Play it safe

Prac­tis­ing cau­tion when ap­ply­ing makeup will pre­vent eye in­fec­tions and ir­ri­ta­tions, writes Meera Mu­ruge­san

New Straits Times - - Flair - meera@me­di­

IF one is short sighted, there are many things that prove to be an in­con­ve­nience but none quite like ap­ply­ing makeup with blurry vi­sion.

If you’re not care­ful, you may end up with a whole host of cos­metic fail­ures, from smudged eye­liner that looks more rac­coon than ra­di­ant to botched mas­cara that draws at­ten­tion for all the wrong rea­sons.

For women who wear con­tact lenses, it’s only log­i­cal to put on their lenses be­fore ap­ply­ing makeup but they need to prac­tise cau­tion be­cause when lenses come into close prox­im­ity with lo­tions, pow­ders, oils and creams dur­ing ap­pli­ca­tion of cos­met­ics, there will be other prob­lems they have to face.

Con­tact lens wear­ers who reg­u­larly use makeup, par­tic­u­larly eye makeup, are more at risk of eye in­fec­tions and ir­ri­ta­tions so it pays for them to be cau­tious in both choos­ing prod­ucts and in their makeup rou­tine.


Look for prod­ucts that are oph­thal­mo­log­i­cally tested or suit­able for sen­si­tive eyes, says Liaw Marn Wan, learn­ing and de­vel­op­ment man­ager at The Body Shop.

Terms like “oil-free”, “fra­grance-free”, “hy­poal­ler­genic” are also im­por­tant be­cause they mean the prod­uct is less likely to con­tain in­gre­di­ents which can trig­ger an ir­ri­ta­tion.

The Body Shop’s lat­est “Down To Earth” eye­shadow, for ex­am­ple, is suit­able for the sen­si­tive eye area and comes in a wide ar­ray of colours.

But Liaw says equally im­por­tant is the way one ap­plies makeup.

For ex­am­ple, when ap­ply­ing eye­shadow, one must en­sure that the prod­uct does not en­ter the in­ner eye.

Dur­ing ap­pli­ca­tion, start with a lit­tle colour first and then build up to the in­ten­sity one re­quires. Also, use a con­cealer or primer to help the eye­shadow stay in place and not get into the eye.

Al­ways use brushes and ap­pli­ca­tors which are reg­u­larly cleaned to re­duce the risk of eye in­fec­tions.

When it comes to eye­liner, sim­i­lar rules

ap­ply. Many women ap­ply eye­liner di­rectly onto the wa­ter­line which can re­sult in blocked oil glands and lead to the de­vel­op­ment of styes.

If one re-ap­plies eye­liner through­out the day, there will be more and more par­ti­cles build­ing up and get­ting into the eye.

Al­ways stick to the rule of ap­ply­ing slightly be­low the wa­ter­line. If one uses a

pen­cil eye­liner, sharp­en­ing it (with a clean sharpener) be­fore ev­ery ap­pli­ca­tion is also im­por­tant be­cause it means a clean, fresh tip is com­ing into con­tact with the eye each time.

When not in use, al­ways en­sure that the eye­liner is capped so the tip is pro­tected from dirt and dust.

Liaw says hy­giene should al­ways be a top pri­or­ity.

When it comes to mas­cara, Liaw ex­plains that there are many types in the market to­day that a con­tact lens wearer can use.

The Body Shop’s Lash Hero mas­cara, for ex­am­ple, has been de­vel­oped for ev­ery­day use for those with sen­si­tive skin.

Liaw stresses that while there is no par­tic­u­lar kind of mas­cara that is less likely to cause par­ti­cles to drop into the eye, the way one ap­plies the prod­uct is im­por­tant. “Don’t brush all the way to the root of your lashes to pre­vent the prod­uct from touch­ing your eyes and don’t leave any clumps, which can flake off into your eyes.”

Whilst min­imis­ing the use of lash build­ing fi­bre mas­caras also helps to re­duce in­fec­tions, the way one ap­plies the prod­uct is al­ways im­por­tant.

It’s gen­er­ally ad­vis­able for con­tact lens users to also avoid false eye­lashes or not use them on a daily ba­sis as the glue used to at­tach the lashes can ir­ri­tate the eye.

When it comes to the use of pow­ders, Liaw says both pressed and loose pow­ders are fine but it’s ad­vis­able to wash makeup brushes reg­u­larly to re­duce the risk of con­tam­i­na­tion.

”Hy­giene should al­ways be a top pri­or­ity for those who use cos­met­ics. Wash­ing your brushes and ap­pli­ca­tors reg­u­larly will help pre­vent con­tam­i­na­tion. One should also use cos­met­ics within the shelf life pe­riod in­di­cated on the prod­uct,” says Liaw.

Hang­ing on to mas­cara which has gone clumpy, or eye­liner and eye­shadow which has ex­pired, is only go­ing to in­crease the chances of an eye in­fec­tion.

An­other tip is to never share makeup with any­one or re-use makeup af­ter one has just re­cov­ered from an eye in­fec­tion.

It’s al­ways best to throw away prod­ucts af­ter they have caused an in­fec­tion to avoid re­peat in­ci­dences.

Just as con­tact lens users are al­ways ad­vised to never sleep with their lenses on, women should al­ways re­move their makeup be­fore go­ing to bed.

If they sleep in makeup, the fric­tion caused by their face press­ing or rub­bing onto pil­lows can easily re­sult in par­tici­ples en­ter­ing the eye.

The re­sult is al­most al­ways red, itchy eyes the next morn­ing.

Be­fore re­mov­ing eye makeup, one should first wash and dry hands and re­move the con­tact lenses.

Once again, Liaw says, use only eye makeup re­moval prod­ucts which have been oph­thal­mo­log­i­cally tested and are good for sen­si­tive eyes.

To en­sure bet­ter cleans­ing, soak a cot­ton pad with the re­mover and hold over eyes for sev­eral sec­onds to dis­solve the makeup and then gen­tly wipe it off.

For fur­ther pro­tec­tion, in­vest in fi­bre­free pads to re­move makeup and not cot­ton balls. This is be­cause cot­ton balls have fi­bres which can get into the eye dur­ing makeup re­moval, espe­cially when one rubs to re­move the makeup.

Con­tact lens wear­ers who use makeup are more prone to de­vel­op­ing eye in­fec­tions.


Make sure all brushes and ap­pli­ca­tors are reg­u­larly washed.


Eye­liner should be ap­plied slightly be­low the wa­ter­line to re­duce the risk of in­fec­tion.

Ex­er­cise cau­tion when choos­ing makeup prod­ucts. Make sure loose pow­der doesn’t get into eyes dur­ing ap­pli­ca­tion.





Dis­card cos­metic prod­ucts once they have ex­pired.

The Body Shop’s Down To Earth eye­shadow is suit­able for the sen­si­tive eye area.


Don’t leave any mas­cara clumps on your lashes which can flake off into your eye.


Al­ways re­move eye makeup be­fore go­ing to bed.

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