Makeup for Sensitive or Allergy Prone Eyes

close of eye with lash extensions and shimmery eyeshadow.

Putting on eye makeup on a pair of sensitive or allergy-prone eyes can be an extremely difficult process. Whenever you try to give them a gorgeous makeover, they can become red, irritated, and watery.

Sensitive eyes also end up smudging the rest of your makeup look, thereby ruining your hours of efforts and leaving you highly frustrated.

However, the secret of a perfect makeup looks for sensitive eyes lies in the right preparation, the right choice of products, and the right way of makeup removal.

Knowing exactly how to prep your sensitive peepers for a dramatic makeup, which products to choose for avoiding smudging, which ingredients to avoid, and the best possible ways to get rid of makeup at the end of the day.

How Can Sensitive Eyes Ruin your Makeup

Imagine you are creating an awesome, painstaking makeup look for an exciting occasion.

The look is almost complete and you are excited to finish it with a pair of dramatic eyes.

But, the moment you start applying the liner or wearing your falsies, you end up with teary, bloodshot eyes. A perfect zombie-look instead of the glamorous look you were going for.

Sound familiar?    

This eye makeup horror story is actually more common than you think and none other than your eyes should be blamed for this. Teary eyes are basically caused by eye sensitivity, which turns any explicit and meticulous makeup into a watercolour mess in minutes.

Whether it is lining the eyelids or applying a few coats of mascara to the lashes, everything seems to be a nightmare when you know how the formula is going to ruin your hours of efforts by streaking the concealer, blush, and highlighter. However, it does not mean that you have to deprive your peepers of all those vibrant beauties available in the aisles of the makeup stores.

Suggested Article: How to Wear Glitter Makeup on Sensitive Skin.

What Can Cause Sensitive Eyes

inflamed, painful looking, sensitive eye.There is a multitude of triggers, from environmental to cosmetic that causes eye irritation and increases your risks of allergies.

But when your eyes start to water as soon as you apply makeup, it is essentially reflex tear that tries to eliminate the foreign substance present close to the eyes.

…and the good news? We have the perfect solution!

Instead of leaving those gorgeous eyes bare, just step up your eye makeup game with the right preparation, waterproof products, and a few smart yet easy techniques.

Get a lowdown on how to make the makeup for your sensitive or allergy-prone eyes smudge-proof with the right choice of products and how to remove it carefully.

How to Prep Your Watery Eyes for Irritation-Free Makeup?

woman cleaning her face whilst touching her face lightly with her finger tips.

So, ideally, your liner should not sting your eyes, your shadow should not irritate your lids, and your mascara should not be torturous for your lashes. But, how?

With the right preparation, of course!

Before your heavy eye makeup makes you teary, prep your sensitive twins rightly. Doing this means that you will not have to repeat the ‘deadly sin’ of leaving home without your mascara on.  

Opt for an Antihistamine

When it comes to putting heavy makeup on allergy-prone eyes, this well-known allergic treatment turns out to be a big relief. Taking an antihistamine prior to starting your makeup game actually eases the irritation of eyes and prevents them from going too red or watery.  

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Use OTC Eye Drops

Not keen on popping pills? Luckily, you don’t have to. OTC eye drops or artificial tears are there to soothe your eyes by flushing out everything troublesome.

Find an allergy-relief eye drop formula that comes with no preservative and apply it to your sensitive eyes right before wearing the makeup to avoid that panda eye look.   

Apply an Under-Eye Primer

Prep your under-eye area beforehand with an oil-free and waterproof primer or eye cream. This is so that your makeup becomes smudge-proof and stays for a longer period of time. It moisturizes the delicate skin thoroughly and quells sensitivity. It works by acting as a shield between the surface of the skin and various makeup products.  

Tip: Never ever forget to wash your hands with a mild hypoallergenic cleanser before you start.

Also, be extremely gentle while dealing with your eyes as rubbing or tugging may make them irritated easily.

Makeup Products for Sensitive Eyes to Prevent Smudging

Once the sensitivity is managed and your eyes are well-prepped, you can begin applying makeup. There is no dearth of choices for gentle and smudge-proof makeup products that are specifically intended to be used on teary eyes.     

Eye Liner

Liquid or gel liners suit sensitive eyes much better than their pencil counterpart as they help stave off further irritation.

Want to keep your discomfort to the minimal? Just stick to lining outside the lash lines and avoid lining the water lines.

