I have really sensitive eyes. From the moment I apply my eyeliner and mascara to the moments after I wash them off, my eyes feel dry and irritated and look pinker than usual. But, like a lot of women, I still have to wear eye makeup daily—and it can be a real pain.
Good news! Whether your sensitive eyes are caused by allergies, contact lenses or dryness in general, you don’t have to commit to a makeup-free look if that’s not your thing. The beauty market is chock-full of makeup that’s free of parabens, sulfates and other ingredients that can cause major irritation. Here, we’ve assembled the 10 best products to use on sensitive eyes of all types.
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Urban Decay 24/7 Waterliner Eye Pencil ($20)
When I put on eyeliner, my eyes typically water up, which causes my liner to smudge and fade, leaving blotchy spots all around the top and bottom of my eye line.
The solution is simple—makeup that stays in place under all circumstances. For paraben-free makeup that won’t wash away, this eye pencil is a go-to. Not only does it glide on smoothly, but it also lasts all day (even when your eyes don’t want it to!).
Burberry Effortless Blendable Kohl – Multi-Use Crayon ($30)
Tested on sensitive eyes and contact lens–wearers alike, this versatile crayon is proven to work well and safely on any eye type. Use it as a kohl, an eyeliner or the perfect tool for a smoky eye. The best part? This product doesn’t contain parabens, sulfates, or phthalates—a trio of ingredients that should be avoided because of their risky compositions.
Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara ($23)
When it comes to eye-damaging cosmetics, mascara can be a prime offender. Just thinking about swiping some along my lashes makes my eyes want to water. But, no matter how much I try to avoid it, mascara always finds its way back into my life—and this time, it’s here for good.
This formula delivers all the benefits of a sensitive mascara without giving up any of the volume, curl or length. Many products leave lashes stiff and clumpy, but this one uses malleable waxes to prevent any extra flakes from getting into your eyes.
Bobbi Brown Eye Makeup Remover ($41)
Taking off your makeup every night is a no-brainer, but even I’m guilty of forgetting once in a while. The problem is that eye products have a much greater chance of getting into your eyes while you sleep, causing your irritation to become even worse than before.
While some cleansers claim to do the job, not all of them are gentle enough for sensitive eyes. We like this makeup remover because it’s water-based and infused with aloe vera to soothe skin as it clears makeup residue away.
Lancôme Artliner 24H Bold Color Precision Eyeliner ($31)
Achieving the perfect cat’s-eye can be a nightmare for those of us with easily irritated eyes. One false swoop can cause our eyes to tear up, instantly diluting the eyeliner we have on and making a do-over a must. The quick solution is to get a waterproof liner, but that normally means sacrificing bold colors for something that makes less of a statement.
Not only is this pigment-rich liquid eyeliner perfect for a night out, but it’s also satin-smooth and won’t smudge even if you do happen to feel your eyes watering. And, because it’s free of sulfates and phthalates, you can relax knowing that you won’t experience any redness or irritation.
bareMinerals ‘Precious Pearls’ Eyecolor Trio ($15)
For contact lens–wearers, eye shadow can be a pain because the powdery substance can fall into the eyes and cause a wealth of irritation. Luckily, bareMinerals has introduced a limited-edition dermatologist- and ophthalmologist-tested blend that gives you a luxurious finish for any occasion.
Jane Iredale ‘In the Blink of a Smoky Eye’ Kit ($50)
With all of the redness, dryness and annoying flecks of makeup that get in my eyes, I tend to avoid eye shadow unless the product is specifically tested for sensitivity. Because these products tend to be few and far between, it’s hard to find quality eye shadow that fits the bill.
One product that has gone above and beyond expectations is Jane Iredale’s smoky eye kit. It is tested, long-lasting and doesn’t crease. Plus, if you’ve avoided eye shadow as much as I have, you may need a few pointers on how to nail the smoky eye. This kit comes with step-by-step guides to create the perfect shadowy look in five different ways.
NUDESTIX Eyebrow Stylus Pencil & Gel ($24)
The trick to getting an eyebrow pencil or gel that won’t wander down toward your eyes is to opt for one that is waterproof and preservative-free and comes with something to lock in the makeup. This pencil and gel set by NUDESTIX has all of that and more, giving you a triangular pencil tip to create various eyebrow stroke techniques and a set-in gel that will tame even the wildest of brows.
CoverGirl Lashblast Waterproof Mascara The Super Sizer ($7)
Full lashes can look amazing, but if you have sensitive eyes, it isn’t easy to get the look. Trying to put on falsies will usually just irritate your eyes, causing extreme redness as you apply them. So, what are your options?
Truth be told, you don’t need false lashes to get the voluminous look. This mascara is perfect for those who wear contacts and will truly imitate the falsie look without the hassle of actually putting them on.
Almay INTENSE i-COLOR Eye Shadows ($8)
For those with allergies that make it difficult to wear certain eye shadow, this product from Almay is a must-have. The hypoallergenic formula is perfect for sensitive eyes, and the range of colors allows versatility to complement any look.
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