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The Best Eye Primers for Sensitive Eyes

best eye primer for sensitive eyes

Doing eye makeup is fun because there aren’t any rules to abide by. If you want something simple or bold, or even crazy when combining unlikely colors, do it with the right tools. It’s no holds barred when it comes to fun eye looks!

But if you have sensitive skin around your eyes (or sensitive eyes in general!), it can be quite difficult to find the right makeup. You have to pick shadows and mascaras your eyes won’t get irritated by.

And the most important thing to note is copping the best eye primer for sensitive eyes to start your look off right with a good, skin-friendly base.

Luckily, though the eye primer market is saturated with so many beauty brands to choose from, there are a few stand-out products for your extra-sensitive eyes. Here are some of my favorites!

Best Eye Primer for Sensitive Eyes Reviews

1. Physicians Formula Eye Primer Duo 

If you don’t know where to start when it comes to shopping for eye primers for your sensitive eyes, this pack of two hypoallergenic eyes primers by Physicians Formula is a great basic duo to start with.

In this duo of eye primers, you get a matte primer and a shimmery one for more glittery shadows. That way, you have the appropriate primer to complement what kind of look you’re going for.

For simple, nude looks with a natural glow, you can use the everyday matte primer. For metallic, daring looks, opt for the shimmery one.

The formulas are smudge-resistant and lock in your makeup all day long. You don’t have to worry about your eyeshadows spreading and smudging in the middle of an event or date with either of the primers.

They’re perfect for your sensitive eyes because they don’t contain any irritating ingredients, like oils that can sting the eyes, parabens, and fragrances. The formulas are also hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic, so you don’t have to worry about rashes or acne breakouts.

They’re also clinically approved by dermatologists and ophthalmologists for those who wear contact lenses and are therefore extra careful with their eye makeup.

Like all primers, you must apply these primers in a thin layer over your eyes. Over-applying these two primers may result in creasing in your eyeshadows that can become noticeable throughout the day. That’s exactly what you want to avoid if you have fine lines that you don’t want to accentuate.
Pros
  • You get two primers—one in a matte finish and another that is shimmery.
  • Smudge-resistant so that your makeup doesn’t spread throughout the day
  • Hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic, so it won’t irritate the skin or clog pores.
  • Approved by ophthalmologists for contact lens wearers
  • Doesn’t contain harsh ingredients like fragrance, parabens, and oils
Cons
  • May crease if you apply too much of it on your eyes
This Physicians Formula pack is a super hypoallergenic eyeshadow primer duo if you love to switch between simple everyday looks with a few matte shades and bold glam looks with glittery shadows.

2. Elizabeth Mott Eyeshadow Primer

Should you want a more classic eyeshadow primer that keeps your lids grease-free all day while holding your shadows’ colors in place, try out this Thank Me Later primer from Elizabeth Mott.

The brand prides itself on coming up with an eyeshadow primer that is animal cruelty-free, so you know you’re making a responsible purchase that’s good for the world. The formula is also paraben-free, so you can rest assured that your sensitive eyes won’t have an adverse reaction to it.

The primer contains pearl powder. This powder brightens the skin tone and helps even out your face’s complexion to make your face makeup look more cohesive and put together.

It helps extend the wear of your eyeshadow so that your look will be more long-lasting. It also enhances the vibrancy of your eyeshadows’ colors, so you don’t end up looking dull even if it’s been hours since the application.

The formula is very lightweight and non-greasy, so it doesn’t feel thick, cakey, or greasy. That makes it the perfect primer for oily eyelids. It even has a quick-drying formula with a matte finish, so you can apply your shadows right away without wasting any time.

While this primer does help out with brightening up your eyes and evening out your face’s complexion, the tint is quite light. That means you might need a more full-coverage, heavy-duty primer, or even a concealer to eliminate deep darkness.
Pros
  • Cruelty-free and paraben-free to care for your skin
  • Has pearl powder that brightens your skin tone and evens it out
  • Makes your eyeshadows more long-lasting and enhances its color too
  • Lightweight and non-greasy, so it’s perfect for oily skin
  • Has a quick-drying formula so you can apply makeup right away
Cons
  • The tint is light, requiring a more heavy-duty primer for concealing darkness.
If your oily lids need a little bit of extra help holding your pesky eyeshadows in place, this Elizabeth Mott primer might be the best one out there for you. The best part is that it’s paraben-free; thus, it won’t be irritating for sensitive eyes.

