5 Reasons Why I’m Resolving To Stop Wearing Under Eye-Eyeliner

May 5, 2014

I remember the moment I started wearing under-eye eyeliner. It was a Tuesday afternoon in the year 2000.

I had just started at the public high school, after going to a small private school for the past eight years, and I was so excited (and also totally freaked out) to be hanging out with some real public school kids. After school, a group of us went to my new friend Jessie’s house. We were sitting around eating pop tarts, and then the inevitable happened: “Oo, I should give you a makeover!” Jessie squealed.

And so it began. Jessie carefully lined the bottom lid of my eyes with black liner, and when I looked in the mirror, I was sold. I thought I looked grown up, sophisticated, badass, and um, maybe really SEXY? (Truth: I didn’t know what sexy meant except that it was one-third of the title of the TLC cassette tape which I’d recently purchased). Still, I was sure that this was the closest to sexy I’d ever come. From that moment on, I was an eyeliner addict.

Here’s the thing, though (and this is hard to actually write down): I am still wearing the exact same kind of black, thick, under-eye eyeliner that I first wore on that Tuesday afternoon 14 years ago. Guys, I am 28 now. I have a live-in boyfriend, a college degree, and full control over my own life, and I am still applying eyeliner just like Jessie taught me.

Here I am in college, eyeliner central:


Also, everything else about this picture is a nightmare.

And here I am at age 27:


It wasn’t a great hair moment, either.

Just this past week, I took a long, hard look in the mirror and decided: it’s time for a change. So I’ve never been a pro at top liner, but I’ll learn. It’s time to claim my adulthood, eye makeup style. Here are the reasons I arrived at this resolution:

  1. Because That Shit Smudges

One thing that I noticed, but failed to rectify, during my many years of eyeliner-wearing, is that under-eyeliner does not look the same all day. Right after you put it on, it looks nice and thick and purposeful. One hour later, it looks smudged and barely-there (but there enough to accentuate your eye bags). Eight hours later, it’s just a vague under-eye section of your face that’s a little bit black. It’s not cute.

  1. Because Only High School Kids Wear Only Under-Eyeliner

And not even the cool ones, just the weirdos. This is true. I worked in a high school last year, and I can safely say that I was the only non-high-school-aged-weirdo wearing under-eyeliner in that whole school.

  1. Because I Need To Grow As A Person

This is serious. The fact that I haven’t changed my eye-makeup routine since before 9/11 is a reflection of something larger going on. And while I do feel that I’ve grown up plenty since then, I also know that there are parts of my life in which I’ve refused to adjust and adapt, and this is one of them. New way of lining, more mature me.

  1. Because I Want To Be Taken Seriously

Another big one. Through no fault of my own, despite the years passing I have never managed to look any older than 14. That said, it IS my own fault that I haven’t done what I can to fight against my natural adolescent-looking inclinations. I am 28 (and let’s face it, pretty damn close to 29) and with my eyes lined on the bottom, I look more like a high school sophomore than ever. It’s up to me to make the move to the upper lid, and thus elevate my perceived age.

  1. Because It Doesn’t Look Natural

It looks like a squiggly line of black under my eye, and nothing more. I became addicted to that squiggly line many years ago and have not been able to part with it, but I’ve always known in my heart that it’s a bullshit line. It’s time to erase it.

So, here I am, today, fully made up in my new style. I think I look pretty good:


It’s even cooler from the side:


It also helps to SMILE guys – just kidding, my eyes are doing kind of weird things in this pic, but look how cool the LINER looks!

In the end, it’s not really about the eyeliner; it’s about taking control of my appearance. Makeup and its various applications can seem like a petty topic, but in some cases the root is deep. I’ve held on to my teenage eyes because of a connection to that day in the fall of 2000, and to the way that black line made me feel. But things have changed, and there are new ways to feel beautiful, and maybe even sexy. I’m taking the next eye-step! And I feel pretty good about it.

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