Reader question: What makeup should I wear with glasses? (Hint: Anne Hathaway pretty much nails it…)

Anne Hathaway Rio LA Premiere

I have a thing for glasses. (Especially, as anyone who knows me will attest, on the male population.) For women, they can be equally adorable—but as a glasses-wearer myself, I know all too well the beauty challenges of trying to “dress them up” when you want to wear something other than pajamas and lip balm. And then there is the not insignificant fact that you are unable to actually see, which further complicates the matter of makeup application.

Reader Melissa knows exactly what I’m talking about. She writes:

When I have contacts on life is great makeup-wise, but what to do about my makeup when I have my glasses on? They just seem to be a distraction from my eyes, and a huge off-balance to my face as a whole with proportions… I don’t really know what to do with my face — in fact I skip doing anything with my eyes entirely when my glasses are on.

Now, I know the temptation to throw in the beauty towel is great—but with the help of Anne Hathaway and a few other celebs, I’ve assembled some glasses guidelines for my fellow four-eyes:


It really is.

I know the temptation is to overcompensate for the glasses by dialing it up—way up—with the makeup, but my personal opinion is that it’s overkill. Some prescriptions, yes, can make your eyes look smaller, and there are ways of dealing with that… but glasses just do not go with dramatic smoky eyes… or tons of colour all the way up the eyelid.

It’s kind of like wearing big earrings AND a big necklace. Even if you can pull off tons of makeup with your contact lenses, somehow throwing that additional accessory into the mix can make you look clownish. Instead…


Can you believe this is Megan Fox?

Megan Fox glasses Reader question: What makeup should I wear with glasses? (Hint: Anne Hathaway pretty much nails it...)

Her skin looks amazing here, and is a testament to this post about how to do minimal makeup while still looking polished. (Because believe me, even though this look is low-key, it takes some finesse with primer, foundation, illuminator and blush to get your skin looking this radiant.) This part will go a long way toward making your wearing of the glasses look DELIBERATE… not like you just threw them on because you didn’t have time to get ready (even if that’s true).


Both Megan and Jennifer Aniston know this:

Jennifer Aniston glasses Reader question: What makeup should I wear with glasses? (Hint: Anne Hathaway pretty much nails it...)

You might be used to wearing bolder lip shades (and you CAN wear them with glasses, but more on that in a sec). A simple nude or pink or peach lip gloss, however, is a no-brainer. Especially if you’re new to glasses, have glasses with a dark or heavy frame, and/or are not much of a makeup person. When you keep the lips subtle, they’re not going to fight with what’s going on up top. Easy peasy.

Oh, and do a gloss instead of a balm—when there is no colour, the pop of shine makes it look more dressy.


And this brings me to the delightful Anne Hathaway, whose execution of my point here couldn’t be better:

Anne Hathaway Rio LA Premiere 2 Reader question: What makeup should I wear with glasses? (Hint: Anne Hathaway pretty much nails it...)

So I already said that going all dramatic on the lids, in order to compensate for the eyewear, isn’t advisable.

Does that mean you shouldn’t wear ANY eye makeup? Hells no. What you want to do, instead, is to focus on the lash lines and lashes as much as humanly possible. So: do tons of black volumizing mascara on both the upper and lower lashes. (None of this brown business. Everyone looks good in black mascara.) Then, as Anne has done, line all the way around the eye with a brown or grey or navy pencil. (Not black though—too harsh.) I’d do the inner rims; see here for tips on waterproof liners that last. If you must wear shadow, stick to something really soft, like a beige or peach. (P.S. Speaking of peach, that peach blush and matte peach lip are outstanding!)

You can go a bit heavier with the eyes if you’re wearing glasses without frames, like Alicia Keys here:

Alicia Keys glasses Reader question: What makeup should I wear with glasses? (Hint: Anne Hathaway pretty much nails it...)

Oh, and because some lenses can give you dark circles, make sure you follow my all-time favourite concealer tip for making your eyes look wide-awake and well-rested.


You can! Really. As long as your glasses are black or brown (not coloured). And make sure you do it with frames that are fairly substantial too, because they need the chunkiness to balance them out. Leona Lewis shows us how it’s done:

Leona Lewis glasses Reader question: What makeup should I wear with glasses? (Hint: Anne Hathaway pretty much nails it...)

