How To Wear Make-Up If You Have Sensitive Eyes
How To Wear Make-Up If You Have Sensitive Eyes

How To Wear Make-Up If You Have Sensitive Eyes

If you have sensitive eyes, you probably find it difficult to wear that much eye make-up. The good news is there are things you can do to alleviate the issue – whether that’s avoiding waterproof formulas or using only oil-based make-up removers. Here are the tips a make-up artist and optometrist recommend you take on board…
By Rebecca Hull

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Make-Up Advice

With Make-Up Artist Zara Findlay

Get Your Mascara Right

“Those with sensitivities don’t need to avoid mascara entirely, but they do need to choose their formula carefully. Don’t buy any that contain ‘fibres’ as these can flake off into the eyes, causing them to become irritated. Instead, try tubing mascaras which use polymers that wrap around the lashes and stay put. However, they also come off easily with a little bit of warm water. Sometimes, a bit of lash curling and a thin layer of mascara is all you need – don’t feel pressured to layer up too much.”

Use Powder As A Liner

“You can still wear gel and pencil liners, but they can feel heavy when you’re prone to sensitivities. I often recommend using a dark powder shadow as eyeliner instead. Apply it with a finely tipped brush, running it along the lower and upper waterline. Not only is this a softer look, it gives instant definition and it’s also easier to wing out your eye. Plus, it’s easy to remove and reshape.

Place Eyeshadow Strategically

“If you want to widen your eyes without using too much product, be strategic with your eyeshadow placement. Apply a slightly lighter matte shadow (gels or creams are best for those with sensitive eyes) in the inner corners and along your lash line to immediately brighten and open the area without overloading your eyelid. While you don’t want to use a water-resistant or waterproof formula, you do want to use something that says it’s ‘long wearing.’ That way it will withstand any tearing up or wateriness.”

Do Your Eyes First 

“It sounds obvious, but it bears repeating – if you’re prone to sensitivities and redness, always do your eye make-up first. If you start to tear up or see any redness, you can counteract the problem without having to redo any base make-up. I recommend using some thin cotton buds with a little cleanser to clean up any mistakes or streaks. I also love applying a hydrating eye cream to those suffering with sensitivities (before make-up) as it instantly cools and refreshes this area – Bobbi Brown's Hydrating Eye Cream is my favourite as it's so lightweight."


Eyecare Advice

With Optometrist & Peep Club Co-Founder Nicola Alexandra Cross

Avoid These Key Ingredients

“The most important ingredients to avoid in your eye make-up include alcohol and fragrances – and preservatives in your make-up removers. Preservatives are fine in your make-up – they serve a purpose there, but not in removal products. Look for oil-based removers that have more slip as they’re less harsh than other formulas and tend to nourish the eye area more. Long-term use of preservatives on the eye has actually been proven to wear down the film that covers our eyes, resulting in sensitivity and dryness.”

Choose Sensitive-Made Formulas

“Look out for products that are specifically designed for sensitive eyes. These formulas will have been stringently tested and regulated, so you can be confident that what’s inside is clinically tested on patients prone to sensitivities. Not all formulas are like this, so it pays to look at everything thoroughly.”

Try To Eliminate Products

“I advise my patients with sensitive eyes to try a ‘product elimination diet’: one step at a time, remove a product a week and figure out what might be causing the irritation. It will take a month or so to get any answers, but it’s worth it to figure out the combinations of make-up and products that may be causing your condition to worsen.”

Soothe Your Eyes

“Introduce a gentle, daily preservative-free eye drop or spray – the Peep Club Instant Relief formula is ideal. These fortify the tear film in our eyes, providing an extra layer of protection against the irritation of any make-up. Regular use of good drops and a spray will leave your eyes more comfortable, brighter and whiter. A healthier eye tear will help your eyes cope with make-up.”

Don’t Neglect Hot & Cold Therapy

“Sometimes, watery eyes are a result of being tired or having eye strain. You can counteract this with a heat compress to restore the natural flow of oils within the eye. Cold therapy – like ice globes or a cooling eye mask – is perfect for calming irritation and rescuing the appearance of bloodshot, angry-looking eyes. Don’t underestimate either of these options before wearing make-up – it can really help to soothe the area beforehand. Likewise, once you’ve removed everything, you can do either to quell any inflammation.”

Seek Professional Advice If You’re Concerned

“It’s worth seeing your optometrist if you’re concerned. A standard check-up will address whether the ongoing issue is allergies, dry eyes, make-up – or something else entirely. An expert will be able to assess the front of your eye and give you a proper understanding of what – if anything – is going on. They will likely treat you there and then too, without any need for endless appointments.”

Follow @BBPro_ZaraFindlay on Instagram.


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