TikTok Tuesday: We try not to damage our skin with the #eyetape makeup hack (WATCH)

While the trick can help amateur makeup artists, dermatologists warn that repeatedly pulling tape off this delicate area can cause damage like drooping skin.

Emma Jones 4 minute read May 24, 2022

There are many lengths we will go to for a solid makeup look, and TikTok is no different. For years now, TikTokers have been applying tape to the corner of their eyes before applying eyeshadow and eyeliner, removing the tape to reveal a crisp, winged edge.

This trick surfaced along the resurgence of the cat’s eye winged liner look, but continues to stick around as TikTokers go for a dramatic look to their eyeshadow. But while the trick can help in a pinch, dermatologists warn that repeatedly turning to this trick may damage the eye area, leading to wrinkles and sagging in this very delicate skin area.

The skin under the eyes is more delicate than other areas of the face, primarily because it naturally has less of the good stuff that supports the deeper layers of the skin — like subcutaneous fat and collagen.

Collagen acts like a scaffold for the skin, contributing to its elasticity and giving a perky appearance. Less collagen in the skin area, coupled with less of the substances that help support the collagen like fat and muscle, means the delicate structures can break down easily with the wear and tear of daily life.

Constantly tugging at these delicate structures — like what happens when you put on tape and then pull it off — can cause damage. This can lead to drooping skin and irritation.

“The constant tugging of tape on the delicate skin around your eyes can pull that skin and lead to a truly unwanted laxity (a.k.a. it’ll loosen the skin), which is why I do not recommend this approach at all,” Shreene Idriss, MD, board-certified dermatologist in NYC told Shape.

There are also few to no oil-producing glands in the skin around the out corner of the eye, which may be important for sustaining the supportive layers of the skin, according to research from Kagoshima University in Japan. By evaluating skin samples from cadavers, the researchers found the presence of these oil glands — known as sebaceous glands — correlates with the thickness of the skin in the forehead, as well as more superficial wrinkles. The lack of these oil glands in the eye region could be connected to why the region of this skin becomes thinner more quickly and why wrinkles — like crow’s feet — can appear more prominent.

Tips to take care of the eyes

Key to protecting the delicate skin around the eyes is to simply being gentle. Don’t rub or pull at the eye area, and be especially careful when washing the face or putting on makeup. Also be careful if applying any active ingredients — like vitamin C or retinoids — and make sure they are formulated for the eyes.

Instead of using tape when applying eyeshadow, holding something with a solid edge — like a credit card — to the eye area may be a more delicate way of catching the excess eyeshadow. Alternatively, apply eyeshadow to the eye without a guide, then clean up the edges with foundation and a fine makeup brush.

For anyone tight on time or really bad at creating a winged look, holding the skin down as the tape is pulled off should hopefully lessen the damage done to the delicate proteins Sophie Shotter, medical director and founder of Illuminate Skin And Wellness Clinics, told Glamour.

Because the skin around the eyes doesn’t have as many oil glands, it’s also useful to moisturize frequently with a gentle cream. Expensive eye cream’s aren’t necessary — as long as the moisturizer you use is well tolerated by your skin and doesn’t cause any burning or stinging sensations around the eyes. Some beauty gurus may also find fragrances irritate their eyes or the skin, and so may want to look out for fragrance-free creams.


Emma Jones is a multimedia editor with Healthing. You can reach her at emjones@postmedia.com or on Instagram and Twitter @jonesyjourn.


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