Notice how soft the eye makeup is? This is my favourite way to wear a bright lip anyway—with just mascara and the tiniest hint of eyeliner, basically—but it’s even more important with eyewear.

Chloë Sevigny goes for a classic red:

Chloe Sevigny glasses Reader question: What makeup should I wear with glasses? (Hint: Anne Hathaway pretty much nails it...)

Again, all the elements are there: quirky, heavier frame (at least at the top part) plus a big lip, plus a minimal eye. I love those long eyelashes!


Brights on the eyes can be risky with glasses or without—but if you’re gonna try it, please look to glasses superstar Alicia Keys (again) for inspiration:

Alicia Keys glasses 2 Reader question: What makeup should I wear with glasses? (Hint: Anne Hathaway pretty much nails it...)

Fun, right? There are a number of reasons why this works so well:
a) It’s focused just around the lash line.
b) It’s “grounded” with brown/black eyeliner.
c) The frames are black, chunky and modern, so they “match” (coloured frames would be disastrous!).
d) The lip is soft and glossy.
e) The rest of her outfit doesn’t introduce any other colours.

Now tell me:

Do you wear glasses?
How do you wear your makeup with ‘em? Do you find it a challenge?
Which celeb do you think rocks her glasses best?


Wednesday, April 13/2011 at 12:16 pm

Did you just call Anne Hathaway “delightful”?!? Good grief.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Wednesday, April 13/2011 at 1:06 pm

Don’t good grief me! I mean delightful in a beauty way. Not acting, obvs.


Kris Coghlan
Wednesday, April 13/2011 at 1:13 pm

Leona Lewis looks fabulous wearing her glasses.


Wednesday, April 13/2011 at 2:22 pm

I so love Megan Fox with minimalist makeup and glasses. What a change for her!


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, April 15/2011 at 7:59 pm

I would love to see Megan like this on the red carpet actually! All the heavy makeup hides her gorgeousness.


Wednesday, April 13/2011 at 4:10 pm

I like the first pic of Alicia Keys! great look! Even if I dont like big glasses, this one’s a winner!


Wednesday, April 13/2011 at 4:13 pm

Oh I love this post!

I love the clean and fresh skin (how gorgeous is Megan Fox here?). Out of all the looks here I’ll have to say that the eyeliner is absolutely crucial. My eyes just become infinitely small when they’re behind glasses, and a softly smudged eyeliner definitely is the best way to bring them back. :)

Oh, and can we please talk about undereye concealer? As in, wear that if you can’t wear anything else, because lenses usually cast an awful shadow under our eyes.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, April 15/2011 at 8:00 pm

Yes! Thank you. Concealer is SO essential, especially when you are blind like me and your prescription does weird things that cast dark circles :-)


Wednesday, April 13/2011 at 4:41 pm

wow great pics! love the alicia key pics and leona lewis’s bright lip!


Wednesday, April 13/2011 at 7:53 pm

My first comment!

I’m too squeamish to wear contacts so I’m always in my glasses. As a long term glasses wearer, I say never scrimp on frames, think of the cost per wear!! And I definitely prefer very punchy black mascara, the more false lash effect the better. With a regular mascara, my eyes don’t stand a chance of showing up behind the glasses. Apart from loads of mascara, I usually just go round my eyes with one of my many Urban Decay 24/7 liners.

Please could you do a post on hairstyles that work with glasses?


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, April 15/2011 at 8:01 pm

Oh good idea! Noted. Glasses are tricky – bangs can get in the way… but you want a cut that works with your face shape too!

Looks like we are on the same wavelength re: mascara + Urban Decay – they have great eyeliners.


Wednesday, April 13/2011 at 9:29 pm

I am also a long time glasses wearer and I love pairing bright shadows (MAC lucky green is my fave) with chunky black frames but, like you say, the key to pulling it off is keeping color on your lid only, black black lashes and lining your water line in black as well. In contrast to the pics shown, I do not line the inner corner of my upper or lower lashes. I find this helps make the look less heavy.


