If you have sensitive skin, it would be a smart idea to go with brands that carry hypoallergenic products. A product that is hypoallergenic simply means that the product is less likely to cause an allergic reaction.
In this post, I have compiled a list of hypoallergenic makeup brands to make it easier for you if you’re deciding to shop makeup products like foundations for sensitive skin.
Note: Some brands listed below may only carry some products that are hypoallergenic. Even if a product is labeled as hypoallergenic, you should always test a small amount on your skin to ensure that it doesn’t cause an allergic reaction.
Almay – Almay is an allergy free makeup brand that is dedicated to ensuring that their products are tested by dermatologists and are hypoallergenic. They do this by limiting the amount of skin-irritating ingredients in their line of makeup. They work with doctors to test different ingredient combinations to ensure reduce the likelihood that their products will irritate your skin or eyes. This brand is worth looking into if you wear contact lenses.
Note that certain products carried by Almay contain carmine, which is a color additive which could cause sensitivity for some people.
bareMinerals – When I think of “natural mineral makeup”, the first brand that comes to mind is always bareMinerals. This brand has made a name for themselves by offering products are made primarily from natural ingredients. This means their products do not contain paraben, chemical sunscreens, phthalate, mineral oil, tar and other harmful ingredients.
Note that certain products from bareMinerals contain TALC, which is composed of magnesium, silicon and magnesium silicate. TALC was the subject of lawsuits because it’s presence in baby powder was suspected of causing ovarian cancer. However there is no evidence to support this association.
bareMinerals claims that they are committed to following the strict standards set forth by the FDA and USP (United States Pharmacopeia) with regards to TALC usage.
Burt’s Bees – Burt’s Bees is headquartered in Durham, North Carolina. The company has made it their mission to create products from natural ingredients including shea butter, royal jelly, pomegranate, orange, lemon and others. They don’t use harmful ingredients such as parabens, phthalates, petrolatum and SLS.
By using only natural ingredients, their products should reduce the chance of allergic reactions for most people.
However for those with very sensitive skin, here is what you need to know about Burt Bees’s products:
- They use natural fragrances – their fragrances contain essential oils and natural extracts
- Their lipsticks may contain lead – the FDA conducted a study in 2010 and found that one of Burt’s Bee’s lipsticks contain a high concentration of lead. The company hasn’t publicly addressed the issue and only claims that their lipstick is made of natural oils, waxes and mineral-based pigments.
- Some products contain alcohol – Burt’s Bees uses alcohol in some products as preservatives. The company claims the alcohol is from natural plant sources.
- They use carmine for coloring – like many other companies, Burt’s Bees uses carmine for coloring in their products. This is a natural extract with red pigment. However, it may cause sensitivity for some people.
Clinique – Clinique is by far one of my favorite brands but you really have to test their products to know if it will work for you. Many people that I have worked with have told me that Clinique makeup simply works meaning the color is good, it feels light on the skin, it’s affordable and most people did not experience any sensitivity or breakouts.
However, the devil is always in the details and here is what you need to know if you are considering using Clinique products for sensitive skin:
- Their products contain dimethicone – Dimethicone is a form of silicone. While this is a fairly common ingredient in most makeup products. However, prolonged exposure to it may cause increased skin irritation.
- Their lipsticks may contain lead – the FDA conducted a study in 2010 and found that Clinique lipsticks contain a high concentration of lead.
- Their foundations contain octisalate – Octisalate is a common ingredient for sunscreens but may cause allergic reactions for some people.
Clinique is part of the Estee Lauder group of companies and they claim that they have a commitment to practice “safe packaging” which means they use plant-based materials for their packages. They also claim that they do raw material assessments with a focus to improve human health.
The company is not too specific on how their commitments will help reduce your chances of getting an allergic reaction while using their products. This is why you need to test their products before buying.
Colorescience – I want to mention Colorescience here because this brand is often overlooked. Colorescience is a great hypoallergenic cosmetic brand. They are known for using only pure and natural minerals in their products like carrot seed oil, vitamin E and vegetal extract complex. They use potent skincare ingredients that are clinically tested.
All colorescience products do not contain parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, dyes, mineral oils or alcohols.
The company won the Fall 2017 Opah Magazine Fall Beauty O-Wards for having the best day cream for sensitive skin.
Colorescience is big on sun protection and uses a mineral base for their sun care products. The company claims that their products produces 2 benefits:
- Immediate Benefit – For example, if you are covering up blemishes with their foundation, their products will protect and nourish your skin.
- Long Term Benefit – Prolonged use of their products will result in the reduction of blemishes.
Their products have received rave reviews on social media and have been featured in many magazines including Prevention, New Beauty and Seventeen. This should give you the confidence to give them a try.
