5 tips for wearing makeup with sensitive eyes

Having sensitive eyes doesn’t mean you shouldn’t feel your best. There’s no need to bin the makeup bag. Take a look at our top tips for wearing makeup with sensitive eyes 💄

Tip #1: Avoid alcohol, fragrance and preservatives in makeup 

The most important thing is to avoid sensitising ingredients in makeup. The main irritants are alcohol, fragrance (which is in many many mascaras!), loose powders (especially those containing talc) and preservatives that get into the eye, for example, preservatives in eye makeup removers. 

Preservatives are especially important to try to avoid when it comes to eye makeup removers. We think of our closed eyes as being an airtight seal, so nothing can get in, but actually, eye makeup removers can sit in the gaps between the lashes and then get into the eye itself. Long term or daily use of preservatives on the eye has been proven to wear down the tear film and ocular service - resulting in sensitive or dry eyes.

We do have to accept that preservatives in eye makeup itself serve a very important purpose - because the last thing you'd want is a bacterial infection from unpreserved eye makeup kept past its shelf-life. But the remover itself should be preservative-free. 


#Tip 2: Choose formulas that won't get into the eye itself

Choose cream or gel eyeshadows over powder eyeshadows (and avoid glitters at all costs). Loose powders often get into the eye and can be a major source of irritation. 

Avoid loose setting powders anywhere above the cheekbones and avoid setting spray entirely (these are often alcohol-based and a major source of eye irritation). Choose a lotion-based primer instead. 

When it comes to mascara, look for ones that don't flake - tubing mascaras can be very good in this respect - but again you need to look for a fragrance-free tubing option. 


#Tip 3: Don’t apply anything at all on the water line of the eyes 

The waterline is the exit point for the oil of our Meibomian Glands which lock tears onto the eye. Our tears are like our skin barrier - the first, and most important line of defence against allergens, irritants and bacteria. 

Most eyeliners are wax-based, which can easily clog these little glands. So keep them out of the waterline and rather apply them on top or below the lash line.  


#Tip 4: Try an elimination diet for your eyes 

Try one product at a time, for example, mascara for a week and figure out which one works best. Then try eyeshadow for a week, and again try to figure out which one works best. 

It might take a month or so but it will be well worth it to figure out what combination will work best for your sensitivities!


#Tip 5: Visit an optometrist to get to the root cause of the problem

You really want to get to the bottom of your runny eyes or itchiness - is it an allergy, dry eyes or something more serious? 

Have a check-up with your regular optometrist, rule out anything very serious and take steps to address the root cause of the problem (be it eye treatments like eye drops or in-practice treatments). 

After this, you can certainly still wear make-up and follow the above tips. 



The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. 

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