Apply makeup with your contact lenses already in place. You can see what you’re doing, there’s less risk of soiling the lenses, and tearing after insertion won’t spoil your freshly applied makeup.
Practice and a light touch are necessary to avoid dislodging your lenses when applying makeup. Try tilting your chin upward slightly and looking down when applying eye–shadow to the upper eyelid. To apply eyeliner, keep your lid relaxed, stretching the lid as little as possible.
If, even after practice, you frequently displace the lenses, you may decide to apply your makeup (all except mascara) before inserting your lenses. But be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before touching the lenses. Cosmetic oils are difficult to remove from your fingers and can soil your lenses.
Remove, clean and store lenses before removing your makeup. If you have used water–soluble cosmetics, splashing your closed eyes with warm water and gently wiping off the makeup with a tissue is all that’s necessary. If you have used oil–based cosmetics, or if the application was heavy, you will need cream, lotion, or eye makeup remover. Use these products very sparingly and avoid getting them in your eyes. A cotton ball is useful both for removing makeup and for taking away excess cream or oil.
Avoid frosted, pearlized, iridescent or other glittery types of eye–shadow. Ground oyster shells or tinsel used in these products can be harmful to any eye, particularly if a particle finds its way under a contact lens.
Pressed powders (applied with a disposable cotton–tipped swab, a small washable sponge or gently with your ring finger) are better than oily liquid or cream eye–shadows, which are hard to remove from contact lenses. When applying pressed powder cosmetics, use a small amount at a time to prevent loose powder particles from entering the eye.
Ideally, contact lens wearers should not use false eyelashes. But if you must, affix the lashes–preferably human hair–just above your own lashes. Use a waterproof adhesive and let it dry slightly until it feels tacky. Be careful with the adhesive. If you’re just learning to apply false eyelashes, practice first without your lenses.
Never apply eyeliner to the inner edge of the lid or above the lash line on the lower lid where it can clog tiny oil glands and cause irritation or infection.
Soft pencil eyeliners are a better choice for contact lens wearers than liquid or cake type eyeliners which may flake. If you do select a liquid or cake type eyeliner, make sure the liquid is water–based and that the cake type can be used with a brush and water. Watch carefully for any evidence of flaking. If flaking occurs, try a lighter application or switch to a different brand.
Stay away from mascaras labeled “Lash–building” and “Guaranteed waterproof”. Many of these mascaras use nylon and rayon fibers as lash enhancers. As these fibers dry, they may flake off and fall into the eye. Tears carry the intact fiber onto the lens or underneath it where it can scratch your cornea.
Mascaras labeled “Water–resistant”, are recommended for contact lens wearers. If particles fall into the eye, they are easily flushed out by normal tear action. Water–resistant mascara will not run if you use artificial tears.
Begin applying mascara slightly away from the base of the lash and work out towards the end of the lash. Two thin coats are less apt to flake than one thick one. Never use a straight pin or other sharp object to “Declump” mascara. An eyelash brush is much safer.
Water–soluble mascaras are easily removed without the emulsifying agents needed to remove waterproof mascara. Even if you remove your contact lenses before using eye makeup remover, residue from the oil products necessary to remove waterproof mascara remains in or around the eyes for 24 hours, and can cloud the lenses the next time they’re inserted.
Lens clouding caused by oily eye–makeup remover is the most common complaint ophthalmologists hear from contact lens wearers. Wash the eyelid area with soap and water after using makeup remover to remove the oil.
Don’t apply creams too close to the eyes. These products often cause allergic eye reactions. Highlighters, cover–ups, creams and moisturizers leave a greasy residue on the skin and/or the lashes and can pass easily from your fingers to your lenses. Using plastic sandwich bags or finger cots to cover your fingers while applying these products may help avoid problems. Or, learn to use your fourth and fifth fingers to spread them.
For contact lens wearers, pressed powder is a better choice than loose powder. If you use loose powder, close your eyes and pat it on gently–not in a cloud! Use a dampened tissue to remove excess powder from eyelashes and eyelids.
Aerosol products and products that emit fumes Hair spray, deodorant, cologne, mousse, nail polish and nail polish remover should be used before inserting your lenses. If one of these products gets into your eye it can cause permanent damage to the contact lens surface. If you find it necessary to use hair spray while wearing your contacts, close your eyes tightly while spraying, then leave the area quickly. Aerosol mist stays in the air for some time after spraying.
Contact lenses should not be worn when using hair dyes, permanent wave lotions, or medicated shampoos.