How to Wear Glasses to Look Sexy: Because They Already Know You’re Smart!

Published in: Beauty Tips, Makeup Tips/How To

Today Aisha gives us a few tips on how to wear eye makeup with glasses.

How to wear makeup with glasses


Okay ladies, let’s start this post with a short quiz for those of you who wear glasses:

QUIZ: If you wear glasses…

  1. Would ripping a contact lens before something like your best friend’s wedding trigger a minor panic attack due to the thought that you might have to wear your glasses to the wedding instead?
  2. Do you secretly wish you could look as cool (and therefore be as cool) as Tina Fey in glasses?
  3. Does your collection of eyeshadows look more colorful than a bag of Skittles?

If you answered yes to … well, ANY of the above questions, you’ve come to the right place. With some creativity, your awesome eyeshadow collection and a few rules of thumb, you, too, can look as spectacularly sexy in spectacles as Jennifer Garner did in Alias.

Before I show you some evening looks, here are 10 basic tips for wearing glasses with makeup.

10 beauty tips for girls who wear glasses

  1. Your eyebrows frame your eyes when you wear glasses, so keep them well groomed.
  2. Under-eye circles are more noticeable beneath glasses, so good concealer is a must.
  3. Cream and waterproof eyeshadows are less likely to flake onto your glasses than loose powders or pressed eyeshadows. If one type creases, try another. The likelihood of creasing often varies from one person to another.
  4. Shimmer CAN be worn under glasses.
  5. Keep trying on your glasses during makeup application to see if the look needs adjusting.
  6. Curling your eyelashes may prevent them from touching the inside of your lenses.
  7. If you’re blind without your glasses, a pair of these Magnifier Specs may help with application.
  8. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes and to reduce squinting, which can cause fine lines to appear around the outer eye area.
  9. When choosing a frame, spend the extra money for a quality anti-reflective coating and high index polycarbonate lenses.
  10. Keep your lenses clean and fog-free with lens cleaner and a soft cloth.

Look One: Dramatic false lashes

Now that you have some basic guidelines, here are a few dramatic evening looks to spark your creativity!


My first model, Q, has a simple dark frame — nothing too overpowering. She’s wearing a light but vivid pearly color, strong black eyeliner and mascara, dark brows, and a dark, shimmery, glossy lip color. She also has dramatic false eyelashes on her lower eye line.


First, I applied Hourglass Oxygen Foundation Powder No. 3 and then used Shu Uemura Cover Crayon as concealer and eyeshadow base.

Next, I applied MAC Naked Lunch (a pearly light peach) all over the lid before applying Shu Uemura Cream Eye Shadow in P Light Green (a pearly lime green) to the lower part of the lid and inner corner of her eye.

I think a synthetic brush works best for blending this cream shadow.

The top semi-hardened layer of the eyeshadow in the pot should be wiped off prior to each use. Here, I used MAC Cloudbound (pearly ivory) to highlight.

Finally, I blended the upper area and curled the upper eyelashes, applying Fresh Supernova Mascara to the ones on top.


I used a nail clipper to trim the four end sections of a set of Darkness false eyelashes in style X-up6 in Black. Darkness can be found in some beauty supply stores and is available online, but the styles vary among sellers. Other inexpensive false eyelash brands will work just as well; that’s what experimentation is for. 🙂

Since I used an eyelash intended for an upper lid, I removed the sticky residue from the band with makeup remover.

Then, I applied eyelash glue and affixed the lash to the bottom lash line.

Here, the model kept her eye slightly open while the glue set, and I adjusted the angle of the eyelashes to match on both sides, concealing the eyelash band with Shu Uemura Liquid Eyeliner in Black.

The eyebrows are lined with a black water-resistant crayon eye pencil (MAC Powerpoint Eye Pencil Engraved) for definition, and I shaped the eyebrows with a clean disposable mascara brush.

I applied Shu Uemura Glow On Blush in M 33e (a matte, light baby pink) to the apples of the cheeks and then applied a tiny bit of Shu Uemura Glow On Blush M 23 (a bright, matte candy pink) in the centers of each apple.

Shu Uemura Glow On Blush P silver 91 (a pearl white) was then blended just above and below the apples of each cheek.


Our model did her lips herself — first, by lining the edges of her lips with Shiseido lip liner 15 Soft Sepia, and the corners of her lips with Shiseido lip liner 11 Chestnut Brown.

She applied color #5 of the Sonia Kashuk Shimmering Sorbets lip gloss palette, followed by a shimmery cream/pink lip gloss placed in the center of her bottom lip.

This look really accentuates her lovely eyes. 🙂

The color, while vivid and attention getting, is still light and balanced by the dark eyeliner and neutral lip color, and the simple hairstyle doesn’t distract from her eyes.

