If applying mascara usually ends in tears, here are the formulas that promise to be kind to those with sensitive or delicate eyes.
If you’re somebody who suffers with sensitive eyes, applying mascara can often turn into a bit of a struggle. If the formula irritates your already irritable eyes, chances are you’ll end up with more smudged around your eyes and down your cheek than is actually on your lashes. And we know, it’s really bloody annoying.
Anything from dust, contact lenses, air conditioning and allergies (hello, hay fever) can cause sensitivity so it’s always best to choose a mascara that’ll be kinder to both your eyes and lashes.
That means avoiding certain things like fragrance (which, when found in mascara, tends to be at a much higher concentrate than you’d think), hydroxyethylcellulose (HEC for short, it’s often used as a gelling or thickening agent) and isopropyl myristate (a solvent that can be super dehydrating).
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It’s also worth seeking out a mascara that isn’t difficult to remove. Excessive scrubbing at the end of a long day isn’t ideal for those with sensitivity, so finding a gentle eye make-up remover that’ll just melt away the formula with no effort required is as important as finding the right mascara.
However, some experts will recommend so-called ‘tubing’ or polymer mascaras which are waterproof and easy to remove with just hot water. When applied, they coat lashes in tiny tubes and bind to your natural lash until removal which makes them much less likely to cause irritation.
Keep scrolling to see which hypoallergenic mascaras we recommend.
The best mascaras for sensitive eyes
Burt’s Bees Multi Benefits Mascara
A 100% natural formula available in two shades (black brown and classic black), it’s infused with jojoba oil and glycerine so it can live up to its nourishing claims.
Clinique Lash Power Mascara Long-Wearing Formula
One of the most highly-rated tubing mascaras, this promises to stay put for 24-hours without smudging or smearing. The unique brush is designed to lift and lengthen even the tiniest of lashes, and it is ophthalmologist tested.
Glossier Lash Slick
Like the rest of the brand’s products, Glossier’s Lash Slick lives up to the hype. The ideal your-lashes-but-better formula, it separates and lengthens without flaking or smudging throughout the day and is allergy, dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested, hypoallergenic and non-irritating. Phew.
Kevyn Aucoin The Volume Mascara
A tubing mascara that won’t clump, smudge or budge and only requires one coat. It’s infused with jojoba oil to help nourish lashes, keeping them soft and looking shiny.
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Volume Mascara
Formulated by one of the most trusted sensitive skin brands, this is the ultimate mascara for anybody who suffers with sensitive eyes. It’s suitable for contact lens wearers, too. The micro-aerated formula works to volumise lashes without weighing them down.
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Freelance beauty editor Lucy Partington is obsessed with all things skincare, collecting eyeshadow palettes that she'll probably never use, and is constantly on the hunt for the ultimate glowy foundation.