Best Makeup Brands For Sensitive Skin




Finding the right makeup brands and products can be challenging if you have sensitive skin. Many cosmetics contain harsh chemicals, fragrances, and other irritants that can cause redness, itching, breakouts, and other unpleasant reactions on delicate skin. But don’t despair – plenty of great makeup options are formulated specifically for sensitive skin types.

In this ultimate guide, we’ll share the best makeup brands for sensitive skin and provide tips for choosing products that enhance your natural beauty without aggravating your skin. Whether you’re looking for foundation, concealer, blush, eyeshadow, or any other essentials, we’ve covered you with gentle, non-irritating picks from top brands. Let’s dive in!

What to Look For in Makeup for Sensitive Skin

When you have sensitive skin, reading labels and ingredient lists is essential. Here are the key things to look for when choosing makeup products:

Fragrance-Free Formulas

Added fragrance is one of the most common triggers of skin sensitivity and allergic reactions. Opt for products labeled “fragrance-free” rather than “unscented,” as the latter may still contain masking fragrances. Avoid essential oils, which can also be irritating.

Non-Comedogenic and Oil-Free

If your sensitive skin is also prone to clogged pores and breakouts, look for oil-free and non-comedogenic formulas. These won’t clog pores or exacerbate acne. Lightweight gel and water-based products work well.


Hypoallergenic makeup is formulated to minimize the risk of allergic reactions. While no federal standards govern this term, hypoallergenic products are a good starting point for sensitive skin as they generally contain fewer harsh ingredients.

Free of Common Irritants

In addition to fragrance, there are several other common irritants to avoid if you have sensitive skin:

  • Alcohol
  • Sulfates (SLS, SLES)
  • Petrochemicals/petroleum derivatives
  • Parabens
  • Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives
  • Phthalates
  • Oxybenzone
  • Retinoids
  • Salicylic acid
  • Rough physical exfoliants

Mica, bismuth oxychloride, and other shimmery minerals can also be problematic for some, so you may want to avoid glittery and shimmery finishes if your skin reacts to those.

Gentle, Skin-Soothing Ingredients

Look for makeup with skincare-based formulas containing ingredients that calm and soothe sensitive skin, such as:

  • Aloe vera
  • Oats/colloidal oatmeal
  • Allantoin
  • Licorice root
  • Green tea
  • Chamomile
  • White tea
  • Niacinamide
  • Ceramides
  • Squalane
  • Hyaluronic acid

These nourishing ingredients can help combat redness and irritation.

The Best Makeup Brands for Sensitive Skin

Now that you know what to look for, let’s get into our top picks for the best non-irritating makeup brands.

  1. Clinique

Clinique is the OG of sensitive skin-friendly makeup. Their products are all fragrance-free, allergy-tested, and non-acnegenic. Hero products include:

  • Redness Solutions Makeup SPF 15 – a color-correcting foundation to neutralize redness
  • Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer – an oil-free, long-wearing, natural finish foundation
  • Even Better Refresh Hydrating and Repairing Foundation – with hyaluronic acid to hydrate and niacinamide to calm irritation
  • Moisture Surge Eye 96-Hour Hydro-Filler Concentrate – a gel-cream eye cream to plump, smooth, and depuff
  • Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm – a sheer, creamy blush stick
  • Lash Power Mascara Long-Wearing Formula – a smudge-resistant, flake-free mascara that’s ophthalmologist-tested
  1. Bare Minerals

This clean beauty pioneer offers mineral-based formulas free of parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, chemical sunscreens, triclosan, triclocarban, and other toxins. Fan favorites include:

  • Original Loose Powder Mineral Foundation SPF 15 – the iconic foundation that started it all, with just 5 mineral ingredients
  • BAREPRO 16-Hour Full Coverage Concealer – a crease-proof concealer with bamboo stem extract to smooth
  • GEN NUDE Powder Blush – a mineral blush with antioxidant-rich botanical extracts
  • Mineralist Hydra-Smoothing Lipstick – a moisturizing, long-wearing lipstick free of parabens and phthalates
  1. RMS Beauty

RMS Beauty is another clean beauty brand with products based on organic, food-grade, and raw ingredients. Sensitive skin will love:

  • “Un” Cover-Up Concealer/Foundation – a coconut-oil-based formula that melts into skin
  • Lip2Cheek – a cream blush/lip combo with nourishing oils and shea butter
  • Swift Shadows – cream eyeshadows with soothing, antioxidant-rich organic buriti oil
  1. Tarte

Tarte is committed to producing cruelty-free, vegan-friendly makeup, with many fragrance-free options for sensitive skin, such as:

  • Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer – a lightweight, oil-free tinted moisturizer to hydrate and even skin tone
  • Maracuja Creaseless Concealer – a full-coverage waterproof concealer with redness-reducing maracuja
  • Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush – long-wearing, fade-free blush in a range of shades
  1. Jane Iredale

Jane Iredale (a.k.a. “The Skincare Makeup”) has a mineral-based, non-comedogenic makeup for all skin types, including sensitive skin. Standouts include:

  • PurePressed Base Mineral Foundation
  • Excellent Base Loose Mineral Powder

Both offer gentle, skin-soothing coverage. The In Touch Cream Blush contains nourishing ingredients like jojoba seed oil and macadamia seed oil.

  1. Almay

Almay was one of the first hypoallergenic makeup brands on the market. Everything they make is fragrance-free, clean, cruelty-free, and dermatologist-tested. Their complexion-perfecting Skin Perfecting Comfort Matte Foundation contains soothing, redness-reducing aloe and chamomile. The Clear Complexion Concealer and the Blemish Healing Spot Concealer are also excellent for sensitive, breakout-prone skin types.

