The Best Eye-Safe Makeup for Allergy Season, According to Experts

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If you suffer from seasonal allergies like me, you know that this time of year is particularly itchy, sneezy and coughy. I don’t tend to wear a ton of makeup on the regular, but I do wear mascara almost daily. Recently, I was explaining to my girlfriend how my eyes get so insatiably itchy that I have to immediately take off all my eye makeup and put in eye drops, to which she responded, “That’s probably not normal,” and it got me thinking: Is my eye makeup exacerbating my seasonal allergies?

While it sounds silly to think that my itching and burning eyes were just a normal part of my allergies and had nothing to do with the products I was putting around the delicate area, I’ve struggled with allergy flare-ups for so long I never even considered that there was anything I could do to lessen my symptoms besides taking my meds. Nowadays, though, there are many ways to minimize your discomfort during allergy season without sacrificing steps in your routine. Ahead, experts talk all things eye-safe and allergy-safe eye makeup products to get you through the spring.

Featured Experts:

  • Dr. Ashley Brissette is the guiding ophthalmologist at Clinique
  • Dr. Martin Smith is a Cleveland Clinic allergist and immunologist and co-founder of Untoxicated Skincare
  • D’Andre Michael is a celebrity makeup artist

Why Does My Makeup Make My Eyes Itch?

Before we can get into expert-approved products that are eye-safe and allergy-friendly, it’s important to get a feel for why certain makeup products are better or worse for sensitive, allergy-prone eyes. According to lead opthalmologist at Clinique, Dr. Ashley Brissette, “The main ingredient you should avoid if you’re prone to allergies is fragrance. I’ve seen my fair share of allergic reactions stemming from fragrance in makeup. The skin around the eye area tends to be more delicate than other parts of skin, and even if you can’t smell it, so many products contain fragrances that can trigger allergy infections.”

Adding to Dr. Brissette’s notion, Cleveland Clinic allergist and immunologist and co-founder of Untoxicated Skincare explains, “There are, unfortunately, over 2,000 ingredients that have been named as contact allergens, and though not all of these are commonly found in skin care, there are more than 100 ingredients that are well-known skin care allergens and lurk in formulas. As an ingredient class, fragrances are by far the worst offender, but it is often hard to determine which ingredient is a fragrance. Some ingredient lists may say ‘Fragrance Mix I/II’ and others may use individual names such as linalool and limonene, and some ‘unscented’ formulas can even contain masking fragrances. Fragrances are often contained in innocent-sounding botanical ingredients and sometimes in preservatives such as benzyl alcohol, so your best bet is to look for the terms ‘Fragrance-Free’ or ‘No Fragrances,’ when shopping for allergy-safe makeup.”

What Makeup Ingredients Are Eye-Safe for Allergy-Prone Eyes?

Navigating the world of cosmetics is never easy, so it’s important to know what to look for in your search for products that won’t make your eyes itch, tear or burn during allergy season and beyond. “Formulas that are paraben-free, hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, water-based, oil-free and opthalmologist-tested, are best for sensitive eyes,” explains celebrity makeup artist D’Andre Michael. As Dr. Brissette explains, “ophthalmologist-tested products undergo specific testing to evaluate whether a product is safe to use around the eyes. This extra layer of review is key because eyes are important, and we want to be sure they are cared for properly. I also find contact lens–wearers are often concerned with the products they are using, so it’s comforting to recommend products that are validated for safety.”

In terms of what to avoid, both Michael and Dr. Martin urge users with sensitive eyes to avoid nickel in makeup products, as it’s the most common allergen, as well as agents like propylene glycol. Dr. Martin also advises shoppers to not always gravitate towards “natural” products, as they can often include sensitizing ingredients like essential oils.

10 Eye-Safe, Allergy-Friendly Makeup Products to Try This Spring

Now that you understand what to look for as a guideline for ensuring the products you’re using around your eyes during allergy season and beyond are not exacerbating your allergy symptoms, here are some of our experts’ favorite, eye-safe makeup products for allergy season.

