How wearing colored contacts changed my makeup routine (plus, tips for newbies!)

Once upon a time, I was trying the SNOW app and changed the eye color to a slightly lighter brown (and at around 15% opacity) than my natural eye color. Lo and behold, I looked good! GGSS (gandang-ganda sa sarili) vibes aside, it inspired me to finally research on and purchase a pair of colored contact lenses. After consulting with the other PV girls in our group chat, I bit the bullet and settled on 1,100-peso FreshKons at Eyecrafts. I mistakenly followed someone’s advice to get green lenses though (the rationale being that green made a lighter brown whereas a brown made a redder brown) and ended up with, what else, green eyes.

Although I ended up getting a different color from what I wanted, it’s been fun incorporating colored contacts as part of my beauty routine. I’ve had about 3 months of use and experimentation, so I decided to recount some experiences that might be helpful to the contact lens noob. We’ve also previously done stories on different brands like Alcon Dailies, Executive Optical Flexwear, and Freshlook so make sure to also check those out if you’re interested in particular brands.

Here’s what happened to me:

Putting the damn things on

The hardest part for any beginner is the application. In the store, I literally couldn’t do it myself (it took what felt like 30 minutes of trial and error) since my lids would involuntarily close and squish the lenses or cause them to fall off. The doctor had to put them on for me. Nice. The very next day, it took about 10 minutes, which was a surprise, and within the next week it became easier and easier and quicker and quicker. Eventually I could put them on while actually looking at my eye in the mirror. If you’re having difficulty, try to:

  • Use the middle finger and douse the lens in contact solution to facilitate “adherance.” If it’s too dry it will stick to your finger.

  • Make sure the lens is on the very tip of your finger so that it leaves the surface of your finger more easily.

  • Use the middle finger or the ring finger of the same hand gently tug your eyes open during application. No need to pull the eyelid up as this is harder to control and will likely result in more blinking. Note that if the other fingers have drops of contact solution, it will make your skin super slippery and you won’t be able to tug the under eye down.

  • Tilt your head down to reveal more of the eyeball, look up, and gently place the lens below the iris (like the white part). Slowly look down and the lens will align itself with the iris.

  • Relax, since rapid blinking could cause the lens to pop out.

  • Breathe a heavy sigh of relief. Whoops, on to the next eye!

Of course, since you have to have very clean hands when handling contact lenses, I put them on before I did any skincare, makeup application, and even hair care. Take note if you’re in a hurry in the morning!

Contacts allow for low-effort with high impact.

Contacts allow for low-effort with high impact.

Styling

Wearing different colored contacts opens your eyes (lol) to the possibilities of using eye shadows that you may have previously deemed Not Your Color. I have used them in two ways, analogous and complementary, just to illustrate what happens when you follow the color wheel.

Analogous Colors, hues that are near green – Khaki

The mix of yellow, green, and brown might be intimidating at first, but when used with green contacts, the khaki-ness seems to be toned down and creates a harmonious mixture of green and gold. With my natural color, khaki immediately turns the look into a sultry smoke, but here it actually seems appropriate for daytime. It functions more like an accent rather than a punctuation.

Complementary Colors, hues that are opposite green – Orange and Pink

The transition of pink to orange create a reddish color (I didn’t have the heart to use point blank red with green at school) that makes the green pop out more. I chose shades that weren’t too saturated, again because I wore this to school, to create a better flow with my pinkish cheeks and lips. The green brings out the orange sparkle more, whereas it would just look like regular sparkle without the orange tinge when paired with my natural eye color.

Pros

  • No more eyeglass marks! This is the real reason why I made the leap into colored contacts. The area where the eyeglass pad usually hits my nose is never disturbed, and since that particular area of the nose doesn’t oil up, I can go pretty much the whole day without retouching if I wear a matte foundation. If you’re a base obsessive but still need to see, I’m sure you’ve already considered buying a pair of contacts.

  • Eyes become more striking even without eye makeup. On most days, I don’t have to wear eye makeup since my lashes are permed. The lightness of the green contacts also create an impact with the eye area. It’s a good excuse to skip a step in your makeup routine without losing definition in your eye look.

Image via lenstore.co.uk

Image via lenstore.co.uk

Cons

  • You need to routinely replace them. My FreshKon pair lasts up to 4 months, so that comes to around P275 per month, excluding the contact solution (which is around P250 for 360mL). Other lens brands need to be replaced monthly, or are one-time-use, or are even more expensive than what I currently use, so it’s really quite an investment.

  • Your eyes could get irritated. It’s a rarity but sometimes it feels a lot like when you’re fed up with your constricting bra and just wanna take it off at the end of the day… but on your eyes. On some days they feel like absolutely nothing, but if you lack sleep or stare at screens for too long, your eyes can feel strained and dry. If you’re averse to such experiences and aren’t good with cleaning and maintenance, maybe buying an expensive pair of contacts is not for you.

  • It’s easy to go overboard. Since I deal with photo and design details a lot, I instantly notice the un-naturalness of the green shade and pixelation of the iris. Of course, it’s not that noticeable if you don’t look for it, and many people have complemented the color and vibe. But if I’m not careful about what color and design to get, it can venture into anime realness really quickly, which is not my goal. I still wish I’d bought a lighter brown or amber instead, since the shade of green with a tinge of blue isn’t my thing. I also avoid lining my eyes since they already pop, and I have to be careful with lip pairings since I’m very particular about color clashes. But if your aim is to stand out, then go for it!

Maintenance

The doctor gave me clear and strict instructions for proper maintenance, which I religiously followed because I wasn’t about to waste P1,100. For newbs:

  • Before and after application, wash your hands with soap. Avoid alcohols since they will sting your eyes.

  • When storing the lenses in the compartments, be sure to fill until just before the brim. My sister stored her lenses without the appropriate amount of solution and salt crystals formed and promptly ripped the lens. #RIP (pun intended)

  • Do not sleep with lenses on, lest you like irritation and infections. Obviously, take them out every day, and don’t pile them up.

  • Make sure to put them on correctly. If they are flipped and worn on the wrong side, the lenses can’t correct your vision and may even cause damage.

  • Refrain from using long or sharp nails when putting them on since the lenses can be easily damaged.

  • Replace them after 3 to 4 months, or as recommended by the manufacturer.

What are your favorite contact lens brands? Which should I try next? Any more tips with creating looks with colored contact lenses? Let’s discuss.