10 Best Eyeliners for Sensitive Eyes (& Eyelids

10 Best Eyeliners for Sensitive Eyes (& Eyelids)

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Looking for the best eyeliner for sensitive eyes?

Eyeliners have been in the world of beauty since ancient times for a variety of reasons. The most common reason being that eyeliner enhances the eyes, defines your look, and makes your eyes stand out.

woman having black eyeliner applied close to her lashline

It can even change your eye shape and overall vibe, transforming your look from blank to sultry or innocent.

It’s all good until you realize you have sensitive eyes. Your eyes tear up and erase or mess up all your hard work, and no matter how much you reapply it, it’s gone again in a snap.

What do you do?

You’ll want to stick with gentle, non-irritating eyeliners, products that don’t contain the harsh ingredients that irritate your eyes.

Need help looking for the top contenders of the best eyeliner for dry sensitive eyes?

Look no further! We listed down all the top choices to help you pick the best eyeliner for sensitive eyes.

NYX Professional Makeup Epic Ink Liner
Editor's Choice
  • 100% hypoallergenic and vegan so your eyes are safe from harmful chemicals
  • Slender and flexible tip
  • Smudge-proof and waterproof
Shimarz Black Eyeliner Pencil
Premium Pick
  • 100% natural ingredients make this sensitive eye-friendly
  • Glides on like butter
  • Dramatic color for smokey eyes
Maybelline Eye Studio Master Precise Ink Pen Eyeliner
Budget Pick
  • Ophtalmologist-tested safe for sensitive eyes
  • Ultra-thin 0.4mm brush for precision lines
  • Super-saturated color for 12 hours

Why Choose Eyeliners for Sensitive Eyes?

Many people with sensitive eyes find that they can’t wear any kind of eyeliner for several reasons. For one, eyeliner makes their eyes itch, tear up, and generally feel uncomfortable. It can also trigger allergies for some.

If you’re one of those people, don’t despair; there are plenty of great eyeliners on the market that are specifically designed for sensitive eyes.

But let’s face it.

Because of the number of eyeliners out there, not to mention the different types available, it gets difficult to pick the best one for you.

You will also need to consider the pros and cons of each eyeliner, which adds to the challenge of choosing one.

How to Deal With Eye Allergies or Sensitivity Problems

Your body will react adversely to any irritant because it will try to repel it. When trying to expel irritants, our body generates antibodies to fight the invading substance.

Antibodies are special cells that have the task of responding against the offending allergen. These cells proliferate in high numbers in the stomach, lungs, nose, and eyes.

The most noteworthy being the eyes because the skin around the eyes is delicate. This explains why the peepers of some people tend to be highly sensitive.

So if you have a predisposition to eczema or seasonal allergies, then an adverse reaction to eyeliners is likely.

Here are tips that experts recommend:

  1. Try out new makeup products first on the back of your hand. Then wait for an hour or two and see if you get an adverse reaction.
  2. If you do have an allergic reaction, the formulation shouldn’t be anywhere near your eyes.
  3. If the waiting period has passed and you still get no adverse reaction, it’s safe to say that the product is okay to use.

We can’t stress the testing enough. Between an itchy hand and inflamed eyes, we’d rather choose an itchy hand.

What’s more, people with dry eyes are more prone to allergic reactions. That’s because they don’t produce enough tears to repel the allergens. As a result, the irritant stays on their eyes longer.

People with contact lenses also suffer more vulnerabilities than those that don’t wear them. So that’s another thing to think about when choosing or applying eyeliner.

Things to Consider When Choosing Eyeliner for Sensitive Watery Eyes

Shopping for eyeliner but have sensitive eyes and eyelids?

Here are key things to keep in mind. Because if you want to get the right one, you need to make sure it fits your needs.

Read the label.

The product has to state that on its packaging. It has to explicitly say “hypoallergenic,” “safe for sensitive eyes,” or “ophthalmologist-tested.” 

Hypoallergenic products specifically contain no irritating ingredients or allergens in their formulation.

If you can’t find any information about these in their packaging and advertisements, then that eyeliner is most likely not designed for you.

Another word to look out for on the label is “fragrance,” which is one of the most common irritants in the cosmetics industry.

Get one that’s waterproof and smudge-proof.

Imagine an eyeliner flaking and particles getting into your eyes! It’s no use that the product is safe for sensitive skin when it isn’t safe for sensitive peepers!

The particles will cloud your vision and stimulate lots of tear production, ruining your makeup. Worse, for those with dry eyes, the flakes will only cause redness and a stinging sensation all day.

