph.h

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Delaney began her career in the Australian beauty media industry in 2015, landing amidst the glossy world of women’s lifestyle magazines (or more literally, in their beauty cupboards). Since then, she has gone on to write across a multitude of beloved Australian media brands, including OK!, NW, InStyle, and Harper’s BAZAAR. She’s covered every side of beauty content, from directing beauty editorial shoots to rounding up the best glossy serums for golden hour skin. Having spent nearly a decade immersed in the beauty realm, Delaney’s knowledge of beauty is as extensive as her collection of tinted lip oils (read: extremely extensive). Delaney is currently the Digital Managing Editor of BEAUTYcrew, and her beauty wisdom also appears across beautyheaven, ELLE and Marie Claire. She enjoys channelling her personal hobby (testing beauty products) into her professional work (talking about testing beauty products), and considers perfecting the art of a cat eye in a moving car her life’s greatest accomplishment.