Does DIY Eyeliner Really Work? We Tested It To Find Out

Have you ever picked up a stick of eyeliner, looked at it, and thought, this is fine and all–but I bet that I could make this even better all by myself?

If you’re anything like me, I suspect that your answer is “probably not.” And, hey, that’s fair–even for the most diehard contingent of DIY-ers and Pinterest-heads, making your own eyeliner is not the most glamorous of  “do it yourself” activities. Perfume? Sure. Anything involving Mason jars and fairy lights? Definitely. Eyeliner? The answer to that is not “why not” but rather, “why,” you know?

why-selena

But here’s the thing. Like many girls and women in America, I am both complicit with and a victim to Big Makeup and Conventional Beauty Standards; as such, I rely on a smattering of various cosmetic products to keep my face looking the way I like to present it to other people. This is fine, obviously. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with being bare-faced all the time–in fact, there’s definitely a sort of self-confidence message that’s related in doing so–liking makeup and, more to the point, liking the way you look with makeup doesn’t make you any less of a person. It just means you like the way your face looks with a little bit of makeup on it. Nothing wrong with that.

The problem lies with the makeup itself. Conventional makeup tends to contain a lot–like, a lot a lot–of stuff that you probably don’t want on your face, like anything from lead to heavy metals to formaldehyde. I freak out about that from time to time (basically, whenever I run out of other things to worry about), so, I figured–why not try and make my own makeup for a week?

In terms of the natural makeup that I could make myself, I found that my hands were, for the most part, tied. (Big Makeup got me again!) To attempt and recreate my own deathly pale skin tone in a DIY foundation would surely be a mortifying, futile effort. I have no spare mascara wands with which I might apply any homemade mascara, nor do I have the proper storage for it. I just really, really love my Nars Orgasm blush, and have no desire to give it up. Ditto my Naked palette. This left me with eyeliner, which, sure. Why not.

To do this, I turned, obviously, to my old friend WikiHow. If you aren’t familiar, WikiHow is an amazing self-help website that will assist you with anything from “How To Be Popular In Middle School (for Girls)” and “How To Buy And Wear Thong Underwear Without Your Parents Knowing.” Once you’ve mastered those two things, you can also use WikiHow it to make your own eyeliner.

I was thrilled when it told me that all I’d be using  is two items that I already hold dear to my heart–activated charcoal and coconut oil which are, obviously, the two pillars of success upon which all DIY beauty projects lie. Together, I assumed, they would be unstoppable.

First, though, I had to do activated charcoal all on its own. WikiHow told me so–its first “method” was just breaking open a few activated charcoal capsules and dumping them into a small container, like an “old eye shadow or lip balm pot” or “a tiny tin.” I own none of those things–I generally tend to throw out my used eye shadow and lip balm and am never really in the position to come into the ownership of any “tiny tins,” though I hope that I might, one day–so I just dumped the gouged-out activated charcoal into the vitamin cap’s lid (I am not fancy). Then, I stuck an eyeliner brush into the mixture and applied it to my eyes:

eyeliner-probs

Lookin’ good.

I was a little too excited at first, as you can see. I extracted way too much eyeliner, causing it to fall all over my face and make me look like a particularly unathletic imposter on your high school’s football team whose sole goal is “not disappointing my father who is bound to die of a heart attach at any moment” though my true passion is singing and dancing, which, yes, is a Glee plot point from 2009, but also relevant to the way I looked n that moment.

Anyway. Once I wiped the charcoal schmutz off my face, the plain charcoal eyeliner looked just fine. WikiHow told me that it would stick to my skin simply by mixing with the oils on my eyelids (yum) and it did, in fact, do that. It had a kohl-y (not to be confused with coal-y) look that I quite liked and was also totally indistinguishable from any grayish-black pencil eyeliner you might buy at a drugstore. When I was wearing it at a dinner that night, I said to a friend, “I’m wearing activated charcoal on my eyes,” and she said, “What?” and I said, “Never mind.” The point is, no one could tell that I was not wearing real eyeliner, and that was important. Here’s what that looked like:

IMG_0587 (1)

(The eyeliner is on the eye that’s on your right, so you can compare.)

Next was the really exciting part–mixing together activated charcoal and coconut oil to create the mother of all holistic cosmetics.

dreamteam

Uh huh honey.

WikiHow advises to add coconut oil and  “experiment with different textures” to get a consistency that’s more akin to liquid eyeliner. My goal in doing this, obviously, was to attain the winged liner of my dreams. This did…not go well. I don’t know what I was thinking. Winged liner is hard enough to do on its own, let alone when you try to execute it with your own homemade eyeliner. In the end, the coconut oil was all wrong for it–it made the charcoal clumpy and chunky, and no matter how hard I mixed it, the little clumps didn’t dissipate.

coconutoil

Don’t you just want to…rub this all over your face?

Nevertheless, I tried to put it on my eyes. This, too, proved itself to be a mistake–the little clumps collected on my eyelid, making getting any kind of a smooth line entirely unattainable. No matter how much I dabbed and blotted at it, the charcoal kept falling on my face. It should also be noted that my winged liner stayed a disaster, but that was a personal problem. Either way–activated charcoal plus coconut oil? Don’t recommend it.

winged-liner

NAGL.

In conclusion? Activated charcoal is a wonderful alternative to conventional eyeliner if you are in the market for a kohl-type liner that might potentially spill all over your cheeks and give you that coveted “wannabe football player” look. You must never mix it with coconut oil, though, for together, they are far too powerful.

Would you ever make your own eyeliner? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments!

You can follow the author, Sara Hendricks, on Twitter and Instagram.

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