An Ode To Lenses & Where To Buy & How To Use Them

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by Elle Bear

I’ve been aware of contact lenses my entire life, my mam having worn prescription ones fairly regularly as I grew up. As a little one, I always found it fascinating how she could put her finger in her eyeball, without batting an eyelid (haw haw). But it was okay because that’s what she had to do so she could see without glasses. You wouldn’t really do it for any less of a reason.

But it’s 20 years later, and here I am, sticking my finger in my eyes a few times a week and they aren’t even prescription lenses!

I first really became aware of fashion lenses a few years ago, probably much later than I should have, as an ‘alt’ person. I had briefly tried them once in my teens but getting them in and out was difficult and wearing them was sore, so I let them drift to the back of my mind. I think i was maybe 22 when I ordered my first proper pair. I had properly started using Instagram and, while there were loads of people with lenses on my feed, there was one girl, in particular, who caught my eye. She had the most striking bright grey eyes. Wolf like. Circle lenses of course. I had to have them. So, I found out what brand they were, found a site that sold them and, for some reason, decided to order a completely different pair. (I did very shortly go and order the grey pair I originally wanted. I used to wear one of each and think I was the coolest. Still do.) I ended up with a shiny pink package containing a pair of deep purple circle lenses. GEO was the brand, I think.

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Getting them in wasn’t easy. It turns out our eyes really don’t like thinks being put into them. They kept turning onto my finger tip or getting caught on my lashes. But I persevered. If all the lovely, anime-eyed girls I’d seen on the internet could do it, so could I. And I did.

After some initial discomfort, they were comfortable. Like, mad comfortable. I loved them. And my then boss said she couldn’t look at me with them in because they made me look weird, I loved them even more.

The more I wore them, the more a deep power over my own face revealed itself to me. I could change my entire colour scheme. The difference between the same makeup with a black, 15mm pair in versus a grey, almost white 14.2mm pair is staggering. The more I used them, the more absurd it became to not use them. It almost felt like a fantasy come true, or maybe more I could become a fantasy come true. A more surreal self.

A new pair gives me a giddy excitement, a proper childish giddiness about the possibilities and things I can create with these tiny things.Or big things in the case of the 22mm Sclera lenses (*sigh* Someday I will possess them and all my contact lens dreams will come true).

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Saying that, I have also seen many people and articles online condemning the use of these contacts. And I can see their point. Buying things you put into your eyes from the internet and being shipped from all corners of the world is not something to take lightly. If you are considering trying out lenses just be aware of what you’re doing. Always research the brands first. If you want to give them a go, the two websites I’ve ordered from in the past are Pinky Paradise and Uniqso.

So! You’ve bought your lenses and you’ve let them sit in your cleaning solution. What next?

You wash your hands. You always wash your hands before you touch them and your beautiful eyeballs. Don’t be a thick.

Once you have it balanced on the end of your finger, make sure it isn’t inside-out. Putting inside-out contacts in hurts like hell and no one needs it in their day. You want to make sure that it’s a perfect curve. There’s to be no ‘lip’ sticking out at the top. It will be a slight lip so really make sure.

Now this is just how I put in lenses. There’s loads of different ways, so pick what is comfortable for you. Some use special little devices to put them in. I dunno about that. I prefer using my fingers, mad old skool jano?

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I like to position a mirror kinda to the side so you can look at it from an angle. This means I can look at myself out of the side of my eye when putting them in. I find this makes it easier to put the lens in and get it comfortable without having a finger coming right at my iris.

If you’re right handed, like me, balance the lens on the tip of your first finger. Use the index finger to pull down your lower and your left hand to pull up your top lid. I hope I don’t need to specify gently. One of the things I had difficulty with in the beginning was lenses getting because on my eyelashes. This way you’re just moving them more out of the way so there’s less chance of them catching the lens.

You then want to gently bring the lens towards your eye. Try and start with the lens in line with your eye so you’re only bringing it straight towards it. If you try and come at it from below or above your chances of catching on your lashes increases.

Be confident. You’re not gonna stab yourself with your finger unless there’s a sudden, and rudely timed earthquake. If the lens sticks a bit, I will sometimes move it so a bit of it is under my lid which can hold it down.

Also: be patient. They can be awkward as hell for no reason. Getting stressed will not help! Give it the time it needs! If it’s really not working and your eyes getting deliciously bloodshot, leave it and try again another time.

And presto,! You now have mad anime eyes that your boss will be creeped out by! Win-Win!

I have included a video, but I always find that there’s only so much that can be learned from watching videos if you don’t have the confidence to do it.

As for getting them out, I will always use a mirror, and using the tip of my beautifully clean finger gently pull the edge of it off my iris and down to the corner of my eye. I’ve seen some people who can just pinch them in and out and not ruin their makeup. These people make me feel inadequate as a lens-wearer and should be ashamed of their mad skills.

When it comes to styles, I tend to go for the more theatrical lenses but the world is your starry-eyed oyster, if you start wearing lenses. You can just change your basic colour to look oh-so-natural, like any other colour, or you can look like a technicolour unicorn rainbow zombie ghost anime kawaii goth fraaaaake. Just see how yo’ mood is that day!

Good luck!

If you’re looking for more fashion and beauty content, check out Emma’s discussion of the gloss trend and Colette’s street style shots from Seoul Fashion Week! Or, if you have your own opinions to share, why not submit?

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