Eyeliner is a staple in every woman’s makeup collection. It’s versatile enough to use on its own or as a base for other eye-shadows and colors. But what happens if you share your eyeliner with someone else? Can you get an eye infection from using someone else’s makeup? What are the risks of sharing pencil eyeliner?

Whether you’re lining your top lid or filling in your brows, the right liner can make all the difference. You might wonder, if you can share eyeliner? After all, it seems like a pretty minor thing to pass around.

Can You Share Eyeliner?

No, you can’t share eyeliner. Sharing makeup that goes near your eyes is generally not a good idea because of germs and bacteria that can spread between people. But don’t worry, I’ll walk you through why you should never share eye makeup, and what happens when you share eyeliner.

sharing eyeliner

Eyeliner is one of those products that you should never, ever share. Some infections spread through makeup, and eyeliner is one of them. It’s easy to transfer bacteria onto a new person’s eyelid or eyes with just one quick swipe of a finger or even worse, the same applicator.

And even if the person you’re sharing with doesn’t have an eye infection or other illnesses, you can still transfer germs to yourself through their dirty hands. Eyeliner is made from very fine pigments, so they’re easy to get in your eyes. This can cause irritation and even infections.

You can also get infections when you share cosmetics with someone else, especially if they have a cold, sore, or infectious skin condition on their lips or around their mouth. If you’re going to share makeup with someone else, it’s best to use disposable applicators.

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Is It OK to Use Someone Else’s Eyeliner?

It is not ok to use someone else’s eyeliner, even if they’re your best friend. It just isn’t sanitary or safe to do that and would be best if you didn’t share eyeliners with anyone unless they are brand new and sealed. There are several reasons why this is a bad idea:

  • Your friend may have an eye infection or another condition that could be passed on to you through their makeup. Please don’t risk it.
  • You don’t know how long their eyeliner has been opened or how often they use it. It could already be contaminated and spread germs before you even touch it.
  • If you don’t know for sure if your friend washed their hands before applying the liner, bacteria on their hands and fingers could contaminate yours when you use the same applicator on both eyes.

You should never share mascara, brushes, or even eye shadow with another person. While sharing mascara might not seem like a big deal at first glance, it is one of the dirtiest things in your makeup bag.

If you were to share your mascara wand with someone else (say you were out partying together), then there’s a good chance that they could end up giving you an eye infection from their germs or bacteria getting on your lash line while they applied their makeup.

It could also transfer some potentially-harmful bacteria into yours if it gets smudged onto their skin during application. This may be why some people have allergic reactions when using someone else’s mascara.

What Happens if You Share Eyeliner?

The first thing you need to know about sharing makeup is that it can cause infections. This is especially true for eyeliner and mascara, but it also applies to eyeshadow and brushes.

1. Increases your chances of getting an eye infection

Eyeliner can harbor bacteria and lead to an eye infection called conjunctivitis (better known as pink eye). The most common way this happens is when someone with a viral or bacterial infection passes their germs onto your eyelids through the shared makeup applicator.

2. Allergic reaction

It’s also possible for you to get an allergic reaction from using a contaminated liner that causes redness and swelling of the eyelids. Eyeliner allergies are rare, but they sometimes happen, especially if you’re allergic to certain pigment ingredients found in some brands’ liners.

3. Transfer of microorganisms

When you put on eyeliner or mascara, you deposit a mixture of water, oil-based ingredients (called “binders”), waxes, and preservatives directly onto your eye. If someone else uses the same brush or tube after applying theirs, they’ll transfer whatever microorganisms are on their skin into yours. If that person has an eye infection or other kind of illness, even something as innocuous as a cold, you can catch whatever bug they have.

For this reason alone, I recommend against sharing any makeup unless it’s a product explicitly meant for sharing. Lip glosses work well because they don’t go near the eye area at all.

Glitter makeup could potentially cause irritation but poses no threat otherwise; mascaras are “OK” so long as neither party wears contact lenses (which could get caught in the bristles).

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Can You Share Pencil Eyeliner?

You can share pencil eyeliners, but you may want to think twice before doing so. Cosmetic pencils are more likely to be contaminated than liquid eyeliners because they are more likely to be used on the skin and not removed before sharing. You and your friend could expose yourselves to a virus or bacteria when you share your makeup.

Pencil eyeliner is the most common type of makeup used by women. It’s also the most likely to spread bacteria, viruses, and other germs. While you may hear people say they’ve shared pencil eyeliner with no problem, this doesn’t mean it’s safe.

