5 Tips for Wearing Makeup with Glasses

Sunday, 14 February 2016

I’ve been wanting to write a little bit about makeup and glasses for a while now, especially since as I’ve aged and started working full time sat in front of a computer screen, my eyes have basically shrivelled up into dry little raisins and now I have to wear glasses most days and can only handle contact lenses very infrequently and for short spaces of time.

I’ve been a glasses wearer since I was in my early teens, although I went through several years where I almost exclusively wore contact lenses all day every day, and I’ve always had to consider glasses when thinking about my makeup.  Mostly my eye makeup, since on top of having to cover them with a big pair of spectacles, I also have hooded eyes which are already small and annoying to work with anyway.  With quite a lot of practice under my belt and a bit of wisdom to share, I thought I’d be a pretty decent source of advice for anyone looking for tips when wearing makeup and glasses!

Let me start by saying that no matter what I say about what you should/shouldn’t do when wearing makeup and glasses, no matter what anyone else says, you do you.  The below will mostly be tips in terms of what I do, such as how to enhance certain features and compete with your frames, I will never tell you to straight up not do a thing and I urge you to never let anyone else to do that, either.  There are countless videos on YouTube and blog posts about what ‘not’ to do when wearing makeup with glasses and, honestly, half of them contradict each other anyway.  Wear bold colours, don’t wear bold colours, wear shimmer, don’t wear shimmer, wear a powder base, don’t wear a powder base, wear bold lips, don’t wear bold lips – at the end of the day, if you like to do it or if it works for you, then do it.  Ignore the haters and the people who think they can tell you what to do with your own face!

Now, with that out of the way, on to five tips for wearing makeup with glasses!

Not exactly a makeup technique, right?  Still, I’ve found it to be very important when coming up with makeup looks that I can wear with my glasses!  Different styles of eye makeup work with different frames, and different sizes and types of frames might mean you need to use different products for your base.  The frames you choose can not only completely change the shape of your eye and face, but they can and will touch your face in different ways and with different degrees of pressure.

I find that smoky, grungier eye looks work well for my eye shape in all of my frames because they draw attention to the eye beneath the frame and with some highlight in my inner corner and my waterline, make my hooded eyes appear bigger and more noticeable.  This is a particularly flattering look with my squarer frames and with shadow dragged pretty low below my lower lashline.  I also have two different pairs of cat eye frames – one bigger and chunkier in a tortoiseshell pattern, one more narrow and black.  Given that they’re retro-styled frames, a retro winged liner look compliments them well and particularly with the black frames, a red lip looks glam as fuck.

Obviously not everyone can afford to have several different frames to swap between, but it helps to know your specific frames and how they reshape the eyes and come into contact with your face, so you can apply more/less product in places that need it and so you can use your makeup to highlight or reshape your eyes in the way that best works for you.
Glasses can be both a curse and a blessing in terms of bold, colourful makeup.  Often, I find that I’ll do a killer, vibrant or edgy makeup look that I’m really proud of, and then I’ll just put on my glasses and watch it disappear and become invisible.  I'm wearing the same eye look in all of the photos in this post, but it looks way more colourful in the photo above without the glasses!  Frustrating as this can be, at the same time, this means that you can experiment with much bolder or more colourful eye looks without worrying about it being too much of a ‘night time’ look (although frankly, glasses or no glasses, I’ll wear whatever boldness of eye makeup I want no matter what the hour of the day).

Colourful or darker, more sultry eye looks help to pull attention away from the frames and back to your eyes, but the frames work with them to create balance and make sure that it’s not ‘too much’ (as if you can have too much…).  Something that might be so bright and bold that it makes you question whether or not you should leave the house with it suddenly gets toned down but still looks jazzy and eye-catching once you put your glasses on!  You might never wear colourful eyeliner, but if you have neutral frames, putting a bit of bright, colourful liner on your lower lashline can be the difference between a normal, basic look and one that really makes your eyes pop, but without the commitment of trying it without the glasses to calm it down.

This applies to things like blush and lip colour too – you can afford to go a little nuts with the rouge or bright lips if you’re going to put some glasses on because they’ll all be competing with each other and basically cancel each other out.  I’ve had moments where I put on way more blush than I usually would and was a bit concerned I looked ridiculous, but once I whacked on my specs, you couldn’t even notice.

One of the main keys to bigger and more defined eyes are your lashes, and these can really help to bring out your eyes from behind your glasses.  I have sad short, sparse lashes that are probably my biggest disappointment in life, but hey ho, we can make it work.  One thing you do always want to remember when working with your lashes for a look for glasses is to not go overboard on the length – to create that definition, you want volume and blackness, not length, otherwise your beautiful fluttery lashes will just end up pressed against your lenses.

If you’re a fan of false lashes, that doesn’t mean you can’t wear them!  Sure, you won’t be wearing any giant butterfly lashes or anything like that, but natural looking accent lashes go a long way when wearing glasses.  I regularly use Ardell 301 Accent Lashes which don’t look like much compared to other lashes in the box, but when they’re on they look completely seamless and make your lashes just look naturally fuller in the outer corner (which will make your eye look bigger) without adding too much length.

