Having sensitive eyes can be a challenge at the best of times, all the more so when you wear makeup every day! Many eyeshadows tend to irritate eyes, causing the eyes to get watery and red. However, it doesn’t have to be so. Applying makeup shouldn’t be a nightmare and it doesn’t need to be either! With these best eyeshadows for sensitive skin in 2021, it can all be a thing of the past!
The skin around our eyes is one of the most delicate areas of our body. Therefore, the eyes are more likely to react sensitively to products than other areas. If you have sensitive eyes you should always look at the ingredients and choose eyeshadows with care. There are loads of eyeshadows on the market which contains harsh chemicals, steer clear of those! (Ingredient guide at the end of the article.)
What is Sensitive Skin?
If you suffer from redness, continuous stinging or having adverse reactions to makeup products, you probably have sensitive skin. Skin sensitivity can vary and so do the reactions, some people suffer ongoing sensitive skin while others may only suffer when it’s triggered. Either way, it’s annoying and causes irritation, dry, flaky patches, redness and overall discomfort.
What’s the difference between an allergic reaction and sensitive skin?
An allergy occurs when your skin comes into contact with a particular allergen which causes a reaction such as itching or a burning sensation and even rashes. Reactions, when you have allergic skin, can be a lot more severe than skin sensitivity. Another difference is that with sensitive skin your body will only react to the area that came into contact with the product, whereas, with an allergy, the reaction will be anywhere.
When you have allergies, you need to look for “hypoallergenic” products to avoid triggering an allergic reaction. Hypoallergenic basically means that specific products have fewer allergic substances or causes fewer allergic reactions to particular ingredients.
Although it is good to take note of these, sometimes brands tend to make claims that they’re ‘hypoallergenic’, but allergies and reactions differ from person to person so it’s never guaranteed. For allergies, I recommend going to the doctor for allergy testing and really get down on which ingredients you should avoid.
It is essential to know what to do and what ingredients to avoid when it comes to makeup on our eyes. At the end of the article, I have made a small guide on what ingredients you should avoid if you have sensitive skin and eyes along with some useful makeup tips.
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10 Best Eyeshadows for Sensitive Eyes
In this review on the best eyeshadows for sensitive eyes, we have included a range of prices and colours so that there’s something here for everyone!
“Be Original, Be Natural, Be Good”, BareMinerals’ tagline will tell you right off the bat what they stand for as a brand. They are a pioneer in mineral-based products and have since then expanded to the BareMinerals it is known today. Built on the effort to produce products that won’t let skin the breakout through using non-irritation formulas.
The Gen Nude Eyeshadow Palette in Rose is an excellent addition to your makeup kit. Not only will it not irritate your eyes, but it will also give you the rosy nude makeup look that you want to achieve.
With both matte and shimmers, you can create several looks! This palette features golds and pinks that will add life to your eye makeup look. The shades are blendable and will stay put on your eyes all day. The long-lasting eyeshadow colours are perfect for creating dramatic eyeshadow, professional eyeshadow and natural-looking eyeshadow looks!
It’s a completely sensitive skin-friendly neutral palette with cruelty-free and allergen-free ingredients. Made with mineral-rich ingredients, including cucumber extract that soothes and reduces puffiness around your eye area. It also contains moisturising borage oil for softer skin and antioxidant-rich algae that helps protect your skin.
100% Pure is a cruelty-free and vegan brand. They are a really great all-natural company! With their products, they ensure that they do not contain harsh detergents, chemical preservatives and artificial fragrances which makes them really safe for sensitive skin.
The Fruit Pigmented Pretty Naked II Palette is a beautiful everyday eyeshadow! These contain beautiful nude and blush tones that are perfect for any look. These eyeshadows will give you the natural and neutral looks that you want.
This is great for sensitive skin as there is no synthetic dyes palette used in this palette – instead, it’s made from vitamin-rich fruits and vegetable pigments. The key ingredients of these eyeshadows are strawberry, cranberry, Vitamin E, acai and resveratrol, which are filled with antioxidants.
