At last week's Emmys, Patricia Arquette attracted some unwanted attention for a bag designed by Joss Sackler, whose in-laws manufacture the scandal-embroiled prescription opioid OxyContin. But I was more interested in the accessory she debuted at the after-party: an extremely groovy pair of two-toned glasses.
Bespectacled women are rare sights at black tie events. Open a wedding magazine and the chance of seeing a bride with frames on is slim to none. In a real-world manifestation of the "makeover by glasses removal" rom com trope, a fancy invite can see glasses gals reaching for a box of Acuvue.
Joey King, left, and Patricia Arquette pose in the audience at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Credit:AP
Not that there is any judgement here – although, perhaps a small amount of envy: my prescription doesn't do well with contacts – because wearing glasses can be greatly complicated by the other things you put on your face, notably a face.
As anyone who has sat in a bathroom sink to bring their face close enough to the mirror such that they might be blessed to stab themselves in the eyeball with a liquid liner a mere two times instead of five – just me? – can tell you, applying makeup as a glasses-wearer can be a struggle.
Model Rachelle Harris wearing winged eyeliner and lashes under glasses at the Chanel Paris Haute Couture Week show in July.Credit:AP
Risk of injury aside, there's nothing quite like putting your glasses back on to learn the blush look you thought was subtle actually resembles the facial paint job of a lady in a 1700s European court. It can be a messy affair (foundation rubbing on the bridge, mascara flicks on the lenses). Then there's the struggle for serenity about the things you cannot change: no matter the cosmetic trickery you've attempted to enlarge the appearance of your eyes, short-sighted lenses are going to make them look smaller.
"I think one of the biggest mistakes people with glasses make when doing their makeup is to apply their make up as if they are not wearing any," says MAC senior makeup artist Carol Mackie (who wears glasses herself, so I trust her).
"It’s important to stand back and look at your makeup in the mirror with your glasses on, to see what you need to adjust, as glasses can dramatically reduce the look of make up."
For Sephora's national artistry lead Alphie Sadsad (another bespectacled beauty expert), the key step actually occurs just before you put your glasses back on.
"An obvious mistake that people make is not setting your makeup with a light powder before wearing your glasses, meaning that throughout the day your foundation moves from being in contact with the bridge," he says, recommending the Pat McGrath Sublime Perfection Setting Powder (Laura Mercier’s Translucent Loose Setting Powder also has a cult following, and the Rimmel one at Priceline gets the job done).
Sadsad says you should generally try to do your makeup with your glasses off. Matte colours (your lenses reflect enough light), a relatively imprecise looking eyeliner pencil (a liquid liner isn't worth it) and investing in a magnifying mirror will help both your end result and your stress levels. However, blush and lipstick can be applied when your specs are on, and a bold, sharp lip can be a fun addition.
But there is an upside to being a four-eyes when putting on a face, says Mackie: the old "highlight your lips or highlight your eyes, but never both" wisdom simply does not apply.
"Often too much eye and lip action can look conflicting but glasses soften the makeup and allow you to wear both!"
What to buy this Thursday
Your weekly recommendation for a late-night shopping trip …
Organik Botanik Spirulina Avocado Hair Mask
In 2019, is there a more loaded combination of food and diner than an avocado and an under-35? The green mush grenade has been thrown at Millennials as the cause of most of our problems – housing affordability, high fat diets – for two years now, such that, when ordering avocado on toast at Sunday brunch, I embarrassedly whisper my request, lest it cause a proximate Boomer's good ear to prick. So, it is with learnt shame that I say the best thing I have found for my hair this year has been … an avocado treatment. My locks are as smooth as the returns on an upper north shore bungalow bought in 1998. $14.95, myer.com.au
Skin Deep, our weekly beauty column, is not sponsored. All product recommendations are genuine endorsements.
Annie Brown is on leave.
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