How do you put on makeup with glasses? As any seasoned specs wearer will tell you, readjusting your makeup to incorporate your frames can be a tricky pursuit. Still, if your eyes are the windows to your soul, then think of your glasses as the ultimate frames – and there are a few must-know tips and tricks to ensure your makeup is always a masterpiece.
At first glance, it might feel that glasses and makeup don’t mix. First, there’s the age-old conundrum of actually being able to see well enough to do your makeup without your glasses on. Second, you’ve got to think about creating a makeup look that complements, rather than competes with your glasses. Then, finally, there are the little annoyances that crop up along the way – we’re talking smudged foundation on your frames, lashes nudging your lenses, heavy frames casting dark shadows. Sound familiar? The challenges posed can feel overwhelming, but with a handful of expert-approved tips and tricks, they’re easy to overcome. Katie Adamson, Pro Makeup Artist at Trinny London, encourages her clients to make the most of their glasses. “They can give your makeup even more impact. Think of glasses like an accessory, not an inhibitor.”
Framing your face without letting your frames interfere is easy when you know how – it’s time to put your best features on display.
Oily, shiny skin is a bugbear many of us are all-too-familiar with – throw a pair of glasses into the mix and it’s a slippery slope. If you find yourself constantly pushing your glasses up throughout the day as they slip and slide down your face, then you may need to reconsider your skin prep. According to Katie, oil-balancing skincare is key to counteracting that slippage. “Use a lightweight, mattifying moisturiser and lightweight products,” she says. “Save your really rich moisturiser for the evening.”
Katie also stresses how important it is to be patient. “Let your moisturiser sink into your skin before you apply your base. Then let your makeup set.” Think of it like a freshly baked cake – if you slather icing and decorations onto an oven-hot cake, all of your handiwork will slip, slide and melt away. Giving your skincare and makeup a few minutes to settle into place will provide a solid, non-slippy foundation for your glasses.
When you’re applying makeup, it’s inevitable that, at some point, you’re going to have to remove your glasses. It’s a cruel reality for the short-sighted among us – squinting into the mirror and hoping for the best as you apply makeup to a blurry reflection can be frustrating, but Katie has the solution. “Make sure, if you’re short-sighted, to use a magnifying mirror,” she says. It seems obvious, but a good magnifying mirror will act as your glasses when you’re forced to set them aside.
Picture this: your glasses are off, your magnifying mirror is out, and you’re attempting a smoky eye with your fingertips. Chances are, your hands are blocking your eye line – now you’re relying on the patchy vision of just one eye, rather than the much-needed two. Thankfully, sleek and nimble makeup brushes present less of an obstruction. “If you can get used to using tools, they can be really helpful because they don’t block your vision or your view when you’re trying to do your makeup,” says Katie. Opt for makeup brushes with shorter handles and try holding them at a sideways angle so you can still get up close and personal with your magnifying mirror.
And if you’re not comfortable using brushes? Katie says not to worry. “If you do want to use your fingers, you just want to really take some time to practise and get familiar with your eye shape.”
One of the most common problems glasses-wearers face is the dents and smudges that the nose pads, arms and bridge of our glasses leave behind. The truth is, the thicker you layer on your foundation, the deeper and more noticeable these indents will be. On top of that, too much foundation can make even the sturdiest, best-fitting pairs of specs feel a bit slippy. “Unless there’s something that you really really want to cover, don’t put too much base on, because then you’ll really see where it rubs off,” says Katie. Adopting a strategic, less-is-more approach to coverage is a quick and easy fix. “If you make sure you’re keeping those areas under and around your glasses as makeup-free as possible, especially on the bridge of your nose, it’s never going to look bad,” explains Katie.
Don’t want to dabble with a fiddly smoky eye? Great news – lighter eyeshadow shades are your best friend. “A light-reflective eyeshadow tends to look better just to give your eyes a bit of a glow,” Katie points out. Opt for soft, shimmering shades to brighten your eyes while still giving you some drama under those frames. Sticking to neutral tones also means your eye makeup won’t clash with the colour of your glasses. “There are beautiful colours like Eye2Eye in Dawn and Fortune that just add a little bit of light,” suggests Katie. Cream-based eyeshadows are also more forgiving – unlike their powdery counterparts, creamy textures don’t require a level of precision that can be gruelling for the short-sighted among us.