We highly suggest eyeliners that are water-resistant and smudge-proof. You can only remove the eyeliner using a makeup remover.

A waterproof and smudge-proof eyeliner is your ideal option when you are frequently exposed to rain and humidity or if you’re always physically active. It is also a great choice if you wear contact lenses or if your eyes water often.

Do learn your skin type first! Some eyeliners smudge for certain skin types more than others.

Skip the waterline.

Nope, the traditional tightlining isn’t for you, and it’s not worth the pain and the tears either! 

The waterline is not only the closest skin to the eyes; it’s also a highly sensitive area.

If you do want the tightlined look, here’s a trick: Use a gel eyeliner or a pencil and draw as close to the waterline as possible without actually drawing on the waterline itself.

Do you have steady hands?

Even if you have the best eyeliner for sensitive eyes, it helps to have steady hands.

So how steady are your hands?

If you’re a newbie or if you feel that your hands are often shaky, go pick a pencil eyeliner. It’s easier to apply compared to liquid eyeliner.

Does it have a return policy?

What happens if you realize it’s an eyeliner that triggers your sensitivities?

You return it, right?

Well, that’s the ideal scenario. Sometimes, you only realize after the purchase or after the first use that the product doesn’t work for you.

Now, some stores allow you to return the item. But there are others that won’t let you do that unless you comply with their guidelines.

It pays to understand a product’s return policy before making the purchase.

The Best Lash-Boosting Eyeliner for Sensitive Eyes

If you developed a fear of using eyeliners because of your sensitive eyes, give this list a quick read!

These 10 eyeliners are safe and gentle and specifically formulated for sensitive peepers.

Physicians Formula 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner

We know we’re talking about eyeliners that are safe for sensitive eyes, but we also want to tell you about this product’s lash-boosting complex.

It strengthens and conditions the lashes, so as you define your eyes using this eyeliner, your lashes also improve and become healthier.

Primary Benefits: Made with the blackest of black pigments; quick drying ink; delivers a matte finish


  • Water-proof
  • Ultra-fine tip
  • Lash-conditioning serum
  • Vegan

Create precise lines and get beautiful lashes at the same time with Physicians Formula 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner.


Want to enhance the look of your lashes?

The Japanese formula nourishes and conditions your lashes and is safe for sensitive eyes.

Because it doesn’t contain parabens, it’s not only perfect for sensitive eyes but is also the best eyeliner for contact lens wearers.

It’s waterproof, smudge-proof, and easy to apply. In addition, it’s affordable and safe for everyday use.

Physicians Formula 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner even makes thin eyelashes look fuller, and because it’s infused with a lash serum, it also boosts eyelash growth!

Would you believe that about two months of continuous use can give you noticeable results? A lot of reviews attest to this!

Best Drugstore Eyeliners For Sensitive Eyes

Maybelline Eyestudio Master Precise All Day Liquid Eyeliner Makeup

We love this product’s continuous ink pen formula. That means you don’t need to pause and dip your brush every so often.

You’ll get a smooth and even line in one stroke!

Primary Benefits: Continuous flow, intense ink draws with smooth precision; delivers a natural finish; lasts up to 12 hours


  • Waterproof
  • 0.4mm tip
  • Ophthalmologist tested

Whatever your signature eye look, create it with Maybelline Master Precise by Eye Studio.


Want to achieve the perfect “winged” look? This may be the best eyeliner for sensitive eyes for that purpose.

Perfect for creating maximum definition!

It’s a super-pigmented eyeliner that’s gentle on the eyes. And even with its mild formulation, it’s smudge-proof! You can maintain your look without having to worry about smearing your makeup.

However, it may take three to four minutes for it to dry out. Be sure to keep your eyes closed after you put this on!

But overall, it’s a fantastic eyeliner with rave reviews and won’t cause irritation, so it’s the best liquid eyeliner for sensitive eyes.

Shimarz Black Pencil Eyeliner

We rarely find an eyeliner that also has conditioning properties. So when we do, we make sure to tell others about it!

The Shimarz Eyeliner has castor oil, jojoba oil, and candelilla wax that moisturizes and protects your eyelids.

Primary Benefits: Long lasting; smooths and blends well; lightweight


  • Smudge-proof
  • 100% natural ingredients
  • No harsh chemicals

Get dramatic eyes in seconds with Shimarz Black Eyeliner Pencil.


Want chemical-free makeup for your peepers? This is the best eyeliner for sensitive eyes that’s vegan-friendly and gluten-free.

