The 8 Best Eyeshadows For Sensitive Eyes

Shimmery shades, muted mattes, and more.

Originally Published: 
Elite Daily/Amazon
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All hope of a smokey eye is not lost for those with watery, itchy, irritation-prone eyes — this, or any other look you’re going for, can be done with any of the best eyeshadows for sensitive eyes featured ahead. All of these eyeshadows are hypoallergenic and made of gentle, non-irritating ingredients, but they don’t sacrifice quality in pursuit of safety — in fact, they’re actually some of the best eyeshadows out there, period.

What To Look For When Choosing Eyeshadows For Sensitive Eyes

To avoid irritation, be equally mindful of the application as the eyeshadow itself. Tap the pigment on with a clean, soft-bristled brush (or your ring finger) using an extra-light touch, then pat (don’t pull!) to blend. When you’re ready to take your makeup off, use a gentle, oil-free cleanser, like a micellar water designed for sensitive skin. Follow it up with a gentle eye cream to soothe, replenish, and protect the fragile skin around your eyes.

Shop The Best Eyeshadows For Sensitive Eyes

In a hurry? These are the best eyeshadows for sensitive eyes on Amazon:

1. Best Shimmer Palettes: Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips

2. Best Matte Palette: Pacifica Mineral Eyeshadow Palette

3. Best Sticks: Julep Eyeshadow Stick

4. Best All-In-One Palette: PYT Beauty Eyeshadow Palette

5. Best Splurge-Worthy Palette: Youngblood Enchanted Eyeshadow Palette

6. Best Trio: Burt’s Bees Eye Shadow Palette

7. Best Singles: Jane Iredale PurePressed Eye Shadow

8. Editor’s Pick: Rituel de Fille Ash and Ember Eye Soot

And now, onto the good stuff: Scroll on to shop eight of the best hypoallergenic eyeshadows out there, from sparkling brights to muted neutrals to prestige palettes and more.

Best Shimmer Palette

No list of hypoallergenic cosmetics would be complete without an entry from Physicians Formula, an absolute OG in the hypoallergenic cosmetics world (it was founded by an allergist in 1937 — this is how old school we’re getting). The brand’s Shimmer Strips palettes have become one of their signature products. Nude Eyes, pictured above, features five warm-toned, rosy-neutral shadows, plus a charcoal you can use as a liner. Each block is concentrated with non-irritating glitter, which technically reads more “sparkly” than “shimmery” (but gorgeous either way).

One reviewer wrote: “I have sensitive eyes and have a hard time with a lot of eyeshadow sets, this is very glittery and I have not had any issues with irritation or the glitter getting in my eyes.”

Color Palettes: Nude Eyes (featured), Smoky Eyes, Glam Nude

Best Matte Palette

If you’re not into shimmer, glitter, or sparkles, go for this 10-shade palette from Pacifica. These matte pigments are made of skin-safe minerals, while coconut water and caprylic/capric triglyceride (derived from coconut and glycerin) contribute to the buttery, blendable texture. Importantly, this gets the seal of approval from reviewers with sensitive eyes, including contact lens wearers, watery and itchy-eyed folks, and people with “severe eczema” around their eyes. Across the board, customers are impressed with the pigmentation and longevity of this under-$15 palette, which is comparable in quality to luxury brands.

One reviewer wrote: “Hands down my fav eyeshadow of all time. If you told me I could only use one eyeshadow palette for the rest of my life it would be this one no question. It has the perfect neutrals and pretty light pinks for every day. Lightweight, perfect for travel, also it's vegan, doesn't irritate my sensitive eyes like so many other eye makeup products do.”

Color Palettes: Pink Nudes (featured), Stellar Gaze, Pink, Tiger’s Eye

Best Sticks

Eyeshadow doesn’t get much simpler than these hypoallergenic Julep eyeshadow sticks. They’re super creamy and deposit tons of pigment, so they glide easily over your lids with minimal pulling and tugging — never a good thing, but an especially not-good thing for people with sensitive eyes. Then, you can use the soft sponge on the other side of the dual-sided stick to blend out the color. Since this is a waterproof cream-to-powder formula rather than a traditional cream (read: greasy), these shadows are truly long-lasting and resistant to creasing and smudging. The shimmer shades can double as highlighters, too.

