Contact lenses and makeup: Dos and Don'ts for a flawless look

Medically reviewed by Tina Patel, Contact Lens Optician at Feel Good Contacts.

Makeup wearers usually prefer contact lenses over glasses, as it gives them the flexibility to show off their entire look. Whether you wear clear prescription contact lenses or coloured contact lenses, it's easy to misuse them, which could ruin your eye makeup and even potentially lead to an eye infection.

In this article, we have compiled a list of optician-approved, safe makeup practices with contact lenses.

What are the contact lenses and makeup dos and don'ts?

Wearing contact lenses and eye makeup doesn’t have to be troublesome. A few simple tips can help you achieve a flawless look.

Contact lenses and makeup dos:

  1. Wash your hands.

    We highly recommend thoroughly washing and drying your hands before you consider wearing contact lenses or makeup.

  2. Golden rule: always apply contacts before makeup.

    "Greasy lenses are a thing, and it's simply built from makeup or moisturiser residue which has transferred onto the lenses. So, you should always apply your contact lenses before putting on any makeup and you’ll even be able to see what you’re doing! If you wear makeup often, daily disposable contact lenses are your friend. They are considered a more hygienic option as they won't have a build up any makeup or bacteria on the lenses.” says Tina Patel, Contact Lens Optician, Feel Good Contacts.

  3. Choose hypoallergenic and water-based products.

    Hypoallergenic products are designed to be more suitable for sensitive skin, while water-based products or oil-free products won’t transfer onto the contact lenses and cause lens discomfort.

Top tip: Sparingly apply eye makeup so it’s less likely to interfere with your contact lenses.

Contact lenses and makeup don’ts:

  1. Avoid Kohl or pencil eyeliner.

    Using Kohl or pencil eyeliner on your water line can trap debris and potentially run into your eyes, causing irritation and lens discomfort. Alternatively, you can line the outer rim of your waterline and create the same look.

  2. Keep glitter and shimmer away from your eyes.

    Most glitter and shimmer-based products are prone to fall and transfer off your eyes. If glitter gets into your eye, it could scratch your lenses and cornea, leading to an eye infection. Why not save the glitter to highlight your cheeks instead?

  3. Do not use oil-based products.

    It's best to avoid oil-based makeup products, including foundations and makeup removers, because they can lead to blurred vision and cause discomfort when they come into contact with your lenses. Choose oil-free alternatives to ensure your makeup doesn't compromise vision clarity and lens comfort. Look for products that say, ‘suitable for contact lens wearers.’

Celebrities who wear lenses with makeup like a pro

  1. Kylie Jenner.

    A popular socialite, model and influencer, Kylie frequently sports chocolate brown contact lenses, complemented with smoky eye makeup, vibrant lip shades and bold outfits.

    Kylie Jenner wearing dark brown contact lenses

  2. Beyoncé Knowles-Carter.

    32-time Grammy winner Beyoncé, celebrated for her natural beauty, has been spotted wearing pure hazel contacts during her musical tours. Beyoncé complements these contacts with bold, dramatic makeup looks.

    Beyonce wearing hazel contacts

  3. Angelina Jolie.

    It took Angelina Jolie three hours of makeup to achieve the look for her character in the film Maleficent. Her striking eye makeup drew inspiration from a metallic-layered mineral, which enhances the divine green-coloured contact lenses.

    Angelina Jolie in Maleficent

Eye makeup for contact lens wearers

  • La Roche Posay is renowned for its skincare products and has carefully formulated a mascara suitable for contact lens wearers. The product is full volume and ideal for even the most sensitive eyes. Use a clean lash brush to free your lashes from clumps that could fall into your eyes
  • Poor-quality eyeliner makes contacts blurry, especially if it bleeds and runs into your eyes. Maybelline’s award-winning eyeliner is ophthalmologist-tested, waterproof and fragrance-free, making it especially suitable for contact lens wearers
  • A little goes a long way with KIMUSE Eyeshadow Stick. The product is hypoallergenic and waterproof, too. It's important to choose a good eye shadow that won't run into your eyes and cloud your contact lenses and vision

Common concerns for makeup enthusiasts wearing contacts

It is completely safe to wear makeup as a contact lens wearer. Here are some frequently asked questions on the subject:

Should you put makeup on before or after contact lenses?

It would be best if you put makeup on after you have applied your contact lenses. With lenses in place, you'll have a wider field of vision, making it easier to apply makeup and get the look you want.

How do you not put makeup on contact lenses?

Avoid applying makeup between the area of the eyelashes and the eye. In particular, eyeliner can affect both the lens and eye, potentially blocking oil glands and leading to painful lumps.

How to get makeup off contacts?

To get makeup off your contacts, first you should wash your hands properly with antibacterial soap and make sure they are completely dry. For monthly lenses, use your contact lens solution to rub and rinse the lenses carefully. For daily disposables, you can use saline to rub and rinse. If this does not clear the lens, then it is best to throw away the lens and get a new one.

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