Instead of harsh ingredients, you get castor and seed oils. The result? You get smooth and very dark pigment. It glides on your skin like melted butter and is perfect for a smokey look. 

It doesn’t last as long as the others on this list, but reapplying it on smokey eyes is pretty easy. That’s why it still made our list of the best pencil eyeliner for sensitive eyes.

Best Liquid Eyeliners For Sensitive Eyes

NYX PROFESSIONAL Epic Ink Liner, Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

NYX Epic Ink Liner is, without a doubt, epic when it comes to intensity. The matte ink gives you insane precision for your black liquid lines.

Primary Benefits: Long-lasting; draws ultra fine lines; easy to control brush


  • Waterproof
  • Felt brush tip
  • Vegan

Get the perfect, long-lasting cat eye with NYX Professional Epic Ink Liner.


Want the cat-eye look quick and easy?

This one’s a crowd favorite for being one of the best liquid eyeliners for sensitive eyes.

SkinSAFE, a Mayo Clinic partner in identifying irritating ingredients, found the Epic Ink Liner by NYX to be 100% hypoallergenic. This makes the product the best eyeliner for allergic eyes.

In addition, it has a sharp tip that allows precision when creating that cat-eye look. And it’s affordable too! Best of all, it’s vegan-friendly and cruelty-free!

Did we also mention that it’s smudge-proof?

Best Eyeliner For Contact Lens Wearers

Maybelline Unstoppable Eyeliner

We know how much of a hassle it is when your pencil eyeliner needs constant sharpening. With Maybelline Unstoppable, that’s no longer a problem.

It’s a mechanical pencil so you just twist it and you’re ready to line again.

Primary Benefits: Up to 24-hour wear; gives both natural and bold definition


  • Waterproof and smudge-resistant
  • Suitable for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers

For a smooth glide and beautifully defined eyes, try Maybelline Unstoppable.


Here’s another one from the phenomenal drugstore brand. Ever wondered if a smudge-proof eyeliner ideal for sensitive eyelids existed?

It’s ophthalmologist-tested and safe for use, even if you wear contact lenses.

Despite being super-thin and discreet, Maybelline Unstoppable Eyeliner delivers a super-thick definition for your peepers.

It offers five different shades: onyx, espresso, sapphire, pewter, and the popular cinnabar. More choices for you to look your best!

And surprisingly, it’s easy to remove even if it’s waterproof. All you need is a mild cleanser to wipe it off. Plus, you get to enjoy irritation-free skin after removing it.

However, a notable downside to Maybelline Unstoppable Eyeliner is that it comes in a small package. Smaller than most options listed here. Nonetheless, this small-sized liner packs a punch.

NaturLash Mineral Mascara

Don’t you love dual-purpose makeup? We know we do.

That’s why we’re loving this mascara as it doubles as an eyeliner. Simply dip your liner brush into this product and apply it as you would your eyeliner.

Primary Benefits: Thickens and lengthens lashes; long-lasting; washes off easily with soap and water


  • Smudge-proof and water-resistant
  • Made with organic ingredients
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Vegan and cruelty-free

Never irritate your eyes when using an eyeliner again with NaturLash Mineral Mascara.


Looking for a non-irritating eyeliner?

Go natural with this dual-purpose product for sensitive skin!

Wondering what to expect from this product?

This vegan-friendly mascara-liner runs smoothly, allowing you to create a defined wing easily. And with its lightweight blend packed with natural ingredients, it gives a soothing effect on your peepers.

No wonder it’s a trusted choice for many.

Since it’s non-toxic, you don’t have to worry about irritation. NaturLash Mineral Mascara is free of mercury, parabens, gluten, and petroleum.

If you want to go natural all the way, NaturLash Mineral Mascara is the best eyeliner for sensitive eyes.

L'Oreal Paris Makeup Infallible Super Slim Long-Lasting Liquid Eyeliner

The most common cause of eye irritation is when a foreign object comes into the eyes.

Well, this product dries pretty quickly, so there’s no worry about the eyeliner bleeding into your eyes.

Primary Benefits: 12-hour wear; draws precise lines without feathering or smudging


  • Smudge-proof
  • Super slim felt tip

In one stroke, create sleek and sophisticated lines with L’Oreal Paris Makeup Infallible liquid eyeliner.


Choosy when it comes to liners that smear, bleed, or feather?

This liquid eyeliner lets you create smooth, sharp lines that last for 12 hours. If you just got started with liquid eyeliners, this one is an ideal choice for beginners.

With an ultra-fine tip that allows precise lines, it dries fast without triggering sensitivities. It glides without dragging and skipping folds of skin. That said, this is a good liquid eyeliner for sensitive skin.

