Good mascara for sensitive eyes?
March 5, 2016 8:41 AM   Subscribe

I'm finding I can't wear most mascaras at all these days – my eyes start watering like crazy as soon as I put it on, and just keep doing that for hours, so I'm looking for recommendations from folks with similar problems, and perhaps comments about a couple of products in particular...

I've read that Clinique High Impact Mascara (Black) is one good choice, and this would be an easy one to acquire wherever I am, so I'm curious if anyone has experience with this option. The other thing I read as recommended for makeup removal (for sensitive-eyes people) is Almay Oil-Free Gentle Eye Makeup Remover Pads, so would like to hear if anyone uses this, as well.

And finally, though I have a bit less reaction with eyeliner (preferably pencil type, brown), I'd be glad to get recs for that, too. Currently using MAC Fluidline eye pencil, which is not terrible, but not a total eyegasm either.

I thank you, my eyes thank you, all the people wondering why I'm walking around crying thank you.
posted by taz to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (29 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I use the Almay pads and have had no issues with them and find that they work well (but my skin is more sensitive than my eyes, so take my recommendation with a grain of salt). You can find travel sizes of the Almay pads at CVS and Target sometimes, so you might be able to try them out for minimal cost. They're also almost always on buy one get one 50% off at CVS.
posted by dayintoday at 8:51 AM on March 5, 2016

I use Alima Pure or Afterglow Cosmetics. I remove with coconut oil
posted by lunastellasol at 8:57 AM on March 5, 2016

Mascara: I have similar watery eye issues and I have great luck with tubing types like Blinc and L'Oreal Double Extend. I haven't tried any others, though according to this list, some (or all?) varieties of Clinique High Impact Mascara fall under this category. One great thing about tube mascaras is that you can remove them with warm water (just roll your eyelashes and pull gently until it's all gone).

Remover: My somewhat (but not overly) sensitive eyes have done best with Sonia Kashuk's eye makeup remover.

Liner: Have you ever tried applying eyeshadow wet with a liner brush? It won't have the same staying power as traditional liner and won't be as dramatic looking, but it should be far less irritating.
posted by phatkitten at 9:03 AM on March 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

I avoided mascara my whole life because of this, and only in the last few years started wearing Clinique Lash Power. It's the only mascara I've ever tried that does not leave me with raccoon eyes. I use Boscia Makeup Breakup Oil makeup remover. I've never tried the Clinique High Impact though.

For liner I've been using Laura Mercier Kohl eyeliner.
posted by maggiemaggie at 9:04 AM on March 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm with phatkitten here. Tube mascaras are the key for my eyes, moreso because of skin sensitivity than eye sensitivity, but IMO they're less irritating as a whole. Cleanup/removal is the real bright spot of these, no makeup remover needed, no smearing, just warm water and it comes off in oddly satisfying, weird threads. Here's a video.
posted by rachaelfaith at 9:16 AM on March 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

I also have sensitive eyes, and I've had good luck with Boujois Volume Glamour Ultra Care mascara. I typically remove it with Bioderma Sensibio H2O micellar water or Paula's Choice Gentle Touch makeup remover, or I just skip those and wash my face with a Paula's Choice cleanser and wipe away any bits that linger under my eyes with a toner.
posted by neushoorn at 9:22 AM on March 5, 2016

Count me in as another fan of tubing mascaras! I will give up my L'Oreal Double Extend when you pry it from my cold dead hands. No smudging, no flaking, no irritating eye makeup remover.
posted by antimony at 9:29 AM on March 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Nthing l'oreal double extend
posted by greta simone at 9:34 AM on March 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

I also use shadow as liner. Phatkitten is right that it tends not to be as vivid, but it gets the job done. Using a primer can help it pop more.

Also, if this is a recent and marked increase in sensitivity, is there a chance you're around more allergens? Maybe changed laundry detergent, a new indoor plant, need an air filter changed? Makeup that was previously pefectly fine suddenly causes constant watering during the spring if I'm not taking my allergy meds, even if I'm not currently noticing a strong histamine reaction. I'm not sure how common a phenomenon that is though.
posted by ghost phoneme at 9:54 AM on March 5, 2016

Nthing the tube mascaras. They are pretty magical, if a bit tricky to apply and remove.

