Help! Eye Makeup for Sensitive Eyes?

Friends, today I wanted to open up a discussion where hopefully you can help me out, as well as many others who may be looking for eye makeup for sensitive eyes and eyelids, especially those with blepharitis and other eye conditions.

eye makeup for sensitive eyes
Image: Laura Mercier 

Sensitive eyes and eyelids are pretty common now a days, and with the mass amount of eye makeup available, it can be so tough – and overwhelming to find something that works for you.

(That’s actually why I started this blog in the first place – to create a place to cut through all the thousands of products and see what actually works.)

I personally have very sensitive eyes, ever since an awful contact lenses experience a few years ago (thanks for that, J&J!) and it’s been quite tough. I thank God that my eyes are much better now, but I would love some help about eye makeup, as, you can imagine, I am super careful these days.

In fact, I only started wearing contacts and eye makeup recently after about a 2-3 year break (!!)

So I want to ask, for myself and to open up a discussion for anyone else who may also want to know:

What is the best eye makeup for sensitive eyes?

So far, I’ve had success with:




  • Benefit They’re Real! – yes, this one has not irritated my eyes at all.
  • Blinc Mascara, the Original mascara made for the most sensitive eyes. Is this the best one? I think so.

Eye Makeup for Sensitive Eyes

I’m still doing my own personal research and testing (and will also update with my findings), but I would also love to hear your thoughts.

I’m looking for the best eye makeup; that is hypo-allergic, fragrance-free, safe for sensitive eyes and contact lenses wearers.

Perhaps also something that is not too synthetic and free of the more harsher ingredients and known irritants.

Over to you…

Do you know any eyeliner, eyeshadows and mascaras that are good for sensitive eyes? What are some of your personal favorites, or recommendations?

Any advice or recommendations from those with sensitive eyes would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance! I look forward to hearing from you.

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  1. Hi Renee! I have the same prob as you! I think apart from eye make up products, try to avoid lining too closely to your waterline. I realise that it worsens the eye irritation condition for myself. I hope that helps!

  2. Watsons have the pointed cosmetic q-tips in their own brand line! It’s quite cheap for a whole tub. I’m interested to know about the sensitive eye makeup, because my own eyes itch every time I put eyeshadow or eyeliner on, which has put me off eye makeup almost entirely now.

    1. Ooh thanks! You’re the 2nd one who recommended it! I keep hearing this brand name but never tried it yet… where can you find them? x

  3. Glad to hear your eyes are doing better! I have been having eye issues as well, but they’re getting better as well.

    I haven’t been able to wear as much mascara because it seems to make my eyes dry, but then I tried Bobbi Brown’s new Longwear mascara and it hasn’t irritated my eyes at all. I don’t think it’s specifically for sensitive eyes, but it works for me! I’m actually going to try the eyeliner as well.

    1. Thanks Aseya! Forgot to mention that the eye makeup I’m using now is:

      Bobbi Brown eyeshadow
      Make up Forever eyeliner

      …and my eyes don’t seem to like it after awhile :/ I love BB’s makeup though! I’ll just have to say goodbye to her eye makeup 🙁

  4. Clinique. I’m allergic to some eye makeup, like Lancome which makes my eyelids crack and bleed (!) and Clinique is the one brand I always swear by for my eyes, fragrance free, hypoallergenic that I use first after a problem before I go back into some of my usual shades.

    1. Omg, crack and bleed?! Yuck, that’s awful. I was doing some research and a lot of people with sensitive eyes recommend Clinique – I’ll def try them, thanks! I’m already at their counter all the time since I use their skincare, so will pick up some eyeshadow/eyeliner the next time I’m there. 🙂

      1. which Clinique skincare are you using? I just tried 2 of their moisturizer for the eyes and couldn’t tolerate them because of my very dry eyes. I would love to find makeup & moisturizer that doesn’t burn my eyes or my sensitive face.

  5. I had rly sensitive eyes for a while, on and off, and realised using liquid eyeliners are the worst. So best is take something like crayon/pencil eyeliner. Something like Chanel. Super soft and glide on easily. Don line it in your eyes too deep or it will get in and start all kinds of hell! For mascara, gently tap outwards after putting a mascara base (shiseido not bad) Haha, hope it helps! 🙂

    1. Yeah, I reckon liquid liner is not as clean as well ’cause you’re using the same brush over and over… I’m using pencil now and sharpening it after every use. And like you said, just lining it “over” the lash line, not too deep in.

      Thanks for your tips, Cheryn! 🙂

      1. 🙂

        One is the hygiene, two is actually the quality of the brush. And when it gets to the corner of the eyes, it made my eyes water like mad and itchy. Yeah, so actually stay away from them! (Not to mention when you remove them from your eyes, there are coloured gunk inside them, lol)

        Hope your pretty eyes will be okay soon!

