Wear Glasses? Make Your Own Makeup Rules! (Or Better Yet, Follow Mine)

I’ve read a lot of advice about tailoring makeup to glasses that just doesn't make sense to me. Here are my alternative suggestions!
Publish date:
April 19, 2013
eyeliners, lipsticks, mac, How-To, sephora, glasses

Glasses are almost universally associated with not making an effort with your appearance, still used in pop culture as shorthand for being unattractive.

We’re told “boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses.” Whatever. Most boys aren’t likely to care about your face furniture (and short hair isn’t man-repelling either, for that matter). Except in clubs. But I think The Mindy Project said it best: “Clubs make me feel judged and rejected by people I would usually judge and reject.” It’s a blessing in disguise!

Glasses get a bad rap, but they really complete some looks. Sometimes my face feels naked without my specs!

The point I’m meandering towards is that it’s important to still feel beautiful even whilst visually impaired. However, I’ve read a reasonable amount of advice about tailoring your makeup to your glasses that just does not translate well to my face, and some stuff I think’s downright wrong.

Therefore, I’m sharing with you MY rules for beautifying your glasses-wearing face.


I’m a fan of larger frames, as they generally leave your eyes clear and more visible. I’m not necessarily talking those big Wayfarer shapes everyone wore a few years ago (remember when we were the cool kids?), but I don’t like it to look like I’m apologising for wearing glasses. I’d much rather choose a pair that complement my personal style.

Rimless spectacles are a monstrosity and I won’t have them mentioned in my presence, unless you love them, in which case I wasn’t talking to you, because you totally pull them off.


Recently, I played the desert-island game with my sister; I chose liquid eyeliner, she chose foundation. Despite the fact that she’s younger than me, I think that says a lot about our relative maturity levels in relation to our makeup styles, though we would both die on this island because neither of us chose a boat.

Pay particular attention to your undereye area and the bridge of your nose. (Also, I bet all of our glasses are filthy, so do clean them or they can actually contribute to breakouts.) When I’m making an effort with my skin, I apply foundation, and top it with powder on the nose and under-eyes, as well as on any problem areas.

Bold eyebrows are also a MUST. I absolutely adore eyebrows--my entire perception of whether I’m pretty sometimes rests on creating the right face geometry (not a technical term) between my eyebrow arch and my eyeliner flick.

But even if you’re not so bothered, make sure you shape them and fill them in with a pencil. Be careful, though: I plucked above the line of my eyebrows as a child, and it’s my greatest regret.

HERE’S WHERE I GO ROGUE. The accepted wisdom seems to be to stick with minimal eye makeup, as the frames are adornment enough. I say no!

I think it is important to wear eye makeup, but it’s all in the execution. My golden rule is to only wear eye makeup that opens your eyes, which means top lid and lashes. Keep it clean and defined--no smudging.

For me, that’s a slick of liquid eyeliner starting at the midpoint of my top lid and flicking out at the corners, but feel free to adapt to your particular tastes.

I wear so much liquid eyeliner, to the extent that I staged a month-long intervention for myself because I realised my default thought when seeing my face without it was “God, I look awful,” but clearly I’ve fallen off the wagon. My favourite is from Sephora, a birthday gift from my sister as part of a troubled mission to help me transition into quality makeup.

So nothing on the bottom lash line, and absolutely no heavy or dark eyeshadow, or eyeshadow at all if I have my way.

Also, NEVER get makeup on the lenses of your glasses--it’s the other lipstick-on-teeth. I’ve heard curling your lashes can help keep them out of the way, but even though I know they’re such a basic thing, I’m scared of eyelash curlers. For me, they’re barely a step up safety-wise from people who live dangerously by separating their lashes with tweezers. That definitely isn’t true though, so go ahead.

If you want to experiment with colour, and want to make me happy by obeying my eyeshadow edict, try a stripe of coloured liner along the top lid, right by the lash line. Keep the colour of your frames in mind; I got transparent ones partly for this reason, partly because I’m afraid of colour (seriously, I only wear, like, four, and I’m including black and white in that).

I often hear recommendations for focusing on lipstick, and whilst it sometimes looks a bit busy to me with so much going on, a bright lip is always fun. My favourite at the moment is a MAC lipstick in Russian Red, a classic.

You can tone down the eye makeup, but don’t get rid of it altogether, as you want to keep your eyes defined.

So, what do you think of my rules? How do you tailor your makeup when you’ve got glasses on? I’m sure you’ll look beautiful whatever you decide! (But seriously, do what I say.)