I don't use any special makeup remover, because they all seem to be fragranced. When heavily made up, I rub a big glob of CeraVe cream all over my dry face, then wipe off with a damp washcloth, then wash as usual with usual CeraVe moisturizing cleanser.

No eyeliner recs. I don't wear it because I can't apply it competently.

My eye irritation lessened considerably when I switched to using cream eyeshadows instead of powders. They take some getting used to, but they last better for me than powders as well as the not looking like I was just pepper-sprayed thing.
posted by monopas at 9:56 AM on March 5, 2016

Yes, L'Oréal Double Extend. I found it through a question I asked here about mascaras that don't leave gunk in your eyes. Once it's on, it's really dry and doesn't run into your eyes. It's impervious to moisture that isn't warm water. Removal is easy and chemical-free.
posted by delight at 10:06 AM on March 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have tons of sensitivities and allergies, and I love Clinique. I wear Lash Power every day. I wear High Impact occasionally on the weekend (mostly because they include it in every "free gift" package).

I also like Clinique's Take The Day Off for Lids Lashes and Lips makeup remover. The Almay makeup removers don't bother my eyes but I don't find them very effective.

(Also if you're buying Clinique, check and see if there are any bonus offers going on! This unofficial website keeps a running list. Looks like there is a bonus at Dillards and right now. You could buy Lash Power mascara and Take The Day Off and get a free mini High Impact mascara.)
posted by radioamy at 10:22 AM on March 5, 2016

Physicians formula mascara!!!!!

I have eye allergies and it's the only one I've found that doesn't bother my eyes at all. I mean I literally stopped wearing mascara for like two years until I tried that. Available just about anywhere they sell makeup. I like the green tube but they all work. No itching or watering or stinging if it gets in your eye. Easy to get off but stays well.
posted by Crystalinne at 10:41 AM on March 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yves St Laurent is all I can wear. It offers none of the waterproof or other special qualities but it's truly non irritating and comes in great colors. It mostly comes off with warm water and a dab of gentle soap or make up remover or oil.

The tubing mascara started pulling my eyelashes out eventually fyi, plus black isn't really my color and the colors were limited.
posted by fshgrl at 11:18 AM on March 5, 2016

I have sensitive skin and use Clinique Naturally Glossy mascara. It may not be as high volume as you're looking for, but sensitivity-wise, I love it: no skin reaction, no watery eyes, no problems whatsoever.
posted by marlys at 11:37 AM on March 5, 2016

I have sensitive eyes, and I've been happy with Clinique's Quickliner pencil eyeliner. In my case I first have to put on eye primer before applying eyeliner or any kind of eye makeup. Right now I use this Etude House eye primer. No mascara recommendations since I don't wear it regularly.

To remove eye makeup I use either the aforementioned Clinique Take The Day Off for Lids Lashes and Lips makeup remover, or Lancôme's Bi-Facil Eye Makeup Remover. I've tried the Almay eye makeup remover pads but at least for me they were not very good at removing eye makeup.
posted by needled at 11:38 AM on March 5, 2016

Another vote for Clinique Lash Power. I wear contacts so have to be careful about what I use around my eyes and I've never had a problem with it. It's removed with warm water and until you deliberately try to get it off it will not budge. Personally I find High Impact smudges a lot (I used to work for Clinique and as mentioned up thread it's always in the bonus gifts and we got given it often in our training kits. I was never a fan.)

For eyeliner I use Rimmel Exaggerate Waterproof Eye Definer in Noir. It's a fine crayon so it never needs sharpened, it's quite cheap, and it really lasts but doesn't cause any irritation.
posted by billiebee at 12:14 PM on March 5, 2016

I have extremely sensitive, watery eyes. I also use the Loreal double extend, and I don't use the white primer end, I just use the mascara part. I don't notice any difference in the look, or the wear.

