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20 Makeup Tips For Contact Lens Wearers

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20 Makeup Tips For Contact Lens Wearers
Photo: Safia Fatimi/Image Bank (Getty Images)

1. Apply lenses with clean fingers.
Wash your hands thoroughly. Avoid using products that are oily, contain fragrance, dyes, hand lotions or anything that will adhere to lenses.

2. Put contacts in before applying makeup.
Some people suggest putting contacts in after applying makeup to avoid damaging or scratching the lenses, but there's more of a chance of getting makeup onto your fingers and on the contacts, causing discomfort and possible infection.

3. Use products that are safe for contact lens wearers.
Look for makeup products that are hypoallergenic, ophthalmologist-tested for contact lenses or are safe for contact lens wearers and sensitive eyes.

4. Apply makeup with care.
Gently apply eyeliner and eye shadow, so that you don’t jostle the lenses.

5. Be careful with eyeliner.
“Contact lens wearers should avoid applying liner to the inside of the lash line (the flat part of the lid),” says New York optometrist Dr. Susan Resnick of Farkas, Kassalow, Resnick & Associates P.C. “This blocks and can cause infection of the important oil producing tear glands, which can lead to dry eyes, filmy lenses and even sties.”

6. Use cream eye shadows instead of powder.
Though both types of eye shadow can get into the eyes when being applied, it is easier to control the dust from cream shadows. Using an eye shadow primer can help the shadow adhere to the lids.

7. Avoid oil-based products. “It's best to avoid oil-based products around the eyes and to use mascara that is easily removed with non-oily makeup removers,” advises Dr. Resnick.

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8. Skip the lash building mascaras.
Avoid mascaras that contain fibers that will flake into the eyes (like lash-building fibers). “Mascara with fibers is best avoided to prevent particles from becoming trapped under the lenses and causing discomfort,” says Dr. Resnick, who also recommends “water resistant (smudge-proof) rather than waterproof mascara.”

9. Don't place the mascara wand too close to your eyes.
Instead of applying mascara from the base of the lashes, which can move the mascara and mascara wand too close to the eyes, start from the middle of the lashes and sweep through to the tips.

10. Don't glue your contacts!
Avoid wearing false eyelashes when wearing contact lenses.

11. Use eyeliner and mascara that doesn’t flake.
Use products that are long wear and won’t get into the eyes, especially if you have eyes that tend to water due to allergies.

12. Red alert:
Don’t wear eye makeup or put in lenses when your eyes are swollen, red or infected.

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13. Use disposable contacts.
Contact lens technology has made it a lot easier for makeup wearers to use lens safely. If you have allergies or wear eye makeup, you can solve problems with infections by using one-time use, disposable contact lenses like 1-Day Acuvue Moist. “By inserting a fresh, clean lens each day, exposure to build-up of allergy producing agents such as pollen, make-up and debris from the tear film is minimized,” says Dr. Resnick.

14. Should you use eye drops?
“Wearers can also discuss using prescription allergy drops with their eye care provider,” she continues. “These drops can be used once or twice a day when the lenses are not being worn to control for symptoms such as itching and watering. For severe and acute allergy reactions, lens wear should be discontinued until resolved.”

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15. Use a water-based foundation.
Cream makeup can be irritating if it gets into the eyes, so instead use a water-based, hypoallergenic liquid foundation.

16. Be careful when using powder makeup.
Use pressed powder instead of loose powder and avoid the eye area. When using powders try to keep the eyes closed during application.

17. Use quality makeup brushes.
Avoid using cheap makeup brushes with bristles that might get into the eyes or cause the powder to get into the eyes.

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18. Remove contact lenses before removing eye makeup.
Even if you use a gentle eye makeup remover and gently wipe off makeup from the lids, there is a chance of contaminating the lenses or damaging them.

19. Practice healthy contact lens habits.
“Healthy contact lens habits should include washing hands prior to handling lenses, following the proper lens care instructions including cleaning and replacing the contact lens case on a regular basis, and replacing the contact lenses according to the manufacturers' recommended schedule,” says Dr. Resnick.

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20. Use makeup that is fresh and free of bacteria.
Make sure that you keep eye makeup containers tightly closed when not in use to avoid bacteria from growing, and toss old makeup, which can cause eye infections.

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