I started wearing glasses when I was thirteen MONTHS old! Apparently they had to be tied to my head to prevent me snatching them off. And I was still snatching them off when, aged 13, I discovered boys and decided I didn’t want to wear them any more and just stopped!
Now of course, older and wiser (at least in some ways) I’m much more sensible about it and the print is starting to get smaller somehow in books, magazines and especially on the instructions for cooking stuff in the microwave. (Why do they make that print so small, or is it just me??) so I’m going back to wearing glasses at least some of the time.
Over the years glasses have got a lot nicer and these days, attractive frames that suit your face shape can set off your eyes beautifully and add another dimension to your looks. But does wearing glasses also mean you have to adapt your makeup?
Not necessarily, but you may want to make a few changes and these are the things to watch out for.
Take More Care With Your Eye Makeup
Glasses tend to emphasize any mistakes you make with your eye makeup – you are literally framing your eyes, so it does pay to give your makeup a bit more care.
Beauty blogger Keiko Lynn believes that you don’t need to adapt your makeup when you wear glasses, and I think this is true in her case. She looks great with and without her glasses with exactly the same makeup, but it is due to her skill in applying shadow, eyeliner and mascara.
I’m frequently asked how my beauty routine changed when I started wearing glasses, but the truth is, it hasn’t. The amount of requests for “eye makeup you can wear with glasses” made me wonder if I was doing something wrong by not changing up my eye makeup. Truly, I just do my eye makeup and then put my glasses on…simple as that! The only thing I change when I wear glasses is the height of the color – I usually keep it only on the lid, not too far above the crease.
Experiment With Color
Many advise that wearing more subtle colors on your eyes is important if you wear glasses (the idea being that your glasses are already a powerful accessory on your face and you should not have too much going on). But Keiko looks good in bold colors too so it may not be necessary to save bold colors for your lips.
Experiment to see what works best with your eyes and frames. This will be different for every face/frame combination and will give you your individual look. Far be it from me to say that everyone wearing glasses should have dull eye makeup because it just isn’t true for everyone.
Create a Base
It especially important to create a smooth base for eye shadow so your eye makeup stays in place. You can either use a special eye makeup primer or a touch of your normal foundation if that has a matte finish or foundation and powder. As glasses can cast dark shadows and dark circles will also be framed, use concealer under your eyes if necessary and set your concealer with translucent powder to make sure it stays in place and does not become shiny.
This video has a demo of a full makeup for glasses look. Notice how Lindsay has quite a few steps getting the base right for her eyes including two colors of concealer.
Bring Out Your Eyes With Eyeliner
Don’t try to go without eyeliner because you need it when your eyes are behind glass, to bring them out. Just make sure that your eyeliner style works well with the type of frames you have. If you have thick dark frames, then use slightly thicker eyeliner, and with frameless glasses or those with thin frames, use a thinner or smudgier line. In the video above, Lindsay uses a two step process with a thinner liquid eyeliner and then sets it with dark powder. She also applies a flesh tone to the lower waterline that can help your eyes stand out.
Well Groomed Brows
You may find some of the best styles in glasses for you have the top of the glasses following the line of your brow but whether they do, or not, you don’t want stragglers or messy brows spoiling your look. Have a professional eye brow shaping done, if you’re not sure how to create a shape to match your face and frames. As a rule, higher, thinner brows look best with thinner frames whereas thicker or darker frames look best with thicker brows with a natural arch. Once you have the shape, keep your eyebrows tidy by plucking out any strays every day and filling in any gaps with short pencil strokes in a color that matches your brows.
Too much mascara on lower lids can cast further shadows under your eyes, so keep it light or skip it and focus on upper lashes. Get rid of any obvious clumps in your mascara by using a comb after applying.
Take Account of Lens Distortion
Depending on your prescription, some lenses will make your eyes look bigger and others smaller. If the distortion is not too great, then just follow the general tips above, otherwise you will need to take special care. When you next change your glasses, opt for thinner lenses which reduce the distorting effect on your eyes, if you can.
“Modern high refractive materials allow women who need strong prescription glasses to get thinner fashionable lenses (High-Index) and maintain a very natural look. Also, modern aspheric lenses greatly reduce the magnification or minimisation effects of higher lens powers.”Source: Fairlady
If your eyes are magnified a lot by the lenses because you have a far-sighted (long-sighted) prescription, make sure that you apply your makeup perfectly, blend it well and use a light touch. This is where dark matte eye shadow shades, smoky effects and a more subtle application of liner and mascara will work best. Anything shimmery or too light will make your eyes pop a bit too much. If you also have dark thick frames then you will need to try to balance your makeup with the strength of the frames, so that your eyes stand out without looking over the top.
If your eyes look smaller, because of the lenses you have to correct near (short) sight, choose eye shadow in lighter colors perhaps with a little shimmer. Pink, lavender, beige, light gray or champagne colors are all good. Pale highlighter under the brow bone is good too. Subtle eyeliner is essential to enhance your eyes, and you may find it best to outline only the outer half of your eye. If you line the inner lower rims use white eyeliner (or a neutral color) rather than anything dark. Curl your lashes and apply a coat or two of mascara to bring out your eyes. In the video above, you’ll see a double curling technique which is especially useful if you want to make your eyes look bigger.
Foundation And Blush
A matte foundation is best. You might be able to find a wipe- and water-resistant one that prevents foundation wiping off on your glasses frame where it touches your nose and cheeks. Set your foundation with a light dusting of powder especially if your nose and cheeks tend to be oily. This will prevent your glasses slipping and messing up your base makeup. Also use a matte natural blush color and avoid too much shimmer – the shine from the glass and from your cheeks would be too much together.
You can choose any kind of lipstick you like. There is an unwritten rule that you should emphasize either your eyes OR your lips. This would mean if your eyes are quite prominent because of your glasses, then choose natural looking lipstick. But I have have seen some great looks with beautiful eyes framed with glasses and bolder lipstick, so I would say go for what you want and just try out different looks until you get the perfect balance for the look you want to create.
In the same way that you might glam up natural makeup for an evening out, you can turn up the volume on the makeup you wear with glasses as long as you don’t go over the top and keep the basic points in mind. Wear slightly bolder eye, cheek color and lipstick and slightly thicker eyeliner to be ready to party. Instead of just thickening the line smudge it out for a slightly smoky look that goes well with glasses. If you want to add a bit of shimmer keep it light too.
“You can add sparkle to your eyes. Use a lighter shimmer or sparkly color on your lower lid. To create a smoky eye for glasses, double line your eye. It instantly makes your eyes stand out without being too much. Just line your eye with a gel or pencil, then take a similar colored powdered eye shadow and using a liner brush, line above the previous line, smudging as you go.”Source: Bobbi Brown
Can’t See To Put on Makeup?
Try using a lighted magnifying glass with a high magnification and go up very close to the mirror when applying your makeup.
At each stage, put on your glasses and step back to get the full effect.
You can get special magnifying makeup glasses with individual lenses which flip down to allow you access to your eyes (like those pictured on the left) but try the magnifying mirror solution first as it is less awkward than the special glasses for putting on makeup. The frames on these glasses just tend to get in the way.