However, as with all skincare products, nothing is 100% safe. The company has a disclaimer on their website telling people to go see a doctor if they experience allergies.
Giorgo Armani Beauty – You may know Giorgo Armani’s fashion line, but little people know about their beauty products as well. The company has made it their mission to test all of their products for irritants and allergens on human volunteers.
The company claims that they work with a wide range of professionals including toxicology, microbiology, environmental chemistry, and manufacturing experts to ensure that their products are safe.
While their products will not cause irritations for most people. A quick scan of the ingredients list of their top selling product MAESTRO FUSION MAKEUP reveals the following:
- It contains dimethicone – As discussed above, while this ingredient is safe, prolonged use may increase sensitivity for some people.
- It contains benzyl alcohol – Benzyl alcohol may cause irritation by drying up the skin.
- It contains methoxycinnamate – this is a synonym for octinoxate which may cause endocrine disruption and allergenic effects.
Keep in mind that these ingredients are considered safe in small concentrations and will not cause allergic reactions in most cases. It’s up to you to test each product before using.
Glo Skin Beauty – Another strong competitor in the space of hypoallergenic makeup is Glo Skin Beauty. The company uses potent concentrations of actives, plant stem cells, new school peptides, natural minerals and botanical extracts.
The don’t use parabens, talc, sulfates or polyethylene beads. By keeping talc out of their products, the company claims that they can help you reduce skin conditions like acne and rosacea. It will also help you reduce wrinkles and fine lines.
However a quick check of the ingredients list of one of their best products: Satin Cream Foundation reveals the following:
- It contains Dimethicone and other silicones – As discussed above, while this ingredient is safe, prolonged use may increase sensitivity for some people.
- It contains Phenoxyethanol – This is a common ingredient in many moisturizers, foundations and sunscreens and it’s been linked to allergic reactions like eczema and hives.
- It contains Ethylhexylglycerin – This ingredient has been classified as an irritant by the European Union, but the hazard is low according to EWG.
The ingredients listed above may not be an issue for most people as the concentrations may be small enough for the ingredient to be effective but not cause irritation. Without Talc and parabens in their products, Glo Beauty Skin may be a good hypoallergenic makeup brand worth considering.
Jane Iredale – Jane Iredale pride themselves on producing products that are paraben free, non-comedogenic, talc free and phthalate free. Their products are made from synthetic fragrances and GMO ingredients. However, does their products really work for sensitive skin?
A quick look at one of their top performing products, Beyond Matte™ Liquid Foundation, reveals the following:
- Dimethicone! – If you’ve read the rest of my article, you know that this ingredient is usually safe but prolonged use may cause irritation
- It contains Tocopherol – At high doses, this ingredient has shown tumor formations in animals. However, it’s of low overall hazard according to the EWG.
Without parabens or talc, Jane Iredale products seem pretty promising. The ingredients listed above poses some concern, but they are minor.
Neutrogena – This brand started off as a soap company in 1954 and grew to become a giant in cosmetics and skincare products over the past half century. In terms of promoting healthy skincare, the brand goes as far as creating the NeutrogenaMD which provide dermatologists with resources they can use for the patients.
However, little information can be found on just exactly how they test their products or their commitment to using healthy makeup products that won’t cause irritation for sensitive skin.
I did some research on one of their top selling products, Neutrogena Healthy Skin® Makeup and noticed it contains the following:
- Dimethicone (again) – common ingredient known to cause irritation after prolonged use.
- Phenoxyethanol – this ingredient has been linked to allergic reactions
- Polymethyl methacrylate – low overall hazard on EWG but classified as expected to be toxic or harmful.
The concentrations of these ingredients are probably low enough to not cause reactions in most people. Neutorgena has made a name for themselves over the years and this fact should not be ignored.
Physician’s Formula – This brand focuses on selling products that are approved by dermatologist. They claim that all their products are non-irritating, non-greasy, hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic. They have an organic skin care line that promotes the use of natural & organic ingredients.
I checked out one of their top performing products: organic wear silk foundation elixir and found some good key ingredients like organic jojoba oil, aloe vera and coconut oil. I didn’t see any parabens or talc which a is good sign.
The brand is receiving tons of positive reviews on social media is possibility one of the best hypoallergenic makeup brands on this list.
Youngblood – This brand has been focusing on the creation of clean cosmetics for the past 20 years. They claim that the founder, Pauline Youngblood, works closely with the “best chemists’ to review every formula to ensure quality.
So, does this brand really do what they claim? After reviewing the ingredients of one of their best products, Liquid Mineral Foundation, the following is discovered:
- It contains Dimethicone – Very common ingredient, lost risk but may cause irritate for some people after prolonged use.
- Fragrance – may cause irritation for some people with sensitive skin.
The ingredients above are too minor to be of concern to most people. It’s important to test each product before commitment.