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Should You Use Carbon Based Pigments For Your Eyeliner?

by Teryn Darling December 01, 2022

You may have heard that newbies should never use Carbon based pigments. Do you know why?

Carbon based pigments are less forgiving than Iron Oxide pigments and they have a higher chance of migration due to its particle size. 

Carbon black has the smallest particle size.

Due to Carbon’s very small particle size, it requires less pressure to implant. This is why you should be on point with your depth and confident in your technique before you try Carbon based pigments. 


Migration happens due to too much pressure.

You should never use Carbon on an eyelid with visible blood vessels or capillaries. If you place pigment too deep, the small particle size will allow the pigment to detach and travel up the blood vessels in the eyelid leading to migration!

Never use Carbon on wings or wedges.

Your client may want a wing now, but in 5-10 years that same client may have a change of heart. Use an Iron Oxide on wings and wedges.

Who should use carbon for eyeliner?

Carbon black has the highest lightfastness, strongest UV durability and long-lasting power. It has the ability to outlast anything and this can potentially be problematic when it comes to our work. 

If Carbon outlasts all the other colorants…that leaves a gray, blue or gray/blue eyeliner just depending on the type of Carbon used and how the pigment was formulated.   

There are 100’s of different types of Carbon. Remember Carbons can either have a blue base, an ashy gray base or a truer black base. A truer black based Carbon is going to allow the eyeliner to age to a softer version of itself rather than turning blue or that dreaded battleship gray.

While there are exceptions to every rule it's safe to say that newbies should NOT use carbon until they are well-practiced and confident in their technique, needle choice, and depth. 

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