We Found the Best Mascaras for Sensitive Eyes

Written by Bryce

The best mascaras for sensitive eyes are formulated with specific ingredients.

Literally millions of Americans have sensitive eyes, and that means potential irritants like mascara need to be considered very carefully before purchasing. According to Wesley J, Harnish, MD, a board certified ophthalmologist, “Any person can be allergic to any substance.” Sensitive eyes, are due in part to allergies to the world around us. “The immune system has developed very broad reactivity to various chemical components because over time we are likely to be assaulted by micro-organisms containing almost every chemical out there. In particular, the coating, covering or cell surface components may induce an immune reaction.”

When it comes to eye makeup, there chance for an allergic reaction or sensitivity is heightened thanks to “Numerous oils, pigments, and cosmetic chemicals used in mascaras. Even minute amounts can cause a reaction because the immune system is fooled into thinking it is being exposed to a tiny amount of micro-organism. Pigments and binders derived from plants or biological systems may be more likely to incite immune reactions.” That means that your favorite all natural eyelash formula may not be amongst the best mascaras for sensitive eyes.

READ MORE: Want to save on makeup? Try these hacks.

“Eyelid skin is the most sensitive skin in the body,” explains board certified NYC Dermatologist, Dr. Debra Jaliman. “It is very thin skin and it is easily irritated.” She stresses the best mascaras for sensitive eyes are free of Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT), a preservative, and Diazolidinyl Urea, also a preservative. You can find these ingredients in even the most natural- seeming mascara kits, so watch out.

For flirty, long lashes try Rimmel ScandalEyes Volume Flash Mascara. It’s free of harmful irritants.

For affordable, big volume try Rimmel ScandalEyes Volume Flash Mascara

So what’s a girl with a love of long, gorgeous lashes to do? Both docs seem to agree careful shopping and great hygiene are your best bets. We rounded up a few examples of the best mascaras for sensitive eyes thanks to ingredient lists free of the most bothersome preservatives and likelihood of flaking (because even that can cause sensitivity and redness). Everything from lengthening mascaras to totally affordable  made out short, much-needed list.

For thick, conditioned lashes try jane iredale Longest Lash Thickening and Lengthening Mascara. The plant-based formula is a no-brainer for sensitive eyes.

jane iredale


For over the top luxe, red carpet mascara that doesn’t budge, try Dolce & Gabbana Passioneyes Curl & Volume Mascara.

Dolce & Gabbana

“While manufacturers may carefully choose mascara ingredients that are hypoallergenic, any makeup has a small chance of causing an allergic reaction,” shares Dr. Harnish. “There is no way to predict if one is better than another for a specific individual. What is more important is having good hygiene and using common sense.”
He suggests living by the following beauty commandments:
  • Always remove eye makeup before bed.
  • Do not share eye makeup.
  • Dispose and replace eye makeup after three months.
  • Throw out your eye makeup after any eye infection.
  • If you have particularly sensitive eyes or wear contacts, never use lash extending mascara formulas as they contain fibers that can irritate the eye surface.
  • Waterproof mascara is more difficult to remove and potentially more irritating, so avoid it altogether.


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About the author


Bryce Gruber is a Manhattanite mom who can be found jet-setting off to every corner of the globe. She loves exotic places, being fully rested and writing for some of the world's most popular news outlets.

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