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How do I wear eye makeup safely with contact lenses?

A new school year is the perfect time to experiment with the hottest new makeup trends. But if you’re one of the millions of beauty lovers who wears contacts, you may be wondering if there are any products or techniques that are off-limits on your path to the perfect beat. Not to worry—contact lenses won’t prevent you from sporting exactly the kind of beauty look you are aiming for. While you may need to make a few adjustments to your routine you can still easily and safely achieve a glam makeup look with contacts, any day of the week. 

Before application

First things first: Wash your hands and put in your lenses before applying any skincare or makeup. This will prevent you from transferring any product to the lenses before you even get started.

You should always be using clean tools to apply your makeup. This is a non-negotiable, as dirty makeup products can lead to breakouts, infections, and some other not-so-cute consequences. All of this is especially true when you’re rocking contacts. One of our favorite eye makeup tips is to make sure you are sanitizing your tools, such as eyelash curlers and makeup brushes, before every use. And wash your hands between steps!

Properly priming before doing your makeup can also help keep your eyes and contacts safe. An eyelid primer, for example, can help lock your makeup in place, reducing the chance that it will find its way to the inside of your eye. 

During your routine

Pay attention to the formula

Perfecting an Insta-worthy makeup look is totally possible with the right products. If you’re a contacts-wearer, familiarizing yourself with different formulas and application methods will help you make the right choices. 

Look for products that glide easily over your lids without tugging—this will minimize the chances of irritation. A creamy gel or liquid eyeliner, for example, is a much better option than a hard pencil. 

Avoid loose powders to keep your eyes as clean as possible. Instead, stick to cream concealers and foundations. Try using a pressed powder rather than a loose one set everything. 

It’s no surprise that oily makeup and contact lenses are not a good combination. Oily makeup can easily spread around your face and travel into your eye, which can blur your contacts, impact visibility, and cause general discomfort. Oil-free, water-based makeup is a great option for gorgeous, comfortable eye looks. 

Apply carefully

While some beauty lovers swear by tightlining, that’s a big no with contacts. Putting eyeliner on the waterline can result in makeup spreading into your eye, which can cause infection. Make sure you’re applying your liner only on the outside of your eyes to keep your contacts clean and irritation-free. 

Fallout from eyeshadow application isn’t just annoying. It can also irritate your eye. One clever contact tip for stand-out eyes? Use a pressed powder eyeshadow to minimize fallout and try applying with a lightly dampened brush to make the formula creamier. Using a liquid or cream eyeshadow will also minimize fallout while still delivering plenty of pigmentation.  

Also, use brushes instead of your hands to apply makeup. This makes for a more targeted approach that will prevent you from accidentally scratching your eye. 

Using mascara with contacts comes down to personal preference. Some people like waterproof formulas because they don’t budge, but other people can find them drying and irritating—and difficult to wash off if it ever gets onto the lenses. Our recommendation? A creamy, buildable mascara with serious color payoff. A single swipe of black is a classic look, but you can also spice things up with a striking new hue. 

After you finish

This is probably the most evergreen makeup tip: Wash everything as soon as you’re done. This will reduce the chances of forgetting this step or accidentally damaging or dirtying your lens case.

Be gentle with your eyes throughout the day. Avoid touching or rubbing them so your makeup doesn’t flake off. When washing your face at night, avoid scrubbing too hard. Instead, use a gentle cleanser and lightly rub your eyes, then pat dry with a clean towel. 

If you’re new to contacts this year, these tips will have you applying makeup safely and flawlessly in no time! Don’t forget to snap a photo and tag us—we love to see how you own your look.

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