Makeup might not have any rules, but when it comes to makeup and contact lenses, there’s one very, very important one: Safety first. No one wants to be the origin of an urban legend about the girl who went blind because of dirty contacts and excessive eye makeup. On a recent trip to visit Dr. Arti Shah, an LA-based optometrist and contact lens specialist, she was appalled at the amount of makeup build-up on our reusable contact lenses. In fact, she refused to give them back to us and threw them out on the spot. And here we thought everything was hunky dory with our eye health.
Cosmetic Contacts Tips: Keep Eyes Clean, Safe
With that in mind, Dr. Shah schooled us on how to wear makeup without compromising perfect vision, because just like Robin Thicke, we hate blurred lines.
First things first: Insert contact lenses before applying makeup but after applying spray products such as perfumes, sunscreens, and hairsprays. “Soft contact lenses are very absorbent,” says Dr. Shah, and will pick up any residue from the above products.
Next, minimize makeup fall out. Use a primer to keep your shadows and liners in place and opt for cream shadows over powder ones. We like OCC’s Creme Colour Concentrates: They don’t contain insect-derived ingredients (commonly found in many eyeshadows, especially shades of pink and purple), making them less irritating to the eye.
While most eye care practitioners, Dr. Shah included, officially advise against lining your waterline, if you’re going to do it, do it safely: Use a kohl pencil instead of a gel or cream liner, which are prone to drying, cracking, and flaking more than their pencil counterparts. Make Up For Ever’s Kohl Pencil was specifically developed for the sensitive area inside and surrounding the eye.
Finally, avoid fiber mascaras, as these are prone to micro-flakes that can get into your eye and under your contact, causing irritation and redness. Always use hypo-allergenic, oil- and fragrance-free formulas when possible.
If a heavy eye look is your daily go-to, Dr. Shah suggests using a daily disposable lens, such as 1-Day Acuvue Moist . “By using a daily disposable lens, you insert a clean lens each morning and throw away the lenses that have makeup or other irritants on the lens at the end of the day. No muss, no fuss.” If switching to a daily lens isn’t possible, disinfect the lenses each night until you’re ready for a fresh pair of lenses. “The best way to remove makeup particles, oil, and debris is rubbing the contact lenses nightly with appropriate cleaning solution upon removal from eye, then letting them soak for 4-5 hours.”
Dr. Shah recommends speaking to your optometrist about what works for your vision and prescription. “Many doctors will recommend a hydrogen peroxide cleaning system for use with reusable contact lenses, which might be more effective in keeping your lenses clean. It may also be possible to wear reusable contact lenses the majority of the time, but wear a single-use lens on days when you’re wearing an excessive amount of makeup.”