Enjoy a long-wearing, ophthalmologist-tested product from morning to night!

On the downside, it tends to smudge super oily eyelids. So it may not be your best choice if you have excessively oily skin or if you’re expecting rain, humidity, or sweating.

Best Waterproof Eyeliner For Sensitive Eyes

Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner

This eyeliner is made with moisturizing ingredients that make the color smoothly glide onto the lids and waterline. That means there’s no need for tugging your skin.

Primary Benefits: Lasts up to 12 hours; retractable pencil glides easily; available in matte and shimmer shades


  • Waterproof
  • With vitamin E

For lines that stay all day, use Stila Smudgestick Waterproof Eyeliner.


Need eight different shades?

This pencil eyeliner has makeup goals written all over it.

Suitable for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers too. This won’t dry or irritate your eyes. It’s also waterproof and smudge-proof, so you’re good even when it’s raining or humid. This is one of the best eyeliners for dry eyes.

Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner is also the best eyeliner for sensitive eyes if you want to achieve a smokey-eye look. It’s easy to draw out the perfect wing with its smooth pencil lining.

Richly pigmented, this product is perfect for cocktail parties and special events.

The downside: it’s a bit pricey and generally lasts for four to five hours only.

Best Gel Liner For Sensitive Eyes

UCANBE 2-in-1 Black and Brown Gel Eyeliner

When you can’t decide on wearing black or brown, get this kit. It comes with two natural shades that you can use depending on your mood.

Primary Benefits: Long lasting; delivers intense color; easy to apply and remove


  • Waterproof and smudge-proof
  • Comes with two brushes

For lasting eye drama, use UCANBE’s creamy gel eyeliner.


Looking for gel eyeliner that doesn’t make you tear up?

It comes in two colors: brown and black. This eye makeup glides smoothly, allowing easy application. And it won’t smudge once it dries. For added convenience, it also comes with an applicator.

For the gel-based variety, this is among the best eyeliners for sensitive eyes.

While it doesn’t really guarantee that it’ll stay for 24 hours, it doesn’t smear. It won’t run down your face even if you sweat profusely or when you get caught in the rain.

But it’s quite easy to remove. A cotton ball and makeup remover will do the trick.

Just make sure you store it properly because it tends to dry out fast.

Best Eyeliner Pencil For Sensitive Eyes

Better’n Ur Eyes Natural Eyeliner Pencil

Natural and nourishing ingredients are all the rave these days. That’s why we love this pencil eyeliner.

It’s reinforced with moisturizing oils that ensure smooth and non-irritating application.

Primary Benefits: Goes on smooth; long-lasting; comes with a non-drying formula


  • Hypoallergenic
  • Cruelty-free
  • Vegan

Accentuate your eyes the natural way with Better’n Ur Eyes eyeliner pencil.


Are you always on the go?

Then you can use this pocket-friendly eye makeup for sensitive eyes.

It’s easy to use and offers the right amount of pigmentation, which also nourishes the skin on your eyelids, by the way!

That’s because it contains healing oils, including castor, which are great for sensitive eyes.

However, it isn’t smudge-proof because it’s oil-based. Also, the pigmentation generally lasts up to five hours only. Still, it’s one of the best eye pencils for sensitive eyes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is My Eyeliner Irritating My Eyes?

When you wear eyeliner, the loose particles from this product can block the oil gland at the sensitive edges of your eyelids (waterline). Now, this gland is what produces the oily component of your tears.

close up of woman's eye having pencil eyeliner applied

When this gland is blocked, it cannot produce the oil. And when there’s no oil, tears will evaporate quickly and can result in dry, irritated eyes.

How Do I Stop My Eye Makeup from Irritating My Eyes?

The best thing to do is use a product that’s hypoallergenic and proven safe for sensitive eyes. Additionally, you should wash your hands before applying the makeup and avoid sharing your products with others.

How Do You Know If You’re Allergic to Eyeliner?

A person who’s allergic to eyeliner will have itchy, red, puffy, or burning eyes after using the product.

What Is Your Favorite Eyeliner for Sensitive Eyes? 

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1 thought on “10 Best Eyeliners for Sensitive Eyes (& Eyelids)”

  1. I don’t understand why there isn’t any cake eyeliner for sensitive eyes. Clinique made one but it is now discontinued. Cake eyeliners do not contain water and are not prone to contamination, which is one of the reasons I cannot wear mascara. If you know of any hypoallergenic cake eyeliners please let me know. I would appreciate any information you may have. Thank you.

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