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Makeup Tips for Contact Lens Wearers

Wearing makeup requires a little more caution for contact lens wearers. Getting makeup in your eye can be frustrating and even painful, but it’s worse when contacts are involved. To comfortably wear contacts and makeup, follow these helpful tips that will have you seeing and looking your best.

woman putting on mascara in mirror

Choosing the Right Makeup

Oil-free Products
Makeup with oil can spread and accidentally slip into the eyes. Look for oil-free products that won’t budge.
Avoid fiber mascara or mascara that is for “lengthening” lashes. These are prone to clumping or flaking which can fall into the eye and get stuck under a contact. Using waterproof mascara is also a bad idea since it is not easily removable and can stain soft contact lenses.
Eyeshadow & Concealer
Avoid loose powder eyeshadows or concealers as these can easily get into the eyes. Opt for cream or pressed powder products for the face, especially near the eyes. These will stay put longer and be less likely to fall into the eyes and onto contact lenses.
Use liquid eyeliners instead of pencils since these are less harsh on eyes.

Applying & Removing Makeup Near the Eyes


  • Wash Hands: Always wash hands before putting in contact lenses or applying makeup.
  • Insert Contacts: Put contacts in before applying any makeup or moisturizers. Makeup is more likely to get on your contacts if you insert them after applying makeup.
  • Apply Primer: Primer helps keep makeup in place.
  • Use Soft Products: Use soft brushes to apply makeup and avoid using eyeliner pencils on or around the eyes.
  • Avoid Waterline: Don’t put eyeliner on the waterline, only put it above your lashes.


  • Wash Hands: Always wash hands before taking out contact lenses or removing makeup.
  • Take Out Contacts: Remove contacts before taking off makeup.
  • Use Makeup Remover: Use eye-specific makeup remover to take off makeup without the need to scrub.
  • Be Gentle: Don’t vigorously rub the eyes. Close your eyes and use light sweeps across the eyelids until all makeup is removed.
woman spraying her face with closed eyes

More Beauty Tips

  • Close eyes while using any spray products such as hairspray, face primer, setting spray, or perfume. Keep them closed for a few seconds after to allow the particles to settle.
  • Replace eye makeup at least once every three months. Old makeup collects bacteria over time which can transfer to your eyes and contact lenses.
  • Don’t handle contacts with any lotion or creams on your hands. These will create a film on the contacts.
  • If you are a regular makeup wearer, consider switching to daily disposable lenses. Bacteria and makeup residue won’t build up on the lenses because they’re replaced daily.
  • If you get an eye infection, throw away all your eye makeup and don’t wear any eye makeup until the infection is resolved.

Immediately remove makeup that irritates your eyes and contact your eye doctor with any questions or concerns.

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