The Best Makeup For Sensitive Skin

The Best Makeup For Sensitive Skin

Table of Contents

Sensitive skin is a pain in the neck. Though it is not a disease, it usually is an indication of an underlying condition. Some of the underlying conditions that cause sensitive skin include eczema, dermatitis, rosacea, among others. Having sensitive skin does not mean that you cannot wear makeup like everyone else. It would be helpful to be careful of the makeup products you use to ensure that no or minimal reaction occurs. Therefore, it is crucial to stay away from makeup products that irritate your skin.

If you have sensitive skin, you have to be keen on the formulation of the makeup products you are using. Doing this is essential because skin reactions are more often than not caused by ingredients in the products you are using. When choosing the right makeup for your sensitive skin, it is crucial to stay away from ingredients such as: Parabens, benzoyl peroxide, sodium lauryl sulfate, fragrances, & petroleum distillates. Ingredients your should look for are: Aloe vera, shea butter,  bee wax, & bisabolol.

How to Prepare Sensitive Skin Before Makeup

Preparing your skin before makeup is vital because you’re setting a base for makeup to sit on. So don’t skip cleansing and moisturizing.

When it comes to cleaning sensitive skin, try and be as gentle as possible. Avoid overly rubbing as these could seriously irritate your skin. When choosing a cleanser, go for those labeled soft, calming, or hypoallergenic. These cleansers have no irritants and will soothe your skin while removing dirt.

After cleansing, moisturize your skin adequately. And like cleansers, go for moisturizers that have ingredients like aloe vera and hyaluronic acid. Aloe vera is excellent for its calming and healing properties. And hyaluronic traps in your skin’s moisture in keeping your skin hydrated all day long. The last thing you need when you have sensitive skin is dry skin, so these two ingredients are great. Avoid any products with perfume and scents. You might want to have something that smells nice, but moisturizers or lotions that smell great are not always the best.

Exfoliation is also important because it removes dead skin and reveals smoother, younger skin. When exfoliating sensitive skin, avoid mechanical exfoliants like face scrub or rough wash clothes. Instead, use mild chemical exfoliants like lactic acid. You can exfoliate your skin weekly.

Three recommended cleansers and why they are useful:

  1. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser – It is a gentle cleanser that doesn’t have soap and is non comedogenic. Meaning that it will not clog your pores.
  2. Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser – Aveeno is excellent because it has a calming effect on the skin. It also helps reduce skin inflammation and redness.

  3. Super Calm Gentle Milk Cleanser – The milk cleanser is a favorite because of its ingredients. It has glycerin and oatmeal, which soothe and help keep the skin hydrated. Additionally, it doesn’t have fragrance and alcohol, which can irritate the skin.

Three recommended moisturizers and why they are right:

  1. PCA Skin ReBalance – PCA is recommended for skin damaged by laser treatments and chemical peels, making it suitable for sensitive skin.
  2. La Roche – Posay Tolerine Ultra Soothing Repair – It is a moisturizer that hydrates profoundly and is gentle to the skin. It is not loaded with many ingredients making it suitable for sensitive skin.

  3. Avene Skin Recovery Cream – Avene Cream is our favorite because of its soothing effect. It is recommended for people with skin issues such as eczema, rosacea, atopic dermatitis, and psoriasis.

2-in1's Are A Sensitive Skin's Good Friend

When you are dealing with sensitive skin, you want to use minimal makeup. It is best to get yourself tinted moisturizers, which give coverage that evens you out to avoid putting on foundation.

All a foundation does is provide coverage, and if you can get a moisturizer that moisturizes your skin and gives you coverage, the better. If you want more coverage, you can reach out for foundations with ingredients known for nourishing, calming, and healing the skin. Aloe vera, vitamin E, oats, and water are some of the elements that will ensure your skin is not irritated.

You can get a moisturizer that also acts as a primer or foundation that can be used as a concealer. Some moisturizers have 30 SPF, which will allow you to go without applying sunscreen. Having products that help minimize the amount of makeup you use is an excellent way of maintaining sensitive skin and reducing irritation. Less makeup also means that getting it off will not be a struggle.

Three recommended 2-in1 moisturizers and why they are useful:

  1. Cerave Ultra-Light Moisturizing Lotion – This moisturizer is perfect because it doesn’t irritate, burn, or sting the skin. It also has SPF 30, which ensures that your skin is protected from sun rays, causing skin redness.
  2. Obagi Soothing Complex Calming Broad Spectrum – This moisturizer has aloe vera, which is excellent for soothing irritated skin. It is tinted therefore helping hide skin imperfections, and has SPF 25.

  3. bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream – This gel-cream is a lifesaver and a favorite of ours. It doesn’t have parabens, fragrances, or mineral oils. And what’s great, it comes in 16 shades and has SPF 30.

Mineral or Organic Based Makeup - Which is Better For Sensitive Skin?

