Eyeshadow for Sensitive Eyes - Tips to Avoid Eyes Irritation
Sometimes, the old saying “beauty is pain” rings true - especially for those of us who choose to remove body hair through methods like waxing, get a tattoo - or even undergo a cosmetic procedure (ouch!). But when it comes to eyeshadow, pain should never be part of it. If you’re longing to try out those new eyeshadow palettes but find they bring you out in a rash - we’re here to help - with our tips for choosing eyeshadow for sensitive eyes.
A Delicate Subject
The skin on your eyelids is thinner than anywhere else on your body - and whether we know it or not, throughout the day we’re probably touching our eyes more than we think, exposing them to bacteria and potential irritants. Add in all that screen time (thanks in part to lockdown) - and you have a recipe for redness and irritation.
But First - Eyecare
Before we delve into the wonderful world of eyeshadows - it’s important to take care of your eyes. Taking screen breaks, using blue light blockers and getting proper sleep and hydration are all important, as are the use of eye drops if those baby blues -or browns, or hazels - are prone to feeling dry (especially if you wear contacts).
Good skincare is the best way to prepare your skin for makeup - and that includes the skin around your eyes. If you’re prone to irritation, look for sensitive skin-friendly formulas and pat them on gently using your ring finger - this applies less pressure and helps to avoid pulling the delicate eye area.
Finally - take care in how you remove your eye makeup: not removing before bed is always a no-no, especially if you have sensitive eyes - so use a makeup remover formulated for your skin type and gently remove (don’t scrub!) product away using a cotton pad.
Keep An Eye Out For Irritants
If you have sensitive eyes, you might find certain products too irritating - while others develop a sensitivity to eye makeup over time (often due to conditions like contact dermatitis where an ingredient triggers your immune system, resulting in irritation.)
Fortunately, you don’t have to miss out - you can still find eyeshadow for sensitive eyes. If you’re not sure, look for potential irritants in products such as:
- Talc - this is often the main ingredient of most eyeshadow palettes - although happily, you can get talc-free brands.
- Colourants - some dyes used in eyeshadows can cause allergic reactions - so when testing, pay attention to which one you’ve used as it could help you work out what to avoid.
- Fragrance - it might seem an odd ingredient to include in eye makeup (whoever said “your eyes smell nice”?) - but can make an appearance in certain products - so watch out.
- Preservatives - again, this is a common ingredient used in makeup - keep an eye out for ingredients such as parabens, dimethicone or bronopol, which can all irritate your eyes and skin.
Identify The Culprit
One way to work out what’s bothering your eyes is by elimination - if you find your eyes start to burn and itch after using a product (but haven’t yet found out which), spend a couple of days barefaced before gradually introducing your usual products one-by-one. Once the irritation returns, you’ll know which ingredient to avoid in future.
Looking Good, Feeling Great
Now you know what to avoid, here’s what you should look out for:
Hypoallergenic Eye Makeup Products
These are designed specifically for sensitive eyes - and usually come without any potential irritants - but always check the label just to be sure. Ideally, they should be ophthalmologist tested.
These avoid the use of talc - and also help prevent any “fallout” occurring: specks of makeup that might find their way onto the skin around your eyes, causing an allergic reaction.
One fast route to contamination is through in-store makeup samples - avoid these and look for small (hygenically-packaged) personal samples instead.
Also - if you’re treating yourself to a makeover - ask that the brushes and applicators are all properly sterilized first.
How To Apply
The way you apply your eye makeup should be as gentle as the product you use - here’s how to avoid irritating your eyes during the process:
1. Use High Quality Brushes
The best brushes to avoid irritation should be gentle, soft and kept in mint condition: using dirty brushes is bad for anyone’s skin, leading to breakouts, irritation and eye infection - but especially so if you are prone to sensitivity.
2. Now Wash Your Hands
Of course, your brushes might be clean as a whistle - but if you’re applying makeup using your fingertips, this won’t matter - so first make sure your hands are clean before you apply your makeup.
3. Use A Gentle Touch
Take the same approach you would use when applying your skin care and go lightly - particularly if you’re using your fingers to apply a cream shadow. Pat gently, using your ring finger - and if you’re blending, try not to apply too much pressure.
4. Be Selfish
Since the start of the pandemic, we’re less likely to share our makeup than we used to be, but for people with sensitive eyes it’s even more important not to allow others to use your products as this could result in an infection.
Keep It Fresh
Just like the food in your fridge, makeup has an expiry date, too - so be sure to refresh your cosmetics bag to avoid irritation or worse yet - an infection. Eyeshadow contains preservatives that break down over time - so if your palette has reached the three-year mark - it may be time for a replacement.
Of course, the best way to avoid irritating your eyes with makeup is to avoid using it altogether - if you have a condition like chronic dry eyes, you can always play up the other features of your face such as your cheeks or lips.
But if you’re sure that you (and your eyes) would be relatively comfortable with trying out eye makeup, then why not give it a go? Just remember: check your ingredients, keep it clean, apply carefully and - most of all - have fun with your new look!