  6. There are many great brands for sensitive eyes that I use. I have sensitive eyes as well, so there was a ton of trial and error. Clinique makes very gentle eyeliners and mascaras, never has a problem with that. I would avoid Elizabeth Arden mascaras, as they seem to irritate your eyes if you apply it too close to the lashline. Urban Decay, Almay, tokidoki,Physician’s Formula, and Sleek makeup are brands that are gentle on the eyes, while remaining very pigmented and crease free. Dior eyeshadows are also very good, I have not had any undesirable experiences. If you would like a list of more brands, don’t be afraid to shoot an email. 🙂

    1. Ah I want to try Physicians Formula so bad! But I’ll look out for Clinique, that seems to be the most recommended! Thanks love 🙂 x

  7. Personally I get skin irritation easily and in bad cases, around my eyes as well. I find it is important to practice good personal hygiene by not sharing stuffs with people and i also realised I get eye infections easily while wearing monthly contacts, so now i’ve switched to dailies.

    Currently I’m using clarins eye make up travelling palette with mac eye liner and my eyes haven’t had any issues with it. And I’m alternating between sweet almond oil (almost all the time) and johnson’s baby oil (only rarely to remove heavy eye makeup) to remove eye makeup.

    And you can buy those precision tips in Daiso if you can find them among thousands of items in there, but I usually use cotton pad, fold in quarter and use the corner of the square for removing tight line 🙂

    1. Thanks Kay! 🙂

      Yeah, I’ve never shared makeup with anyone and I’m never wearing contacts again (even though I was wearing dailies and am very hygienic)… not gonna play around with my eyes anymore. I’ve never had ANY eye issues in my life until I started those J&J contact lenses, ugh.

      I’m trying to find the precision tips to apply eyeshadow/eyeliner though! I dont think my eyes can keep using the same brush over and over (I know I could just wash them, but washing them after every use is annoying!) so I’ll just use disposables… I’m so careful with my eyes know, it’s kinda crazy haha.

    1. We do! But it’s in a mall that I hardly go to, but if I’m ever there I will check it out, thanks! Apparently Watsons have them too (a drugstore here) so I’ll go looking. Thanks Penelope 🙂

      And yeah, it’s $2 for us here ^^

  8. Hihi,

    Glad to know your eyes have recovered enough for you to want to dabble in eye makeup! 🙂

    I’ve seen those q-tips in Daiso.. They come in pretty boxes for easy keeping too.

    As for eye make up, I’ve heard that Clarin’s has some good stuff going on. I saw someone mention K-palette and I think it’s worth checking that out. They have seriously fantastic eyeliners that don’t go anywhere once they set. You’d need a good remover though, otherwise they are not easy to take off. I usually soak my cotton pad with the remover and hold them there a few seconds before swiping off.

    If you’re going to use make up brushes, clean them very regularly to get rid of any bacteria too. I swab my pencil liners using alcohol every week too, after learning my eyes are sensitive.

    Good luck!

    1. Thanks Yvonne – I’ll have to check out this amazing KPalette eyeliners! I’ve heard about the brand a lot but never tried it.

      1. Hiya! I just read about VMV Hypoallergenics; they have a store at ION, B3. You may want to check that out! Their make up is dye-free!

  9. I don’t have any real recommendations but I know I just bought CoverGirl’s 24 Hour Lash Blast Mascara and I’m having a terrible time with flakes getting into my eyes and irritating my eyes and contacts. Ive had to take my contacts out half way through the day yesterday and today! Never again!

    1. Eeks, I was reading an article on mascara and their ingredients and apparently CoverGirl and Maybelline (and a lot of the drugstore brands) have dyes that are known to be irritating and they still add them in!

  10. Almay is great for people with sensitive eyes! Also, I have never, ever had a problem with Urban Decay, Benefit, or Tarte eye products. I can’t (and won’t anyway, since they test on animals) use Cover Girl, Maybelline, etc. because they make my eyes water and burn. Not pleasant. I caught onto that really quickly back when I first started trying to wear makeup.

    1. Thanks Mollie 😀 I’ve heard Almay is amazing too but we don’t have them here :/ I’ll have to find them online!

      Ugh, yeah. Just mentioned above how I was reading an article about mascara and how to read their ingredient list, apparently most of the drugstore brands (Maybelline being #1) has all sorts of dyes and ingredients that are known irritants, etc, but they continue to use it ’cause it’s cheaper to produce, etc. Makes you really wonder what goes on in cosmetics :/

    2. Benefit tests on animals. They must have changed their policy since you last checked. Stila just changed theirs a few months ago for example. Always check and re-check. 🙁

  11. Renee i need your help! it’s nearly summer in nz and i need a good daily facial sunscreen that doesnt cost the earth. any suggestions? xxxxx

    1. Sorry I only have one to recommend – Clarins UV Plus HP sunscreen. But that does cost the earth, it’s like SGD$60. :/ But it really lasts and it’s AMAZING.