Pencil eyeliners are not as safe as liquid liners because they can transfer microorganisms from one person to another when they are shared. This can happen quickly and easily if both people have open wounds on their faces.

If you’re going to share with a friend or loved one, it’s important to remember that you don’t want to put someone else at risk for infection or other problems associated with the transfer of makeup. The best way to prevent these infections from spreading is by using disposable sharpeners for all your makeup pencils and never sharing them with others.

Risks Associated With Sharing Mascara and Eyeliner

You can get an eye infection from using someone else’s eyeliner. You need to know that it’s not only the bacteria on the skin’s surface but also what they’ve touched with their hands and then transferred to your face.

Even if they wash their hands after applying makeup, they may have handled something else between when they were using it and now. In which case, that’s probably where your infection came from.

It’s common for women to share beauty products, especially when both parties go out together or hit a party spot. But unless both of you are willing to take off all of your makeup and put on brand new products every time one person uses them, sharing makeup is risky business especially eyeliner.

Suppose even a tiny amount of bacteria is left behind on an eyeliner pencil before you use it and there almost always will be. In that case, those little microbes could easily infect your eye upon contact.

Generally, sharing makeup near your eyes is a bad idea. When you use someone else’s mascara or eyeliner, it’s not just the germs of your friend’s face that you’re putting on yours; you could also pick up the germs from her hands. The same goes for lipstick and lip gloss products.

The risk of getting an eye infection, like pink eye, from sharing makeup is shallow (and not worth worrying about). But there are more severe risks associated with sharing mascara and eyeliner including:

1. Bacterial conjunctivitis and styes

sharing eyeliner can lead to development of Bacterial conjunctivitis

Both cause redness, itching, and tearing around the eyes and eyelids. They are usually caused by viruses or bacteria that live on lashes, spread from person to person, and affect both children and adults. Luckily these infections typically go away on their own after a few days without treatment, but they can be painful while they last.

2. Herpes simplex virus (HSV)

This causes cold sores on the lips but can also cause blisters on the eye’s cornea. HSV-1 is more common than HSV-2, but both are highly contagious through direct contact with infected skin or mucous membranes. You can get HSV-2 through sexual contact with someone who has genital herpes.

3. Blepharitis

This is an inflammation of the eyelids that causes them to become swollen and inflamed. Blepharitis can cause styes on the eyelids, redness, and itching, in addition to the other symptoms associated with conjunctivitis.

How to Reduce the Risk of Eye Infection

Certain eyeliner products, especially those that contain organic pigments, can be a breeding ground for bacteria. If you have a cut or scratch on your eyelid, or if you’re using an eyeliner pencil that hasn’t been properly cleaned and stored, it’s possible to get an eye infection from someone else’s eyeliner.

You can reduce your risk of an eye infection by following these tips:

1. Wash your hands before applying makeup

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching your eyes or applying makeup, including eyeliner or mascara. This will help reduce the number of bacteria transferred from your hands to your eyes.

2. Do not share makeup products

You should not share makeup products such as brushes or eyeliners with anyone else. These items can harbor bacterial growth even after being washed and dried. If you must share, always use new applicators each time you apply makeup.

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3. Use only clean makeup brushes and applicators

Throw away any brushes or sponges used with other people’s makeup products or left out for a long time. Always wash brushes before using them on yourself, even if they’ve never been shared before. This is because people’s skin bacteria can still be transferred to them even if no signs of contamination are present.


For general hygiene reasons, sharing eyeliner is probably not a good idea. For safety reasons, you should be aware of the potential for contamination with any cosmetics or face products, regardless of whether or not you’re sharing with someone else. And for economic reasons, this particular eyeliner is too expensive to share.

In the end, it’s just not a good idea whether you are sharing eyeliner or mascara. If it’s your own house, great, but don’t share with someone else. There is a risk involved, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Disclaimer: Content Research, Product Opinion & Publication Process

The articles, cosmetic tutorials, and beauty tips on SheBegan magazine are contributed by experienced fashion professionals, beauty & cosmetics experts. The team of our beauty and cosmetics professionals tests the products and then share the outcomes with proper citations and then after passing all the research & editorial checks; the content is sent live making sure there exists No Conflict of Interest. You can read about our authors, volunteers, team members and editorial board with our content review, product testing, tutorial guidance process here.


Abimboye Femi is an experienced Beauty Expert. Over the years, he has developed an uncanny nose for sniffing out the perfect fragrance as well as an eye for best beatification practices. He brings to bear, his vast knowledge of research to help deliver rich contents centered on Beauty and Cosmetics.

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