“True To Nature” as Burt’s Bees tagline goes. Burt Bees are both eco-friendly and naturally sourced. These palettes are 100% natural and have been made for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers in mind. Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Eye Shadows are available in 4 different palettes, 2 warm-toned and 2 cool-toned.
These eyeshadow trios are simple and practical. These palettes are great to use on those fast-paced days. With just three awesome shades, you’ll be able to step out the door with a simple beautiful eye look. They’re also very compact and can fit in your purse easily.
Ilia strives to create skincare-powered makeup that offers natural and skin-centric beauty. Try it out for yourself with their The Necessary Eyeshadow Palette.
It’s a clean-formulated eyeshadow palette that is buildable and highly pigmented. Ilia’s palette has an assortment of matte, satin, and metallic finishes to achieve any look. Their formulas are velvety and allow for a smooth application. Super easy to blend and with very little fallout.
You’ll love that for a small palette, they’ve managed to add a convenient mirror. Ah, it’s the little touches!
This product is vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, and talc-free, and contains key active ingredients vitamin E, jojoba seed oil, and honeysuckle flower extracts. It has beautiful hues that act as your antioxidants and provide nourishment at the same time.
It’s an all-around eyeshadow palette that extends itself in helping you feel confident, without asking for your skin’s health in collateral!
If you’re leaning towards greener and cleaner products this year, Ilia Beauty The Necessary Eyeshadow Palette is the one for you! With its 9 beautiful warm neutral shades, you will have plenty to experiment with.
Jane Iredale’s motto is to get the look you love without sacrificing the skin you want. And I gotta say, that’s a motto I love! You should never have to compromise on your skin to look beautiful. All her makeup is formulated without harmful ingredients and toxins. In fact, in their place are ingredients that will benefit your skin. Fancy that, makeup that helps strengthen your skin! With these good-for-you ingredients and natural ingredients, Jane Iredale makeup is suitable for even the most sensitive skin.
Formulated with ingredients like Mica, Pine Bark and Pomegranate Extract, they help to calm, soothe, and protect the eyes.
Jane Iredale Eyeshadow Kit comes in 9 different palettes. Each one comes with 4 shades and a big base shade. The palettes are mostly neutral with one or two featuring purples and blues. These palettes may seem basic, but they are useful and do exactly as they say. Don’t underestimate them, sometimes all we need is the basic good stuff and that’s what these palettes are! That’s not to mention that if you love neutral palettes, you will love these!
The eyeshadows are high quality, easy to apply and last really well without creasing. If you suffer from sensitive eyes, these palettes might just be the answer to your problems!
OFRA has become a beauty vlogger favourite brand for a while now and they have grown a steady following over the past years. They are cruelty-free and vegan and they don’t disappoint with their products.
Ofra Signature Palette in Radiant Eyes is free of harmful ingredients and make their products with your health in mind! The shades are creamy and blendable, they are also very buildable and very pigmented. As for the packaging, it’s very fitting and sleek looking!
Nude by Nature is committed to creating makeup that works with your skin. They are natural and cruelty-free. They fully disclose the ingredients on their website and avoids preservatives, bad chemicals and synthetic ingredients.
The Natural Wonders Eye Palette is a 10-pan eyeshadow that is inspired by Australia’s colour story. The shades are wonderful to transform from a day to a night look. You get the right mix of matte and shimmers as well as neutrals colours as well as some blue shades! It applies smoothly and gives an even colour payoff as you blend it into your eyes.
The ingredients on this palette are desert lime, Kakadu plum, quandong, sweet almond oil and sandalwood kennel oil. As you can see, it is all from natural substances that are rich in antioxidants and helps with your skin as well. They avoid any chemicals that can be irritating to the eyes. So you’re guaranteed to have a sensitive-skin friendly eyeshadow with this palette!
