Eye Makeup Tips For Sensitive Eyes

Written by Shalini Roy

Do you have sensitive eyes? Is that the reason why you never wear any eye makeup? Well, the good news is you don’t have to avoid eye makeup altogether if you have sensitive eyes. With the right makeup tips and tricks, you will be able to rock a smokey eye without worrying about watery and itchy eyes. Want to know more about these tips and tricks? Keep reading to find out!

Why Do My Eyes Get Irritated When I Wear Makeup?

People with sensitive eyes know that their eyes get irritated if any makeup touches the area around their eyes. However, there are also many people who develop sensitivity to eye makeup over time. This kind of reaction to eye makeup can be blamed on contact dermatitis.

Contact dermatitis is a skin condition in which a substance triggers your immune system, resulting in your skin becoming itchy and irritated.

Contact dermatitis caused due to eye makeup can be of two types – allergic contact dermatitis or irritant contact dermatitis:

  1. Allergic Contact Dermatitis: You may be allergic to one or more ingredients used in the makeup products. This triggers your immune system and results in your eyes becoming itchy and red. Other symptoms of allergic contact dermatitis are hives and swelling.
  2. Irritant Contact Dermatitis: This condition develops over time with constant and excessive exposure to makeup products. This is why you might find your skin reacting to certain makeup products that you had been using without any issues in the past. The common symptoms of irritant contact dermatitis are itching, burning, and stinging of the eyes. When it is severe, you might get blisters due to irritant dermatitis.

There are certain ingredients in eye makeup products that can cause allergic reactions in your eyes. Let’s check out these ingredients below.

What Ingredients In Eye Makeup Products Cause Allergic Reactions?

  • Talc: If you look closely at the ingredient list of any eyeshadow, you will see the main ingredient is talcum powder. Overuse of talc around your eyes may cause irritation.
  • Preservatives: Almost all eye makeup products contain some kind of preservatives, like bronopol or dimethicone, which may cause skin and eye irritation.
  • Colorants: The dyes used in eyeshadows may also cause allergic reactions.
  • Fragrances: Most of the time, the fragrances that are used in makeup products are the primary reason behind an allergic reaction.

So, what can you do when you love makeup but have sensitive eyes? Well, there are some makeup tips that you can follow. Check them out in the next section!

Eye Makeup Tips for Sensitive Eyes

1. Opt For Hypoallergenic Makeup

The first rule of buying makeup when you have sensitive eyes is to go for products that are hypoallergenic. Hypoallergenic products contain no ingredients that may cause any allergic reaction in and around your eyes. Additionally, you can go for unscented makeup products to reduce the chances of causing any other irritation to your eyes.

2. Cream Eyeshadow Over Powder Eyeshadow

Choosing a cream eyeshadow over powder eyeshadow can be a good choice to avoid any allergic reaction. Basically, powder eyeshadow contains talc, which is a known irritant. Powder eyeshadow can also spread and fall out around your eyes and cause an allergic reaction.

3. Change The Way You Apply Eye Makeup

Apart from the makeup products, the way you apply makeup can also cause eye irritation. Using hard strokes to apply makeup on your eyelids can cause irritation. Hence, being gentle while applying eyeshadow should be your main goal. The best way to apply makeup on sensitive eyes is by using a patting motion and blending it out without applying too much pressure.

4. Opt For High-Quality Brushes

Another thing that you should keep in your mind is that using unclean brushes or brushes with rough bristles can also cause eye irritation. Instead, use brushes that have soft bristles and wash your brushes regularly to minimize any eye irritation.

5. Avoid Your Waterline

Wearing eyeliner on your waterline gives you a defined look while enhancing the beauty of your eyes. However, if you have sensitive eyes, it is better not to line your waterline with any kind of eyeliner to avoid irritation. If you still want a defined look, you may apply the liner under your waterline.

6. Keep It Simple

It’s best to avoid using too many eye makeup products if you have sensitive eyes. For example, if you are planning to wear eyeliner, you can go eyeshadow-free for that look. Using tons of eye makeup products at once may irritate your eyes and cause an allergic reaction.

7. Remove Your Makeup Thoroughly

Removing eye makeup properly at the end of the day is one of the most important things you need to do to keep your sensitive eyes safe. Avoid going to sleep with makeup on. Use a good makeup remover or cleansing balm to gently remove all your eye makeup.


It can be intimidating to put any makeup on your eyes when they itch or tear up constantly. However, with the right makeup tips and products, you can wear eye makeup without any worries. We hope this article has helped you better understand how to use makeup when you have sensitive eyes.

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Shalini Roy has a Master's degree in English literature. She is an ambivert whose expressions have found their way in writing. She channels her passion for all things fashion and makeup to write engaging content related to Beauty and Lifestyle. She first found her penchant for writing through poetry and serving on various editorial boards of Model United Nations conferences. Shalini is a lover of spoken word poetry, books, and movies.