Finding the best hypoallergenic makeup for sensitive skin can be a serious struggle. For those of us with sensitive skin, every attempt to try a new makeup trend is also another opportunity to introduce a contact dermatitis rash into our lives—even when using so-called hypoallergenic makeup.
That’s because, unfortunately, use of the term hypoallergenic isn’t regulated by the FDA. “There are no federal standards or definitions that govern the use of the term hypoallergenic,’” the agency says. “The term means whatever a particular company wants it to mean.” That means cosmetics brands can put it on basically any product without requiring FDA approval.
And, of course, everyone’s skin is different! You can be sensitive to pretty much any ingredient in makeup and skin-care products, so some trial and error is to be expected with new products—especially when you have sensitive skin.
If an experiment results in a breakout or rash, it may be tempting to cover it up with even more makeup—which usually tends to make matters worse. To help end this ongoing skin-irritation cycle, we talked to a few dermatologists to find out which makeup brands they typically recommend to patients with sensitive skin.
Even if you can’t 100%trust a hypoallergenic makeup product label, it’s helpful to know that there are still some general guidelines those with sensitive skin can use to stay more or less free from irritation. For instance, ingredients like fragrances, preservatives, and botanical extracts are more likely to cause issues, so be sure to use caution when trying out products that contain those. And, as SELF explained previously, opting for products that have fewer ingredients overall will reduce the chances that you’ll react badly to something in the product.
That’s one reason why many of the dermatologists SELF spoke to suggest using mineral-based makeup. Not only does it tend to contain fewer ingredients than other types of makeup, it’s also often noncomedogenic (meaning it’s less likely to clog pores).
If you have supersensitive skin but don’t want to give up your eyeshadow, highlighter, and bronzer, read on to learn more about some of the best makeup for sensitive skin. And, bonus: Many of these brands are available in the drugstore beauty aisle.
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