Mineral-based makeup is the most suitable for sensitive skin because they hinder and are less likely to cause flare-ups. Mineral foundations don’t have additives and preservatives that could cause your skin to irritate. You can use them either as a foundation or concealer. The great thing with these foundations is that they don’t leave your face shiny. They can be a little bit trickier to apply, so it takes time and effort to hack.

Natural and organic products are deemed safe for the skin, but that is not always the case. Some of the components in natural makeup could be irritating to the skin. Not to say that all-natural products are harmful, but you need to be careful when switching to natural and organic products. For instance, tea tree oil works great for acne-prone skin but should be used in diluted form. And even in the diluted form, it can cause redness and dry out your skin.

Choosing Eye Makeup, Lipstick, and Blush for Sensitive Skin

Makeup is not complete without lipstick, mascara, eyeliner, blush, and eyeshadow. More pigmented shades tend to irritate the skin more because of the dyes used. Therefore, choose more neutral shades, like beige, brown, or nude. The good thing is that neutral shades look great with all skin undertones, so you don’t have to worry about that.

For mascara, avoid waterproof mascara because it contains chemicals that could irritate. There are mascara’s with bee wax as a base, and they are great for sensitive skin. Alternatively, you can get eyelash extensions that last up to a month, and you do not have to worry about your eyelashes every morning. If you want to enhance your eyes some more, eyeliner is a sure deal. Go for pencil eyeliner because it is user-friendly, unlike liquid eyeliner, which requires more precision and practice to master.

3 recommended mascara and why they are good:

  1. Maybelline Full ‘N Soft Washable Mascara – The ingredients such as vitamin E in this mascara help your eyelashes grow and look healthy. It doesn’t clump up and dissolves fast when washing it off. 
  2. Covergirl Lash Blast Volume Mascara – The applicator of this mascara ensures that all the lashes are evenly covered. You can find it in four shades, making it diverse and suitable for all skin tones.

  3. Neutrogena Healthy Volume Mascara – This brand is our favorite because of its ability to leave eyelashes nourished. It has almond oil, which keeps your lash line hydrated.

For lipstick, you need to be careful because the pigmented lipsticks have more dyes. However, that should not hinder you from wearing lipstick because you can find one that is great. Whether pigmented, shimmery, or matte, there are great hypoallergenic formulations that will not cause a reaction. Be sure to go for a lipstick with hydrating oils like shea butter and vitamin E oil.

Three recommended lipstick and why they are useful:

  1. Inika Organic Lip Tint – This lipstick is formulated with peppermint oil, coconut oil, and shea butter, which leave your lips hydrated.
  2. Ella + Mila Lips – This matte lipstick is perfect for sensitive lips. It stays all day long and doesn’t leave your lips feeling dry. 
  3. Faceworks Hypoallergenic Lipstick – The hypoallergenic lipstick is a favorite, and for a good reason. It is packed with vitamins A and E, is cruelty-free, doesn’t have fragrance and parabens.

The eyeshadow you choose for sensitive skin should be of light texture and easy to work with. Use a primer to assist in keeping your makeup in place. Ensure that all of these products you are using are hypoallergenic.

Three recommended eyeshadows and why they are useful:

  1. Pacifica Beauty 10 Well Eyeshadow – This eyeshadow is great for everyday makeup, looks are cruelty-free and vegan.
  2. Revlon Illuminance Creme Shadow – This eyeshadow blends well, lasts long if appropriately set, and is found in nine different palette shades. The only downside with this shadow is it contains talc, which may irritate some sensitive skin people.
  3. Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Eyeshadow – Burt’s Bees is our favorite because, unlike Revlon, it doesn’t contain talc. Its ingredients include extracts from bamboo and honey and vitamin E.

Foundation for Oily Sensitive Skin

Finding the right foundation when you have shiny skin can be a daunting task. Oily skin is probably the most difficult skin type to handle. If you are not careful, you can have a foundation melting off of your face. Having oil and sensitive skin makes it even more challenging but not impossible to find the right foundation. Oily skin is also prone to acne and enlarged pores, so you want a foundation with full coverage.

When choosing the right foundation for your oily, sensitive skin, go for a liquid-based foundation. Liquid foundations are great because they are light on the skin. Also, ensure that the foundation doesn’t have high fragrance concentrations; it would be better to get one without.

Alternatively, you can use BB cream in place of foundation. BB cream is great because it has less pigment and is light on the skin. BB cream was developed for patients in Germany after laser treatment to give them hydration, coverage, and protection. Lightly dub powder to suck your skin dry and leave a matte finish. Ensure that you dust off the excess powder before applying it on your face to make sure you don’t use too much.