At the end of the makeup session, Q’s boyfriend came over. I asked her later if he liked it. Unfortunately, she said he doesn’t notice things like that, but hey, there’s nothing wrong with looking fabulous even if you’re the only one who notices. 🙂

Look Two: Smokey eyes for a night on the town


My next model, J, is a full-time mother and has very little time to apply makeup, much less go out, having two young children in her care.

Her glasses are a brushed purple metal that slightly obstruct her eyes.

I tried a dramatic smokey eye with a shimmery slate grey and muted pearly purple — for special occasions. She’s also wearing a subtle half eyelash on her upper lid.

First, I used Shu Uemura Cover Crayon as an eyeshadow base and concealer.

Then, I applied MAC Violet Trance (a matte blue-purple) to her lid and MAC Up at Dawn (a lilac purple) above the Violet Trance. I created more dimension by applying MAC Pandemonium (a shimmery grey) to the outer corners of her lids.

Next, I used MAC Cloudbound (a shimmery ivory) to highlight and then blended, following it up with Shu Uemura M 800 (a matte ivory) to the ball of the eye (lid) and blended just slightly.

TIP: That’s MAC Carbon eyeshadow used as an eyeliner on her waterlines.

I curled the upper eyelashes then applied Maybelline Great Lash mascara in Blackest Black. The false eyelashes, Darkness style K.ma4 in Black, are similar to Shu Uemura Luxe eyelashes but designed as half eyelashes.

I affixed them to her eye with Shu Uemura eyelash glue and concealed the eyelash strip with Shu Uemura Liquid Eyeliner in Black.


For her eyebrows, I lined them softly with Shu Uemura seal brown eyebrow pencil 02, and shaped.

On the apples of her cheeks, I applied and blended Shu Uemura Glow On Blush M 33e (a matte light baby pink) and M 23 (a matte bright candy pink).

And that’s Shu Uemura Gloss Unlimited BR 755N (a copper brown with slight shimmer) on the lips.

J’s husband was around during the shoot and gave it his seal of approval! 🙂

Look Three: Neutrals


The last look I tried was on “A,” a bubbly jewelry designer who sported her layered necklace designs in the shoot. Her glasses were a simply shaped plastic brown.

I applied Urban Decay Eye shadow Primer Potion Sin (a slight tan with shimmer) as an eyeshadow base, followed by Shu Uemura in a dark red brown with slight shimmer to her eyelid.

Next, I applied Shu Uemura P 150 (a shimmery purplish pink) just above the brown and a Shu Uemura creamy shimmery beige under the eyebrow, but a bit lower than where I would usually apply a highlighter.

The three colors blended together well, but to create more dimension on her relatively flat eyelid, I applied Shu Uemura M 800 (a matte ivory) to the ball of her eye and Shu Uemura p100 (a pearly pink) to the center of the ball of her eye, blending slightly.

Our model applied Lancôme Artliner liquid eyeliner in Noir on her upper lid and L’Oreal Double Extend Blackest Black mascara on her top lashes.

She used an amazing eyelash curler called the Seki Edge Total Control Eyelash Curler to curl her lashes. It’s designed to allow you to get right to the edge of the eyelid.

As I watched her curl her lashes, I noticed she didn’t have to “walk” the eyelash curler down the lashes. It didn’t create the “bend” that often occurs when walking the eyelash curler down each lash. Needless to say, I went right home and Googled the Seki to order one for myself.


To line her brows, we used the Shu Uemura seal brown eyebrow pencil 02, and then shaped them with a clean disposable mascara brush.

I used Shu Uemura Glow On Blush P Brown (a shimmery peachy brown) on the apples of her cheeks and Shu Uemura Glow On Blush in P Gold 93 D (a shimmery golden pearl) on her cheekbones, blending both of the blushes a bit.

We decided to go with a glossy, dark lip color, starting with Shiseido 11 Chestnut Brown lip liner all over her lips and Shu Uemura Gloss Unlimited BR 755N (a brown copper with slight shimmer) over the liner.

Doesn’t the look complement A’s grey shirt, gold chains and the blue and yellow stones in her necklaces?

She’s an occasional makeup artist, and I was glad to hear that she liked te look. 🙂

A few final thoughts

As you can see from these examples, there are more ways to use eyeshadow and makeup while wearing glasses than one would think.

The steps are the same, but you may have to apply more or less color depending on how each of these looks works with your glasses the same way you figure out what looks good on you without glasses — you experiment! 🙂


I had a lot of fun trying these looks. They gave me some great ideas. While you’re experimenting, don’t forget to keep trying on your glasses.

I really hope this post inspires some of you contact lens wearers to embrace your glasses! Indulge yourself, and invest the time and money it takes to find a good pair of comfortable glasses, ones that flatter the shape of your face and skin coloring.