One reviewer wrote: “I have watery, sensitive eyes and could never find eye shadow that would last all day until I found Julep. Wow! After a month of using the product I was sold and threw away all my eyes shadow. It stays on all day until I take it off, and it comes off easily with eye makeup remover. I love the variety of colors and how easy and quick it is to put on.”

Colors: 31, including Clove Shimmer (featured), Periwinkle Matte, and Champagne Shimmer

Best All-in-One Palette

If you swing both ways on the glitter/matte pendulum, get everything you want, all at the same time, with this PYT palette. In here, you’ll find eight matte shades and four glitters to create pretty much any look you want, with varying degrees of intensity and sparkle (or lack thereof). Among its many rave reviews, customers particularly love the palette's color payoff, staying power, and buildable formula. On the “clean” front, these shadows are hypoallergenic, free of harsh ingredients (including talc), and safe for the most irritation-prone skin.

One reviewer wrote: “I think this is honestly the best eye shadow I have ever used. It is velvety soft and blendable, and truly lasts all day.”

Color Palettes: Cool Crew Nude (featured), Party In The Nude, Rowdy Rose Nude, Warm Lit Nude

Best Splurge-Worthy Palette

Though it’s relatively under the radar (and this pick doesn’t have many Amazon reviews yet), Youngblood is one of the best clean, luxury cosmetics brands out there — it was founded by a medical esthetician who sought makeup that was gentle enough for her clients to wear after treatments but didn’t skimp on quality. All of the brand’s eyeshadows are gorgeous, but I’m partial to this eight-shade palette that bears a striking resemblance to another uber-popular eight-shade palette. (It rhymes with Shmaked.)

In this case, these powders are formulated without common irritants like talc, petroleum, mineral oils, and synthetic colors and fragrances, and they’re infused with antioxidant-rich plant extracts like honeysuckle and jojoba. With its mix of creamy metallics, shimmers, and matte shades in a range of warm-toned darks and neutrals, this is the only palette you will ever need, as far as I’m concerned.

Color Palettes: Enchanted

Best Trio

Another drugstore classic for your consideration: This Burt’s Bees eyeshadow trio, which contains (you guessed it!) three shades for the easiest-ever lid/crease/highlight palette. In true Burt’s Bees spirit, these mineral-based shadows are made of 100% naturally derived ingredients, including bamboo and vitamin E for a nourishing feel; and they don’t contain irritating additives like parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, and talc. And they’ve been ophthalmologist-tested, as an added safety measure.

One reviewer wrote: “I have sensitive skin, and a lot of make-up make my eyes water or cause irritation. These eye-shadows did not do any of these things. The eye-shadows glide on nicely, did not leave any creases, [...] eye-shadow lasted all evening, until I removed it (about 8 hours).”

Color Palettes: Shimmering Nudes, Dusky Woods (featured)

Best Singles

If you’re looking for something more muted, take your pick among these jane iredale eyeshadow singles. The collection leans decidedly neutral — think pure matte white, frosty nude-pink, and a whole load of taupes and browns. Whatever the shade, these mineral shadows feel like pure luxury: They’re lightweight but highly pigmented, smooth and blendy, and crease-resistant for all-day wear.

One reviewer wrote: “This is my favorite eyeshadow. I have had problems in the past with eyeshadow irritating my eyes and skin, this one has never done that and I’ve been using it for almost a year now. It’s the only eyeshadow I wear!”

Colors: 9, including Supernova (featured), Pure Gold, and Dark Suede

Editor's Pick

Despite the dirt-evoking name, these Rituel de Fille eye soots are just about the cleanest pigments you can get — each “potion-like formula” is made with ethically sourced materials, like minerals, plant oils and extracts, and naturally derived powders for color. The smoky, smoldering effect and rich color payoff are where the “soot” comes in with these pigments, which you can wear as a shadow, liner, or lid primer (though no one’s stopping you from using yours as a cheek color, too). The texture lies somewhere between a powder and a cream, and since they’re made without wax, they won’t melt, crease, or fade.

One reviewer wrote: “I've been trying to find a great cream shadow for a bit now and most of the others I've tried have been very hard, despite them being a "cream" and it feels like I'm pulling very hard on my skin. This is easy to apply using either your fingers or a brush. It's truly a joy to work with.”

Colors: Half Light (featured), Sigil

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