If you prefer contacts over glasses, you’ve probably experienced itching or redness in your eyes from your makeup at one point or another. Luckily, by making a few easy changes to your beauty routine, you can ensure that you never deal with frustrating irritation again. Just follow these ophthalmologist-approved tips, and your peepers will thank you.
Always Put in Your Contacts First
Okay, this may seem obvious, but it’s a good rule to remember. “When you use makeup first, whether it’s a powder that’s not pressed or a fiber mascara that coats the lashes, and then you put your contacts on, you may already have makeup in your tear film—the thin coating that protects the eye,” says Rebecca Taylor, M.D., an ophthalmologist and spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. This, she says, can not only lead to irritation because you’re putting the contacts on a dirty surface, but it can also increase your risk of getting an eye infection. Ew.
Pick the Right Products
If you wear contacts, powder eye shadow is a good option because it’s pressed and there’s little chance that it’ll make its way into your eyes. If you want to use loose powder, though, you need to be careful. Make sure to wet your makeup brush before applying because that’ll help it adhere to the skin, says Taylor.
When it comes to liner, Taylor says liquids are a safer choice for your eye health than pencils—regardless of whether or not you wear contacts. “You can get so far down in a pencil liner that the wood scrapes or cuts the eyelid,” she says. As for mascara, Taylor recommends staying away from fiber lash mascara—a type of mascara that contains tiny pieces of fibers made of materials like nylon, silk, or rayon inside the tube, which coat the lashes to create fullness—since the fibers can flake and fall into the eye.
Be Careful About How You Apply Eyeliner
When you apply eyeliner to your waterline (the inner lash line), you risk scratching your eye or contact lens—and getting even more debris in the tear film, says Taylor. In fact, a new study done by the University of Waterloo found that 15 to 30 percent more particles of liner moved into this protective layer of the eye when liner was applied directly to the waterline, causing irritation, dryness, infection, and even blurred vision. Yikes. So, it’s a good idea to limit your liner use to the outside of your eye. Here’s how to nail the perfect cat eye.
Remove Your Contacts Before Taking Off Your Makeup
“When you remove your eye makeup, you most likely use a solvent to take the makeup off,” says Taylor. “[But] you don’t want your contact to be a reservoir for chemicals [like oil and alcohol] on the surface of your eye.” Once you’ve taken your lenses out, you can focus on scrubbing your makeup off without scratching a lens or coating it with oil. Stick to these cleansing habits, and you won’t have to be limited to one-day contacts to maintain your eye health, says Taylor.