3. bareMinerals Eyeshadow Primer

This bareMinerals primer is unique because of the unique ability to double as a standalone eyeshadow. It makes an excellent base before you put on eyeshadows to help your makeup last hours longer during the day. But it can also be worn by itself as a simple, nude eyeshadow for a quick glam-up.

It has a creamy formula that is easy to swipe onto your eyelids and spread to create a smooth base for your cream and powder eyeshadows. It dries down matte, like a powder, which helps make your eyeshadows go on easier and without any creases.

The primer has a subtle shimmer when it dries down. This shimmer isn’t flashy but provides a natural glow that mimics the skin’s luminosity. It’s another factor why it makes a terrific standalone shadow for everyday looks.

It has a beige tint that helps neutralize any noticeable darkness and redness around the eyes. It has fantastic coverage that helps hide any imperfections as well.

I love that this primer isn’t irritating, even on very sensitive eyes. Even if you use it for hours on end every day, you best believe it won’t be harsh on your skin or sting your eyes.

However, I’ve noticed that this primer can be a bit drying, especially when you don’t prep with a good moisturizer or eye cream. Thus, I’d recommend this more for those with oily skin.
Pros
  • Can be worn alone as an eyeshadow or as a base for shadows
  • Has a creamy formula that dries down matte for a smoother base
  • Contains a subtle shimmer in its finish to mimic skin
  • Has a beige tint that neutralizes darkness around the eyes
  • Doesn’t irritate even those with very sensitive eyes and skin
Cons
  • Can be a bit drying without skincare, so it’s best used by those with oily skin
While bareMinerals doesn’t market it outright, this is one of the most awesome eyeshadow primers for sensitive eyes out there. It does an amazing job of concealing and prepping the eyes for shadows in a flattering way without stinging the eyes or irritating the skin around it.

4. NYX Eyeshadow Base Primer

If you’re looking for a primer with adequate coverage and easy application, then you should give this NYX base primer a shot. My favorite one in the line is in the shade Skin Tone.

This primer doesn’t come in a liquid, concealer-like consistency like other primers. It has a creamy and thick consistency, like a mousse. The texture ensures a smoother application on the eyelid.

It primes your eyes properly before you blend in your eye makeup. It makes sure your eyes can hold the pigments well so that your makeup will last for hours. It also intensifies your eyeshadow’s color so that you can look as bold and bright as when you first put your makeup on.

The primer has a bit of a tan shade that mimics the color of skin. It helps the product blend well into the skin and even covers up some imperfections and blemishes.

This is a fantastic eyeshadow primer for sensitive skin because it doesn’t irritate or dry out the skin, which is always a plus if you’re trying to be more skin-friendly with your makeup choices.

I also appreciate that this product is cruelty-free and acknowledged by PETA. NYX never tests on animals, and it’s great advocacy to support.

While this eyeshadow primer is a breeze to apply and work with while doing your makeup, it does have its flaws. When I use this primer for full-day wear of eyeshadow, my eye makeup will start to crease near the end of the day.
Pros
  • Comes in a creamy, mousse-y formula for smoother application
  • Primes your eyes to hold makeup well and intensifies color too
  • Has a tan color to it to mimic and blend into your skin tone well
  • Doesn’t irritate or dry out the skin, which is great for sensitive skin
  • Cruelty-free and is never tested on animals.
Cons
  • Tends to crease your eyeshadows nearing the end of the day
If you want to enhance the colors of your eyeshadow palette, try out this NYX primer. It intensifies any bold look so that you can look stunning while simultaneously protecting your eyes from irritation and stinging.

5. Maybelline New York Master Prime

If you’re looking for the best eye primer for sensitive skin, look no further. Maybelline is the queen of drugstore makeup, and this eye primer doesn’t disappoint.

This primer fills in fine lines and wrinkles to help you get a smoother and even base as you prep your skin for beautiful cream or powder eyeshadows. It helps make your colorful eye-makeup last longer.

The primer enhances the color of your eyeshadow’s pigments, so if you want a vivid color that lasts all day long, this primer is the one for you. You get terrific pay-off even with just one thin layer of this primer, so I love to reserve it for my bolder, more spirited looks.

But it can also be worn alone if you’re not feeling like a bold look. It helps liven up your tired eyes a bit and makes you look more fresh and awake, which’s great for everyday looks at school or work.

The primer is tested and approved by ophthalmologists for safe use even if you have sensitive eyes that tear up quickly with many makeup products. It’s also recommended for those who wear contact lenses.

