My Story: Colored Contact Lenses

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Growing up with a sister who was 10 years older than me wasn’t easy because like any younger sibling, I wanted to copy her and do everything that she did which included (but not limited to) wearing colored contact lenses. The fact that she actually needed to wear them and just happened to choose colored ones, didn’t factor into my decision making process. The other fact that she switched between contacts and glasses all the time was irrelevant to me. I wanted to wear colored contacts. My mother forbid it so I waited for the right opportunity. We were traveling abroad, somewhere in Europe when my mother had to go back to Kuwait, leaving me with my father. I learned early on that if one parent said no, before they got a chance to communicate, if timed correctly I’d still get what I want from the other parent. Slick, no? Yeah, not really, eventually they caught on but it wasn’t during this incident.

I brought up the subject, all nonchalant, as if it wasn’t all I’d been thinking about for the past year. Taking advantage of the fact that they weren’t able to communicate readily and easily (pre-mobile phone era) I convinced my dad that I was old enough for colored contact lenses. Seeing no harm in a 13 year old wearing colored contact lenses, he took me to a Bausch & Lomb branch in the city where the ophthalmologist (eye doctor) helped me try on several contact lenses in different colors. Initially I was attracted to the light blue one, so he pried my eye open, popped the lens in, and gave me a handheld mirror to see the final result. Somehow, the light blue made my nose which was already a touch too long appear even longer. The next one I tried was a bright green. They looked completely natural on me and so I was told by both my father and the man that helped me put them on (he put them on for me actually). That was it, I was sold. I got a huge thing of contact lenses solution, a contact lenses case, and 2 packets containing a contact lens (submerged in liquid of some sort) each. Back at our apartment, I got my friend who wears contacts on the daily (as opposed to glasses) to help me put them on. It seemed so much easier at the shop but back home, I kept blinking and the contact kept falling in the sink. It was awful. After no less then 30 minutes, eyes all red and swollen, I managed to get them on and went on my merry way to play hide-and-seek with my friends because that’s just what kids did back then.

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After that first time of wearing them, I quickly lost interest in colored contact lenses because it truly was a hassle getting them on as there was a certain way they had to be facing before popping them in your eye. If you wore it while it was inverted, you’d feel discomfort, or pain even. I had a difficult time differentiating between a right side up contact versus an inverted contact. Thinking I did it, I’d feel relief once the contact was actually in my eye only to find it felt uncomfortable meaning I had to take it back out, squeeze some solution on it, flip it over, and try again. Sometimes, it wasn’t actually inverted. It would just be a piece of fluff caught between the eyeball and the lens. I’d keep flipping it over and over again, going through half a bottle of solution before I’d manage to get both contact lenses properly in each eye, right side up. By this point, my eyes would be all red, swollen, and streaming. So yeah, struggle. ‘Aint nobody got time fo’ dat.

I quickly lost interest in colored contact lenses. Several years later when I dyed my hair blonde, I revisited the whole colored contacts thing. I went for FreshLook colored contacts in green. With the blonde hair, and the darker foundation, the overall effect was actually quite natural looking. So that became my signature look for years to come, pastel lilac eyeshadow, eyes lined with a darker prune purple eyeshadow, iridescent violet with blue flash chubby stick as an inner corner highlight from The Body Shop, DiorShow coated lashes (using the mascara-as-eyeliner trick), The Body Shop foundation, coral blush also by The Body Shop, and Relic lipstick by Mac. The lilac, and purple complimented the green contact lenses beautifully.

I tried that same look without wearing the green contacts by FreshLook but the effect just wasn’t the same. Although my eyes are brown and have some green in them, without black eyeliner to pull the whole look together, I looked “off”. I’d picked up a Chubby Stick in a darkened green shade by Versace from Paris Gallery in Saudi Arabia and it looked stunning with the green contacts, no eyeliner, just lots of mascara. Once the chubby stick ran out, I substituted that with a Lancome palette that had the same shimmery blackened green shade and paired it with MAC’s Russian Red lipstick. The effect was too sexy for everyday use so I only busted those two out for “special occasions”.

The last of my top 3 favorite combinations for green eyes (green colored contacts respectively) was bought on a whim. I saw the promo ad while browsing the aisles in Va Va Voom at Marina Mall. The model was wearing a Nina Ricci eyeshadow in raffia copper. I paired that eyeshadow with coral cheeks and orange lips and somehow it worked, especially when I wore a white button-down shirt. Which is how I now know purple, green, and copper all look stunning on green eyes. Anything darker, would tone down the brightness of the green colored contacts and that’s what made all those “looks” work so I stayed away from black, browns, etc…

Bored of green, I decided to try out some of the other offerings from FreshLook but because of the undertones to my eye color, the colored contacts I chose looked ‘”off” on me. I tried to make them work but none of them did and gone were the days of my early teenage years where I could try them out in the store (Thank God! Can you imagine how many people had tried them on before me?) so I had to purchase them and try them on, trial and error, which is how I learned what works. Bright blue looked so fake on me because as I said, my eyes pulled more green so it clashed horribly not just with my eyes but with my Arab complexion as well. Violet looked almost black on me. I tried a two-tone Green which appeared black on me as well, as did the Grey. Apparently I could only wear Green and even then it couldn’t be two-toned. The green ones from FreshLook are the only ones that looked natural on me without the usual tell-tale signs.

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I ordered circle lenses online because they looked gorgeous on all the asian models and I’m very much into Japanese and Korean culture. Sadly, I just looked cross-eyed. Recently I discovered the shade Honey from FreshLook and although it’s not nearly as subtle as Green on me, it’s actually quite beautiful especially when paired with a taupe eyeshadow. I love using Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow in Stray Dog when wearing FreshLook’s Honey. I’ve repurchased Honey several times now, almost as much as Green because it’s perfect for that Bronze Goddess look. As a matter of fact, it’s perfect for any look. Eyeshadows seem so much more vivid when I’m wearing Honey. For some reason, Honey even makes my eyes seem larger!

While picking up my latest batch (I buy my contacts in 3’s) of colored contacts, a woman walked into the store with striking blue eyes. Based on my experience before, I should stay away from blues but I couldn’t help myself. I walked up to her and asked her what contacts she was wearing. She didn’t know but she had the packaging with her as she was there to replenish her supply so she showed me the packaging which read Baby Aqua by the brand FreshKon. Even though this had some blue in it, it also consisted of other colors and somehow that made this work on me. This is what I’d wanted the circle lenses to  be. They made my eyes seem huge, they looked semi-natural, and best of all they pulled green on me! I’m a huge fan of FreshKon now.

Last time I was at Mishref Fair Grounds for the Beauty Expo (which I believe was 3 months ago) I picked up 3 more contacts from the brand Desio. Reviews and pics to come!

All in all, I think colored contact lenses, just like makeup, is a fun way to play around and experiment with your look. Just remember that just like with all things, they can easily become tacky if you go overboard.

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