The moment I turned thirteen, I began developing random sensitivities to just about every personal care product an individual uses. Shaving cream, contact solution, soap, you name it; one day it’s totally fine, and the next it’s become my worst enemy. That being said, when I started having an allergic reaction to my eye makeup, I have no idea why I didn’t realize what was happening immediately.
I will say, it didn’t start all at once. At first it was just one eye that would start watering about an hour after I put on my makeup. Then, after some time, it wouldn’t stop. A few months more, and it was both, and then eventually the watering was instantaneous. All that work to try and get those peepers looking perfect and by the end I couldn’t even keep the makeup on the first eye long enough to compare it to the second. It was at this point (a little later in the game that I’m proud of) that I decided to stop before things got any worse and find out what was going on.
After a quick search I discovered two things:
- I was definitely not alone, and
- It’s shocking how few brands carry a sensitive option.
I could get into the question of: these are your eyes, shouldn’t this come standard? But I won’t. This would only prompt a larger conversation about our current regulations on makeup. Instead I’ve decided to take a more positive approach and compile a few options for people suffering from similar issues.
While reading this list, keep in mind that everyone is different, and so too are their allergy triggers. Please, always do a patch test before putting your makeup on or around your eyes and face. And if your reactions are ever (or have been) severe, absolutely make sure to talk to your dermatologist before trying any new product.
I’m not going to lie, before I started using it, I didn’t really think of Almay as a brand for women my age. This is most likely due to the fact that it recently seemed to be my mother’s makeup of choice. It wasn’t until I was describing my allergy problem to her that I learned she used it because of the exact same problem. This was actually the first line that I switched to, and I’m still using it. The foundation covers and repairs my skin, the eyeshadows are well pigmented and last, I’m really happy with it. Lesson learned once again: always go to mom first.
2. Physicians Formula
Physicians Formula is fantastic. It’s one of the, if not THE, oldest makeup lines for sensitive skin. And it’s clear that they’ve never stopped improving since the start. While other brands may only focus on one or two areas to make their products “sensitive-safe”, these guys cover literally everything you can think of. What’s amazing, they aren’t just an option for sensitive skin (which all too often can mean sacrificing performance), they also happen to be America’s #1 brand in several areas. What’s even better, all of their products are available at drugstore prices. Especially considering what you can get in their kits, I really don’t know that a person with sensitive skin can get more bang for their buck.
While Colorescience is a little more pricy than our last two brands, you can definitely rest assured that the cost is worth it. Not only are their products made to be completely safe for those with allergies, they create them with top of the line ingredients that also act as protection AND conditioners. So not only will you not have to worry about having a reaction, your skin will actually be better after having worn it.
(Pictured: Colorescience Gel Eyeliner)
4. VMV Hypoallergenics
Despite the fact that this brand is a little less known than the others on this list, it has no problem holding its own. VMW definitely creates beautiful products, but (in my opinion) its best aspect is the fact that you can shop for what you need based on “concern”. So if you have literally anything from eczema to razor burn, you can be sure that you’ll be looking at products made specifically for your issue.
This is another fantastic brand that you can find at drugstore prices. No7 is a product of the “Walgreens Boots Alliance”, which is a pharmacy-led brand (the first of its kind) that focuses on health, beauty and wellness. The main product of theirs that I’ve used is actually their eyeshadow. For the most part, the color looks amazing and does last a good while. However, I will warn you to steer clear of the super shimmery options. It’s not that they caused a reaction, it’s that the powder never really showed up to start. Overall I really do like it, and I will definitely be buying again.
(Pictured: No 7 Exquisite Curl Mascara)
And another brand that makes me think of my mother. I’ve included Clinique in this list for two reasons: 1) Mom has sworn by it for as long as I can remember. What can I say? I trust the woman. We’ve already discussed this. And 2) Reading around, it really seems that this brand works for many people who’ve had little to no luck with others. So if this happens to sound like you, maybe swing by the counter for a sample the next time you find yourself at the mall (I mean, you’re already there anyway).
(Pictured: Clinique Blush in 108 Cupid)
And finally M.A.C. What Clinique was to me as a mother brand, this one was definitely for cool big sisters. I feel like everyone I’ve ever admired as having a really put together look always had M.A.C. stocked in their arsenal. So when I found out that they were actually a really great brand for those who tend to have reactions, I was really excited. I will say, it looks to me that the reason for this is just that their products are of fantastic quality, not so much that they’re focused on keeping things allergy-free. Just a little heads up/reminder about patch tests.
(Pictured: MAC Pro Conceal And Correct Palette in Medium)
Featured image courtesy of Kaboompics.com