  1. Physicians Formula

An allergist created Physicians Formula to be safe for sensitive skin and eyes. All products are hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, paraben-free, gluten-free, dermatologist-approved, and cruelty-free. They offer gentle, skin-pampering options such as:

  • The Healthy Foundation SPF 20 – a long-wearing, buildable formula with brightening Chinese wu zhu yu extract and nourishing hyaluronic acid
  • Organic Wear Sculpting Bronzer – with skin-conditioning jojoba seed oil, olive oil, safflower oil, and shea butter
  • Murumuru Butter Blush – ultra-luxe, hydrating blush with fatty-acid-rich murumuru butter
  • The Healthy Powder – talc-free, skin-smoothing finishing powder infused with antioxidant protectors like vitamins A, C, & E
  1. IT Cosmetics

Developed with plastic surgeons and dermatologists, IT Cosmetics creates problem-solving products for various skin types and concerns, including sensitive skin. Bestsellers include:

  • Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50+ – a color-correcting, full-coverage cream to even skin tone and hide imperfections
  • Bye Bye Under Eye Anti-Aging Waterproof Concealer – an ultra-pigmented concealer to erase dark circles
  • Bye-Bye Redness Neutralizing Color-Correcting Cream – a soothing cream to camouflage redness and calm irritated skin
  • Ombr√© Radiance Blush – a talc-free blush with collagen and hyaluronic acid
  1. Kosas

Clean beauty brand Kosas makes makeup with beneficial skincare ingredients and no harsh or irritating chemicals. Sensitive skin saviors include:

  • Revealer Concealer – a super creamy, medium coverage concealer with caffeine to brighten and arnica and panthenol to soothe
  • Color & Light Creme Cream Blush and Highlighter Duo – a buttery blush and highlighter with nourishing rosehip seed oil and green tea seed oil
  • Weightless Lip Color Lipstick – a comfortable lipstick packed with mango seed butter, shea butter, rosehip seed oil, and jojoba oil to protect and soften lips
  1. Flower Beauty

Founded by actress Drew Barrymore, Flower Beauty offers affordable, high-quality, cruelty-free makeup. Fragrance-free, gentle picks include:

  • Get Real Serum Foundation – a silky serum foundation with niacinamide to soothe skin
  • Light Illusion Liquid Foundation – an oil-free, blurring foundation
  • Supernova Celestial Skin Elixir – a priming, smoothing, hydrating skincare-makeup hybrid

How to Apply Makeup When You Have Sensitive Skin

Now that you have an arsenal of non-irritating makeup picks, let’s discuss the best application techniques for sensitive skin.

Prep the Skin

Proper skincare is essential to keep sensitive skin happy under makeup. Always start with clean skin (use a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser) and apply a lightweight, non-irritating moisturizer. Look for soothing ingredients like aloe, oat extract, ceramides, and niacinamide. Let moisturizer absorb for a few minutes before starting your makeup.

Suppose your sensitive skin is dehydrated and flaky. You may want to add a hydrating serum or face oil first, such as The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane or Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum. Avoid heavy occlusive products (like petrolatum or dimethicone) that can clog pores under makeup.

If the skin is red and inflamed, a green color-correcting primer like the Smashbox Photo Finish Reduce Redness Primer can help neutralize redness before you apply foundation or concealer.

Use Clean Brushes and Sponges

Dirty makeup brushes can harbor bacteria and irritants that aggravate sensitive skin. Wash your brushes and sponges regularly with a gentle, fragrance-free brush cleanser. It’s also important to wash your hands before makeup to avoid transferring oils, bacteria, and irritants to your skin.

Go Easy on the Layering

When you have sensitive skin, less is more regarding makeup. Avoid heavy, pore-clogging formulas and too many layers of product, which can lead to irritation. Opt for lightweight, breathable formulas and apply thin, sheer layers that you can build up as needed for more coverage.

You may also want to avoid setting your makeup with powder if you’re prone to dryness and flaking, as the powder can emphasize any dry patches. If you’re going to put on your makeup, use the lightest possible dusting of loose translucent powder.

Remove Makeup Gently

Never go to sleep with your makeup on! Leaving makeup on overnight can clog pores and lead to breakouts and irritation. But harshly scrubbing the skin is also a no-no if you’re sensitive.

The best way to remove makeup is with a gentle, fragrance-free cleansing oil, balm, or micellar water. These formulas break down makeup without stripping the skin. Always use soft, clean cotton pads or a fresh microfiber cloth when removing makeup.

After removing makeup, cleanse the skin again with a gentle, non-foaming cleanser. To replenish hydration, follow with a soothing toner or essence and a calming moisturizer.

Conclusion and Sensitive Skin Makeup Tips

Living with sensitive skin doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy makeup and have fun with beauty! The key is choosing the right products and taking a few precautions with your application techniques. Here are some final tips to keep in mind:

  • Choose fragrance-free, hypoallergenic products from sensitive, skin-friendly brands like the ones mentioned above
  • Read ingredient labels and avoid common irritants
  • Look for makeup formulas enriched with soothing skincare ingredients
  • Don’t neglect your basic skincare routine – prep the skin with a gentle cleanser and moisturizer before makeup
  • Keep your makeup brushes and sponges squeaky clean
  • Use a light touch, and don’t overdo it on the layers of the product
  • Remove your makeup every night before bed gently but thoroughly
  • Patch test new products first if you’re not sure how your skin will react

With these tips and the best makeup brands and products for sensitive skin in your beauty arsenal, you’ll be glowing, radiant, and irritation-free! Remember, the key is listening to your skin and giving it the gentle TLC it needs.


mandy b.
mandy b.
Founder, owner, writer & (coming up this summer)
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