Katie adds that glasses are a great opportunity to make a real feature of your eyes. “Your glasses aren’t covering anything, if anything you notice your eyes more,” she says. “It’s all about creating light.” To achieve this brightening effect, cream-based highlighters are the ultimate beauty illusionist. Try tapping a little highlighter under the brows and the inner corner of your eyes (especially if your frames are quite dark) to really make your eyes pop.
Eyeliner is another great way to make a feature of your eyes – Katie suggests using a darker shade for added depth and definition. “You can always just do a little smudgy line across the top lash line, maybe blend it out into the outer corner, just to give your eyes a bit of lift.” Again, this is where a cream-based eyeshadow comes into its own – you don’t need to create a precise line. Soft and smudgy is the aim, which is great news if you struggle with fiddly eyeliner pens.
Mascara-smudged lenses are par for the course for any seasoned specs-wearer. To counteract this, Katie advises prioritising curl over length. “A good tip is to curl your lashes – especially if you have particularly long lashes.” The key here is that you’re lifting your lashes out of the way so they won’t nudge against your lenses. Katie has more tips for when it’s time to wield the mascara wand. “Application-wise I’d look down, and have the mirror underneath your chin, at a 45-degree angle,” she says. “Then you can see better to lift up and brush your lashes.” A welcome bonus is that lifted lashes will instantly make your eyes look bigger, brighter and wider.
The final trick? Always remember to let your mascara dry before putting your glasses back on. And just like that, vision-impairing mascara smudges are a distant memory.
While statement-making glasses are a brilliant way to frame your eyes, they can also cast dark shadows that emphasise tiredness. Similarly, while your lenses are a fabulous window to your eyes, they can have an adverse effect, acting as a metaphorical arrow pointing directly to any pesky dark circles. Katie’s top trick? “Mix a little bit of under-eye concealer with a cream-based highlighter and apply it under the eye to really illuminate.” This light-reflecting duo will counteract any darkness and instantly make you look wide awake.
Your eyebrows are the frames of your face, but when you wear glasses, they can encroach on your eyebrows’ territory. “The key is that you don’t need to go quite so heavy with your brows; you don’t want to fight with your frames,” explains Katie. “Keep your brows beautifully groomed and defined, rather than feeling like you need to go in heavy and do a big bold brow.”
Now that you’re well-versed in the tips and tricks that will help you overcome any challenges, it’s time to create a beautiful eye look that will do your frames justice. Take a peek at our step-by-step breakdown for an eyeshadow look with serious specs appeal.
Use your ring finger to apply a soft, shimmering cream-based eyeshadow shade along your lid and then blend up towards your brow bone. Your first shade should always be one that’s bright and fresh to counteract any shadows cast by your frames.
Take a soft blending brush and use it to apply a deeper shade to the outer corner of your eyelid in a V-shape. Use your brush to buff and blend the eyeshadow into your crease. This will give your eyes a touch of definition to help them stand out beneath your glasses.
Without picking up any more eyeshadow, use the same brush to blend what’s left on the bristles along your lower lash line, working from the outer corner of your eye inwards.
Grab an eyeliner brush and with a darker eyeshadow shade, apply a soft and smudgy line along your upper lash line. When you reach the outer corner of your eye, slightly twist the brush outwards and upwards to create a flick – this will give your eyes a little lift.
Tap a little cream-based highlighter under your brow bone and in the inner corners of your eyes for instant brightening that will counteract any shadows and make your eyes pop.
Mix your under-eye concealer with a little cream-based highlighter and dot it under your eyes. Then blend, blend, blend. This will brighten any darkness and make you look wide awake.
Curl your lashes and finish with lashings of mascara. Brush the wand through your upper lashes, coating them from root to tip. Then, use the end of the wand to wiggle the mascara through your lower lashes. For extra oomph, add a second coat.
Give your mascara a few minutes to dry before popping your glasses back on to admire your masterpiece.