Makeup tips + hacks for eyeglass wearers

When I was as young as 8 years old, I would purposely dim the lights while I would read or do my homework so that I could be able to wear glasses. I wanted to appear smart. That carried on in 8th grade when I bought fake glasses from Claire's and took an awful school photo with them, with pigtails! I was in such an awkward phase. Then, when freshman year of high school rolled around, I had a poser-punk phase where I wore black, fishnets, heavy black eyeliner, safety pins, and thick black-rimmed fake glasses from Hot Topic (a rocker's dream store). This was while I was (still am) living in suburbia/uber-family-oriented land aka Elk Grove (10 minutes from Sacramento). Yeah. I was hardcore. SMH.

I started noticing that my eyesight DID actually start to get worse, and junior year, my dad took me to the optometrist and I was prescribed with my first pair. I would sometimes wear them, but my eyesight wasn't that bad to where I always needed them (except when I was learning how to drive).

I started wearing them everyday a little bit after I started college, because I felt like I needed to see really important information in front me. I started getting a little bit self-conscious about it afterwards, especially when my optometrist refused to give me contacts (because my eyes were too dry from taking plaquenil and because I didn't like getting poked in the eye). As a result, my eye makeup looks were just some black eyeliner on the under eyes, eyeshadow on the lid only, and mascara. Forget doing my eyebrows, sometimes I would let them get bushy out of sheer in this photo in 2010:

But we were so happy because we saw Anberlin in concert, one of my favorite bands. And their song, "Inevitable", will be our first dance for the wedding.

Finally in 2012, my mom encouraged me to try to get contacts again since I was going to be a bridesmaid for my cousin's wedding. My optometrist finally complied, and I fell in love. I felt so free! It was only a few months later that I started falling in love with makeup again, and bought my first foundation (MAC Face & Body).

It turns out that not only does my plaquenil affect my vision and dry eyes, but bad eyesight runs in our family. My maternal grandpa always wore glasses. So did my parents, but they were farsighted and only wore them as needed, whereas the nearsighted me always needs them or contacts at all times. My older sister and nephew has them too. 

Usually when I wear glasses, I'm pretty bare-faced or just slap on some BB cream. I don't go full on glam with my eyeshadow or wear foundation. But lately, I've been wanting to look just as glamorous with 4 eyes instead of 2. For years, wearing glasses have held me back from playing with makeup and feeling pretty. You can be sexy, edgy, or however you want to look even with your frames! As hard as it is, don't let society say otherwise.

After much research and a bit of practice, here are some tips that work for me:

  • If you don't have a long-wear foundation at least use a primer and setting spray or setting powder (or both for extra protection). I don't like long-wear foundations because they look dry and cakey on me, so I used my beloved Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk. I prepped it with NYC Smooth Skin Perfecting Primer and set it (after I did ALL of my makeup) with Urban Decay All-Nighter Setting Spray.

  • Wear a peach-based concealer under your eyes since the frame will cast a shadow, and no matter what time of glasses you wear, it's always going to make your eyes appear smaller because your eyes are contained in a frame. A peach-toned concealer will diminish the appearance of the shadow and make your eyes appear bigger and more awake. I personally loved the NYX Dark Circle Concealer Corrector, and it blended with my skintone seamlessly.

  • Good brows are your best friend. Shape them, and clean them up so that it frames your face and eyes better. Don't look like the 2009–2011 me. Brows make or break your look, and you don't have to have Instagram brows either (you know what I mean...super sharp and dark). I used Benefit Precisely, My Brow to outline the natural shape of my brows and fill them in, and then set it with Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel.

  • If you have black frames, consider a different colored eyeliner for the lower lash to make your eyes pop out rather than blend in. I lined my lower lashline with Sephora Contour Eye Pencil 12 HR Waterproof in the shade Flirting Game, a shimmer medium brown.

  • Unless you have a super-steady hand to be able to use liquid liner for the upper lashline, I recommend gel liner for more control and less mess. If you can find a very small liner brush, that's even better because when you're as blind as a bat like I am, you need to go really close to the mirror without your brushes hitting them. I didn't do a winged eyeliner (which actually looks sexy with glasses!), but I lined my upper lash with NYX Gel Liner in Brown.

  • Black eyeshadow will make your eyes appear smaller and blend in with the frame, so it's better to stick with neutral colors, or fun, rainbow-bright ones to make your eyes pop. I mixed the shades Caramel and Bon Bon from the Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar Palette on my lid, and used the shade Frosting for the crease.

  • Mascara completes your look, especially if it's a curling and voluminizing one. Which is why I love the Rimmel Scandaleyes Retroglam Mascara. It is a dupe of one of my other favorites, Too Faced Better Than Sex. These mascaras give your eyes and lashes extra dimension.
  • You can go either way with a bold or neutral lip while wearing glasses, but something bold makes your makeup look more fun and edgy rather than stale. I am wearing the ColourPop Ultra Matte liquid lipstick in "More Better" (beautiful shade, but I remember why I don't like these, as much as I do: they crumble and flake my lips real bad!)

  • Keep the blush simple, especially when there's more emphasis on your eyes and lips. It's all about balance. There's no highlight or contour here, I just swiped on MAC Ambering Rose. If you simply must contour, just do it lighter and not Kim-style.

Honestly, this is a guideline for those who are shy in experimenting with makeup while sporting your frames. I was the same way too. It takes practice and patience, and getting to understand your eye shape and frame shape+size.

Do you wear glasses? How do you wear makeup with them? What advice would you give someone who wants to learn to wear makeup but is intimidate with glasses getting in the way?


  1. Brows are the hardest thing for me to do. I simply can't, I need practise but I wish I had more time to dedicate and learn how to make them right. I watched plenty of youtube videos but still, I need to practise!


  2. Great tips!

  3. uhm, okay-- supermodel! Seriously though. This couldn't have come at a better time... My first pair comes in this thursday.. :'( bookmarking this page! xX