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10 Best Hypoallergenic Mascaras for Sensitive Eyes In 2023

May 21, 2023

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These gentle formulas won't irritate allergy-sufferers or contact lens wearers.

There's nothing quite like a fresh coat of mascara to make your eyes look bigger, brighter, and more refreshed. But, unfortunately, applying eye makeup can have the opposite effect for some, leading to swelling, irritation, itching, burning, and tearing.

These are all signs of a sensitivity or allergy to an ingredient in the product you're using, says Michele Green, MD, a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist in New York City. Preservatives, dyes, and fragrances are common culprits, she adds.

Meet Our Experts : Michele Green, MD, board-certified cosmetic dermatologist in New York City, Inna Lazar, OD, optometrist in Connecticut

In that case, Inna Lazar, OD, an optometrist in Connecticut, advises that you make sure to check your ingredient labels closely. "Look out for chemicals that can disrupt hormones, act as formaldehyde donors, or have neurotoxic effects," she says. "Recent studies conducted by Harvard reveal that certain cosmetic preservatives like phenoxyethanol, chlorphenesin, and formaldehyde can harm the ocular surface of the eyes."

To help you weed through all of the options out there — and their fine print — to pinpoint the best mascara for sensitive eyes, we cross-referenced our favorite products against the SkinSAFE database to verify that all of the mascaras on this list are hypoallergenic and made without potentially irritating ingredients, plus asked medical professionals like Dr. Green and Dr. Lazar for their favorites.

If you want to add a bit of drama without the price tag of a luxury pick, e.l.f. Cosmetics has you covered with this formula. The hourglass-shaped wand separates and defines, so a single swipe or two yields big, bold lashes. It's also infused with jojoba wax to help hold the curl and nourish lashes all at the same time.

TikTok propelled this hardworking mascara into the limelight a few years ago, and there's no sign of the hype slowing. It's one of the most affordable drugstore formulas out there, still it makes lashes look just as long and thick as other options nearly quadruple the price.

Tubing mascara relies on polymers (rather than waxes) to coat each individual lash with a little tube for fantastic separation and length—and this one by DHC is no exception. The fine-bristled, flexible wand grabs even the tiniest hairs for a dramatic but natural effect. It's water-resistant for all-day wear, too.

Though nice and lightweight, this tubing mascara has a small and precise applicator that deposits the rich pigment in a single swipe—no layering required. Just be sure to wipe off any excess on the side of the tube, then slowly press and wiggle back-and-forth from root to tip for the best, most natural-looking results.

For dark, dramatic lashes, turn to Charlotte Tilbury's Full Fat Lashes Mascara. The magic is in the five-groove brush, which deposits just the right amount of smooth, creamy mascara along your lash line where each one of the super fine bristles then work hard to pull lashes up and out, creating the perfect flutter.

It may be hypoallergenic, cruelty-free, and water-resistant, but this drugstore formula is also super affordable—and one of Green's all-around favorites. "This mascara will provide smooth and natural-looking length and volume for those with sensitive skin and allergies," she says. According to the manufacturer, the patent-pending spin-shaped brush is designed to create ten times the volume without any clumping or flaking.

Infused with natural ingredients like hemp oil, this mascara is designed to do more than make your lashes look stunningly long and voluminous in the moment—it also nourishes them from root to tip for naturally healthier lashes in the long-run. Still, this richly-pigmented mascara is entirely vegan and cruelty-free.

It may not look like anything fancy, but this mascara wins a lot of praise from medical professionals and users alike. It's hypoallergenic, ophthalmologist-tested, and fragrance-free, but has no trouble defining, separating, and lengthening lashes. Wearers love how easy the brush is to use, plus stays put and is a breeze to remove at the end of the day.

Get the doe eyes you've always wanted with this aptly-named mascara. The waterproof formula has a wide, defined brush that grabs individual lashes to lift and separate, making eyes look bigger and brighter.

Available in both standard and travel sizes, this mascara is a worthy option for those with sensitive eyes. The vegan formula curls, volumizes, and lengthens to deliver bold, dramatic lashes without any irritation. Perhaps it's biggest claim to fame though? Wearers can't believe how long their long, lush lashes stay put.

Brigitt is a writer, editor and craft stylist with nearly 15 years of experience. She specializes in lifestyle topics, including home, health, parenting, beauty, style, food, entertaining, travel and weddings. She has written for Glamour, People, Good Housekeeping, Women's Health, Real Simple, Martha Stewart, Apartment Therapy, The Spruce, and more.

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