The Complete Guide To Wearing Makeup With Glasses

One morning in high school, I asked my sister what makeup look she planned on sporting that day (something of a daily ritual for us) and she replied: “It doesn’t matter, because I’m wearing my glasses today.” I remember being shocked that she equated glasses with the inability to wear makeup, or at least wear it well. And she's not the only one who feels this way.

While glasses present some cosmetics challenges, they don't make it impossible. In fact, you can have just as much fun — if not more — with a pair of spectacles over your dramatic smoky eyes as without. Just think of them as the perfect frames (sorry, had to) for showcasing your works of art.

Of course, there's no denying that the process can be confusing. How do you deal with foundation rubbing off your nose or lenses that make your eyes look smaller? To clear up a few things (sorry again), we asked Troy Surratt, makeup artist and founder of Surratt Beauty; and Bobbi Brown, founder and CCO of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics (who wrote a book on eye makeup), to give us their tips. Check them out ahead, and get ready to master your makeup and rock a major set of frames.

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Start With Long-Wearing Foundation
If you're a glasses-wearer, you know that foundation has the tendency to transfer from the bridge of your nose to the bridge of your frames. Brown recommends only using foundation where it's absolutely necessary, and avoiding it on the nose when you can.

But if you really want coverage in that area, Surratt suggests tapping on a long-wearing product (like Revlon's ColorStay) and powdering your base to set it. "You can even apply foundation and then use a blotting paper to absorb any residual oil that may still be in the formula," he says. "That will leave behind just the pigment."
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Correct Shadows & Undereye Bags
"You can counteract any shadows your glasses cast under your eyes by using a corrector and concealer to both neutralize discoloration and brighten and lift the undereye area," says Brown, who usually opts for concealers with peach or yellow tones to cancel out dark-blue and purple shadows.

Also consider picking up a light-reflecting concealer, like the cult classic YSL Touche Éclat. "[It] has a brightening effect under the eyes, which will [combat] the effects of overhead lighting and shadows," says Surratt.
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Widen Eyes That Look Smaller
"For those who are nearsighted and feel like their [glass] lenses make their eyes look smaller, I suggest creating a stronger eye look [like] a bronze smoky eye," says Brown.

A great eyelash curler (like this one, which Surratt created himself) can also do wonders to open up the eyes. "If you think of eyelashes as visors or awnings for the eyes, by flipping or curving them up you allow more light to reach the eye and that makes the eye look bigger and brighter," says Surratt. Once you're done, don't forget to swipe on lots and lots of mascara.
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Soften Eyes That Look Bigger
Glass lenses that correct farsightedness tend to have the opposite effect — they can make eyes look bigger. Some love this, but for others it's a nuisance.

Surratt says the key to combating this is keeping things light and natural. "A mascara that's soft, lengthening, and defining won't bring much bulk to the lashes, but will subtly emphasize them without making them too bold or graphic behind a magnifying lens," he says.
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Avoid Creases & Smudges
Glasses have the tendency to draw more attention to creases and smudges. Like you did with foundation, Brown suggests reaching for long-wearing or waterproof products and dusting on setting powder to lock in your work. "Using a pale-yellow, sheer-finish powder to set [your] undereye concealer, in addition to the T-zone, is another way to guarantee your makeup will last from coffee to cocktails," she says. Tuck it into your purse for quick touch-ups throughout the day.
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Choose The Right Shades
Makeup is all about self-expression, so whatever colors you want to wear on your eyes — go for it. But if you're really looking to enhance your eye color, Brown suggests cool, gray and purple-based tones (like lilac) for blue eyes; earthy tones like camel, moss, and beige for green eyes; and warm colors like khaki, stone, and deep brown for brown eyes.

Gold shades, especially rose gold, also look lovely on blue and brown eyes, adds Surratt. And purple tones can really make green eyes pop, he says. For a no-fuss shade that complements a range of skin tones, Surratt likes Champagne. "It's an all-over shade that will brighten the lids," he says.
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Look Beyond The Frames
When it comes to the rest of your makeup, Brown suggests keeping things healthy-looking and dewy. "Add a pop of blush on your cheeks, [and] go with a bold color on your lips," she says. We love Tata Harper's Volumizing Lip and Cheek Tint, which you can use for both of these purposes.

"And always define your brows, as this will ensure that your glasses don't overpower your face," adds Brown.
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Find The Right Glasses For Your Eye Shape
No matter how you do your makeup, it's crucial that your frames flatter your face. Brown, who has her own line of eyewear, offers a checklist of attributes she always uses when choosing glasses:

1. Make sure your eyes are centered in each lens and that the style is proportional to your facial features.
2. Frame shapes that contrast with your face shape are the most flattering. (Translation: If you have a round face, don't buy round frames. Instead, reach for square or cat-eye frames to balance out your features.)
3. Avoid frames that leave your eyebrows too far above or below your glasses.
4. A well-fitting pair of glasses should have slightly more lens showing beneath your eyes than above. This stops glasses from looking top-heavy.

Surratt also recommends getting an anti-glare coating put on your lenses. "It will make sure your lenses don't reflect light, and won't cause a glare in any photo situations," he says. "You'll get a truer image of your eye behind the lens."
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