Many vision insurance policies cover a new pair of frames each year, but why not treat yourself to two? — one for daytime and one for evening! Even if you don’t have vision problems, try accessorizing your look with a pair of frames even without a prescription, just for fun!

Working with makeup and glasses can open up a whole new way to see yourself and create looks that don’t give you flashbacks to being called “four eyes” in elementary school. Plus, they really do make you look smarter. 😉

This post was written by Aisha, who lives in Los Angeles and hopes to embark on her second career as a makeup artist when she turns 65. In the meantime, she practices makeup looks on her friends. Check out more of her makeup and beauty reviews on the fabulous new nail craze, Minx nails, and keep an eye out for her upcoming reviews on Hakuhodo brushes and, too!


Like this post? Tell your friends!

So far, 35 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Kim says:

    I love it. I have these thick, black, rectangular frames and while they frame my face great.. my eyes get lost in them because it makes my eyes smaller! My vision is so bad that it makes my eyes look teensy. Eep.

    I try new things when I’m going to wear my glasses, but I definitely have to put my makeup on while wearing contacts, then switch back into glasses.

  2. Vonvon says:

    Thanks Karen for bringing this post to us and thanks Aisha for all the great tips.

    I’ve problem wearing contact lenses, my eyes tend to become dry and blood-shot red after a while, hence I’m sticking to my glasses almost all the time!

    Can’t wait to try out some of the looks. 🙂

    Vonvon´s last blog post..EOTD: Clinique Makeup Bag Confessions

  3. Vonvon says:

    I forgot….a little tip from me.

    Without my glasses, I’m half-blind. So I have to go super near to the mirror to put on my eye makeup. And having short-handled brushes helps because if you have the normal long-handled ones, the handle tends to get in the way and keeps on ‘scratching’ and knocking on the mirror.

    I realized this when I was using my newly-bought Stila brushes at their recent sales, most of which were long-handled except for one. Just get normal-sized brushes but with short handles. Makes storing easier too!

    Vonvon´s last blog post..EOTD: Clinique Makeup Bag Confessions

  4. Shayla says:

    Great idea! I wear glasses and while I think I’ve figured out the whole “makeup with glasses” thing, it’s always great to see what someone else comes up with!

    Thanks 🙂

    Shayla´s last blog post..Matte-ish Purples

  5. Miss QQ says:

    Hi Karen. I wear glasses all the time. Mine is frameless so anything goes but my dark undereye circles are very problematic, argh! Your models look gorgeous!

  6. Gracie says:

    Very cool! I’m blind without my glasses, and I’ve worn them my whole life until about a year ago. I finally got contacts, dailies I think they’re called, or something like that. They feel great, but I can’t go swimming with them on…and I have to take them out after about 15 hours. Can’t sleep with them either 🙁 Oh well I still love em :). So anyways I think this was a great post, with great tips. I wish I had known this when I had to wear glasses!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Gracie,

      I’m blind without mine, too. Who knows, maybe you’ll feel like busting out your old frames someday… these tips will home in handy then!

  7. chicknamedvick says:

    Thank you so much for this! I wear glasses and while I have a ton of makeup I feel like most of the time my looks are way too overpowering once I put on my glasses. Though I do plan on investing in a pair of contact lenses it is nice to know that I can wear great makeup to add some spice to my nerdy look.

  8. Shontay says:

    This is an awesome post. I wear glasses because I can’t see from a distant. I have ultra cool, unique prada frames with transition lens, so they become sorta like shades outdoors. I wear shimmery shadow anyway when people said it’s a no no. I have under eye bags, but I feel my glasses conceal it and that’s a big reason why I won’t ditch my glasses (the other being that I refuse to stick anything in my eye). THis post gives me mucho ideas. Gracias.

  9. Meream says:

    Great tips! I wear glasses and I always find ways to “sex” my look up. 😀

    Meream´s last blog post..Top 10 Hollywood Men …

    • Karen says:

      Hi Meream,

      Glasses are totally hot! 🙂 What do yours look like? I have several pairs, but my favorites are these black metal cat eye frames.

  10. Rachel says:

    eff yea 🙂 I love wearing my glasses and bein’ sexay!

  11. Rachel says:

    Wow! I luv those brushed metal purple glasses

  12. Christina says:

    I’ve worn glasses all my life, and always felt like people were looking at my frames instead of my eyes. Figuring out eye makeup for the bespectacled is HUGE!

    Thank you so much for this post. Inspired to experiment, even with some of the things I know work for me. 🙂

    Christina´s last blog post..Tyson’s Tot On Life Support

  13. Sunshower says:

    wow! these tips are SO great! everyone always forgets people who wear glasses =)

  14. Christina says:

    Hey, Karen,

    I used to wear thin oval frames, but decided to embrace my inner nerd when I started grad school with chunky rectangular Versaces (similar to this: That’s when the Tina Fey comparisons began. 😉

    Glad the stigma is finally gone!

