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Makeup Tips for Glasses

My husband jokes that he hopes our children inherit my eyesight because he’s had to wear glasses since he was six. So far, the girls appear to have excellent eyes, like their mother. However, since turning 40, my eyesight has changed. In fact, most folks’ eyes do change as they age.

In middle age, the eye will harden as your lens becomes less flexible and can no longer shape to focus on close-up images. So, while my long-distance sight remains intact, these past few years, I’ve taken to wearing reading glasses for work, reading, and scrolling on my phone.

Studies show that 1 in 28 Americans over 40 experience age-related vision loss — a rate expected to double by 2050, so glasses aren’t going anywhere. Whether prescription or drugstore readers, 64 percent of adults in the United States wear glasses, and for those of us who also wear makeup regularly, knowing how to adjust makeup application is key when wearing frames. Here’s a rundown of makeup tips when wearing glasses.

First, if you haven’t already, it may be time to rethink eyeshadow. Just by wearing glasses, you draw attention to your eyes. If you’re far-sighted, your glasses will make your eyes look bigger, so you’ll want to be extra careful that everything is applied beautifully and well-blended. No more just swiping on some blue shadow. Instead, utilize a precision crease style brush to build up shadow and use varying grades of color for your lip, crease, and inner eye. If you’re near-sighted, your glasses may make your eyes appear smaller. To balance out that effect, opt for a light, flesh-toned, or white pencil along the waterline to open up the eyes.

Next up, lashes. Too-long lashes can be annoying when wearing glasses, as you don’t want them constantly hitting your lenses. Skip the lengthening mascaras and instead choose one with a brush designed to fan your lashes out and up. Better yet, curling your lashes before mascara will help steer the hairs upwards versus straight out. Again, with eyes magnified, you’ll want a mascara that really separates the lashes, avoiding any clumps. If you are getting clumps, use an open safety pin and drag between each lash to essentially comb out the clumps. If the idea of potentially poking yourself in the eye with an open safety pin creeps you out, you may want to skip mascara on the upper lashes altogether and dial up the smaller, finer hairs on the lower lash line instead. And obviously skip false lashes and save those for contact days.

If you wear glasses all day or for long stretches, like 9-5, you may have noticed patches underneath your frames where your foundation has worn thin. To combat these dents in foundation, first put less foundation on your nose. Instead, use concealer around the area where your glasses rest and dab a bit over where the glasses sit on your nose. To help keep foundation in place, try a setting spray to lock in your makeup look without drying out your skin.

From foundation to blush. Careful blusher placement is key in refining your makeup-with-glasses look. Depending on where your frames sit on your face, your standard application of blush may be hidden. If your frames are on the smaller side, you can be fairly traditional and apply blush to the apples of the cheeks for a soft flush. For more oversized frames, you want to apply in a big soft ‘C’ shape, starting on your cheekbones and sweeping up to your temples. Again, set it with a misting spray so it won’t rub off.

Lastly, make your lips a focal point. If eye makeup feels too daunting, or you just don’t have time in the morning to perfectly blend, switch the focus with some drama on your lips. A bold lip works with minimal makeup or is an unexpected addition to a no-makeup makeup look. And don’t forget your brows. Groomed brows and bright lips act as bookends and will add subtle structure to your face with minimal effort needed around the eyes.