Whether you wear contacts or struggle with sensitive eyes, you're probably all too familiar with the downside of wearing some mascaras — yep, red, irritated eyes. And when you're dealing with eye discomfort, not to mention looking like you may or may not have just cried your eyes out, it doesn't matter how luscious your lashes are, the net effect just isn't great. But the best mascaras for contact lens wearers have less irritating formulas that still add major volume and length.
So, how do you know if a mascara is going to pass the contact test? To start, look for products that are hypoallergenic, meaning they are less likely to cause allergic reactions. It's also a good idea to use a mascara that's been ophthalmologist tested. From there, many contact lens wearers swear by natural mascaras that have fewer harsh ingredients. And to avoid bothersome clumps and flakes, mascaras with tubing technology could be the answer.
That said, sometimes finding the right mascara also means knowing what to avoid. Steer clear of fiber mascaras at all costs! Yes, they can add desirable length, but in the process they can flake irritable dust into your eyes. Also avoid waterproof mascara, which is usually hard (if not impossible) to wash off with just soap and water, and may stain your contact lenses.
Last but not least, one of the best things you can do for your eyes is to replace your mascara every three months. That's because several studies have found that bacteria can build up in the tube and on the wand. So, even though you might still have plenty of formula left to use, it's best to keep your mascara fresh to prevent infections.
With all of that in mind, it's time to find the right mascara for you. The options below have all received rave reviews on Amazon from contact lens wearers and have a high star rating to prove it.
1. The Best Long-Lasting Mascara
Clinique Lash Power Mascara
This much-loved mascara from Clinique is both allergy tested and ophthalmologist tested, not to mention 100 percent free of any fragrances, parabens, or phthalates. Its unique shaped brush reaches and lengthens even the tiniest corner lashes, and while it's super long-lasting, it washes off easily with water.
What reviewers are saying: "Goes on nicely. Color is great. Stays on my lashes, not in my eyes or anywhere else it isn't suppose to be. Rinses off nicely in water. Doesn't sting my eyes and works great with contacts."
2. The Best Drugstore Mascara
Maybelline Full 'N Soft Washable Mascara
For a mascara that's as friendly on your eyes as it is on your wallet, look no further than Maybelline's Full 'N Soft Washable Mascara. It's nourishing and thickening, thanks to its vitamin E-enriched formula, and its both hypoallergenic and ophthalmologist tested. Plus, its "Quick Dissolve System" can be quickly and easily removed to help prevent lash loss or damage.
What reviewers are saying: "Only mascara that you need. Forget the pink and green, forget the crazy spider lash mascaras. I wear contacts and this mascara has never caused any irritation. I first tried it about 8 years ago. I've tried others but always go back to this one."
3. The Best Tubing Mascara
Blinc Tubing Mascara Original
This tubing mascara from Blinc works differently than traditional mascaras. Instead of coating your lashes with pigment, it forms water-resistant tubes around them that don't run, smudge, clump, flake — even if you cry or rub your eyes. So whether you plan on hitting the gym or know your allergies are about to strike, this is your mascara. When you're ready to remove, simply use warm water and gently apply pressure, and the tubes will slide off — no makeup remover required.
What reviewers are saying: "I have had mascara issues FOREVER. This stuff solved all of them. It comes in the color I want (dark brown), I only have to apply it once a day (even though I have hooded eyelids AND allergies AND wear contacts AND I work long days), it won't damage fragile lashes (and even seems to protect them and/or help them grow), and it lasts a way longer time than others. BUY IT."
4. The Best Organic Mascara
Physicians Formula Organic Wear Mascara
If you're trying to clean up your beauty routine, Physicians Formula Organic Wear Mascara is a fantastic option. The hypoallergenic mascara is made from the purest ingredients and is free of harsh chemicals, synthetic preservatives, parabens, fibers, and dyes. It adds volume and definition to your lashes naturally, thanks to the ultra-soft, plastic bristled, eco-brush. Plus, this formula doesn't smudge, flake, or clump.
What reviewers are saying: "After developing an allergy to eye products I have used for years, I gave this a try (after wasting $ on other hopefuls). It works AWESOME! I wear contacts, on top of allergies to eye products, & can wear this all day without issue. HIGHLY RECOMMEND."
5. The Best Everyday Mascara For Length
Neutrogena Healthy Lengths Mascara
Not only is Neutrogena's Healthy Lengths Mascara both dermatologist- and ophthalmologist-tested, it's also infused with vitamin E and olive oil for deep nourishment. The antioxidant-rich formula has been to shown to extend lashes to twice their length, and the gentle bristle brush expertly separates the lashes for added drama.
What reviewers are saying: "I love this mascara. It is buildable without becoming clumpy, and it feels really smooth and gentle on my lashes. Other brands can go on rough and feel dry but this is not like that at all. I wear contact lenses and this does not flake or irritate my eyes."
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