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10 Makeup Tips for Eyeglass Wearers

Simple ways to make the most of fabulous frames

spinner image Famosas usando lentes
Marilyn Monroe (center) wore geek-chic glamour glasses back in 1953 — and she, like other celebrities, never skipped the eyeliner or mascara.
Clockwise from center: Bettmann, Andrew Chin, Paul Morigi/WireImage, VMAL/Star Max/GC Images, Gary Gershoff/WireImage, Getty Images (5)

| Our favorite fast beauty fix for women age 50-plus? Just add fabulous eyeglasses. Whether prescription or off-the-rack readers, these little powerhouses of style make us feel cool, fashionable and downright glam. Have all the frame fun you want, but here's one major oversight we neglect: how lenses distort or exaggerate mature eyes and our eye makeup goofs and gaffes. Here are 10 tips to keep your look specs-tacular.

1. Frame color has a cosmetic effect

Whether your frame is classic or trendy, choose a color that looks good but works hard. Black, tortoiseshell, dark navy, burgundy or charcoal define and strengthen aging eyes like instant eyeliner. Soft taupe, gray and tan have a gentle sculpting effect and can chisel cheekbones or slim faces, kind of like contour makeup. Sheer or opaque frames in pink, rose, honey or amber brighten dull, ashy, fatigued or pasty complexions like instant blush. But while attention-getting frames in bright red, turquoise or multicolor combos are memorable, they can be overpowering. Save them for occasional readers and keep the focus on you.

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spinner image Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep in angular taupe butterfly-shaped frames that chisel cheekbones and lift and open eyes.

2. Farsighted?

You see distances well but need help with close-ups, like when reading your Kindle, checking your phone and shopping online. Your glasses magnify so that eyes look bigger (a bonus for small eyes!), but they also magnify crepey lids, circles, puffiness, and sloppy or overdone makeup. Get a dual-side 10-times amplification mirror that swivels from supersized to normal. It will improve your makeup skills, and keep application precise and blending airbrush perfect. No more smears, smudges, messy liner and gloppy lashes. Lucky you: You really can go all out, and do the smokiest eyes or line your lower lash line's inner and outer rim for emphasis.

spinner image Rita Moreno in large classic tortoiseshell frames.
Rita Moreno in large classic tortoiseshell frames, with precision liner above and below the eyes for extra definition and shape.

3. Nearsighted? 

You see swell up close, but distances are trouble. No matter how luminous and large your real-life eyes are, behind the lenses they look smaller. If your eyes are deep set or hooded, that's double trouble. They can appear sunken, almost invisible. Black eyeliner saves the day, but be sure to match liner thickness to frame thickness. Do a thinner tight line with skinny frames (concentrating liner as close as possible to lash roots), and do a thicker liner with more substantial frames. Learn to line the under rim of upper lashes to fill the gap and power up eye shape. Keep lid shadow in a soft, shimmery sand or peach shade rather than a dark or matte one that closes up the eyes. Try lining the lower waterline with nude or ivory to open up your eyes even more.

spinner image Patricia Arquette has a shapely twinkle going in large extended temple tortoise glasses with sparkle sidebars and eye-opening makeup.
Patricia Arquette has a shapely twinkle going in large, extended-temple tortoise glasses with sparkle sidebars and eye-opening makeup.

4. Wear progressive or multifocal lenses?

Your glasses combine two or three different prescriptions in a single lens. They are convenient, but this means your eye makeup has to be multitalented, too. Skip the very dark smoky look and go for a light and neutral contoured eye. With a light touch, blend a shimmery light shadow across lids, a medium brown or taupe (depending on your skin tone) in the crease and just above the socket, with gel liner pencil in black, charcoal or dark brown worked into the upper lash line for shape.

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spinner image Christine Baranski wearing black rim glasses.
Christine Baranski in large thin angular black frames and subtle, contoured eye makeup.

5. The bigger the frame, the more eye makeup ... or not

Love to play with eye-makeup looks and palettes? The extra window space is your gallery. Are you a makeup minimalist who wears concealer, liner and mascara? Go big! But be sure you have enough face to balance the large-frame proportions, and keep the frame thin.

spinner image Oprah Winfrey wearing black frame glasses.
Oprah Winfrey in large, curvy black cat-eye frames, smoky and defined eyes, and bright-pink lips for an all-around statement look.

6. The smaller and more delicate the frame, the lighter your eye makeup

Try tinted lenses in very pale 10-percent blue, rose, mauve or lavender lenses in order to disguise under-eye puffiness or circles. Pastel gradient lenses give eyes makeup-like emphasis on top. It's an indoor trend more women are loving now — and the super-light tint doesn't look sunglass-like inappropriate in a work or home setting.

spinner image Barbra Streisand wearing dark glasses.
Barbra Streisand in thin black oval glasses with gradient rosy-gray lenses, which creates a smoky eye with very little makeup effort.

7.  Prep your face for all-day wear

All frames, but especially large or heavy ones, can leave red marks or indentations on your nose and cheeks. Apply primer precisely where glasses rest. If your skin is oily or hot-flash sweaty, try an oil-absorbing foundation in spots, and powder the bridge of your nose to keep glasses from slipping down.

spinner image Courteney Cox wearing black frame glasses.
Courteney Cox, in supersize statement black glasses, gets it right.

8. Use eye cream and concealer

Skin around the eyes changes with age and becomes thinner and drier. To add to that, all eyeglass frames cast shadows under the eyes, and lenses can exaggerate lined skin texture and discolorations. The solution? Mix a warm yellow-based concealer with a dab of super-emollient eye cream, and starting right under the eyes at the lash line, blend in a half-circle. Be sure to get the tiny-divot tear trough and inner-eye corner along your nose. Check your magnifying mirror and keep dabbing until all edges are feathered into skin.

spinner image Actress Annette Bening wearing glasses with a light, clear frame
Annette Bening, in warm "nude"/clear angular frames accented by vibrant-red lips, keeps eye makeup minimal and the under-eye fresh.

9. Use a volumizing, thickening mascara in black

Glasses require curling your lashes and choosing a thickening or volumizing formula, not a lengthening one. You don't want lashes swatting your lenses! Use the opposite hand to lift the lid by placing one fingertip on the brow bone. This enables you to get as close as possible to the roots of your upper lashes. Wiggle the wand back and forth in place for the thickest deposit of mascara (black for the most eye power), right at the base of the lashes, before rolling out the wand — still wiggling in a zigzag motion — to the tips where you want the least mascara. It makes all the difference.

spinner image Gayle King in large thin burgundy frame glasses.
Gayle King in burgundy-colored large thin frames and impeccable brow makeup.

10. Emphasize brows to frame your frames

Glasses frame your eyes, but your brows frame your glasses. Most frames "seat" brows just above them. Brush brows up and trim extra length, then tweeze away tail hairs that curve downward (dragging the eyes down) as well as stubble or random hairs now visible in lenses. Then use a combo of pencil and brow powder to fill spaces, add missing tails and extend brows out. If your brows are in good shape, just brush through with a brow gel wand to control and set wiry hairs.

spinner image Demi Moore with black frame glasses.
Demi Moore in black, shiny, classic, rounded, extended-temple geek glasses.

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