1 / 10

Clinique High Impact Hi-Fi Mascara ($28)

Not only is Clinique’s High Impact Hi-Fi Mascara my personal favorite mascara product and a NewBeauty Award-winner, it also follows Clinique’s Eye Safety Promise (as all Clinique products do). While adding dramatic volume and length to your natural lashes, its inclusion in the Clinique Eye Safety Promise “ensures that all eye makeup products are ophthalmologist-tested, and safe for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers,” says Dr. Brissette. Plus, “every Clinique product is allergy-tested and 100 percent fragrance-free.”



2 / 10

Clinique High Impact Shadow Play Shadow + Definer ($34)

Another product you can count on to be eye-safe, allergy-tested and fragrance-free, Clinique’s High Impact Shadow Play Shadow + Definer is a dual-ended shadow stick that pairs an array of versatile shades together, one side in the form of a crayon eyeshadow crayon and the other a velvety powder in a sponge applicator, making for a fool-proof, all-in-one eye product that you can be sure will deliver a stunning look without irritation.



3 / 10

Thrive Causemetics Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara ($26)

One of the most popular tubing mascaras on the market today, Michael recommend’s Thrive Causemetics’ Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara not only because of its intense lengthening properties and easy removal, but also because of its eye-safe formula; it’s 100 percent vegan and formulated without parabens, phthalates, sulfates and synthetic fragrance.

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4 / 10

Neutrogena Precision Liquid Liner ($9)

Another one of Michael’s favorite eye-safe, allergy-safe eye makeup products, Neutrogena’s Precision Liquid Liner is smudge- and water-resistant and formulated with sensitive eyes in mind, so you can rest easy knowing that this hypoallergenic formula will stay all day without irritation.

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5 / 10

Burt’s Bees Eye Shadow Trio ($13)

Ophthalmologist-tested and formulated without parabens, phthalates, SLS, petrolatum, talc, synthetic fragrances or silicones, Burt’s Bees’ Eye Shadow Trios come in an array of neutral yet show-stopping colors, perfect for ensuring whatever shadow look you’re going for is as beautiful as it is eye-safe.



6 / 10

Chanel Le Volume De Chanel Mascara ($40)

The high-precision applicator in Chanel’s Le Volume de Chanel Mascara makes applying product evenly and thoroughly a breeze, and the water-resistant, smudge-proof formula ensures that no product fallout will get in your eyes and lead to itching, stinging or burning throughout use.



7 / 10

Lancôme Lash Idôle Lengthening & Volumizing Mascara ($30)

If a wide-eyed, fanned-out lash look is what you’re after, Lancôme’s Lash Idôle mascara might be your perfect match, with its carefully crafted wand and blend of lash-enhancing ingredients. Formulated without oils, parabens or sulfates, you can apply this lash-lengthening formula without fear of irritation.



8 / 10

Tarte Tartelette Clay Matte Eyeshadow Palette ($47)

Not only does Tarte’s Tartelette Clay Matte Eyeshadow Palette feature 12 stunning neutral shades perfect for a daily look or a sultry smokey eye, making the product a favorite of Michael’s, it also features clean ingredients and a soothing blend of nourishing ingredients made to suit the sensitive eye area.



9 / 10

Shiseido MicroLiner Ink Eyeliner ($22)

If you’re in need of a liner that can handle precise, intricate application and won’t smudge throughout the day, Shisiedo’s MicroLiner Ink Eyeliner is a great, eye-safe option, as the jet-black liner is formulated without parabens, sulfates and phtalates. Plus, it has Michael’s expert seal-of-approval—what else could you need?



10 / 10

Clinique Quickliner for Eyes ($25)

As we already know, you can trust any Clinique product around your eyes during allergy season and beyond thanks to the brand’s Eye Safe Promise, and this easy-to-use, sharpener-free eye pencil also made it onto Michael’s list of favorite eye-safe products, so it’s backed by docs and MUAs alike.



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