If you’re not a falsie person, you can achieve the same effects by curling your lashes and using some careful tight-lining and some volumising mascara.  For a lot of different looks, I also often apply some brown or black eyeliner to my top lid, close to my lashline, and smudge it out a little bit which, again, creates the illusion of thicker lashes.

Glasses can not only just make your eyes stand out less, but it can create shadows on and around the eye area, so using techniques to brighten that area can help a lot in pulling a look together and putting your eyes back in the spotlight.  Try to cover your dark circles as best you can for this reason, because the frames will be casting another dark shadow over the darkness that’s already there.  Brightening concealers are also a great staple here.

I also recommend finding a great brightening eyeliner for your waterline and opting for this instead of filling in your waterline with a dark kohl to complete your eye look.  A bright colour will open the eye rather than close it, and good waterline eyeliners can also make your eye look brighter, whiter and healthier by cancelling out some of the redness around your eye.  I recently bought the Pixi Extra Eye Bright Liner, which was designed specifically for your waterline and is a pale nude white shade with lavender tones that neutralise redness – it works wonders!  Popping this in my waterline and into my inner corner instantly brightens and widens my eyes.  You can also use a light eyeshadow or highlighter to add some extra lightness to the inner third of your eye and your inner corner.  I personally like my highlight to be visible from space these days, so I usually have a hell of a lot of shimmer going on in my inner corner over my Pixi liner.

For more natural looks, using some eye contouring techniques such as focusing darker, neutral colours on the outer corner of your lid and your crease and using very light shades (matte, satin and shimmer all work) towards the inner corner also help to achieve similar effects that make your eye look bigger and bolder behind your glasses without having to use lots of grungey smudging or bright colours.

Everyone and their mum preaches good brows and how brows frame the face and even your glasses, so this shouldn’t really be news to anyone but look at the above photo!  See what a huge difference just filling in your brows can make to your face when you’re wearing glasses?  Particularly with thicker, bolder frames, adding some depth to your brows helps to create a much more balanced look, and keeping your brows groomed in general is a good idea too.

Although you might think your frames just cover up your eyebrows, they can sometimes draw attention to them so keeping them plucked and shaped is great for keeping your look polished and more effortlessly put together.  I find that keeping the top portions of your brow tidy makes the biggest difference when wearing glasses as this is the area most visible, so I always make sure I keep any strays or faint baby hairs plucked away there.  Depending on the type of frames you have, you may also want to experiment with different brow looks – you’ll find that full, bushy eyebrows might look much better with one set of glasses while more arched or thinner brows will suit another.  I keep my eyebrows pretty generic no matter what glasses I wear, but I’ve found that with all of my frames a straighter, medium thickness brow tends to be a universal, complimentary look.

Ultimately, your face is your canvas and experimentation is key!  Whatever kinds of glasses you wear and whatever styles of makeup you enjoy, play with your makeup and your frames and find what works for you, your face shape, skin type and so on.  Practice, try new things and use any less-than-ideal looks as learning experiences; makeup is supposed to be fun whether you’re a glasses-wearer or not, so don’t let your specs hold you back and make you feel like you can’t utilise makeup in the same way as everyone else!  


  1. Your brows look amazing! So well groomed and sleek. Great tips for glasses wearers too, I always hate wearing my glasses because they cover up my eye make up!

    Kayleigh x

    1. Thank you! Ain't no compliment like a brow compliment. ;)

  2. You look gorgeous with glasses and I'm obsessed with your eyebrows, they're so well groomed! I always try and wear a bit more eye make-up when I wear glasses, it makes such a difference. What lipstick are you wearing btw? It really suits you :) xx


    1. Thanks! I never really thought of my brows but apparently you guys seem to like them, so I'm feeling pretty proud now. xD

      It's Lara Croft by Give Me Glow - I'll be doing a review of this one and the two others I got in the next few weeks! They used to be on Etsy but they've closed temporarily until later this month when they're launching their own webshop. And thanks! ♥

  3. GAH YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL & YOUR MAKE UP & PHOTOS ARE INCREDIBLE. I need to pay a trip to the opticians some time soon so I have a feeling this post may unfortunately come in handy in the neat future! x

    1. BLESS YOU CHILD. ♥ Oh dear, that sucks! As much as I try and embrace my glasses now I would certainly rather not have to worry about them so fingers crossed that your eyesight's not too bad. :/

    2. So what came out of your trip to the optometrists? Do you now wear glasses or were you still able to see well enough to hold off the need for glasses a couple more years? (retired optician)

  4. Your eye makeup and glasses are so pretty! I wear glasses but I could never do anything as pretty as this! Thank you for sharing x


    1. Thanks so much, I'm glad you liked it! I'm sure you could, it just takes a bit (a lot in my case, haha) of practice! You should see some of my eye makeup from a few years ago, yeesh. :P

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  10. Wow, know your specific frames and how they reshape the eyes. This is the importance of eyeglasses frames


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