    I think I remember you posting a picture with glasses, Karen, but what other types of frames do you wear?

    Christina´s last blog post..Demi: Not Just Like Us

    • Karen says:

      Hi Christina,

      Those frames are AWESOME! I am looking for a new pair and that may just be it. 🙂

      I have a couple of pairs of glasses, all of varying degrees of nerdiness. I have two cats eyes — one purple with jewels and one black pair. I am currently rocking some brown frames that make me look relatively not insane. It’s a big change, ha ha ha!

      What are you studying in school?

  15. Aisha says:

    hi, it’s me, Aisha, long-time lurker here. Thanks for reading the post!

    Kim: you’re lucky because with strong frames, you get to offset them by wearing bright and fun lipcolors! Try something bright and sparkly or perhaps a nice true red!

    Vonvon: Have you considered dailies? Someone (actually at the Shu Uemura makeup counter of all places :P) suggested them to me and I like them a lot. If you don’t wear contacts every day they are safer and can be more economical than monthlies.

    MissQQ: I have dark undereye circles too but every concealer I’ve tried turns grey on me by midday. I’m going to see if this cle de peau (?) concealer works on me that I tried in the store the other day. I hope it doesn’t turn my skin ashy 🙁

    Gracie: I used to swim with my contacts all the time 😛 But I was always paranoid they’d fall out. If you ever go back to contacts, try Night and Day monthlies–they are approved for 24 hour use including sleeping!

    chicknamedvick: that’s a perfect reason to treat yourself to one (or two) new frames so that you can play around with balancing different colors and looks! I have a dark black plastic pair from L.A. Eyeworks and a frameless pair from Silhouette. Very different glasses so sometimes there are too many options!

    Shontay: hm, now I’m thinking I should get transitions to hide my dark undereye circles.:P

    Christina: I know a lot of people say “less is more” about makeup with glasses, but sometimes I’ll wear a daytime look that looks fine without glasses, but disappears under my glasses. Sometimes it’s the colors/hues but other times it just needs to be adjusted to be a bit more noticeable in order to enhance your eyes, etc.

    Anyway, sorry for the long reply, but I guess I’m making up for my past lurking. I promise to start replying more. 🙂

  16. Christina says:

    Hey, Karen,

    Yeah, I adore my glasses. I’ve always wanted to try cats eyes, though — yours sound amazing, please wear them in one of the post pictures!

    I actually finished my MA last year in visual rhetoric (which is a weird way of saying I studied how messages are communicated through layout and design). So I really am the nerd my glasses imply I am. 😉

    Christina´s last blog post..Demi: Not Just Like Us

  17. Glosslizard says:

    Great post! I love my contacts because I really see better with them than with my glasses (mega-bad vision… the peripherals drive me nuts)! That said, I love my glasses because I really feel like they can look sexy! I love a light lid with a dark liner on the top lash-line and a soft liner on the bottom! Pair that with glowing cheeks and a sparkly lip and I’m good to go on those days that my peepers just can’t handle the contacts! 🙂

  18. DanielleO says:

    Thanks Aisha for the great tips! I’m Asian, wear glasses and live in LA — you can use me for practice anytime! 🙂

  19. Soraya says:

    I don’t do my makeup differently because of my glasses, I don’t think you need to really..
    I don’t wear my glasses alllll the way up (not at the end of my nose either haha :P) so that probably helps too.

    Soraya´s last blog post..Do I make a good Mario?

  20. Aisha says:


    It didn’t intentionally use exclusively Asian models–it just worked out that way because I happen to have a lot of Asian friends 😛

    I just ordered some brushes made of a natural and synthetic bristle blend so I’m eager to experiment with them. Plus I’m starting to learn how to contour 🙂

    You can certainly contact me on if you have time to be my guinea pig!

  21. Ligaya says:

    I feel so sad I only found this post now. It’s the best I’ve seen out of everything I’ve scoured online about wearing make-up with glasses, which are mostly posts of glorified product shots. And bonus points for using Asian models, because I’m Asian and it’s helped a great deal. Thank you so much for the tips!

  22. Kelly says:

    You know, I haven’t had a problem with my eye makeup, it is with the makeup on my nose that I’ve been having a problem (I know, it sounds bizarre). I have very splotchy red spots all over my face (I blame it on being Irish, lol.) So I have to wear rather even foundation, especially on my nose. I’m not completely blind, and sometimes I see better without my glasses, so they go on-and-off throughout the day, because of this I’ve been noticing a rather odd looking problem.

    All of us Glasses wearers are familiar with those two red dents on the sides of our noses from our nose pieces, but lately I’ve been getting those AND makeup residue. Does anyone know how to manage this problem?

  23. Krystle says:

    I just picked up my new pair of glasses today! This is really helpful. I’ll need to look at new eye shadows to compliment my frames 🙂

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