Thursday, April 14/2011 at 12:31 am

Great post! I just want to add a few things I learned from experience. The type and strength of your prescription lenses prescription affect the appearance of your eyes. Glasses that correct nearsightedness make your eyes look smaller while those for farsightedness magnify. The stronger the lens, the greater the effect on your appearance.
I’m very nearsighted so my eyes appear tiny behind my thick lenses. I stick to mascara when I wear glasses because it defines and opens up my eyes. Eyeliner for me has the opposite effect – it makes my eyes appear even smaller. Since my eyes are also hooded, eyeshadow is virtually invisible unless I close my eyes.
My aunt, on the other hand, has severely farsighted eyes and can get away with mascara, shadow and liner because her eyes appear magnified.
I hope this helps a bit :)


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, April 15/2011 at 8:05 pm

Great points Kamila – thank you! I should add that I have astigmatism so even though that’s not near-sightedness nor far-sightedness, I believe it does make my eyes look smaller (and more shadowy). But even still, I don’t find the eyeliner makes them look even smaller… maybe that has to do eye size? I have pretty big ones :-)


Thursday, April 28/2011 at 4:50 pm

Okay, this is a super sweet post!! I’ve been wearing glasses since I was like 2 years old. To give you an idea of how bad my eyes are I was technically legally blind for a few years because of a severely crossed eye. AND I have an astigmatism.

Anyway …

My prescription magnifies my eyes, which is kind of good and kind of bad. The bad part of that is that every little imperfection shows: dark circles, straying liner/mascara, badly applied concealer … The GOOD part is that it makes my brown eyes really pop … when I do my makeup right.

I like to play with colours, and the tips above are totally right. People that wear glasses could NEVER pull off the eyeshadow-to-the-brow trend that’s going on right now, esp people with a magnifying prescription. Stick to the to-the-crease area instead. I do find that using a liquid liner to do the cat-eye thing looks …. strange. It looks GREAT without the glasses, but I think because my frames are heavier (like Ms Keyes but not quite so dark) and where they sit it just looks off. I need something on the lower lashline for sure, and both is too overkill.


Monday, June 6/2011 at 4:46 pm

Wow, this is exactly what I was looking for! I wear glasses 95% of the time due to severely dry eyes. I had to stop wearing all eye makeup for a while, but now that my eyes are better, I want to get back to my bolder eye look (i.e. more than just mascara), but wasn’t sure how to do it with glasses. Looks like I’m on the right track at least!


Wednesday, October 19/2011 at 5:58 am

good for you!


Wednesday, July 6/2011 at 6:13 pm

Great article!! Less definitely goes a long way in the end! It looks so fresh and perfect for this season.

What kind of eyeglasses is Anne Hathaway wearing? I really like those.


ava jane
Thursday, August 25/2011 at 5:21 am

I love this post as it really expresses the good side to wearing glasses as I always thought of glasses as a burden.
I think anne hathaway pulls the glasses look off great as she uses minimising make up which really suits her.
I have wore glasses since I was ten(I’m 13 now) and I’ve been told contacts are not a option for me. I usually just focus on my foundation, blusher and lip gloss completely avoiding my eyes. I don’t like wearing mascara because it ruins your eyelashes and I’m terrible at doing mascara-got any tips for me? As for eyeshadow I used to wear it a lot but it turned out all my efforts were useless and some colours made me look like a clown.
Thank you for putting on this post as it has helped me(and a lot of girls) feel more confident wearing there glasses with there make-up.
Love Ava Jane Towers


Wednesday, October 19/2011 at 5:56 am

oh my gosh tks sooooo much. graduation is coming soon and i had to have an idea of what to do with my horrid eyes behind glasses so thank you soooooooooooooooooooooo much.


Stephanie Boccoli
Wednesday, March 21/2012 at 2:43 pm

I am a long term glasses wearer & everytime I wear makeup I end up with makeup on my glasses, especially out the front of my glasses by my noise.

Is there anyway I can avoid this as it doesn’t look nice & I have to keep taking my glasses off to clean away the makeup.


Glasses wearer
Sunday, March 25/2012 at 12:37 pm

Great post! Megan Fox looks gorgeous. I have worn glasses since I was 5 and cannot wear contacts. I layer lots and lots of mascara on and use beige and brown on my lids. I have always found wearing makeup difficult, I have the dark plastic frames which look great. Can you offer any advice on how to dress with glasses? I find that I can only really wear black or dark clothing.


Miss B
Sunday, May 6/2012 at 5:41 pm

Can someone tell me the make and style name of the aviator style glasses Alicia Keys is wearing please?


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