From an all-vegan, 100% cruelty brand like Pacifica Beauty, makeup becomes completely worry-free and all the more enjoyable! With this brand, you don’t need to worry about ingredients that will irritate your eyes, you can concentrate on the more important things like the right colour and look!
Pacifica Beauty Pink Nudes Mineral Eyeshadow Palette is infused with coconut water and minerals to keep your eyes hydrated and nourished the entire day.
So go for it! Go fresh naked or rock some brown smokey eyes with this palette. This palette will become your daily go-to set. It’s one of Pacifica Beauty’s collections of ten coconut-infused eye shadows in matte pinks, warm nudes and browns with luminizing highlighters for some popping moments. These are highly-pigmented mineral eye shadows that have velvety finishes and gorgeous payoff, in a range of super wearable staple colours.
Aside from the fabulousness of this palette, you’ll love the sustainability of Pacifica as a company. You can send back your empties, they recycle the plastic and you get loyalty points! It’s a win-win for all!
Celebrities creating their own makeup brands is becoming quite the trend! Another big trend is clean brands popping up all over the place. Jessica Alba, founder of Honest Beauty strives to create products that are all about being good for the skin. Since their relaunch in 2018, she streamlined her products from 83 to 40 beauty products, with all of them being clean and safe for the skin.
In her collection, they have the Honest Beauty ‘Get It Together’ Eyeshadow Palette. “made without Parabens, Paraffins, Talc, Mineral Oil, Silicones, Petrolatum,” as they promote it. With the help of her creative colour consultant, Daniel Martin, they produced a 10-shade palette that is beautiful. I love the packaging, it has that clean look to it that makes you think the product is good for you, yet at the same time, it has an elegance to it!
The shades are highly pigmented, you can use it for a daytime look, but personally, I think it’s more of a glam evening sort of palette. This is another great palette for those with sensitive eyes!
Lorac was created when Hollywood beauty legend and PRO makeup artist Carol Shaw was fed up with watching her celeb clients suffer from skin irritations due to the wrong ingredients in makeup. She created Lorac, which prides itself in caring about your skin. The Lorac Pro Palette 3 is a professional eyeshadow palette for the everyday woman. Their formulas are professionally created with gentle and soothing ingredients. Lorac Pro definitely embodies what a high-end brand should be luxurious, reliable and high-quality.
The Lorac Pro Palette 3 has 16 shadows with a combination of both mattes and shimmer. Their eyeshadows have great pigmentation are and easy to blend with little to no fallout. The shadows aren’t irritating to the eyes and work perfectly for those with sensitive skin.
Tips For Sensitive Eyes
Below I’ve put together a few small yet easy tips that will help you keep your sensitive eyes from getting irritated!
Cleaning brushes is annoying, I’ll admit it! However, not cleaning them lets the bacteria build up and cause irritations and infections on your skin. This is worse for those with sensitive skin. Ideally, you should clean your brushes at least once a week to avoid bacteria and germ build-up.
Avoid Your Waterline
It is best not to apply anything on your waterline, especially if you have sensitive eyes. Avoid applying makeup that will block the oil glands in our eyes. Try applying it on your lash line instead.
Bad Reaction? Throw It Out!
If you notice a reaction to a certain product, even a slight reaction, it is a good idea to throw it out. Often we think that maybe the skin needs to adjust to the product. Usually, it means you’re simply not compatible! Keeping it will only cause more harm than good to your skin.
Replace Your Makeup Regularly
Yes, makeup expiration is real (I’m talking to myself too!). Since mascara and eyeliner are more prone to dry out faster, it causes bacteria to build up a lot quicker. My advice, replace them every 3 to 6 months. Eyeshadows last a little longer with a maximum of 2 years before you need to toss it.
With all that crucial information in mind, I know you’re excited to know the best eyeshadows for sensitive eyes! So let’s get straight into it.
