If you’re like many women, you love makeup. You love the way eye shadow makes your eyes pop, and you love the bold definition eyeliner and mascara lend to your eyes. But if you’re like millions of contact-wearing women, you might wonder if makeup has any effect on your contact lenses.
The truth is, makeup is one of the most common sources of problems for contact lens wearers. Makeup can get stuck underneath your contacts, causing eye irritation and itchiness. Makeup can also stain your contact lenses, forcing you to throw them out prematurely.
Fortunately, you don’t have to go au naturel just because you wear contact lenses. Stick with the following eight tips to keep eyes looking and feeling great.
1. Always wash your hands.
Start your day off right by washing your hands before touching your eyes. Don’t use any kind of lotion, cream, oil, or makeup product before you put your contact lenses in.
2. Always apply makeup after you put your contacts in.
Some people put their makeup on before they put their contacts in to avoid scratching their lenses. However, doing so could lead to eye discomfort and irritation. You don’t want foundation or eyeliner getting stuck between your eye and contact all day, so be sure to apply makeup after you’ve put your contacts in.
Conversely, you should always remove your contacts before you remove your makeup at the end of the day. As you wipe makeup from your eyes, particles can stick to your lenses.
3. Use eye-friendly makeup products.
Look for non-allergenic (or hypoallergenic) makeup products. You should also stick with oil-free products. Hypoallergenic products are milder on the eyes and won’t cause irritation, even if some does get in your eyes.
Oil-free products will also save your eyes from irritation and your contacts from becoming cloudy. Keep in mind that oil and water don’t mix-if oil gets into your eye, it’ll sit on top of your contact lens, making it hard to see.
4. Don’t apply makeup to the inside of your eyes.
This may sound like common sense, but countless women apply eyeliner within their lash lines, which is dangerously close to the eyes. Avoid applying makeup to the edge of your eyelid that touches your eye.
Makeup here can get into your eye and underneath your contacts, causing irritation and even infection. Furthermore, it can also clog your tear glands, which are your first line of defense against eye infections and diseases.
5. Invest in high-quality mascara.
No one likes clumpy mascara, but contact wearers should like it even less. If you notice your mascara is clumping, throw it away. Mascara that clumps on your lashes might fall into your eyes and stick to your contact lenses. Not only is this uncomfortable, but it’s a sure-fire way to ruin your lenses. Even though non-clumping mascaras cost a little more, your eyes are worth the investment.
6. Opt for cream eye shadow instead of powder.
Although both cream and powder eye shadow will irritate your eyes, cream shadow is less likely to flake and get in your eyes in the first place. When you select a cream shadow, remember to avoid oil-based products.
If you do decide to use powder eye shadow, be sure to apply a primer before applying the shadow. Primer will help keep the eye shadow in place and out of your eyes. Furthermore, you should completely avoid shimmer or glitter products. Shimmery and glittery eye shadows and eyeliners contain small particles that can lodge themselves in your eye’s crevices, causing severe discomfort. The sharp edges of glitter particles can also scratch your cornea.
7. Wash your makeup brushes on a regular basis.
You wouldn’t use a dirty rag to wipe your face after you wash it, so why use dirty makeup brushes? Makeup brushes are full of old makeup, dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria that can all harm your eyes.
Clean your brushes-especially those you use near your eyes-at least once a week. Use a mild cleaning agent, such as baby shampoo or soap, to scrub your brushes. When you’re done, let them air dry completely before using them again.
8. Pay attention to expiration dates.
Just like food and other household products you use on a daily basis, makeup expires. Keep track of your products’ expiration dates, and throw them away as soon as they expire. You wouldn’t eat spoiled milk or cheese after its expiration date, so why use makeup after its expiration date?
If you can’t find an expiration date on your product, keep the following in mind.
- Mascara and eyeliner tends to only last about three months. If you haven’t finished a tube of mascara by the end of three months, throw it out.
- Eye shadow can last up to a year, but you shouldn’t keep it any longer than that.
Makeup doesn’t have to pose a threat to your contacts and overall eye health. Put these tips to use to avoid eye irritation and contact damage. Then, talk to your optometrist about additional steps you can take to keep your eyes as attractive and healthy as possible.