Best mascara for dry eyes?
December 27, 2013 9:39 AM   Subscribe

I was given a few no-no's for eye makeup by the eye doctor: must not be waterproof, avoid alcohol, and no oil-based makeup removers. How do I find brands/products that meet the above criteria?

After experiencing very dry, extremely irritated eyes, the eye doctor diagnosed me with meibomian gland dysfunction. She told me a few things to avoid with eye makeup (namely mascara) and I am having difficulty finding products that meet her criteria.

- must not be waterproof
- little/no alcohol
There are so many names and derivates of alcohol-- what are some of those names so that I know to avoid them? What are some brands that do not use alcohol or similar drying agents?
- no oil-based makeup removers
Same as above. What are some ingredients that are definite no-no's and indicate that they are oil-based? Any recommendations? I currently use this but have found that it takes a bit of rubbing and multiple cotton pads to get everything off even though I am definitely not heavy-handed in my makeup application. Also, mineral oil and petrolaum are near the top of the ingredient list.

All my googling for "mascara for dry/sensitive/contact lens eyes" turns up recommendations and raving reviews for Tarte mascaras (Lights, Cameras, Lashes! & Gifted Amazonian Clay), both of which I already own. They're good mascaras, but I don't find them to be particularly pampering to my sensitive eyes and tend to go on clumpy.

I see that 100% Pure Cosmetics is alcohol-free-- has anyone used this brand before? I purchased Blinc mascara from Sephora a few days ago but have not had a chance to try it-- thoughts on Blinc? I do not wear makeup every day, but would like to be able to wear eye makeup every few days without worrying about irritating and damaging my eyes further.

Dry eye sufferers of Metafilter: what have you found to be the best, non-irritating, yet high-performing eye makeup products/brands? Thank you!
posted by lovelygirl to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Oops, forgot to note that I am not really concerned with claims of lengthening, curling or volumizing. A plain mascara that meets the above requirements is perfectly fine. If anything, I prefer a mascara wand that actually separates the individual lashes instead of leaving a few spidery clumps.
posted by lovelygirl at 9:43 AM on December 27, 2013

This is not a product recommendation, but I have found that using a metal eyelash brush eases the clumpiness a great deal.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 9:44 AM on December 27, 2013

I haven't used these exact products, but Paula's Choice in general is very good for various sensitive skin issues. Here is her Mascara and her Makeup remover, both of which seem to fit your requirements, and may be worth looking into.
posted by brainmouse at 9:45 AM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Blinc looks like it has alcohol in it, as does my favorite no-clump mascara (Covergirl Clump Crusher -- that one has it much farther down the ingredients list, though.) The Suncoat Natural Mascara might work for you, based on the ingredients list. If you can't find a mascara that doesn't irritate your eyes, you might consider experimenting with false eyelashes (which do come in more natural, non-drag-queen styles!); I found an eyelash adhesive that claims to be good for sensitive eyes, though I have no personal experience with the product.
posted by KathrynT at 10:05 AM on December 27, 2013

Have you tried looking at cake mascaras?
posted by kellyblah at 10:15 AM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

I too came to recommend Cake Mascara.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:29 AM on December 27, 2013

I use and love the Blinc. It stays in place and comes off easily with a hot washcloth and some wiping-- no rubbing. I don't have sensitive eyes though.
posted by travertina at 10:31 AM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

You might like Tall, Dark and Handsome from The Balm -- it does not appear to have alcohol in the ingredients. It is natural-looking and I have found it doesn't accumulate underneath my eyes like other mascaras, but it isn't a pain to remove.

I remove it with this cleanser (which thoroughly removes my other makeup as well).
posted by Lycaste at 11:04 AM on December 27, 2013

I rarely wear mascara because my eyes are very sensitive to it, too. Here's one that I'd love to try, but can't get where I am: Ecco Bella FlowerColor Natural Mascara.

Ingredients: Purified water, carnauba wax, palmitic acid (from palm oil), clay, phenoxyethanol and iron oxides.

They say: "We leave out the lacquer, shellac and alcohol and put in natural clay and iron oxides. This mascara wraps around and lengthens lashes to their longest. It's water resistant, but not waterproof. Gentle, and easily removed. Comes with its own mirror. Excellent for sensitive eyes. Vegan, gluten, fragrance & paraben-free."

It seems to have high reviews on Amazon and at Makeup Alley.

You can research mascaras on the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database; the lower the number the safer. Unfortunately, it looks like the lowest rated mascara (Boots No7 Lash 360) is no longer available. You can check out makeup removers there, too. They may not give the full list of ingredients, but you can select from the safest and then check ingredients on the product sites. This Jane Iredale botanical makeup remover, for example, rates well, on the Skin Deep database, and according to the ingredients list, seems not to have oil.
posted by taz at 11:16 AM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Have you tried filming type mascaras that wash off with warm water? I don't know any specific one, but I've heard of them (Clinique may have one?), but don't know whether you can find one without alcohol.
posted by LoonyLovegood at 12:35 PM on December 27, 2013

Maybelline Great Lash (hot pink and bright green container) is my go-to mascara for my blepharitis-y sensititive eyes. By the end of the day, or about 8 to 10 hours after application, it tends to flake a little but it certainly does the job. It is not waterproof. I tend to alternate mascara days with days that I just use eyeliner or little to no eye makeup.

Regarding makeup remover, I wash my face at the end of the day with Johnson's baby shampoo and warm water. The mascara usually comes off pretty easily.

Bonus: Baby shampoo is also recommend by the American Optometric Association for keeping your eyelids clean and crust free.
posted by donut_princess at 12:54 PM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

This may also be contra-indicated by your eye condition, but you may want to consider temporary eyelash tinting as a replacement for mascara.
posted by gingerbeer at 1:41 PM on December 27, 2013

Paula's Choice has chat support and I bet they can tell you whether her mascara would fit your needs and possibly even recommend a different one if not.
posted by Salamandrous at 4:06 PM on December 27, 2013

I rarely wear mascara because my eyes are very sensitive to it, too. Here's one that I'd love to try, but can't get where I am: Ecco Bella FlowerColor Natural Mascara.

Ingredients: Purified water, carnauba wax, palmitic acid (from palm oil), clay, phenoxyethanol and iron oxides.

I would be careful with this because of the phenoxyethanol. Generally, anything with an -ol ending is an alcohol.
posted by rue72 at 12:33 AM on December 28, 2013

On a slight tangent, I've had very good luck with microfiber face cloths for removing makeup with no product or cleanser required.
posted by Lexica at 2:42 PM on December 28, 2013

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