One small pet peeve I have about this eye primer is that it can get a bit clumpy when applying it to the lids. It’s easy to smooth it out with your fingers or a sponge afterward, but because it goes on clumpy, it’s easy to accidentally apply too much.
Pros
  • Gets rid of fine lines and wrinkles to give you a smooth base for your eyeshadows
  • Allows your eyeshadows to be long-lasting and stay on the skin
  • Gives you a more vibrant color pay-off from your shadows
  • Can be worn alone for a fresh, more lively look
  • Ophthalmologist-approved for those with contact lenses and sensitive eyes
Cons
  • Applies a bit clumpy, but it’s easy to smooth out with your fingers
Whether you’re going for a simple, fresh look or a deep, glam look with colorful eyeshadows, this Maybelline eye primer is sure to be one of your favorites—especially if you have sensitive skin.

6. Jolie Neutralizing Eye & Lip Primer

Jolie isn’t as trendy or mainstream as other brands on this list, but if you want a foolproof eye primer for sensitive eyes, you’ll love this.

The first unique thing about this primer is that it’s multi-use. While it’s primarily an eye primer, it can also be used as a lip primer to prep your mouth for lipstick. It helps smooth out the skin by filling in any fine lines and cracks, creating a smooth and seamless canvas for your eye and lip makeup to glide on.

When used as an eyeshadow primer, it locks all the colorful pigments in place. The hold is quite strong and reminds me of glue, so it’s perfect when you have a night-long event and need your eye and lip makeup to stay for a long while without fading.

It’s also a godsend for those with sensitive skin. It’s gentle, hypoallergenic, and doesn’t contain ingredients that can irritate your eyes or make them itch, such as talc and parabens. The formula is vegan too, so it has no gluten.

The primer is also infused with essential vitamins to fortify your sensitive skin and help it become stronger and more resilient.

The only issue I have with this primer comes more from its packaging than the primer itself. I don’t like that the jar it comes in is quite tiny, which takes me some effort to get the product out of it.
Pros
  • Can also be used as a lip primer to make your lipstick look smoother
  • Fills in cracks and lines for a seamless canvas to prep your lids for eyeshadow
  • Locks in your eyeshadow like glue to prolong its wear
  • Infused with essential vitamins to fortify your sensitive skin
  • Hypoallergenic and doesn’t contain talc, gluten, and parabens.
Cons
  • The jar is kind of small, so it can be challenging to get some product out.
If you love multi-functional makeup products and have sensitive skin too, you’re going to fall head over heels for this hypoallergenic eye primer by Jolie. Not only is it gentle for the skin, but it infuses it with necessary vitamins to keep it strong and healthy over time.

7. CoverGirl Eyeshadow Primer

This clear eyeshadow primer by CoverGirl may not have the subtle tint other primers do to help cover up imperfections and redness, but it’s amazing at keeping your shadows in place all day.

It secures your eyeshadows on your eyelids for all-day wear, so you never have to worry about your eye makeup slipping and sliding in the middle of an event where you have to look your best.

It also does a great job of intensifying the color of your eyeshadows. While it’s suitable for everyday use, I think it would shine brightly when you use it to prep your eyes for bold and daring nighttime looks, like at costume parties and nights on the town.

The formula is grease-free, so it’s comfortable to use even for those with oily lids. The primer dries quickly, so you don’t have to wait long for it to dry before going in with your eyeshadow.

This primer is gentle on the skin because it doesn’t irritate or cause any inflammation, even with prolonged use.

But it’s worth noting that it can stay a bit tacky when the primer dries, so it’s a must to set it in place with some translucent powder. If you don’t, your eyeshadow brush can skip on your eyelids as you apply shadow, making for a less smooth application.
Pros
  • Secures your eyeshadow on your lid for all-day wear
  • Intensifies the color of your eyeshadows to keep you looking vibrant
  • The formula dries quickly, so you can start applying eye makeup right away
  • Has a grease-free formula, so it’s perfect for those with oily eyelids
  • Gentle on the skin and doesn’t irritate or inflame sensitive eyes
Cons
  • If you don’t set it with powder, your eyeshadow brush can skip on your eyelid
While many might not be huge fans of the slightly tacky finish of this product, it does wonders for keeping your eyeshadows locked on your lid, as the primer’s name suggests. I recommend it for those who need extra help keeping their pigments to stay in place without melting.