Three recommended foundation for oily sensitive skin and why they are useful:

  1. Neutrogena Skin Clearing Liquid Foundation – This foundation contains salicylic acid, which is excellent for acne-prone skin.
  2. Nars Velvet Matte Skin Tint – This foundation is perfect if you like lightweight foundations. It gives you a natural look and has minimal coverage making it unsuitable if you have acne spots.
  3. Burt’s Bees Mattifying Powder Foundation – This foundation leaves a velvety finish for your makeup. It won’t leave you looking chalky and will lock in your skin’s moisture. These qualities make it our favorite. 

Foundation for Dry Sensitive Skin

Having a flawless foundation with dry skin can be tasking. Failing to prime your face or using the wrong foundation properly can make your makeup look cracked. Thus, it is crucial to get the right foundation for dry, sensitive skin.

The best foundation for dry skin is one that makes your skin look luminous and moisturized. A tinted moisturizer gives you light coverage while moisturizing your skin. It leaves you with a natural-looking makeup face. You also do not need to add foundation because it gives you coverage, which means that you do not layer your look and introduce irritants found in the foundation.

Compact foundation is also great for dry skin. It does not require any chemicals to make; thus, it is less likely to react to your skin.

Three recommended foundation for dry sensitive skin and why they are useful:

  1. bareMinerals Complexion Rescue – It is a great foundation for dry skin because it contains hyaluronic acid, which is great for keeping skin hydrated. It also has SPF 30, which is an awesome plus.
  2. Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Hydrating Longwear – As the name suggests, this is a hydrating foundation that will not leave your skin flaky. It also stays all day.
  3. Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer – This foundation will give you a natural makeup look making it our favorite. It also contains SPF 30.

Makeup Ingredients to Stay Away from With Sensitive Skin;

Parabens: These are preservatives used in most makeup products. Parabens imitate estrogen, which can make hormones get out of control. It can trigger hormonal acne.

Benzoyl Peroxide: This is an excellent ingredient for acne-prone skin, but on the downside, it has been shown to cause skin irritation.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: This is a chemical used to thicken solutions with different solubility. It can clog up your pores if you have sensitive skin. It is found in concealers and foundations that are cream-based.

Fragrance: Fragrance is a culprit when it comes to skin irritation. Lotions, moisturizers, and foundations with a sweet smell can be tempting, but they are not suitable for your sensitive skin. Look for those labeled fragrance free if you have sensitive skin.

Petroleum Distillates: This chemical is often used in making mascara and is used in combination with cancer-causing chemicals. It has been found to cause itchy rashes when applied. It’s also produced together with other petroleum products used in cars.

Makeup Ingredients Great for Sensitive Skin

Aloe vera: Aloe vera is a super plant which great for soothing, healing, and hydrating the skin. You can get moisturizers, foundation, and even lipstick. You can also substitute it as a primer.

Shea butter: Lotions and balms with shea butter are hydrating to the skin, leaving it radiant. Shea butter is excellent for eczema and other skin conditions as it soothes the skin.

Bee wax: Bee wax makes an excellent base for makeup, balms, and creams. It moisturizes and allows your skin to breathe. It is a significant component when it comes to choosing lipstick.

Bisabolol: This is a plant extract that helps reduce inflammation and redness. It is mostly found in moisturizers and serums.

Note: Always remove makeup in the evening. Sleeping with makeup is terrible for normal skin and worse for sensitive skin. Removing makeup gives your skin the chance to breathe and prevents pores from clogging. Get oil-based makeup removers that melt your makeup away, so you do not have to rub your face aggressively. Micellar water is a great makeup remover because it does not have many chemicals.

Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin

Sunscreen is a staple for any makeup junkie. It helps protect your skin from harmful sun rays, which can cause skin cancer. There are two types of sunscreen, namely physical and chemical sunscreen. Physical sunscreens contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which act as barriers and block UV rays from penetrating the skin. Physical sunscreen tends to leave behind a white cast, which can be unpleasant.

Chemical sunscreens are the ones that have a variety of chemicals. They absorb harmful rays and release them as heat. They act like a sponge that absorbs harmful rays and breaks them down as they penetrate the skin layers. These don’t leave a white cast, are lighter and easier to apply compared to physical sunscreen. 

When it comes to sensitive skin, physical sunscreens are preferred because they do not have many chemical components. To reduce the white cast effect, buy sunscreen that is tinted. If you cannot find tinted sunscreen, then apply sunscreen at the end of your makeup routine and dab some loose powder to offset. Another way is to apply a moisturizer or foundation that has SPF in it. This would be ideal on a dull day because sunscreen in these products is not as effective as when you apply it alone.


To sum up, getting the best makeup products is not a walk in the park. There is a lot of trial and error involved in finding the perfect ones for yourself. One thing you will note is that knowing the composition of the makeup you are using is essential. When trying out new makeup products, go slow, and start with one at a time. When you have a skin reaction, you will pinpoint what products are irritating your skin.


As the head artist of Farishta Beauty I was inspired by many young individuals who were just like me passionate about makeup.
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