If you suffer with dry or sensitive eyes and also happen to be a fan of cosmetics, things can get a little tricky for you.

In your pursuit of the perfect smoky eye, artfully applied winged liner, and an alluring fan of inky black lashes, you may have been thwarted so many times with irritation or tear-induced smudging that you’ve given up eye makeup altogether or simply decided that suffering is the price of beauty.

But let’s rethink this. Depending on your personal preferences, there’s three levels of solutions to accenting your eyes that let you have your cake and eat it too, so to speak:

  • Choosing the right kind of makeup for dry or sensitive eyes
  • Choosing cosmetic alternatives that mimic eye makeup application
  • Choosing other aesthetic treatments that indirectly enhance the eyes

Choosing the right kind of makeup for dry or sensitive eyes 

If you’re among those with dry or sensitive eyes who are still open to eye makeup, there’s some things to keep in mind that you may not have considered before throwing your hands up and your mascara away.

If you suffer from dry eyes, use natural tear drops (like Restasis, Blink Gel Tears, Refresh, Systane or another doctor-recommended product) at least a half hour prior to makeup application to ensure your eyes are optimally moisturized and comfortable.

It should go without saying that those with dry or sensitive eyes need to stick with hypo-allergenic eye cosmetics. (Some of the best high-end brands include include Bare Minerals, Origins, Clinique, Tarte, and Urban Decay, while drugstore brands that are fairly safe bets include Almay, Neutrogena, and Physician’s Formula.)

When it comes to eyeshadow, opt for cream rather than powder versions. (Powders are much, much more likely to “migrate” and irritate sensitive or dry eyes.) Generally speaking, the more cheaply an eyeshadow is produced, the least pigment dense it will be, resulting in a product that not only appears “chalky” but which is much more “dusty” in consistency since it is composed primarily of inferior filler that does not adhere well to the eyelid. 

Eyeliners and mascara, provided they’re hypoallergenic, tend to pose less problems for those with dry or sensitive eyes than does eyeshadow, but to minimize risk of irritation, generally choose mascaras without lash-lengthening micro-fibers. (These fibers tend to flake and and migrate.)

Though hypoallergenic waterproof liner and mascara may be a great bet for those whose eye irritation and tearing that causes liner to smudge and mascara to run, waterproof liner and mascara – even if they aren’t behind the irritation – can be notoriously difficult to remove, thus posing an irritation risk on the “back end.”   

Choosing cosmetic alternatives that mimic eye makeup application

If you’ve sworn of eye cosmetics due to irritation or have decided you don’t have time to fuss with even hypoallergenic products but still enjoy the look of a cosmetically accented eye, there are options aplenty.

  • Latisse. Latisse is simply a cosmetic trade name for generic Bimatoprost, an eye drop originally used in treating glaucoma patients that was discovered to result in significant eyelash growth when applied directly to the lash line. Though it needs to be used daily for 3-4 months to achieve maximize results, it works (and is FDA approved).
  • Lash extensions. If you want instant gratification, lash extensions are the way to go. With the launch of True Glue, the first completely organic, non-irritating lash extension adhesive, even those with incredibly sensitive eyes can enjoy the “pop” of butterfly lashes without the use of mascara.
  • Vegetable Lash Dye. If you have naturally pale lashes but want a more dramatic effect without mascara or extensions, you can visit a reputable salon who uses gentle, vegetable lash dye to blacken them. 
  • Permanent eyeliner. Cosmetic tattooing has come a looooooong way in the last ten years and is now equal parts art and science. Current techniques and technician know-how result in incredibly natural, subtle results (or more dramatic results, depending on an individual’s taste) that literally last for years without ever having to worry about makeup-induced irritation, much less daily application. 

Choosing other aesthetic treatments that indirectly enhance the eye

If you’re somebody whose eyes are so dry or so sensitive that the mere thought of eye makeup or any makeup-mimicking treatments makes you nervous, the key to enhancing your eyes is to focus on your brows.

Eyes may be the window to your soul, but your brows are the frames for them. The shape, symmetry, and color of brows can make a world of difference in enhancing the eye and overall facial aesthetics.

Though you’ll likely need to consult a pro to make the most of your brows (or at least watch some high quality Youtube tutorials), the key to great brows is working with (rather than against) what Mother Nature gave you.

Of course, if you suffer from dry or sensitive eyes that haven’t responded to your own treatment attempts, what makes the most sense is to see an eye doctor in order to address the underlying problem and find relief.

At EyeCare 20/20 and its specialized Dry Eye Care Center, you’ll get the individualized treatment you need. As full service vision health providers, Eyecare 20/20 can help with eye sensitivity,  eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions, LASIK vision correction, cataract surgery or any other eyecare service you might be interested in. Reach out to them today with the confidence that you’ll be treated like family and have the happy and healthy eyes that you deserve. 

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