Think about your daily beauty routine and consider all of the products you use on your face, hair and body. Most days, even the most low maintenance gal among us uses a combination of soap, facial cleanser, toner, deodorant, lotion, serum, shampoo, conditioner, hair styling product, perfume and makeup.
According to research, the average woman uses about 12 personal products daily. Each of these product contains numerous ingredients, many of which require a chemistry degree to understand or even pronounce. For people with allergies or skin sensitivity using the wrong cosmetics can cause breakouts, hives, rashes, itching and even swelling. Because of this, it’s important for allergy sufferers to become informed about product labeling and to know which ingredients they are allergic to. Unfortunately, this process can be complicated and frustrating and many allergic users have spent a great deal of time and money trying to find the right cosmetic brands and products.
What does Hypoallergenic mean?
If you suffer from allergies and skin sensitivity, you may think that simply purchasing products labeled as hypoallergenic is the answer. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. The term hypoallergenic was first used in a cosmetics campaign back in the 1950’s and today numerous cosmetic brands offer hypoallergenic products.
The prefix hypo meaning “under,” is used to refer to products which are thought to cause fewer allergic reactions than their traditional counterparts. Hypoallergenic labeling today is used on products that don’t contain common allergens. For example, many people are allergic to fragrance and a product labeled as hypoallergenic may (or may not) be fragrance-free. Allergy sufferers must beware that it is possible to have an allergy to a hypoallergenic product. Sadly, there is no regulation surrounding the labeling of products as hypoallergenic and there is also no certification or testing required for a manufacturer to label a product as hypoallergenic.
Hypoallergenic labeling doesn't mean you may not be allergic to a product!
As with food allergies, people with skin sensitivities and allergies are often forced to rely on trial and error to find cosmetics that won’t irritate. To help, we’ve done some research to help guide those prone to allergies in their cosmetic purchases.
Best Hypoallergenic makeup brands
1. Eco Bella Vegan Organic Beauty
Eco Bella FlowerColor Lip Gloss
People sensitive to gluten love the Ecco Bella line. The products, which include skin care, hair care and makeup contain no parabens, talc, water, alcohol, or FD&C dyes. Products that contain water are more likely to develop bacteria and therefore require a preservative which some users may be sensitive to.
According to the company website Ecco Bella have “simplified the formulas, and use very mild ingredients--so allergic reaction is rare. Many people with chemical sensitivities and allergies use our products successfully, but for those with known multiple sensitives, we suggest doing a patch test before applying any new product.” Try their FlowerColor Natural Liquid Foundation which contains aloe-vera and a natural sugar which helps skin retain moisture.
2. Afterglow Cosmetics
Afterglow Infused Mineral Foundation
This mineral makeup line contains loads of natural and organic ingredients. Products are also gluten and soy free. In addition, Afterglow’s products are free from bismuth oxychloride a known irritant which can cause itching. Product users also like the fact that Afterglow lists every ingredient on every product label, something which many companies don’t do instead listing items only with vague headings such as fragrance or flavors. And, if a patch test reveals a sensitivity, users can return the unused portion of the product to Afterglow for a full refund.
Almay Goddess Gloss
Think hypoallergenic and the Almay brand immediately comes to mind. Almay has been creating makeup for people with sensitive skin since 1931. Their products are always fragrance free and aren’t tested on animals. According to the Almay website, their brand will soon have a fresh look complete with new packaging and a wider range of options for sensitive skin tones across the color spectrum.
4. Kiss Freely
Kiss Freely Dark Purple Eye Shadow
Billed as a company that provides allergy friendly bath and body products, Kiss Freely was created by Jennifer Kurko, a mom whose daughter suffered from severe food allergies. One day, a kiss on her daughter’s check led to a terrible rash, a reaction caused by Jennifer’s lip balm. Jennifer set out to create her own lip balm and the company, Kiss Freely, was born. All Kiss Freely products are devoid of eight common allergens. And, for people allergic to less common ingredients, consumers are able to contact the company directly to be guided toward products to meet individual needs.
Best Hypoallergenic makeup removers
It’s not just makeup that can cause allergic reactions. Makeup removers often contain harsh chemicals, fragrances and other components that can lead to reactions.
5. Restorsea Reviving Cleanser
This makeup remover and cleanser is dermatologist tested and does not contain parabens, PEGs, phthalates, sulfates, silicones or mineral oil. Users love it because it’s gentle yet effectively removes makeup without leaving skin feeling dry. It does have a bit of a fragrance, so it may not be the right product for everyone.
Best Hypoallergenic brands for makeup wipes
6. Yes to Cotton Comforting Facial Wipes
Is there anything more satisfying than swiping a facial wipe across your face and watching the makeup come off? We didn’t think so. If you like makeup removers in a wipe form, try this product from Yes to Cotton. These wipes don’t contain harsh detergents but instead are made with cottonseed oil leaving sensitive skin clean and soft. And they are inexpensive to boot!
7. Simple Cleansing Wipes
All Simple Brand products are free from perfumes, alcohols, colorants, parabens and other chemicals which can cause sensitivity. The Kind to Skin Cleansing Wipes, were an Allure Magazine Beauty Award Winner in 2016 and all Simple brand products are dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested.
Best Hypoallergenic makeup for sensitive eyes
Wind, dust, pollution and lack of sleep can cause eyes to swell, water and sting. If you have sensitive eyes wearing makeup can exacerbate the condition. Experts say people with sensitive eyes should avoid powder shadow as tiny flakes can find their way into the eye and cause redness. Instead, consider a cream shadow. If you have sensitive eyes don’t apply makeup to the waterline area of the eye. This is the area between your lashes and eye. Finally, stay away from liquid liner which can run and irritate the eyes. Instead use a wax/pencil liner which is more likely to stay put as applied.
We like these makeup products to avoid irritation for sensitive eyes.
8. Almay Intense i-Color Gel Smooth Liner
Hypoallergenic and opthamologist tested, this affordable product comes in four shades. Users love its smudge free formula and it’s low price.
9. Blinc Mascara Amplified
After years of being frustrated by clumping mascara, Blinc founders developed an eye makeup only line back in the late 90’s. They created a new formula for mascara which forms “tubes” enveloping each lash. This means Blinc mascara won’t flake or smudge into the eye. The mascara is waterproof, but can be removed with lots of warm water to release the tubes. Makeup remover is not required.
10. Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Shadow
Paraben-free; phthalate-free; sulfate-free; sulfite-free and gluten-free, Bobbi’s cream shadow is guaranteed to stay in place without creasing for up to 12 hours even through sport and sweat. We love the shade called shore for a natural, makeup free look.
Another important tip for all makeup wearers, cosmetics don’t last forever! When in doubt, throw it out. If you have sensitive skin you may want to mark the date of opening on your makeup products with a permanent marker. Even if you don’t suffer from allergies, it is suggested that you never keep makeup for more than a year and consider disposing of eye makeup after six months from date of opening. Harmful bacteria can form after extended use and this bacteria can cause infection, breakouts and rashes. Other tips to keep your skin safe, clean your makeup brushes regularly and never share your makeup with others.
Suffering from allergies is no fun and can make purchasing makeup complicated and stressful. Fortunately, there is more information available than ever before to allow consumers to choose products geared toward people with allergies. It’s refreshing to to see more companies being transparent about what exactly goes into each product, allowing women to make informed purchases. For best results, always test new products on a small patch of skin before widespread use.