Eye Shadow

Keep redness and puffy lids at bay by choosing a cream-based shadow formula over a powdery or flaky one. It should contain toxin-free mineral ingredients including mica, iron oxides, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, etc. for natural shimmer, shine, and safety.    


white mascara tube with orange lid on a peach backgroundShying away from mascara altogether to escape smudgy eyes? All you need is a waterproof and conditioning product that will give you lush lashes without making your eyes watery.

Make sure that the mascara does not come with fibres since they will make your eyes even more sensitive.

Makeup Brushes

Try using synthetic eye makeup brushes in place of natural ones as they shed less and do not make sensitive eyes more vulnerable to allergies.

Moreover, clean your brushes regularly with a mild shampoo to avoid contamination Also, stop sharing them with others to stay away from eye infections.

Tip: Always use high-end brands that offer hypoallergenic makeup products with minimal risk of infections and keep replacing the items with new ones from time to time.

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Ingredients to Avoid for Sensitive Eye Makeup

It is not limited to fragrance and dye, ladies. Your sensitive peepers may end up reacting to a significantly wide array of ingredients. Hence, make it a point to read the labels of your eye makeup thoroughly and skip the products having any of the following toxic ingredients:   


(propyl-paraben, butyl-paraben, and methyl-paraben)

These are the most common group of preservatives that are basically the devil in disguise for your watery eyes.


Being a replacement for parabens, it is used in a number of eye makeup items. But, the ingredient is infamous for triggering worst eye and skin allergies.

Essential Oils

From eyeliners to mascara, essential oils are found everywhere. However, they are full of allergens and can cause extreme irritation to your sensitive eyes.

two hands pictured with one pouring a small bottle of essential oils into the other.

Aluminium Powder

The ingredient that adds beautiful hue to your eye makeup is actually a nasty toxin that takes a toll on your sensitive eyes and exposes them to even greater risks for infections.


It contributes to the red group of colours used in your eye makeup products and has been found to cause a range of sensitivity issues.

Heavy Metals

Your eyeshadows and makeup brushes can come loaded with heavy metals like nickel, chrome, bismuth oxychloride, etc., which are known to make sensitive eyes teary.

Carbon Black

Many liners, shadows, and mascaras contain carbon black, which has been linked to red, itchy, and watery eyes.


When an eyeshadow formula comprises minerals in the form of nanoparticles, it is better to avoid that in order to keep eye sensitivity under control.


It is a compound of mercury that leads to severe itchiness and inflammation of eyes and hence, is avoidable in all situations.

Benzalkonium Chloride (BAK)

Found in all sorts of eye makeup products, this preservative is a pure nuisance in terms of sensitivity and allergy.  

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How to Remove Makeup from Sensitive Eyes?

Care is the ultimate key to the successful removal of all makeup from teary and allergy-prone eyes. While the task seems to be really hard, you can actually lessen your pain to a large extent just by following the right method and being a little more careful.

a woman dressed in a bathing towel, smiling, whilst cleaning her face with a cotton pad.

Use Micellar Water

No matter how much your eyes may be stinging, this ultra-mild yet supremely effective cleanser will leave them clean. Not only this but it will soothe any irritation.

Apply Petroleum Jelly

It may sound surprising but petroleum jelly can actually act as a perfect makeup remover for allergy-prone eyes.

The light and lubricated jelly make even the most stubborn waterproof makeup slide off. It does so effortlessly so that you do not feel even a little discomfort.

Try Baby Shampoo

When your eyes need special care and attention during the removal of makeup, a baby shampoo becomes a wise choice. It not only eliminates the traces of makeup but also leaves a fresh and beautiful smell behind.

hands holding a baby towards running water, as baby's hand reaches out to catch the water falling.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

If no commercial makeup removing formula works well for your super sensitive eyes, shift to natural alternatives. There are others, like extra virgin olive oil, that work great for getting rid of your eye makeup in the gentlest manner.

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Tip: Do not rub, scrub, or pull your eyelids or lashes while removing makeup.

It will worsen the condition and enhance sensitivity. Rather wipe away the makeup gently and wash off with a mild cleanser. It’s all about a dramatic eye makeover and nothing else.

Goodbye, sensitivity.

To learn more about eye makeup, click here to read our article on How to Wear Bright Eyeshadow with Confidence.

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