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9 Steps How to Apply Eye Makeup With Contact Lenses

Research suggests it’s safe to wear eye makeup with contact lenses as long as you clean your makeup brushes and keep the makeup out of your eyes.While you probably don’t need to worry, it’s possible for your lenses to get damaged or for your eyes to get infected if makeup gets on your contacts. Experts say it’s best to apply your eye makeup after you put on your contact lenses to reduce the risk of getting makeup on them.With practice, you’ll likely learn to put your makeup on quickly and easily.

Wash and dry your hands. Before you apply any makeup to your face or put your contacts in, it’s important that you clean your hands well with soap and water. This will ensure no bacteria gets into your eyes as you apply your makeup and touch your contact lenses.

Use eye drops to keep your eyes from drying out. Often when you are applying eye makeup, you need to keep your eyes open for longer periods of time. This can cause your eyes to dry out or get irritated, especially if you are wearing contacts. Counteract any dryness by putting eye drops in your eyes before you put your contact lenses in.

  • You can also try to blink often while putting on your eye makeup to keep your eyes moist.
  • When buying eye drops to use with your contacts, be sure they they are safe to apply with contact lenses in. Use re-wetting drops or preservative free artificial tears.

Clean your contacts and then put them in. Always put your contacts in before you apply any eye makeup. This will ensure you can see properly as you put on your makeup. This will also prevent you from having to put your contacts in after your eye makeup is done, which could cause some of the makeup to transfer on to your contact or into your eye, leading to discomfort and a possible eye infection.

  • At night when you are ready to remove your eye makeup, always remove your contact lenses first before washing off your makeup.
Use eyelid primer. Eyelid primer is a light gel that you can apply on your eyelids. It will keep your eye makeup in place, especially eye shadow. This will prevent any eye makeup from getting on your contacts throughout the day or night, especially if you are in a hot or sweaty environment.
 Choose cream eye shadows instead of powder eye shadows. Cream eye shadows are more compact than powder shadows, so they are less likely to get into your eyes when you apply them. Look for a water based cream eye shadow, as an oil based eye shadow can cause irritation if it gets into your eyes.

  • If you would prefer to use a powder eye shadow, keep your eyes closed as you apply the shadow with a clean makeup brush. You can also hold a tissue under your eye as you apply the powder shadow to catch any excess powder and prevent it from getting into your eyes. Wipe any excess powder off with a tissue once you are done applying the eye shadow.

Use a pencil eyeliner on the outer part of your eyelids only. Many makeup tutorials will tell you to apply eyeliner on your inner eyelid, or on the waterline under your eyelashes. But if you wear contact lenses, doing this will put the product right on the lens and close enough to possibly get into your eye. Stick to using a pencil eyeliner on the outer part of your eyelids only, and avoid using gel or liquid eyeliner as these can dry out and flake.

  • Putting eyeliner on the inside, closest to the eye will block glands that are vital to your tear film and increase your risk of dry eyes and hordeolum or styes.

Apply hypoallergenic, oil-free mascara. While it may be tempting to go for “lash-extending” mascara, these products can product micro-flakes that may get into your eyes and irritate your contacts. Waterproof mascara should be avoided, as it cannot be rinsed out easily with water and can stain your contact lenses. Instead, go for mascara that is hypoallergenic, oil-free, and fragrance-free.

  • To apply mascara when wearing contacts, brush the mascara only halfway down the roots of your eyelashes so the product does not touch your eyes.
  • Glide the mascara brush lightly against your lashes and do not pump the mascara to get more product on the brush, as this lets in air and debris into the mascara. Try not to leave any clumps on your lashes, which can flake off and get into your eyes.
  • Keep in mind permanent eyelash dyes can cause serious eye injuries and many dyes are not approved by the FDA. They are not recommended for people who wear contact lenses.


Look for makeup that is safe for contact lens wearers. About two thirds of the contact lens population are women, so many cosmetic companies are responding to the demand by creating products that are contact lens friendly. On your next trip to the make-up counter, ask the sales attendant for products that are labeled “ophthalmologist tested” and “approved for contact lens wearers”.

  • If you wear eye make up every day, you may want to consider switching to daily contact lenses. This way, you will start the day with a fresh, make up free pair of lenses every day. Talk to your ophthalmologist about daily contact lenses.

Replace your eye makeup every three months. Though your cosmetics may seem like they can last forever, they do have expiration dates. Switch out your eyeliner and mascara every three months to avoid getting bacteria from the products into your eyes.

  • Another way to confirm its time to replace your mascara is if it starts to have a faint gasoline smell. This means the formula is breaking down and it is more prone to clumping and flaking.
  • If you use makeup brushes around your eyes, wash them once a week and let them air dry before you use them again.


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