Can you use watercolor paint as eyeliner?

As watercolor paint is inexpensive and creates beautiful colors, using it as an eyeliner seems like a good idea. But is that a wise decision?

As watercolor is not made for direct skin contact, it should not be used as an eyeliner. Even non-toxic paints may cause allergic reactions on the skin. Additionally, watercolors may get into the eye as they aren’t able to resist tears and sweat and will therefore be flushed into the eye.

color, watercolour, color palette

Why you should be careful when using watercolor as eyeliner

Firstly, watercolor paints are not intended for skin contact, especially around such a sensitive area as the eye. 

The watercolor would reactivate through sweat and tears and get into your eyes, where it will burn and possibly impair your vision.

While watercolor paints are quite inexpensive in comparison to real eyeliners, they were made for an entirely different purpose, so they cannot be used as makeup.

Additionally, watercolors will crack very easily on skin. The skin on the human body is very different from paper. It moves, it sweats, it gets oily and the water won’t soak in.

After a couple of minutes, the paint will dry up, but the skin is such a livid surface that it will just crack open and smear, resulting in paint getting into your eyes.

Therefore, I would strongly recommend you to stay away from using watercolor around your eyes. This is not a product you should skimp on, or you will regret it.

I would also suggest reading: Can watercolor be used for face painting?

An alternative to watercolor as an eyeliner

It is always best to use eyeliner. It was literally made for the purpose of being painted around your eyes and will just burn a bit if it happens to get in your eye.

The manufacturers and countless scientists have made sure there won’t be any serious damage caused.

This is not the purpose of watercolor. Not even close. I suggest you stay away from it.

It will not be a waste of money if you spend a few extra dollars on real eyeliner instead of watercolor.

Speaking of waste of money, I’d advise reading this article on the question, whether expensive watercolor paints are worth it or not.

watercolor paint with a brush

Is watercolor paint safe for your skin?

I have mentioned previously that watercolor is not made for painting faces and skin. Many people report that the pigments in the paint irritate their skin and even cause rashes.

It is especially important to be careful when using watercolors containing toxic ingredients such as cadmium, lead, etc.

Most older watercolors typically contain at least one of these materials and none of them should come into contact with your skin.

Be sure to check if your paints are non-toxic before using any types of watercolors on your skin.

The first thing you should do is check the packaging of the watercolor paints. If you can’t find anything on the exterior, visit the product page or the manufacturer’s website.

In case you are still unable to find anything there, you can always contact them via phone or email.

If you own older watercolor paints, I recommend asking around in Facebook groups or in local arts&crafts shops. They always seem to know a lot about the old brands.

In the case of non-toxic paints, you should test them first on your arm or somewhere similar. This area would not be as problematic as around your eye if something got irritated there.

Apply a small amount of paint to your forearm. Wait at least an hour to see if there is any reaction on your skin.

After the hour has passed, you should wash it off and wait a bit more to see if your skin has changed.

If it doesn’t change in tone or feel itchy, it’s probably safe to use.

Nonetheless, I wouldn’t recommend painting your body with it, especially around your eyes, since this is an extremely sensitive and dangerous area.

Don’t be afraid to spend a bit more money on skin paint or eyeliner, whatever it is you want to do, and you won’t regret it. Those couple of bucks will be well worth it. Don’t go cheap on your health.

If you’d also like to know if you can paint watercolors on printer paper, I’d advise reading this post, I wrote about the topic.

watercolor painting teacher and student

Can watercolor be easily removed from the skin?

In order to protect your skin, I strongly advise you to wash off any watercolor paint on your skin already.

Flowing warm water and soap are the best ways to do so. You need to be extra careful not to get anything in your eyes if the paint is around them. 

Watercolor paint gets off the skin pretty easily, since it reactivates with water, which would make it flow right off.

If your skin is red and irritated underneath, wait a bit, as it might be the result of the washing process. 

However, if it persists, you should definitely see a dermatologist. 

If you’ve always asked yourself, whether you can iron a watercolor painting to flatten it, read this step-by-step guide, I’ve put together.
And if you’re unsure, what sizes of watercolor brushes you need, you should check this article out.


Watercolor should not be used as an eyeliner because sweat, tears, and oil on the skin around the eyes will destroy the paint. The paint could get into the eye and cause damage. It is best to put in a few extra dollars and buy an eyeliner to avoid skin problems.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.