8. Bellaterra Eye Shadow Primer

Bellaterra might not be a familiar brand name to you, but it’s an awesome brand that promises natural, organic, and non-toxic formulas for its products, like this eyeshadow primer gals with sensitive skin will surely love!

This primer smooths down the skin so that your eyeshadow won’t crease even if you wear your makeup all day long. It fills in fine lines, cracks, and wrinkles that might be on your eyelids so that your makeup goes on without any creases or folds.

This primer is moisturizing because it has nourishing oils in its list of ingredients. However, it never leaves a greasy residue on the skin. In fact, it absorbs excess oil production, so I highly recommend it to those suffering from problematic oily skin.

It has a beige tint that helps conceal imperfections like veins, darkness, and acne scars. Doing so allows the skin to look more even-toned around the face.

I also appreciate how this formula is hypoallergenic and non-toxic, so those with sensitive eyes never have to worry about irritation. It also doesn’t have any alcohol or talc, two ingredients that are known to be irritating.

My only con about this primer is that it’s not that easy to spread across the eyelid at first. You’ll need to warm it up with body heat from your fingertips before it can be easily applied in a silky texture, and it takes some time to get there.
Pros
  • Smooths down your skin so that your eyeshadow doesn’t crease
  • Moisturizing but doesn’t leave an oily or greasy residue on the skin
  • Absorbs excess sebum, so it’s suitable for extra oily skin
  • Beige tint hides veins and blemishes for an even-toned complexion
  • Hypoallergenic and non-toxic formula that contains no alcohol or talc
Cons
  • Requires heating it on your fingers to spread it around easier
It’s great that Bellaterra took the time to ensure this primer is hypoallergenic and non-toxic, making it suitable for those with sensitive eyes and skin. If you’re scouting for the best eyeshadow primer for sensitive eyes, this is a top contender!

9. L’Oréal Magic De-Crease Eyelid Primer

Creasing is already a bad eye makeup issue as it is, but when paired with eye sensitivity, it can be even trickier to find the right primer for you. Luckily, this primer addresses both problems!

This L’Oreal primer’s main specialty is preventing creasing and folding of your eye makeup throughout the day. It’s a fabulous primer to try out if you need help smoothing out those fine lines and wrinkles that are starting to appear as you get older.

It also extends the wear of your eyeshadow for long days. It locks in those pigments to make sure you have vibrant, shimmery eyes for up to eight hours.

The formula is creamy, but it dries matte. It’s perfect for those with oily lids who need help controlling the greasiness.

This primer was tested by ophthalmologists and was approved for safe use by those with sensitive eyes. So you don’t have to worry about this primer stinging your eyes even if you wear it all day long.

It’s also fragrance-free, which means that’s one less potentially irritating ingredient to worry about when you use this primer. It’s also terrific for those who hate overbearing scents in their makeup products.

However, one watch-out about this primer is that it can be somewhat drying on the skin. While that’s helpful for those with oily skin that produces a lot more sebum than average, it can dehydrate your skin even more if you already have dry skin to begin with.
Pros
  • Ensures that your eyeshadow doesn’t crease throughout the day
  • Extends the wear of your eyeshadow for up to eight hours long
  • Mattifies the eyelid to control oiliness
  • Fragrance-free, perfect for those who dislike unnecessary ingredients and scents
  • Ophthalmologist-tested, so you know it’s safe for those with sensitive eyes.
Cons
  • Can be drying if you have a dry skin type to begin with
So if you have sensitive eyes and constantly face the problem of your eye makeup creasing on long days, especially in the summer, try out this L’Oreal primer. It mattifies your lids, prevents creasing, and is sensitive skin-friendly.

10. bareMinerals Prime Time Eye Primer

One of my favorite primers from a popular brand is the fan-favorite Prime Time eye primer by bareMinerals. It’s designed to make your eyeshadows go into overdrive and withstand the test of time so that you can have vivid eyeshadows on your lids all day and all night.

It also eliminates excess oil sitting on your lids. That way, your eye makeup can look matte and neat all day without any slipping and smudging.

The texture of this primer is silky smooth, so it’s easy to spread onto the eyelid. That said, it’s still very lightweight, so it never feels heavy or cakey when applied.

A unique thing about this primer is that you don’t have to wait for your eyelids to dry before putting on makeup. It instantly primes your lids upon application, so you can blend in your eyeshadows right away.

This primer never irritates my sensitive lids, and I’ve never experienced any itching or stinging even after a full day’s wear either. I recommend it to anyone hunting for effective eye primers that won’t be harsh on delicate eyes and skin.

