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How to Wear Foundation With Glasses, According to a Celebrity Makeup Artist

Switching to contact lenses just to wear makeup shouldn’t be your only option.
julio 27, 2022

As much as we hate to admit it, some beauty products and processes just don’t play well with our lifestyles. For example, high ponytails don’t go with motorcycle riding (unless you have a special helmet made) and lipstick and protective face masks can be a bad combo. 

There’s one in particular that affects possibly billions of people around the world and we don’t talk about it a lot: makeup (namely foundation) and glasses. With nearly 167 million adults in the United States alone wearing prescription glasses and 223 million wearing non-prescription sunglasses — as per the Vision Council of America — this must be of concern to many. 

If you’re a glasses wearer who’s new to makeup you may have so many questions: How do I put on makeup without my glasses? How do I keep my makeup in place underneath my glasses? How do I avoid getting makeup all over my lenses? 

These are all valid questions and luckily for you, we’ve got answers. We tapped celebrity makeup artist and L’Oréal Paris expert Sir John to share his tips on how to apply and maintain foundation and other makeup when you wear glasses.

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Can You Wear Makeup With Glasses?

You can absolutely wear makeup with glasses. Since it can be difficult to apply makeup on the face without removing your glasses you’ll need to maneuver around your lenses, but that doesn’t mean you have to forgo makeup as a result. You also need to take the proper prep steps, finish your look the right way to give your makeup some staying power and secure the right products to ensure that your makeup and glasses don't slip and slide around your face all day.

How Do You Wear Foundation With Glasses?

As we mentioned above, when it comes to wearing foundation under glasses, there are several factors that you want to consider. The first step in wearing foundation with glasses is to prime the face with a mattifying primer around the sides of the nose, Sir John suggests. Once you’ve applied your foundation, top if off with powder.

We love the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Lock Makeup Primer and L’Oréal Paris Infallible Up to 24H Fresh Wear Foundation in a Powder for their matte finishes and lightweight feel. 

“And don't be afraid to tap on a little bit of extra powder,” he says. “Whether it be with a powder foundation or a loose powder, you want to create a bit more dryness in that area where the bridge of our nose resides. When you do that, you don't have to worry about so much slippage — the goal is to make sure that your skin doesn't produce so much oil on the nose and you'll be in a good place.”

These steps not only help you keep your foundation in place, but they prevent your glasses from annoyingly sliding down all day. To take it a step further, Sir John says using different foundation formulas in different areas of the face — or multimasking foundation — is important.

“So, with my clients I'll often use a mattifying foundation in the T-zone and something super glowy and dewy everywhere else,” he continues. “They can give you the same coverage. They both can offer medium- or sheer-to-buildable coverage, but I think we have different areas of concern at different hotspots.”

How Do You Keep Foundation From Rubbing Off With Glasses?

Whether you’re wearing corrective lenses or sunglasses, you may often experience two nuisances that can occur when you wear makeup and glasses: Your foundation rubs off where your glasses sit and your glasses slide down your nose all day, taking your foundation off little by little. Both are typically the result of sweating. “So the question is, how are you creating an environment that isn't so ‘rainforest,’” Sir John asks.

He explains that the key is to keep sweat and excess oil at bay as they promote a slick complexion that causes sliding and transfer. With the recent heatwave across the United States, it seems almost impossible not to walk around with a sweaty face.

“We're only going to get hotter for summer and it’s only going to be more humid, so what can we do?” he says. “Don't be afraid to carry around some blot films or papers and first blot away the oil from your foundation and then powder your face.”

His hack? Take a two-ply facial tissue or square of toilet paper and separate the layers. Then place the now one-ply tissue against your face and gently press. This should help you to remove oil from your complexion without lifting the color pigments of your foundation — so you’re left with a matte complexion without rubbing off your coverage. Then you can apply powder to prevent further sweat and oil from creeping up.

How Do You Keep Makeup Off Your Lenses?

We know how irritating it can be to apply makeup only to find a good amount of it smeared on your specs. Sir John says that there’s a simple explanation about why this happens, and an even simpler fix for it.

“Whenever I see people who have foundation or concealer on their glasses, or even if they have mascara that touches the cheekbone, it [typically] means that their eye cream may be too emollient,” he explains. “So maybe either dial it back or find a water-based solution that's not as heavy. And if you do love that eye cream, make sure that you use it in the PM instead of the AM.”

The key is really to keep things dry before you put your makeup and glasses on so that you avoid the next layer of product (in this case foundation) from slipping onto your lenses. We like to combine the steps, using the L’Oréal Paris True Match Eye Cream in a Concealer, which is formulated with hyaluronic acid for under-eye hydration and offers serious dark circle coverage.

“There’s just too much humidity happening there, so dry it down, but don’t dry it out,” explains Sir John. “So basically, just go sheer with your application, if possible. And then do a layer of setting or loose powder and you should be in a good place.”

He does say, however, to avoid going too matte under your eyes because it may not have the effect you’re hoping for, adding, “I don't recommend, however, using a matte primer around the eyes because even though it's really great for other areas of the face, it may show up fine lines or wrinkles that you don't even have yet.”

How Do You Apply Makeup Without Your Glasses?

Putting on makeup and not being able to see what you’re doing is an absolute no-no in Sir John’s book. You never want to apply your makeup without looking at what you’re doing — guessing whether or not you’re landing on the right amount of coverage. In this case, he does say that you may need to lean on contact lenses to apply makeup if you absolutely have to take off your glasses. Otherwise, you may need to keep removing and replacing your glasses. Either way, he recommends that you invest in good lighting.

“Some of the sexiest places have the worst lighting and we want that mood in our homes as well. But that's at the sacrifice of the great light [we need for makeup application],” he says. “So in your bathroom, try to create some serious light. I’d rather you overexpose yourself to light. For example, I have a massive LED panel. [You want to] see how you’re dialing it up or dialing it down.”

And while you’re following all of these tips, do yourself a favor and be prepared to correct coverage while you’re on the go by keeping a makeup blender, like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Blend Artist Foundation Blender, handy at all times.

“A makeup blender is going to be your best friend. It's like a magic eraser,” Sir John concludes. “In a pinch it'll lift the oil off of your foundation before you powder and it'll blend out any VCL – visible contour lines.”

Next: 6 Powder Foundation Hacks to Try This Summer

Written and photographed by: Shalwah Evans

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