One of the only eyeliners I wear is Clinique water resistant eyeliner. It's a cake style eyeliner. It works really well for the upper lash. It doesn't work great for lower lash but I don't line my lower eye.
posted by peep at 1:30 PM on March 5, 2016

Oh, and the reason I stopped using the white end of the Double Extend is because it seemed to make my eyes sting and water.
posted by peep at 1:32 PM on March 5, 2016

I have sensitive, teary eyes too. I always get waterproof mascara because even if my makeup doesn't make me tear I'm likely to run into something else that does (people's perfume, smelly lunches in the break room.) My eyes are like faucets.

Tubing mascara did not work for me At All. It just made my lashes fall out. I like Lancôme Définicils Mascara. It replaces my all time favorite L’Oréal Featherlash. Since Lancôme and L’Oréal have pretty similar formulas, I would start with those.

For eyeliner, I do better with the pen formulas. I love gels and pencils, but those usually make me tear.
posted by 26.2 at 1:43 PM on March 5, 2016

Huh, I actually found that the tube mascara eventually made my eyse itch like a mofo (Two Faced Lash Injection).

I wear contacts, used to have pretty oily skin and have a bad habit of unconsciously rubbing my eyes when I'm tired, so I have always gone the waterproof route. I just got a tube of Buxom Lash Waterproof and am really digging it. Goes on well with no clumping, stays ON like no other waterproof I've tried to date, yet comes off easy enough with eye makeup remover (which, for completeness sakes, is a big pro size Agera Eye Makeup Remover courtesy of my aesthetician mother).

Eyeliner I've been using Smashbox gel eyeliner. Stays fairly well put, and comes off ok. I've heard that the Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner is better, though, and I'll be trying that out next. I also use a brown Chanel eye pencil which goes on very nicely, but I smudge the ever living hell out of it, so I'm not sure how long lasting it is with a defined line.
posted by romakimmy at 1:57 PM on March 5, 2016

Last year I walked into Sephora and asked the nice ladies to sell me the most gentle mascara they had. It was Josie Maran's argan oil mascara, and I have been happy with it. My eyes are sensitive, having once gotten a chemical burn from Clinique eye make up remover...
posted by AliceBlue at 4:38 PM on March 5, 2016

I have very sensitive eyes and I like Buxom Lash Waterproof a lot more than I like Clinique High Impact. I use Sephora Collection waterproof eyeliner and am very happy with that too.
posted by capricorn at 5:17 PM on March 5, 2016

I was on my phone earlier so I couldn't search/link but this is the Physician's Formula mascara that I use. Gentle natural-sourced ingridients. I'd at least give it a try before something more expensive because it's $10.
posted by Crystalinne at 7:04 PM on March 5, 2016

I just want to thank everyone for all the suggestions! I haven't had a chance to buy anything yet, but I will be trying some of the suggestions here, and will update re my personal results. Thanks again!
posted by taz at 5:31 AM on March 14, 2016

I bought some Double Extend based on all the raves here and I hate it. By mid-day it totally starts annoying me in a way that non-tube never does. It's not the sort of stinging chemical reaction that I can get with other types but more of just a nagging awareness about gunk on my eyelashes. It's unbearable by the end if the day. For me, I think the best thing is to buy new mascara frequently since my eyes really only get irritated by regular mascara when it's been opened and in use too long.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 7:30 PM on March 19, 2016

Well, a tiny update: busy days right now, but so far I managed to purchase and try Clinique Lash Power, and it doesn't make me cry. Yay! It's a bit of an effort to get it off, but I'm pleased to have at least one mascara that doesn't immediately result in this. Will be trying other suggestions, too!
posted by taz at 1:13 PM on March 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

How do you take it off taz? They probably said in the shop so sorry if I'm being obvious but it comes off with warm water. I just scoop warm water against my lashes a few times and kind of massage the lashes between my fingers and the mascara comes off easily in little tubes. It's quite satisfying :)
posted by billiebee at 5:06 AM on March 24, 2016

I think I have to get the hang of it! I used warm water with a washcloth, sort of pressing to avoid a lot of rubbing of the eyes. Ultimately, I had a lot of particulate matter sort of all over my face that took a lot of rinsing and wiping to evict!
posted by taz at 9:30 AM on March 24, 2016

« Older A short-term sure thing or a longer-term maybe?   |   What's good about being short? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.