If you’ve got sensitive skin, you know how it goes. One minute you're happily applying your new foundation. The next...your skin is breaking out in angry red bumps or feeling itchy and uncomfortable.
Use our makeup for sensitive skin tips to choose the best cosmetics and avoid those most likely to trigger an itchy rash, painful breakout, or angry redness.
Makeup ingredients to avoid for sensitive skin
Sensitive skin becomes irritated when it comes into contact with particular ingredients - these are the ones to avoid when choosing the best makeup for sensitive skin.
Fragrances are a mixture of both natural and chemical ingredients and are usually problematic for sensitive skin. Opt for fragrance-free makeup instead.
The type of alcohol used in cosmetics is usually denatured alcohol (also called denatured ethanol) which is super drying and harsh on the skin. You’ll generally find it in many matte or mattifying products, like primers and setting sprays.
Just because they’re natural, it doesn’t mean sensitive skin can handle essential oils. Components of many essential oils are known irritants for skin leading to redness, flaking, and tightness. Enjoy their aromatherapeutic benefits with a beautiful candle or diffuser instead.
The goal of emollients is to smooth and soften skin, but some don’t play well with sensitive skin or acne prone skin. Steer clear of isopropyl palmitate, isostearyl isostearate, and myristyl lactate which you’ll usually find in lipsticks and powder cosmetics.
These chemicals are used as a solvent to dissolve ingredients into a consistent solution. Phthalates have been linked to skin irritation and more serious health concerns including endocrine disruption. This means they have an adverse affect on your hormonal balance.
Commonly used as a preservative in cosmetics and skin care, parabens can spark irritation and allergic reactions to sensitive, damaged, or broken skin.
The best makeup products for sensitive skin
Our line-up of sensitive skin-friendly makeup will deliver a flawless look without compromising your skin.
- Pegasus Liquid Liner
- Brow Pop
- Brow Magic
- Brow Love Soft Brow Pencil
- Lip Magic (does contain fragrance)
Eye makeup, especially mascara, can trigger skin and eye irritation if you’re allergic to the formula and it flakes off into your eyes.
No more itchy, red eyes with The White Knight Tubular Mascara. Instead of coating your lashes with colour like traditional mascara, the "tubing" formula encircles each lash with its own smudge-proof pigmented polymer tube.
There’s no flaking or smudging to cause irritation. Ideal if you have sensitive eyes, wear contacts or have lash extensions too. Read more about the benefits of tubing mascara here.
A final word on finding the best makeup for sensitive skin; always patch test first.
Patch testing simply means applying a little of the product to a small area of your skin. Then, leave it for 24 hours to see if your skin reacts. Test on a small area of your neck or inner wrist.
Sensitive skin makeup FAQs
What is the best foundation for sensitive skin?
Mineral foundation, either powder or liquid, is ideal for sensitive skin. Formulated with natural minerals, they are free of common skin irritants. Mineral foundations are also non-comedogenic which makes them ideal for acne-prone skin.
What is the best makeup for sensitive eyes?
Tubular mascara and paraben free liquid eyeliner are the best picks for sensitive eyes. Mineral eyeshadow is also a great non-irritant choice.
What ingredients should I avoid for sensitive skin?
Ingredients to avoid include parabens, fragrance, essential oils, phthalates, synthetic emollients, and denatured alcohol.
What is the healthiest makeup for your skin?
The healthiest makeup for sensitive skin doesn’t contain common skin irritants. For foundation and BB cream, look for formulas enriched with beneficial skin conditioning ingredients that help give your complexion an extra boost!
For more information about ingredients or to discuss the best products for your skin, contact our PONi team.
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