One thing I don’t like about this primer is the flaw in its packaging design. The squeeze tip always seems to detach from the primer tube after some time. It becomes messy to dispense product after this happens.
Pros
  • Extends the life of your eyeshadow so that your lids can stay vibrant for longer
  • Eliminates excess oil so that your lids can look neat and matte all day
  • The texture is silky yet lightweight, so it’s smooth and never feels cakey.
  • No drying time—you can put on shadows right after priming.
  • Doesn’t irritate or itch when applied to sensitive lids
Cons
  • Its squeeze tip is notorious for detaching from the tube after some time.
I love this primer because it’s an “old reliable” I can always go to when I need a primer to make my eyeshadows last a long time and decrease my lids’ oiliness. Plus, I never have to worry about it irritating my sensitive lids.

What to Look for When Buying Eye Primers for Sensitive Eyes

hypoallergenic-eyeshadow-primer

Hypoallergenic formula that won’t irritate the eyes

If you’re prone to allergic reactions when you try out makeup products that aren’t designed for sensitive skin, it’s essential to look for “hypoallergenic” on the packaging of your eye primer. That way, you can be sure the product is less likely to have allergens that cause itching and flare-ups.

Tested and approved by dermatologists and ophthalmologists

It’s important to get an expert’s buy-in about the eye primer’s safety you’re looking at purchasing. One way to ensure that the primer is suitable for sensitive eyes is by researching whether or not it’s ophthalmologist-approved.

Ophthalmologists will sometimes flag if a product is safe to use by those with sensitive eyes and even those that use contact lenses daily.

Oil-free formula that won’t be too greasy or sting the eyes

Oil tends to move and slide around your eyelid as the day goes. And when things get bad, it might enter your eyes and cause some stinging, especially when you’ve been hot and sweaty. It’s quite painful and distracting when it happens.

Avoid that by looking for an oil-free eye primer. That way, your primer and eyeshadow won’t be greasy on your lids throughout the day, and thus you’ll have fewer chances of stinging sensations in your eyes.

Will keep your eyeshadows in place all day long

The entire point of using a primer to prep your skin before makeup is to ensure your eyeshadows will stay in place all day long. Locking eyeshadows into place and securing the skin’s hold on them is one way to ensure your bold makeup look will still look clean and snatched hours into the day.

Opt for a primer that claims to lock in and extend the wear of your shadows, especially if you’re going to an important event or date night. You don’t want any smudging by your eyes during the night!

Fills in fine lines and wrinkles so that your eye makeup looks smooth

If you suffer from makeup creasing on your lids in the middle of the day or when you start to get sweaty, make sure you snag a primer with a crease-free formula.

A primer should be able to fill in fine lines and wrinkles so that your eyeshadows won’t have the chance to settle in between those folds and accentuate them. It’s a must, especially for more mature women who are starting to see skin aging signs near their eye area.

If your primer does the job properly, you should have a smooth and even canvas on your eyelids. Your makeup should also look smooth and snatched all night, without forming any visible and distracting lines.

Doesn’t contain harsh or irritating ingredients

Many eye primers will exclude harsh ingredients in their formulas to accommodate those with sensitive eyes and skin.

These ingredients include alcohol (which can be drying) and talc (which can lead to flakiness and irritation). It’s also a good sign if the primer is paraben-free.

Look for a primer with a mild and gentle formulation. Try to avoid any unnecessary ingredients like artificial fragrances and dyes. These don’t affect the effectiveness of the primer and only risk irritation.

From a trustworthy and renowned makeup brand

When you have sensitive and delicate eyes, you can’t just use any random eye primer from a random online shop. You need to make sure the brand you’re buying from is tried and tested.

If you’re on a budget and want to go for popular drugstore brands with a good primer, it would do you well to look for a Maybelline, L’Oreal, NYX, or Physicians Formula primer.

On the other hand, if you have a penchant for expensive beauty products, you can try out a bareMinerals or Urban Decay eye primer, among other options.

Conclusion

Don’t be discouraged if you have sensitive eyes. Just because your eye area is sensitive, it doesn’t mean you have to hold yourself back from creating gorgeous eye looks when you do your makeup. All you need is the best eye primer for sensitive eyes, and you’re set to have fun with all the colors you want.

The important thing to remember is that aside from keeping your eyeshadows in place and eliminating fine lines and wrinkles, your primer must be formulated gently and without harsh chemicals. That way, you keep your delicate eyes and perfect eyeshadow look happy all day long!

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