  12. I use Silk Naturals– so far, no irritation. My problem is not really in my eyes but on my eyelids. I get contact dermatitis when I’m exposed to certain ingredients which, unfortunately, I still don’t know exactly which ones.

  13. Hi,I also have the same problem,been experiencing for quite sometime now,recently I bought clinique mascara,and its hypo allergic,but seems it doesn’t work,I can’t use the eyeliner not to mention eyeshadows.The moment I start applying them after a while my eyes start to burn a lot,they become red and start to have tears and I would want to remove it once ,because I can’t stand the feeling…well I did realize I do have sensitive eyes,my pupil doesn’t dilute the amount of eyes coming into my eyes,I have been through many eye specialists,they keep on telling me about the allergies,some say its the weather coz its a bit hot here in south africa especially during summer,and also dry.So now I dnt know what to do,I bought all this expensive make-up but I can’t use them,please I need some advice

  14. Hi,

    I’ve really dry sensitive eyes as well and my eye doc suggested I use eye drops daily. They do make a huge difference! I’d suggest avoiding milani eyeliners, they irritated my eyes badly!! For me I find that products made in Korea/China irritate my skin so I avoid them. Do note that loreal and maybelline in SG are made in china! 🙁

    Josie maran’s line (available at sephora sg) is good but her mascara flakes like crazy. Side note: love her sunscreen (MUST TRY if you have normal – dry skin).

    Perhaps try the bareminerals eyeliners and mascara. They’re supposedly more natural then other brands. However if you’re allergic to bismirth oxychloride, AVOID!!

  15. I have the same problem with sensitive eyes too, and Physicians formula isn’t available in my country either.
    You can get it really cheap of eBay (both and .com), way cheaper than you can get any other brands even including the postage for me. I’ve used the mascaras and theyre great, the eyeshadows are pigmented and dont irritate, and the face powders and lip glosses are also good.

    Hope that helps 🙂

  16. I have very sensitive eyes…I tried a lot of stuff but nothing really worked … I have just started using physician’s formula and it totally works for me….:)

  17. La roche posay (amazing mascara) and eye care comsetics (its from
    I hate to have sensitive eyes 🙁 i tried an eyeliner from clinique and it burned all day.

  18. Hi, I have super sensitive eyes, and a lot of allergies. It is super hard for me to find wearable, beautiful, desirable eye makeup. Mostly palettes, there seems to be almost no palettes for sensitive eyes.
    From my experience
    Clinique eyeshadow doesnt hurt my eyes. Just when i take it off theyre a bit red but nothing unbearable. Only, they don’t have enough matte colour, and great palettes, right now they got a limited 8 shades eyeshadow palette, that is the closest you’d get of a real(for people with no trouble putting anything on their eyes) neutral eyeshadow palette for sensitive eyes.

    Urban Decay Naked Palettes irritate my eyes and send right through burning hell in like 2 to 5 minutes. Heartbreaking.

    Almay eyeshadows, while they don’t irritate, the color pay off and pigmentation is just so sad. They look good on the pan, but its like wearing nothing to me.

    Sleek make up palettes. Oh my god. To my surprise, i can use some of their palettes, and i will get but a very minimum, bearable, redness/itchiness reaction after like 4-6 hours. Oh so special has been kind to me. And Au naturel, a little less kind, but kind still.

    Clinique mascara. Its bearable. After a few hours things will get itchy. But bearable.

    IM mascara, the mexican brand, is the kindest to my eyes.
    Physicians formula eyeliners, they don’t seem to irritate my eyes much. But the glitter and pigmentation is awful to me.

    Sephora eyeshadows. Not very bearable. Irritating.

    And to prime, i can only use Clinique.

    My biggest wonder is, are Dior eyeshadows fit for sensitive eyes? They are my absolute dream! And i really wanna try them out. But not gonna waste my money on expensive palettes that send me to hell again 🙁

    1. Really appreciate you taking the time to let us all know your thoughts, Jopng! Thank you.

      How funny, I too could never handle UD’s Naked palettes either, my eyelid would start burning within a few minutes as well! I wonder what it could be…

  19. I have always had dry eyes but I never had a real problem with them until I tried Lexli Skincare Acne line. The aloe is pharmaceutical grade and irritates my eyes terribly. I have quit using it but my ophthalmologist says my eyes have abrasions on them from being irritated and rubbed too much before I figured it out. So now everything I put on my eyes bugs them. I need to wear makeup to work but take it off as soon as I can. I need to find eye makeup and skin care that won’t kill my eyes. I thank everyone for the suggestions. I think I will try Clinique for skin care and eye makeup.

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