Take Note of Bad Ingredients
A brand or a product can easily market as ‘all-natural’ or ‘hypoallergenic’, but that doesn’t mean you should grab it and go. I recommend reading the list of ingredients on all products before purchasing, (or check on a blog like this one!). Below I have listed ingredients to avoid for sensitive eyes, but truthfully, everyone can gain from avoiding these ingredients. As you will read, many of them can cause problems that are worse than your eyes reacting. I’m not saying you should say goodbye to your favourite products, I’m certainly not ready to do that. However, the first step is awareness! One baby step at a time!
List of Ingredients to Avoid
|Benzalkonium Chloride (BAK)||This ingredient is a preservative found in mascara, eyeliners and even makeup removers. Studies have found that BAK is toxic to the epithelial cells, which provides a smooth surface to the cornea and helps absorbs cell nutrients as well as keep bacteria and dust away from our eyes. With BAK on the list, it will prevent the epithelial cells from performing its function.|
Look out for: Quaternium – 15 and Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride
|Aluminum Powder||Where does pigment from eyeshadows come from? Aluminium Powder. It’s been said that Aluminium Powder increases toxicity levels in our bodies that are harmful to our organs.|
Look out for: aluminium, pigment metal or LB Pigment 5
|Carnauba Wax||To make eyeliner and mascara waterproof and firmer, they add carnauba wax. Unfortunately, it only clogs oil glands on our eyelids which can lead to dry eyes. |
Look out for: Prime Yellow Wax
|Kohl||You’ve probably seen eyeliners that are called ‘kohl’. Some products are called this just to name the specific shade and they don’t actually contain true kohl. When a product does have kohl, you should stir away from it. Kohl has salts of heavy metals like antimony and lead. These have harmful effects and can be an allergen which leads to irritation and rashes. Even more dangerous effects are respiratory problems, lung cancer and brain damage.|
Look out for: kajal, al-kahl or Surma.
|Carbon Black||Found in eyeshadows, eyeliners and mascara, this is another ingredient proven to have a link with cancer and toxicity levels in the organ system.|
Look out for: acetylene black, carbon black, lampblack, thermal black, D & C Black No.2, furnace black
|Thimerosal||This is another preservative that is found in eyeshadows because of it’s anti-fungal and antiseptic properties. As much as it sounds like it has a useful purpose, Thimerosal can be toxic and lead to brain damage.|
|Talc||Talc is a filler that is added to eyeshadows, which helps with the amount of ‘kickback’, especially on powder products. But research has shown that talc can be linked to cancer. There are still debates about this, but my advice, it’s always better to be cautious!|
|Ethanolamine compounds||This ingredient is not just found in makeup, but in skincare products too, like sunscreen. It has the possibility of contamination of nitrosamine, which links to cancer.|
Look out for: DEA, TEA and MEA
|Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives||These are added as preservatives found in hair, nail and makeup products. They can cause allergies, irritation and are also linked to cancer. |
Look out for: DMDM hydantoin, urea and Quaternium-15
|Heavy metals||Green and metallic shadows are the products that are most likely to contain heavy metals like nickel and chrome. They are linked with respiratory concerns and brain damage. Nickel can be an allergen which leads to watery and dry eyelids.|
|Titanium dioxide||Typically found in sunscreen, titanium dioxide is safe, but when it’s in powder form, it can be problematic and is also a possible carcinogen. |
Look out for: TiO2
|Parabens||Parabens are widely known to be bad for the skin in general. They are used as preservatives to keep products on the shelves longer. The toxic effect it has is mostly in our bodies, however, it can also decrease oil production in our eyelid glands which can lead to dry eyes.|
Look out for: Propylparaben, butylparaben and methylparaben
It’s great to know that there are loads of eyeshadows available for sensitive skin now on the market. 20 years ago, most of these brands didn’t exist yet and awareness to sensitive skin was a far cry from where it is now. There are loads of eyeshadows for sensitive skin, but I have put together the ones that I think are the best eyeshadows for sensitive skin in 2021.
Do you have sensitive skin? Let me know what your go-to eyeshadows are for your sensitive skin in the comment section below!
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